What About H.264?

So yesterday was quite a day. I for one am pretty jazzed about the whole Front Row deal. I think that’s gonna be some sweet action as it propagates throughout the Apple hardware line (Steve, please do this soon) in the coming months. And while the announcement of iTunes 6 (wow – a whole .x!!!) and Video iPods is neat, I’m a bit underwhelmed.

With all the hoopla in recent months from Apple about HD this and that, why on EARTH are the video downloads from iTunes not in H.264?? To me at least, that seemed like a given. I was shocked to find that the videos were not only non-HD, they weren’t even a proper TV resolution of 640 x 480! It’s just big enough for the iPod screen, and little more.

With 45 minute TV shows weighing in at almost 200megs, they’d be able to streamline that download (and the storage space – my gosh, the storage space!) significantly using the H.264 compression scheme. And then you could hook your iPod dock up to your TV, watch your photo slide shows and your iTunes Video downloads on your Television, instead of being tied to a tiny screen all the time.

My only hope is that Apple’s pulling one of their signature moves…
1. Announce a great new service and grab the hype.
2. Launch it with relatively sub par components.
3. Make lots of money.
4. Wait 3-6 months.
5. Announce the on or above par replacements for initial launch components.
6. Make even more money.

I’ve even considered that maybe they’ll take a dip into the subscription market, by offering H.264 video downloads on a subscription basis. Who knows. But they’d better get [back] on that HD bandwagon soon!!


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