Buying my TV from the iTunes Music Store?

I don't have cable TV service anymore. Now I have NetFlix and books instead, and so far that's working out OK for me - but as much as I can't handle 300 channels, I would really like to be able to pick a few programs to watch.

Thus, I'm cautiously optimistic about getting my TV over the internet. I think it could be cost-effective for me - cable bills can be pretty expensive, so even though TV seems cheap, consider how much crap you have to watch to get the price per show lower than $2. Is it worth it? Suppose I watch two games a week and three shows each week. At current iTunes rates, that's about $10 a week or $40 a month, assuming I don't get discounts for season passes, or screwed on sporting events. That's not bad.

But is it a comparable product? I watched an episode of Scrubs today, and I'd have to say yes and no.

Buying it went smoothly, not having to watch commercials is pretty great, and I assume I can send the audio to my Airport Express, right? However, you wait for it to download the whole thing first, the resolution is low, pausing and scanning through the video sometimes hangs briefly, and I'm not sold on having the video play in a separate window - it seems like a major afterthought. I'm really curious why iTunes is a worse video player than the Quicktime Player for the same exact file.

The file's 104MB, and I'm not likely to watch it over and over again - what I am likely to do is keep it around because I'd feel guilty trashing something I'd paid for. I'd be much happier if I knew I could re-download these shows in the future, so I'm not saddled with a massive file if I don't need it around.

What's more, I remember pretty clearly sitting in the audience for Steve Jobs' keynote in 2004, and watching him demo super-fast, live, streaming playback and scrubbing around H.264 high definition content. It was pretty impressive. Two years later, where's the HD content? HD would really sell video on the internet - not many people have HDTVs, but lots of people these days have a monitor that can display at least 720p (1280x720), and once you watch sports in HD, you're hooked.

So - I say, bring on the laptop HD revolution. Bring on live HD sports via iTunes. Let me stream it and re-stream it. Let me decide what to pay for - I don't want to have my cash go to subsidize Elimidate, ever again.


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