Thoughts on iTunes Rentals
Now that i’ve rented several movies from the iTunes store, both on my computer and on my Apple TV, i have a few thoughts i’d like to discuss.
Obviously the 24-hour limit is not ideal. This has been discussed at length, and so i’ll try not get too far into it. I believe it’s a carry-over from the content owners’ similar contracts with cable companies (for their on-demand content). Like many have already pointed out, 24 hours is just too little to watch half a movie one night, and pick it up where you left off the next night art the same time. …even 26 hours would potentially resolve the issue, but i’m hoping to see something like 50 hours, which would be comparable to Blockbuster. 2 nights and a few extra hours.
The catalog needs to grow, and same-day-as-DVD availability. There’s already news on this front, but it is unclear if the new releases will be available for rent or only to purchase. It would also be nice to see a lot more catalog titles available.
What about TV show rentals? There are quite a few shows that have no shelf-life for me; once watched, i have no reason to watch them again. My iTunes library already has around 100 episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, about 2 or 3 of which i’ll ever watch again. I purchase them using a multi-pass, so each episode ends up being around 71 cents after tax, and storage is cheap, so renting may not really offer much of a benefit, but for shows that don’t offer a multipass, renting might be a decent option. I really don’t see this happening, but i suppose i enjoyed the thought exercise.
Are some movies be available to rent and not to purchase? …or the other way around? I’d like to see every single movie available both as a rental, and as a purchase. …if nothing else, just for the sake of simplicity.
HD Purchases? This is an interesting animal… current iPods can’t handle high definition content, and so allowing HD purchases may necessitate including a SD download, or risk confusing customers why their content doesn’t work. There’s also the possibility of the content owners demanding so-called “secure paths” to pacify their paranoia. (also called “plugging the analog hole”) I’m thinking HD purchases won’t exist until, at the least, all the current generation iPods can support HD content.
One of the major drawbacks i have when purchasing movies is that i’m paying just about DVD prices, and getting what they call “near-DVD quality” – but i’m only getting stereo audio. I have to rent the movie in HD to get 5.1 surround sound, so the value of a movie purchase to me is pretty weak compared to a DVD.
I’ll explore issues of HD purchases in a little more depth soon.
How about the cost of the rental being applied toward the purchase? I’m thinking of a sort of “Complete My Album” for movies. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory, so i’ll move on.
What about a Shopping Cart for rentals? …something like a Netflix Queue. I’ve already found myself wanting this missing feature as i come across a movie i’d like to watch, just not immediately. Maybe not even soon – but eventually. the iTunes store on my computer offers a shopping cart, which i use to hold “eventual purchases”. without that shopping cart, i’m sure that many purchases would never have happened as i’d have forgotten what i was thinking about buying. Being able to queue up movies i want to watch would probably make me rent far more often.
Those are my thoughts, i’d love to hear yours.