Originally Posted by Mr. H
Apple don't have to provide the "complete" solution. All they have to do is ensure discrete surround-sound support on the optical port, and MPEG-2 video codec support, and you can do the rest with third-party DVD ripping software. Pretty much every other network video player out there supports discrete surround-sound on optical port and MPEG-2 video.
It would be nice if Apple could sit down with the DVD consortium and figure something out, so that they could implement an "iTunes for DVD". How about the ripping software just requires you, from time to time, to insert into your computer a random DVD that you've already ripped, in order to verify that you still have the DVD and didn't just rip a rented DVD or acquire disk images from elsewhere? Drives can differentiate between pressed (original) DVDs and optically burnt DVDs, so you wouldn't be able to circumvent that by copying rented DVDs to DVD+R/-R.
What apple is doing is allowing third parties to play with the device in any way they want. Jobs, in response to a question about this, said (not an exact quote): "When you buy it, it's yours, you can do anything you want with it".
What would be interesting if someone found out that the device was capable of some of the things you want, but that Apple didn't implement them because of "political" reasons. Those parties could then implement them themselves, getting around the problem.
Also, it is likely that at some point, Apple will upgrade the hardware, making more things possible. Somehow, I get a feeling that Apple wants this to happen, but doesn't want to be seen as doing it themselves.
Like the iPhone (so far, at least), there is no SDK, but that hasn't prevented enterprising people from coming up with their own.