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Video iPod released by Apple 10/05

The New York Times by David Pogue, 18 October 2005

The latest iPod model, unveiled last week, is deliciously thin (4.2 by 2.4 by about 0.5 inches). In addition to its usual repertory (presenting music, digital photos, calendar, address book and song lyrics), it can now play video.

And where are you supposed to get video in the proper file format (H.264 or MPEG-4)? You can export home movies from Apple's iMovie video-editing program. You can convert existing video files using software like QuickTime Player Pro ($US30, for Mac or Windows). You can even convert commercial DVD movies, if certain Web sites are to be believed.

You can also download videos from the iTunes Music Store, which is suddenly in need of a name makeover. And here's where things get much, much more interesting - maybe even more interesting, in fact, than the video iPod itself.

This music store offers free video podcasts, which are short, usually homemade Internet broadcasts. Pixar animated shorts cost $US1.99 each. You can also buy any of 2,000 music videos for $US1.99 apiece; of course, the price includes the song itself (which costs 99 cents when sold separately). There are plenty of places online to watch music videos, but Apple has assembled the first legal centralized place to download and keep them.

But the biggest news is that Apple now sells TV shows: name-brand, day-old, network TV shows. Incredibly, Apple has persuaded Disney, which owns ABC, to make available all episodes of five TV series, including 'Lost', 'Desperate Housewives' and 'That's So Raven'. Each show costs $US1.99 - an easy impulse buy if you missed an episode.

They play back beautifully, with no network logo in the corner, no yearlong wait for the DVD and no commercials. (One 43-minute 'hour' of TV takes 12 minutes to download with my cable modem, and about two minutes to transfer to the iPod over its U.S.B. 2.0 cable. The TV shows, music videos and short films are lightly copy-protected; you can play them on up to five computers and an unlimited number of iPods, but can't burn them to a CD or DVD.)

Weblink: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/18/technology/circuits/19web-pogue.html?pagewanted=1