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Apple researching iTunes feature film movie service?

post #1 of 69
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Exclusive: Apple Computer may be in the intermediate stages of developing an iTunes movie download service that would serve up full length feature films to iTunes customers with a broadband Internet connection, AppleInsider has learned.

A survey distributed this week through Coyote Insight,Â*a Fullerton, Calif.-based market research firm, asked that participants answer a series of questions related to a potential "iTunes movie service" that would provide on-demand access to movies that could be downloaded to a computer or iPod.

"This iTunes service would provide access to 1,000 movies on demand which can be downloaded to your computer and, in turn, to your video iPod if you have one, or even your television if it is connected to your computer," read a description early in the survey.Â*

The service would function similarly to Apple's existing iTunes download services for songs and videos with one or two differences, the survey explains: "The first difference is you would need to have a high speed (broadband) Internet connection such as DSL or cable modem to use the service. The second difference is access to the movies is offered on a monthly subscription basis."

With the click of a button, users would be able to quickly download any of the movies through iTunes, which could begin playing as flick is downloading, according to the survey.

"You would have access to 1,000 movies including new releases like 'The Incredibles', 'The Pacifier', and 'Fightplan' as well as your favorites from the past," the description went on to read. "Watch as many movies as you want, as often as you want -- all commercial free with no charge per view." Each month, the potential service would reportedly add new movies for users to choose from.

The survey asked participants to rate the described service on a scale of 1 to 10. Based on the same scale, it also asked that participants indicate how likely they would be to subscribe to the new iTunes service for a monthly fee of $9.99.

Still, it appears that Apple is looking for feedback on alternative pricing models -- presumably if it gets the nod from its content partners, including major motion picture studios such as Miramax Films, Universal Pictures, Buena Vista Pictures, New Line Cinema, and Sony Pictures, according to a preliminary list of movies in the survey.Â*

"Instead of subscribing for $9.99 a month to download the offered movies, another option is to buy the movies individually," the survey reads. "You would be able to select any movie available on this service, download it to your PC where you can keep it as long as you like. You would be able to view it on your computer as well as play it on your video capable iPod."

Vongo-style research survey on iTunes Movie Store

However, the survey noted that this option would not allow users to burn a copy of the movie to a DVD for playback on a home entertainment DVD player. "The cost of purchasing movies individually would be approximately $12.95 per movie or roughly the equivalent of buying a DVD at a store," the description continued.Â*

Again, survey participants were asked to rate their interest in the buy-to-own service on a scale of 1 to 10, as well as the pricing structure -- indicating which of the two described iTunes services they would favor most. As yet another option, a followup question asked participants to again rate their interest in the same $12.95-per-month subscription model if it allowed DVD burning.

The survey, distributed on Tuesday, also specifically asked participants whether they own Apple-branded iPod digital music players and computers, or "other brand" products.

Representatives for Coyote Insight declined to say whether the survey was issued by Apple or one of its competitors, citing confidentiality agreements with all of its clients. However, it would seem incredibly unlikely that another corporation would issue such an iTunes-focused survey without previously negotiating with Apple, given that the iPod+iTunes ecosystem is based on Apple's proprietary digital rights management (DRM) technology, which the company has so far been unwilling to open to competitors. In line with these thoughts, there have been recent reports of a push from Starz Entertainment for an iTunes/Vongo merger or partnership that could form the basis to such a service.

Indeed, both analysts and insiders have been expecting Apple to extend its reach into the digital download business with full length movies. They feel it's the next logical step for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to fortify its stronghold on the legal digital download market.

Prior to Apple's media event this week, CNN Money ran a front-page story titled "Apple's big news: Lights, camera, Mac-tion!" The subtitle read: "The smart money is on movies."

Shaw Wu, an analyst for American Technology Research, also issued a research note just before the event, which hinted there was a 50 percent chance Apple would use the media gathering to unveil a full length feature film download service.Â*

The Apple media event failed to yield any such service, leaving a significant number of enthusiasts and industry watchers a bit disappointed and bewildered about the progress of Apple's digital media strategy. Instead, Apple introduced an Intel-based Mac mini and iPod Hi-Fi speaker system.Â*

"We wonder if the announcements were substantial enough to merit an invitational media event and suspect Apple needs to be judicious if it expects to continue to convert journalists into marketing instruments with its aura of secrecy," was the response from Richard Farmer, an analyst for Merrill Lynch.Â*

Meanwhile, PipperJaffray analyst Gene Munster offered similar sentiments. Like other analysts, he was also expecting a bit more from Apple on the video front, and explained in his own note that an AirPort wireless base station with video transfer capabilities would provide the company with all the necessary pieces to make a successful push into the living room.

If the recent market research survey is any indication, Wall Street and movie aficionados may soon get the iTunes movie service they've been anticipating for so long. While it's unclear how far along Apple is in its research and development of the service, it won't be long before Apple will once again draw the spotlight in order to bear its latest fruits.

In closing Tuesday's special event, chief executive Steve Jobs thanked analysts and members of the media for attending and said "we'll see you all real soon."
post #2 of 69
For $9.99 or 9.99 a month, I would be likely to subscribe. If it is more, I will not.
post #3 of 69
I would too because I live overseas but how long would the movie take to download? How many could you download? Would it be on demand? A lot of questions but this would be a small step.
post #4 of 69
Only if available overseas.
I would subscribe at any price...
post #5 of 69
euh, could the ones who say NO I WOULDN'T SUBSCRIBE FOR 9.99 explain why?

that sounds way better than netflix, amazon or any blockbuster plan!

o
post #6 of 69
i will just stick with netflix. thank you.
post #7 of 69
I think the price for individual movies is a bit high, especially at current, marginally better than VHS quality levels. Given the fact that Apple really hasn't bumped up AAC quality over time either leads me to believe that you are stuck with quality at the start. I guess it's a tricky thing, balancing the added value of higher quality with the decreased value of download wait.

Certainly, the $10/per month option seems a good idea, if only to catch all the movies that looked like you might be interested in but gave you the "this is gonna be crap" feeling we all know so well. Part of me says "don't reward the moviemakers for their crappy movies" but then of course I suspect the 1 out of 5 or so that turn out decent (more or less depending on the quality of your radar) would be much easier to find if you don't have to worry about dropping coin every time you do it.

Oh, and likely they will have few subscribers in the beginning, as the movie catalog grows and more distributors get involved. Sony can damn well stay home though.
post #8 of 69
If the quality is there and I can download movies in HD I'd easily consider switching to it instead of netflix. If its only SD I wouldn't bother since I'll be able to get HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs in addition to standard DVDs via my Netflix membership.

The $9.99 price point is good though. However, if Apples sets up a subscription system and updates FairPlay to support it, I'd bet an iTunes music subscription service would be introduced as well.
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post #9 of 69
You also have to think about how good the quality's gonna be. Since its Apple, we can assume its going to look fantastic, but theres still two things: Size of the video (as in, not 320*480 or something small), and the file size.

I think they should offer both options, to buy a movie individially, and monthly subscription.

In terms of the DVD burning and such, there will definatley be people who have figured out how to hack it by the time people really catch on, so im not worried about that.

Sounds interesting.


Oh, and TYPO: A survey distributed this week through Coyote Insight,_a Fullerton, Calif.-based market research firm, asked that participants answer a serious of questions related to a potential "iTunes movie service" that would provide on-demand access to movies that could be downloaded to a computer or iPod.

Shouldnt that be series?

Edit: Typo corrected.
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post #10 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by Xool
If the quality is there and I can download movies in HD I'd easily consider switching to it instead of netflix. If its only SD I wouldn't bother since I'll be able to get HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs in addition to standard DVDs via my Netflix membership.

The $9.99 price point is good though. However, if Apples sets up a subscription system and updates FairPlay to support it, I'd bet an iTunes music subscription service would be introduced as well.

You are going to have to assume, quite explicitly, not HD. 480p highest, and I'm somewhat skeptical about even that. Unless you'd like to download 15GB or so, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume Apple won't expect people to want to do that.

Put in this context, DRM could have quite the impact, really. I mean if people get so disinterested in owning HD-DVDs and just rent them, that's going to pull a major revenue stream out from under the movie houses (boo hoo). They might not only back off on the DRM, they might also try to consistently provide solid value in the movie extras etc.

Nah, that's just silly talk.
post #11 of 69
If the quality (close to DVD) AND selection there then yes!

Instant delivery--streaming before the D/L even finishes--sure beats Netflix.

And subscriptions/rentals make sense for movies and TV (less so for music).

HOWEVER, I'd be waiting until Apple got beyond the 1000 movies mark. Netflix has a GREAT selection of 55,000 titles, and that's the main thing I use them for. I wouldn't be switching from Netflix to iTunes until and unless Apple can match that. (I know Apple has to start somewhere of course.)

(I wouldn't want to buy movies this way--I'll take the DVD or Blu-Ray, with special features etc., if I'm going to buy. Music I will buy online, movies I'd rather rent/subscribe.)
post #12 of 69
I think that this co-incides perfectly with the Pixar-Disney merger. I believe that within the next few months, Apple will most likely offer a very narrow selection of movies (probably Pixar + Disney films) just to test out the water, kind of like what they did with the TV-Show thing. I believe that they will sell very well, as did the TV shows, and eventually companies will want to be signed up immediately.

However, I am worried about file size and bandwidth costs. I have the whole Season 1 and Season 2 (so far) of Lost on my PowerBook, and that's taking up around 7GB of storage space, which for a laptop is definitely significant. This also leads me to wonder why Apple didn't put 3.5" SATA Hard Drives in the Mac Mini's (250GB 7200RPM of storage for the same price as an 80GB 5400RPM laptop drive), just in the name of size. If they're really thinking of this whole video service where you can own movies, that probably wouldn't have been a great idea. Look at the G4 Cubes, they were still really small, but yet had 3.5" hard drives and were virtually silent. And if we're talking about HD DVD quality here, you could kiss your Mac Mini's hard drive space goodbye.
post #13 of 69
Three things that must be right for this to work!!!


1. Most important for me is "Quality", if these movies are not DVD quality or better.........nobody will subscribe! Simply put I would rather watch an old DVD, than a 1000 shit quality movies. I hope jobs is aware of that, as I think most people I think would agree!

2. Streaming! On demand!
I line in europe, have a 1meg broadband connection, and am unable to watch a trailer in front row, without either a 30 second delay, no connection at all, or a problem half way through! One meg broadband over here, is rarely cheaper than
$35 a month (30). And Steve can forget about any customers in Europe without solving this problem............tricky.

3. Just as important, price! If songs are 99cent, i.e. 3-5 times cheaper than bying a single in a store. Then surely a similar thing would have to happen to Movies. Remember, now it's just information, it's not tangible anymore, and is far cheaper for the respective companies to pull off in the long run.
I going to go out on a limb, and say $9.99 a month is too expensive. Most people would prefer, $4.99 a month, for 2 rentals per week. And 2 rentals of your choice free per week to all .Mac subscribers. As it stands .Mac is too dear!
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post #14 of 69
We needed a news article to tell us that Apple is reasearching a Movie service? Well no duh... if they weren't doing some market research they would be incredibly stupid.

The real question is, which wasn't helped by this article, if Apple will have such a service.
post #15 of 69
I for one welcome our new Apple overlords...

I will consume any digital content they offer with gusto!

IF this happens, I'll be dead before it reaches Australia...
I cant go through another ITMS fiasco!
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post #16 of 69
I might subscribe at $9.95 a month but only if they offered DVD resolution and quality. What is that with h.264 encoding? 1.5 to 3 GB for the average movie? They better have the bandwidth. I guess that's why they bought that new data center.

Now if it's the 320x240 junk they have now forget it. Why bother? I'm not going to watch a two hour movie on an iPod and it's going to look beyond awful on a big screen tv. Also, $12.99 is too much for a purchase price option. I think $9.95 would be more acceptible.

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     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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post #17 of 69
Ah, finally something that really works on a subscription model!
post #18 of 69
$1.99 to rent for 2 nights.

$5.99 to buy.

And $9.99 to buy with rights to burn to DVD!

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Subscriptions: $9.99 a month for at least 5 movies per week, rental!\

--------------------------------------------------------------------

It has to be this cheap, to be globally adopted, as the new way to get movies!

iTunes already has millions of customers, and at that price-point, over 80% would use it as a full replacement to the standard way!
Keeping customers, Studios and Apple happy!
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post #19 of 69
"We wonder if the announcements were substantial enough to merit an invitational media event and suspect Apple needs to be judicious if it expects to continue to convert journalists into marketing instruments with its aura of secrecy,"

In response to this, Apple had limited seating because it wasn't that big of a deal; the media and rumor sites like this one made it a big deal increasing expectations.


Also, an iTunes service would at the present time with my present ISP such for me cause i get 250 MB bandwidth /day.


Also, no one would buy feature length movies at such a high price (of around $12) if it was shitty res and quality. It would have to be HD or close to DVD quality, a big hurdle.
post #20 of 69
Apple needs to overcome a few hurdles.
1. Find a great place to store all these files. People already have 100 of gigs of music files. Movies would need even more space. You just know someone wants all the Twilight zone, or Farscape, Original Star Trek on his TV. This will take up massive storage
2. Resolution. HD is the barest minimum. 720p minimum. 1080i maximum. Huge files are no concern for the true cinema geek.
3. Guarantee that if you loose your file. Hard drive failure, Ipod stolen. You can download another version free. Hey things happen. Apple has the records of you downloaded the file. Consider it a service.
4. Sell both a downloaded version and a physical version. Download for the car, Disk for home theatre.
5. Portable playback. they need to make a bigger iPod. Look at the popularity of the portable DVD players. It's very easy to see an Apple logo slapped on one of those with a pretty hefty Hard drive in it.
6. I want to be able to download Dora the Explorer anything, play it in the second room and in the car to keep the kids occupied. How do I get it to all these places.
7. Prices is going to be pricing. Apple will set the pricing and the markket will be set.
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post #21 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by olive_
euh, could the ones who say NO I WOULDN'T SUBSCRIBE FOR 9.99 explain why?

that sounds way better than netflix, amazon or any blockbuster plan!

o

euh, HERE'S ONE REASON. DVDs have "special features" on them!!!11
post #22 of 69
Apple didn't commission the survey.
post #23 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by Rolo
Apple didn't commission the survey.

Very possible.
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post #24 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by mcloki
2. Resolution. HD is the barest minimum. 720p minimum. 1080i maximum. Huge files are no concern for the true cinema geek.

Several reasons why this won't happen (yet):

Download time. Conservatively you are looking at at least 9GB per movie in HD, probably more. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the relatively few places in the US where you can consistently hit 1MB/sec, downloading 9GB will easily take 2.5 hours. Probably closer to 6-12 hours for most broadband users. Either way, it's only vaguely close to on demand for the top connection tiers. (Assuming you could likely start the movie about halfway through for the fastest connections. How horrible would it be to have to stop the movie 20 minutes from the end because you miscalculated when it'd finish!)

Bandwidth cost. Apple is going to need serious pipes for even SD downloads. If they have several thousand people downloading 9GB per day (and with subscriptions it'd likely be much higher) even with Akamai style redistribution they are going to have serious bandwidth costs associated with each movie.

Portable playback. A 9GB movie would not only take up 15% of the 60GB iPod's capacity, it also would vastly outstrip the playback capacity of the iPod itself. Not to mention not having a suitable connector for playback (though I guess Monster could sell you an iPod HDMI cable for $199). That's 6 movies on your iPod, assuming you have no music on board.

Finally the true cinema geek is not Apple's target market, you can bank on that. The true cinema geek is waiting for HD Disks they can own with collectible posters, directors whatever, etc.
post #25 of 69
If apple is going to offer $9.99 per month for movies don't expect HD quality. I would say apple would compress the movies to be about 700mb in size like many divx movies that are floating around on the internet. Quality isn't that bad on those but I'm not sure how h.264 compares to them.
post #26 of 69
$9.99 is a lot to pay for a quarter VGA movie very likely without any extras, audio options or subtitle choices. I thought the SNL stand-up tribute videos on iTunes was a joke, $12.99 for what I found at Best Buy for $7.99.

The subscription, maybe, especially if their ongoing TV shows are offered too. I won't pay $1.99 for an episode for what I can find for a buck an ep on DVD, but $9.99 a month would basically kill much of the need for cable TV for many people.
post #27 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland
Three things that must be right for this to work!!!


1. Most important for me is "Quality", if these movies are not DVD quality or better.........nobody will subscribe! Simply put I would rather watch an old DVD, than a 1000 shit quality movies. I hope jobs is aware of that, as I think most people I think would agree!

2. Streaming! On demand!
I line in europe, have a 1meg broadband connection, and am unable to watch a trailer in front row, without either a 30 second delay, no connection at all, or a problem half way through! One meg broadband over here, is rarely cheaper than
$35 a month (30). And Steve can forget about any customers in Europe without solving this problem............tricky.

3. Just as important, price! If songs are 99cent, i.e. 3-5 times cheaper than bying a single in a store. Then surely a similar thing would have to happen to Movies. Remember, now it's just information, it's not tangible anymore, and is far cheaper for the respective companies to pull off in the long run.
I going to go out on a limb, and say $9.99 a month is too expensive. Most people would prefer, $4.99 a month, for 2 rentals per week. And 2 rentals of your choice free per week to all .Mac subscribers. As it stands .Mac is too dear!

I don't understand all of your logic here.

First, you want DVD or BETTER quality, but then you say that you can't even watch a trailer without a delay because of your slow 1Mbit connection!

Think that through for a while.

Tangible doesn't have to do with anything. A CD costs about $2 to produce in its physical form. The rest of the price is royalties and profits, mostly royalties.
post #28 of 69
It's pretty clear to me that neither Apple nor the consumer is ready to accept "near DVD" quality movie rentals, except for the iPod video market, where the small size and the pricing is now proven. Even so, there's no way to make a personal backup of the movies. I think this end of the market may yet be 3 or 4 years off. In the meantime, enjoy your iPods.

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post #29 of 69
Presuming this is DVD quality...

As long as it takes me a shorter amount of time to walk 5 blocks to Blockbuster and rent a DVD rather than wait for my SBC Yahoo to download the content, burn it to DVD (if I can or need to) and watch it on my Large LCD TV, I'll keep renting.

I have never understood the value of "owning it on DVD" and I probabaly won't understand "owning it with DRM".
post #30 of 69
Finally the ball is rolling...
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post #31 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland
[B]Three things that must be right for this to work!!!


1. Most important for me is "Quality", if these movies are not DVD quality or better.........nobody will subscribe! Simply put I would rather watch an old DVD, than a 1000 shit quality movies. I hope jobs is aware of that, as I think most people I think would agree!

2. Streaming! On demand!
I line in europe, have a 1meg broadband connection, and am unable to watch a trailer in front row, without either a 30 second delay, no connection at all, or a problem half way through! One meg broadband over here, is rarely cheaper than
$35 a month (30). And Steve can forget about any customers in Europe without solving this problem............tricky.

Sorry to hear you're getting ripped off.. but I live in the UK and get 8meg broadband for $15/month (about $25).

Most of Europe gets great, fast, cheap broadband.
post #32 of 69
Who says Apple gave the order to do this research?

I think it's a strange interview.

No-one is going to pay the same price as for a DVD if you can only keep the movie on your harddrive, in a probably inferior quality.

There's no doubt that everyone will say they prefer the monthly subscription model, if it costs only 9.99

Some-one, not definitely Apple, seems to be collecting ammo for their negotiations...
post #33 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by TimmyD
Since its Apple, we can assume its going to look fantastic

Give me a break! You do know that Apple's H.264 implementation is one of, if not, the, poorest in the industry? And look at the T.V. shows. Lost, for example, is shot in 16:9 HD, but the downloads you get are 4:3 320 x 240.

Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
Several reasons why this won't happen (yet):

Download time. Conservatively you are looking at at least 9GB per movie in HD, probably more. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the relatively few places in the US where you can consistently hit 1MB/sec, downloading 9GB will easily take 2.5 hours. Probably closer to 6-12 hours for most broadband users.

I think you'd be surprised by how many people are willing to wait. Witness current internet movie piracy.

Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
Bandwidth cost. Apple is going to need serious pipes for even SD downloads. If they have several thousand people downloading 9GB per day (and with subscriptions it'd likely be much higher) even with Akamai style redistribution they are going to have serious bandwidth costs associated with each movie.

That's why Apple need to implement p2p technology into iTunes.


Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
Portable playback. A 9GB movie would not only take up 15% of the 60GB iPod's capacity, it also would vastly outstrip the playback capacity of the iPod itself. Not to mention not having a suitable connector for playback (though I guess Monster could sell you an iPod HDMI cable for $199). That's 6 movies on your iPod, assuming you have no music on board.

Whilst this is true, I don't see why Apple should wait until you can fit 100s of movies onto a portable device before launching a movie download service. I would have thought that most people would be interested in watching the movies at home on a big screen than when out and about.

TV shows are different. You can catch one whilst on your daily commute.
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post #34 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by icfireball
"We wonder if the announcements were substantial enough to merit an invitational media event and suspect Apple needs to be judicious if it expects to continue to convert journalists into marketing instruments with its aura of secrecy,"

In response to this, Apple had limited seating because it wasn't that big of a deal; the media and rumor sites like this one made it a big deal increasing expectations.

Another way to look at it...

This is a very special and exclusive event so only a privelged few will have the honer of being selected to attend.

     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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     197619842014  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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post #35 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I don't understand all of your logic here.

First, you want DVD or BETTER quality, but then you say that you can't even watch a trailer without a delay because of your slow 1Mbit connection!

Think that through for a while.

He said that both these things would have to be overcome. If Apple offers movies in 320x240 for the current iPod forget it. If Apple comes out with a widescreen/touchscreen iPod with a resolution like that of the PSP then it might take off. The prices indicated are way too high for this though I haven't seen sales numbers of current iTMS videos yet.

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     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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     197619842014  

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post #36 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by 1984
I haven't seen sales numbers of current iTMS videos yet.

15 million is the most recently released figure. See it at the bottom of this press release
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post #37 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by Tommo_UK
Sorry to hear you're getting ripped off.. but I live in the UK and get 8meg broadband for $15/month (about $25).

Most of Europe gets great, fast, cheap broadband.

*sigh*

Yeah, we get shafted in the US on the bandwith front.
It would probably cost $100/month to get that here.

Hell, I'm paying $35/month for 1.5meg
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post #38 of 69
Subscription Model for $9.99 a month?

ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT!!

Personally, I have no need to own a movie in physical form or on my hard drive..

I've been renting my movies for 20 years... If I could rent or download and view unlimitied movies for 10 bucks a month, I'd be all over it..

As long as it's not the current 320*240... I wouldn't expect Hi-def, but I'd be satisfied with SD.

This would rock!

I'd buy a mini and hook it up to my tv with a wireless keyboard on my coffee table, shop itunes for a movie to watch, switch to front row and bam, start watching a movie without ever leaving my couch...

I think this would be huge!
post #39 of 69
This is totally not an Apple Survey. Apple does things in secret. They wouldn't risk putting a survey out on the public internet where any joe taking the survey can take a screen shot. I think this is being done by Vongo or another one of Apple's competitors. I have never heard of an Apple survey being leaked in this fashion before, therefore I do not think it is an Apple survey at all.
post #40 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by MacCentric
This is totally not an Apple Survey. Apple does things in secret. They wouldn't risk putting a survey out on the public internet where any joe taking the survey can take a screen shot. I think this is being done by Vongo or another one of Apple's competitors. I have never heard of an Apple survey being leaked in this fashion before, therefore I do not think it is an Apple survey at all.

Bingo! AI came to the wrong conclusion.
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