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Articles tagged with: iTunes music store

Written By: Gary on August 23, 2009 2 Comments

defygrav.jpgSo I noticed not only does iTunes still have the Defying Gravity pilot for free the next episode is also free (that’s 3 episodes, the 2-part pilot and Threshold) and it’s in HD! So if you’ve been wanting to catch up, now is the time…

Who knows how long they’ll keep doing this, it’s been three weeks for the pilot now. If I knew they were putting up HD episodes all the time, I’d be happy to watch the show a few weeks behind. I’d even be happy if they inserted advertisements to pay for it. Are you listening Apple and the TV distribution cartel?!?

And dont’ forget, all the episodes of Defying Gravity is on Hulu and they’re in 480p if you have the bandwidth.

Written By: Gary on February 3, 2008 One Comment

This is great, it looks like Apple has semi-extended movie rental time limits. I say “semi” because once the 24 hour time limit passes you cannot go back to the beginning of the rental, but you can resume where you left off.

This makes me very happy because I’ve thought the 24 hour was just too short. My thought from a few weeks ago was “Maybe they can do something to cripple it, maybe after 24 hours any viewed portion is not viewable any more”. It seems (at least on an iPod) that you can’t leave and do something else and still have it resume when you come back (“delete” or “resume” are your choices) your iPod is “stuck” on that screen. Maybe they’ll do it a little different on AppleTV or iTunes…?

I think the new AppleTV software was supposed to roll out last week so it should be appearing soon.

Written By: Gary on January 26, 2008 One Comment

My Apple TV has been one of my favorite technology purchases and I never expected that I’d like it that much. Actually, I’d been interested in it but it took a visit to Best Buy, after happy hour, for me to finally commit to the 40 GB version. I took it back a few days later but only because I knew I needed the 160 GB version, bigger is better after all…

Apple TV is pretty much an ‘iPod for your television’ and iPods are pretty much the standard to beat for portable media players (at least the standard for handheld audio players) so these should be selling much better. I’ve always been impressed with my Apple TV and had been surprised they hadn’t really caught on more than they have. The Apple TV interface is excellent, it’s as good as the TiVo (except it doesn’t record), you can buy videos (and music) on your computer to load it up, but that is a little inconvenient for some people. You can convert videos for it, but that’s not for the average user. I knew it was close to what people want but it wasn’t exactly there yet.

A few weeks ago at MacWorld they announced movie rentals for the Apple TV. $2.99 for old movies, $3.99 for new ones and $1 more for HD quality. Plus, you can buy music (and music videos) on-line and view/subscribe to podcasts (for free). They changed the interface, I personally think it’s a little more complicated, but since you need to be able to browse an infinite number of music and movies I can understand it (and maybe I’ll like it too). This new interface is free to original Apple TV owners and should show up in a few weeks (I keep checking).

I heard all this when they announced it and I’ve been mulling it around in my head, but I finally just watched that part of the keynote from MacWorld (on my Apple TV, of course) and now I really think this is getting even closer to being the media box for your TV.

  • If I can start watching a movie in about 30 seconds, why am I going to rent something from the store? (there is a 30 day wait after a DVD release)
  • Why am I going to subscribe to Netflix? (all the movie extras and plus for TV shows you I get multiple episodes on one DVD)
  • If I can purchase a song the instant I need it, why am I going to run out and buy the album? (at least I think I can purchase a song, I saw Steve purchase a music video).One of the biggest shortcomings of this (and all digital video rental systems out there) is that you only have 24 hours from start to finish. It’s just not long enough, if I start it at 8 tonight, I need the ability to finish it tomorrow at 8 or 9 in the evening. Because of that, I think 30 hours is the minimum I need to seriously consider this as a way to watch movies (at least for me). As you increase the time to 36, 48 or even 72 hours it makes this a much better option, especially for the impulse buy. I know “they” don’t want bunches of other people to borrow it and view it so they longer the time, the higher the chance of this. Maybe they can do something to cripple it, maybe after 24 hours any viewed portion is not viewable any more, that’s slightly complicated but it makes it a little more fair and might make the movie companies a little happier, IMHO…

    But TiVo has had these features for a while now: music and photo streaming from your computer for years now, podcasts (very limited menu selection) for a few years too and recently they’ve added movie / TV rentals from Amazon Unbox (but you wait hours for it to download). I wonder if there are more TiVos than Apple TVs out there??

    I’m confused about a few things:

  • Can you buy a movie from the Apple TV interface?
  • Can you push HD movie rentals down to your computer or iPod? (I don’t think they said that specifically for HD).

    Things I’m not confused about, but I’m wondering:

  • How long until I can access media from my Time Capsule?
  • How long until I can rent TV shows?
  • How long until I subscribe to TV shows at a reasonable rate?
  • How long until I can dump my cable package?
  • How long until the cable internet and DSL providers complain about the bandwidth that is being used up? FYI, where the Apple TV requirements list a “broadband connection” it also says “(fees may apply)”.
  • Is the hardware in the new Apple TV exactly the same? I know the software is going to be the same, but I don’t think they said it was exactly the same either.
  • How long until the 30 day wait before renting (after new releases) is removed and I can rent as soon as it’s out? (they don’t have a delay before music purchases).

    Complaints about the Apple TV:

  • I need a video playlist option. I want to have a way to link these video podcasts and music videos into my own personal non-stop “channel”.
  • I need a way to find this tiny remote when I misplace it. It’s so small and light.
  • It needs a regular video-out and S-video out for people who don’t yet have TVs with component video or HDMI.
  • They still don’t have a use for the included USB port.
  • I think I’m gonna need a bigger hard drive!

    Also, they announced a price drop of $70 for the Apple TV.

  • Written By: Gary on December 29, 2007 No Comment

    Aff-Live-ItunesSo on Thursday the 4 track A Fine Frenzy – Live Session EP came out exclusively at the iTunes store. Of course I purchased it, can’t pass something like that up from A Fine Frenzy. It’s a great EP with 4 tracks – Almost Lover, Borrowed Time, Last of Days, and The Minnow & the Trout. They don’t sound very “live” to me but that’s okay with me, they’re more like different versions of the songs. And for $3.49 you can hardly go wrong…

    Written By: Gary on October 9, 2007 No Comment

    Jeweloriginals So there is a new iTunes Originals album out featuring Jewel and aptly titled Jewel – iTunes Originals . I always like the iTunes Original album since it’s got some interview tracks and usually has some odd music tracks on it too. The Jewel edition has 23 tracks about 1/2 that are songs. It’s $11.99 which is a little pricey if you have a few of the tracks, you can’t buy the interview tracks without the whole album. But it doesn’t seem to be smart enough to realize that I’ve purchased one of the tracks previously although that might have been before the 6 month deadline for complete that album. But it’s not my fault the album came out after the six month limit.

    I do look forward to listening to this, I’ve got a bit of driving tomorrow to do so that’ll work. After the first few times, I can’t listen to the interviews any more so I can remove them from that playlist.

    Written By: Gary on October 3, 2007 No Comment

    AfinefrenzyonecellintheseaSo I’ve mentioned A Fine Frenzy more than a few times lately; they tour with Brandi Carlile and hit Detroit next Sunday (not this Sunday). And I can’t get enough of their album. Plus, I’ve specifically mentioned that their 14 track album of One Cell in the Sea was only $7.99 at iTunes (even higher quality DRM-free) or at AmazonMP3. But they sent me an e-mail advertisement stating that it’s temporarily only $5.99 (in the US), for fourteen tracks, that’s a deal so if you considered it before it’s even a better deal now. The ad made it sound like it was a deal for me since I’ve purchased their music before but it looks like it’s that cheap even when I don’t log in. I have no idea when this will last, please let me know if you see that it goes back up.

    On her debut album, Cell In the Sea, Alison Sudol evokes adjectives like enchanting and wistful. A self-taught pianist, she took the name A Fine Frenzy from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Inspired by fantasy writers such as C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll, and musical artists Keane and Sigur Rós, the chanteuse’s sublime melodies are guided by her delicate piano work and feminine vocals, which sometimes sound reminiscent of the Sundays. The beautifully sad “Almost Lover” is a surprisingly confident song, and “Hope for the Hopeless” is a perfect remedy when you’re feeling down.

    – From the iTunes Description

    Plus you can go the the A Fine Frenzy site, and download 5 songs and 5 videos for free (some look like the same odd singles and EPs you can buy at iTunes); these 10 items are free if you purchased a CD or got it from iTunes. You do need to have a CD in the drive so you need to burn it if you don’t have a real CD; the download bonus process even works well on a Mac (for similar promotions for other artists I had to go to a Windows machine and sometimes the files only played on Windows). This really is a deal for $5.99 so I had to share it…

    Is anyone going to the Sunday, Oct 14th concert in Detroit? Leave me a message if you are. And if you’ve never been to St. Andrews Hall it’s always way too hot in there so dress accordingly.

    Written By: Gary on September 26, 2007 One Comment

    So Amazon opened the Amazon MP3 store which has been getting some good reviews and (most importantly) it semi-integrates by pushing your purchases into your iTunes which is great for automatic syncing with your iPod. They’ve had tracks for download for ages, but this is their big jump into the market (you do need their downloader for this).

    Amazonmp3I actually spotting it yesterday when searching for some music but I didn’t realize the format change of my search results indicated a whole new service. I did notice that the tracks were only 89 cents though!

    Keep in might for 89 cents they are a dime less than the iTunes music store for regular tracks but since there is no encryption (DRM) and it’s encoded at a higher quality (even than Apple I believe) these are 40 cents less than Apple’s $1.29 a song. That’s about 1/3 less if you’ve been getting the DRM-free higher quality songs (and that’s what I’ve been getting lately). And they are MP3s, so they play on just about anything (but higher quality does mean larger songs). Buying whole albums will generally discount the price.There are exceptions to the 89 cent price for the individual songs, but I can’t figure out the rules to tell you. And like the iTunes store I believe there are tracks that can’t be purchased separately from the album, I thought I saw that yesterday but I can’t find an example of that today.

    And to be fair to Apple, their DRM free $1.29 songs are generally much cheaper if you buy the whole album (the 14 track One Cell in the Sea – by A Fine Frenzy is only $7.99 (which I think is the same as the iTunes DRM version) which is the same price as the Amazon mp3 store, except Amazon doesn’t appear to give you the booklet.

    So the end result, IMHO, it’ll never beat the seamlessness of the iTunes Music Store but but with it’s downloader (which does give you a free song), Amazon mp3 might be a good alternative or at least a second place to check when shopping for songs. If you’re not an iPod user it’s probably a great place to consider for your mp3 shopping (I think the downloader will push the tracks to other players but since I don’t have any I”m not certain). The downloader does work pretty good, I did try it. It would be nice if it were smart enough to add it to an “Amazon Playlist”.

    I fully expect to see them selling movies, television, music videos, audio books or distributing podcasts via the same mechanism in the future….

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