Why I was excited… then dissapointed by Apple TV
When Apple introduced the Apple TV I was excited, but annoyed by the limited functionality of it. Rumors prior to this week’s Mac World Expo were flying and almost everyone was betting that Steve Jobs would introduce some change to the Apple TV. Well, they were right – and originally I was really excited about the change.
Because they didn’t live webcast the event, I missed a major point. When Steve Jobs unveiled the iTunes Movie Rentals I was excited, especially when they announced that they would make movies available in HD with 5.1 surround sound. I mistakenly assumed two things. (1) That if a movie was available for rent, it would be available for purchase (2) If a movie could be rented in HD via Apple TV it could also be rented over from iTunes directly. As time wore on, it became clear that neither was true. HD movies are only available for rent via Apple TV and are not available for purchase.
Based on a Business Week article I read today, and I suspect that they’re right, this wasn’t entirely Apple’s fault. In the ideal world Apple would want both features that I want to be available, but the movie studios wouldn’t budge. Why? Because they fear that if they went to the Apple digital distribution route they’d lose out on DVD and Blu-Ray/HD DVD sales. And the truth is, they’re right. Ratatouille is available for purchase for $15 on the iTunes Store, which is the identical price that the DVD sells for on Amazon.com. The Blu-Ray version is $20. Even if an HD version of Ratatouille cost my $20 through iTunes I’d be likely to buy it only because adding an Apple TV to my entertainment system costs much less than a Blu-Ray player and delivers a whole lot more functionality than a Blu-Ray player.
But alas, it looks like I’ll be living in the world of upconverted DVDs for a while longer. Until I can purchase HD movies online there’s no service that I think is viable.