Lionsgate Announces iTunes Digital Copy on DVD and Blu-ray Discs

Just like Fox did at the Macworld keynote (last paragraph of this article) Lionsgate announced that they are working with Apple to provide iTunes Digital Copies on select DVD and Blu-ray Discs.

The first disc with the iTunes Digital Copy will be Rambo which is set to be released on May 27.  The process of transferring the movie to your iTunes library involves entering a unique code into iTunes the movie is then transferred from the disc into iTunes to be synced with your iPod, iPhone, or AppleTV. Each disc will allow you to transfer to only one iTunes library.

I really like the idea of this, the only problem is that I don’t purchase DVDs anymore (not since I started using Netflix last year). The way I see it, there are only a few instances when anyone should really buy a movie, if it is for a child or if you know that you are going to watch the movie more than 5 times in the lifetime of that disc.

CNW Group

iTunes 7.6.1 and Weekly $0.99 Movie Rentals

Yesterday Apple released version 7.6.1 of iTunes which fixes several unnamed bugs and improves compatibility with the AppleTV 2.0 software.

Apple also announced that they will begin offering a discount on select movie titles for rental. There will be one movie per week that will only cost $0.99 to rent, starting with the movie The Hours. The special pricing takes effect on Thursday and lasts until Monday.

Apple also regularly offers free music and occasionally offers free and discounted TV show episodes, the addition of discounted on movie rentals is most likely being done to promote the service, I know it will get me renting more movies (especially the discounted ones).

NBC Content Coming Back to iTunes?

You may have read a couple of quotes recently regarding Apple and NBC, if not they are as follows:

“We’ve said all along that we admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple” – NBC CEO Zucker

“We’re great fans of Steve Jobs” – NBC CEO Zucker

“We’ll put it back together on the TV thing. Everybody lost. But NBC is a great company, and Apple is a great company” – Steve Jobs

This (to me at least) could mean one of two things, what everybody is saying, basically that these quotes mean that Apple and NBC are going to patch things up and NBC TV shows will be put back in iTunes…


You know when you were a kid and someone called you a name and you replied with “and I was just about to give you all my toys.” This scenario could be exactly what Jobs and Zucker are doing, now I’m not claiming that this is for sure what they are doing I’m just trying to see the other side of things.

Jobs and Zucker are obviously upset with each other over the situation, neither one of them wants to budge, so why not publicly say that what the other one did was dumb (of course it wasn’t said straight out like that).

Of course it would be in both companies best interest for NBC’s shows to be back in iTunes, NBC would have another revenue source and Apple would be giving their customers one more reason to use iTunes and get in that whole “Apple world.”

I hope that this is the case, but let’s not forget that without those writers coming out of that strike we won’t really have much good content from any of the television studios.

(quotes from the Financial Times and Business Week)

iTunes Rental Frustrations

First off I want to say that I was all kinds of excited for the iTunes movie rentals and yesterday I decided to finally rent a movie through it, there weren’t very many rentable movies that I haven’t seen (and that I was willing to see) so I decided on “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” and I have not yet watched the movie. Why haven’t I watched it? you might ask, well it’s because the AppleTV doesn’t work with rented movies yet.

I guess maybe I should have guessed that since the new firmware for the AppleTV won’t be coming out for another couple of weeks but come on now! that means I’m going to have to wait that long until I watch the movie, I love my iPhone but I’m not going to watch an hour and a half long movie on a 3.5″ screen!

The next thing that bothers me, the 5G iPod doesn’t play the rented movies. I understand that Steve Jobs said that only current generation iPods would work with it but I figured if I downloaded a utility like Floola (which allows you to manage videos and music on your iPod without iTunes) than at least I could get the movie on the iPod and maybe it would play.

I was able to get the movie on the iPod by dragging the video file into the Floola window and Floola sent the video to my iPod promptly, the video was listed in the movie section but it wouldn’t play, at all, I would just get a black screen. (My reason for trying it on my iPod is because I have the AV cable and figured if I could get it running than at least I could watch it on my TV).

Anyway so besides me having to wait two weeks to watch this movie I’m super happy with it, the download was quick and I like the new section added to my library (it looks really nice). The lack of 5G iPod support won’t kill the service for me, I don’t use that iPod to watch video that often anyway, but it would have been nice to be able to take the video with me (without having to buy a $49 cable).

Apple Announces iTunes Movie Rentals

iTunes has been incredibly successful, it has sold over 4 billion songs, 125 million TV shows, but only 7 million movies. Apple decided that to make their movie business a little bit better they would now offer movie rentals in iTunes.

Apple has been able to sign on all 6 of the major movie studios for this and should have over 1,000 titles by the end of February. The rented movies will be watchable on Macs, PCs, all current gen iPods (emphasis on “current gen”), and the iPhone, but what about the AppleTV. Yes it will play on the AppleTV but I’m going to talk more about that it another post.

Apple says that you will be able to start watching the movie less than 30 seconds after it starts downloading and the movies will be priced as followed:

  • $2.99 for library titles
  • $3.99 for new releases

New movies should be released in iTunes 30 days after the DVD release.

So what are the rules for this rental service? Well, you can start watching the movie any time within the first 30 days of renting it (after that it won’t play anymore) and after you start the movie you have 24 hours to finish watching it.

From what I understand the terms of service also say that you are only allowed to have the movie on one device at a time so if you start watching it on your AppleTV and want to finish watching it on your iPhone you have to use iTunes to remove it from your AppleTV and transfer it over to your iPhone.

I haven’t been able to try it out yet because frankly there aren’t any movies that are rentable that I haven’t seen (and would actually want to see) but I’m sure better movies will come in the future.

The last thing I want to give a quick mention about is the ability to purchase a DVD by Fox (currently the only one I know of is Family Guy Blue Harvest) and put the DVD in your computer and on the disc is a digital iTunes copy that will play on your iPod, AppleTV, iPhone and computer. I’m really excited to learn more about this aspect of yesterdays news.

Fox Signs Deal With Apple for iTunes Movies

More Apple rumors showing up today, supposedly Fox has agreed to an iTunes movie deal. These movies will (according to the rumor) be for rental, allowing iTunes users to watch a rented movie for a limited time.

It also seems that Fox may be including a FairPlay protected video file of select movies when you purchase the DVD, allowing consumers to transfer the video file to their computer and play it on their iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, etc.

Pricing was not talked about but if I had to guess I would say around $3-4.

It has been mentioned before that rentals might be coming to iTunes but this is the first report that may have a little truth behind it.

(By the way, this will make my Christmas gift, the Apple TV, much more valuable to me)

Hopefully we will learn more on January 14 when MacWorld starts.


On a side note, this makes me want to speculate a little bit as to what to expect at MacWorld. At one point my thought was that the majority of the MacWorld keynote would be used to talk about the iPhone, but I may have changed my tune. I do still think that a small part of it will be used to talk about the iPhone but I think it will be mostly sales results and the addition of a 16GB version. I also think that there will be a new design for the MacBook but I also think a large portion of the time will be spent on the AppleTV.

I believe that Apple will release a new software upgrade to the AppleTV that will allow you to purchase content in the living room using the AppleTV, nothing has really happened to the AppleTV since its release except for the addition of YouTube functionality but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a major upgrade to the software (possibly the hardware as well but I don’t think that is likely).

I guess we’ll all have to wait and see, expect me to do a little more speculating between now and January 14, oh, and I can’t wait!

iTunes Movie Pricing May Hit $15 Each (Update)

This is just a rumor but the internet has been all a buzz about the possibility of iTunes movies getting a bit of a price increase to $15 each.

Now this doesn’t make any sense AT ALL I’ll prove it to you, currently in the iTunes music store Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is priced at $14.99… hmmmm.

Looks like the pricing is already set (for some movies) at $15. Now this rumor could be saying that the new releases will be priced at $15 instead of $12.99 (which I wouldn’t be too opposed to).

When I first read about this I was assuming that they meant that all of the movies may end up being priced at $15 but that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense so after reading a bit more I am now assuming that the $9.99 movies will stay priced at $9.99.

Now the reason this rumor is a little more interesting is for two reasons:

Reason 1: Apple may be doing this to try to lure more studios (specifically Fox) to sign on to put movies in the iTunes store.

Reason 2: This part of the rumor is very intriguing to me, it also mentions that Apple may also be trying to get movie studios to encode iTunes friendly versions of the movie on the DVD so people can import the movie into their iTunes to play them on their iPods, iPhones, and AppleTVs.

I think that the idea of being able to put the DVD into your computer, import the movie into iTunes, and watch it truly wherever I want is absolutely amazing (by the way I’ve always wondered why movie studios never sold HD versions of their movies encoded in MP4 on DVDs, oh well).

I’m curious if any of you would be willing to pay an extra few bucks (or the same price) for a DVD with an iTunes version on the disk?

oh, and Jason Chen (Gizmodo) a pre-encoded version of a movie IS a huge deal, I understand that their are programs that will take a DVD to iPod/AppleTV format with one click but it is a little bit more time consuming than that, maybe the 2-3 hour conversion time for a 1hr 30min movie would be a nice thing to skip.


UPDATE: Sorry, it seems I must have read this story from all the wrong places, the $15 price will be the wholesale price for the movie which means that the price of the movie to the consumer will likely be much more. This also helps point to the possibility of movie rentals in the iTunes store. One quick thing Apple, if a movie rental ends up costing any more than $4 per movie I am NOT going to rent it.

iPhone 1.1.2 Jailbreak and Custom Ringtones with iTunes 7.3 -Update

Since iPhone firmware 1.1.2 was released (read here) people have been hacking away at it to see if they can get it jailbroken, and well, they did. But, more on the jailbreaking in a minute first I want to mention to all of you a little something interesting about iPhone 1.1.2, custom ringtones.

If you remember back when ringtones were first introduced into iTunes and the iPhone there was a little workaround where if you took a 40 seconds or less AAC file, change the extension from .m4a to .m4r and double click it, the file would be added to iTunes as a ringtone. Well, with iTunes 7.3 this works again, but what is different now is that with iPhone firmware 1.1.2 they actually work!

So if you want custom ringtones on your iPhone without having to pay $15 for iToner, download iPhone firmware 1.1.2 here (to install iPhone firmware 1.1.2 option-click or shift-click “check for update” in iTunes and select the ipsw file downloaded) and make sure you have iTunes 7.3 installed. Here’s the steps in list form:

1. Encode your 40 seconds or less ringtone in AAC format.
2. Change the extension of the AAC file from .m4a to .m4r
3. Double click the .m4r file to add it to iTunes as a ringtone
4. Sync
5. Enjoy your custom ringtone

Now back to the whole jailbreaking story…

I have to be honest with you, I am not planning on jailbreaking my phone and actually don’t think that you should either. In my opinion you should just wait until February to get apps. But, I know that a lot of you would like to jailbreak your phone so…. read TUAW’s post about jailbreaking 1.1.2. The jailbreaking process takes about 10 minutes and does involve downgrading to 1.1.1.

Update: the limit for ringtones is actually 40.04 seconds.

iTunes Movie Rentals Coming Soon?

It is very possible that iTunes will soon be offering movie rentals in the iTunes music store.

Some clever and curious people have run an application called “strings” on iTunes allowing them to look at the various strings of text in a file.

Some of the strings that came up were:


The reason that this is exciting is that no one wants to pay $10 for a movie that they probably will only watch once. A cheaper option that only lasts a week or so would be great.

I don’t actually watch any movies from iTunes, I would much rather just get it through Netflix. I don’t really have to watch the movie now but if it’s only a few bucks it would definitely be something I would consider.

Video Rentals coming Soon to iTunes?

iTunes 7.5 and Quicktime 7.3

There are new versions of iTunes, 7.5, and Quicktime, 7.3. Here’s the details:

iTunes 7.5 (41.3MB)
iTunes 7.5 features the ability to activate iPhone wherever service is offered and support for Phase, a new interactive music game designed exclusively for iPod nano (third generation, iPod classic, and iPod (fifth generation). This release also includes bug fixes to improve stability and performance.

Quicktime 7.3 (51.8MB)
Quicktime 7.3 addresses critical security issues and delivers:
– Support for iTunes 7.5
– Updated support for creating iPhone-compatible web content
– Updated JavaScript support in the QuickTime Web Plugin
– Numerous bug fixes

For detailed information on the update visit here.

I haven’t been able to find out how this release will effect the use of iToner for ringtones but I would guess that once it is found out whether or not iToner still works it will be posted here.

Categorized as Apple, iTunes

Apple Jump the Gun on Avatar Episode?

I absolutely love the TV Show Avatar: the Last Airbender and I know that new episodes come out every Friday at 8:30 but, because I don’t have cable television I watch it through iTunes. Strangely when I woke up this morning an episode of Avatar started to download called “The Beach,” I though to myself “self, why is an episode of  Avatar being downloaded?” I started looking on the interent to see if they had changed the time Avatar was on, and then I realized that the scheduled air date for this episode was tonight at 8:30. I then went into the iTunes store to see if you could actually purchase it and it wasn’t listed.

Somehow those I was capable of downloading it with my season pass, before it aired! I heard of that happening before with another TV Show but I never thought it would happen again!

So I guess that my girlfriend and I will sit down tonight with a bowl of popcorn and watch the newest episode of Avatar at the same time as everyone else in the country, except I don’t have to watch it with commercials.

If anyone knows what exactly happened with this or if it happened to them too, comment. Also, if I happen to be wrong and they actually did change the air date for this episode let me know because I didn’t see any sign on the internet that they changed it.

Categorized as Apple, iTunes

NBC Adds Two New Shows To iTunes

A few weeks ago NBC decided to cancel its contract with Apple but apparently the relationship isn’t completely over. Chuck and Journeyman have been added to the iTunes Store and you can buy a season pass for them for $39.99 each. Each show will have 13 episodes each, this means that they will finish up their season by December only to be pulled off very shortly afterwards, that is unless NBC and Apple come up with a new contract.

It is pretty obvious to me that NBC is only going through this brouhaha because they want to get a better deal with Apple. I don’t really think that it will work but I do think that NBC is being incredibly stupid. How the heck am I going to be able to watch the Office this year? I guess I’m going to have to inconvenience myself by watching it live or have one of my friends with a DVR record it for me and I’ll come over and watch. I don’t expect that this will last long, at least I hope.

Chuck in iTunes
Journeyman in iTunes

Categorized as iTunes, Media