Wednesday, August 29, 2007

TV on iTunes

Rather a surprise - Apple have finally, with no fanfare at all, begun adding TV shows to the UK’s iTunes store. Nothing from the Beeb, or ITV and C4; rather US content from Disney, ABC and Paramount Comedy.

This means the likes of Lost, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, South Park, Spongebob Squarepants and more - pretty much the same as the initial offerings when the video service was launched Stateside.

Prices are rather steeper than $1.99 however, with single episodes coming in at £1.89 a pop! That’s $3.80. Something about that feels a bit uncomfortable - must be Steve Jobs' knuckled fist up my bum.

Fortunately, season packs are available with hefty discounts. A full season of Lost will set you back £32.99, a tenner less than if one were to buy the individual episodes. Still more than a DVD, but the picture quality’s good and the convenience can’t be argued with.

Here’s to more content soon (what are the chances of simultaneous US\UK releases, do you think?)


  1. So is that £1.89 for 45 minutes of material that I could have recorded off-air for free, and still can't watch on my TV? I think I'll pass.

    The future's pretty much set. It's going to be one click, a deduction from your online credit account that's so small you don't think about it, and a download that's no different to an off-air recording.

    Right now the vendors remind me of the first video rental store to open up in the town where I used to live. They required a £50 deposit on every tape they let out of the shop. It took the next guy one week to wipe their business out.

  2. Well, hey, you can get it all for free if you want to. But the video quality is better than you'll get from most torrents, and a lot better than my Freeview reception. The pricing is getting a fair bit of criticism, but it's cheaper than 4OD, which will let you buy shows for £1.99.

    £1.89 is more than you'd pay to any of the other online vendors to watch shows, but the BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Five don't let you keep what you pay for, and exclude Mac users. Plus, it's crazy for every network to have their own service - a complete waste of R&D costs. Apple want to be a one stop shop and good on them for that.

    The future you envisage is inevitable, I agree, but it's still a good 3-5 years away - maybe a lot more if broadcasters turn out to be as entrenched as the music publishers.