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Apple iTunes glitch reveals movie rental preparations

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
While attempting to notify Apple of a problem with its iTunes Store, one user stumbled upon evidence that suggests the company may be gearing up to offer movie rentals through the digital download service.

"I was trying to report a problem via iTunes, and this pop-up for selecting a reason contains some interesting/revealing strings," David Watanabe wrote in a posting the popular Flickr image sharing website. "[It] looks like 'RentalMovies' will be coming to the iTunes store."

Among the reasons for reporting a problem listed in the Apple-created menus were "DidNotReceiveMovie-RentalMovie," "AccidentalPurchase-RentalMovie," "ContentQuality-RentalMovie," "DuplicatePurchase-RentalMovie," "WrongVErsion-RentalMovie," "BadMetadata-RentalMovie" and "Other-RentalMovie."

Rumors that Apple would eventually be compelled to supplement its a la carte movie download service with a rental option have been making the rounds ever since the company first began offering downloadable flicks nearly two years ago.

The most recent report on the matter came courtesy of the Financial Times, which reported in June that Apple was in advanced talks with Hollywoods largest movie studios about launching an online film rental service to challenge cable and satellite TV operators.



According to the report, individual films on the iTunes service would fetch $2.99 for a 30-day rental and would be governed by digital rights-management software that would allow users to transfer the movie "from a computer to at least one other device such as the video iPod or iPhone."
post #2 of 58
Sweet, if these are at 720p, I will actually begin using my AppleTV!
post #3 of 58
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post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Sweet, if these are at 720p, I will actually begin using my AppleTV!

If that happens, the Apple TV will become relevant. It doesn't take a team of crack analysts and countless surveys to conclude that people don't want to watch VHS-quality films on their HDTVs.
post #5 of 58
You'll notice that the new iPods output 480p or 480i, as well as the PAL equivalent of 526p and i.

Assuming that "480p" means what it usually does, with the implied 720 horizontal resolution, we're talking line doubled DVD res.

Which I'm guessing is the next stop for iTMS video quality. That way Apple can brag about it's "better than DVD resolution" downloads without incurring the huge bandwidth increases needed for 720p, and, in fact, such material will look pretty good on most people's sets (assuming Apple doesn't throttle the hell out of the bit rate or do lousy compression, which appears to be the current case).

A lot of people are watching stuff on their big screens using progressive output DVD players and it looks great. The fact that the iPods can now do progressive out further suggests that the movie store's offerings will be 480p as well.

Makes sense, right? A bump in res for the roll-out of the rental store, and a brand new generation of iPods that can actually output that res to your TV (assuming you bought the pricey Apple approved component cable), and which looks plenty good to most folks.

I know the HD crowd will accept nothing less, but I strongly suspect that there will be an intermediate step.
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post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

You'll notice that the new iPods output 480p or 480i, as well as the PAL equivalent of 526p and i.

Assuming that "480p" means what it usually does, with the implied 720 horizontal resolution, we're talking line doubled DVD res.

Which I'm guessing is the next stop for iTMS video quality. That way Apple can brag about it's "better than DVD resolution" downloads without incurring the huge bandwidth increases needed for 720p, and, in fact, such material will look pretty good on most people's sets (assuming Apple doesn't throttle the hell out of the bit rate or do lousy compression, which appears to be the current case).

A lot of people are watching stuff on their big screens using progressive output DVD players and it looks great. The fact that the iPods can now do progressive out further suggests that the movie store's offerings will be 480p as well.

Makes sense, right? A bump in res for the roll-out of the rental store, and a brand new generation of iPods that can actually output that res to your TV (assuming you bought the pricey Apple approved component cable), and which looks plenty good to most folks.

I know the HD crowd will accept nothing less, but I strongly suspect that there will be an intermediate step.

I'd love to have HD just like everyone else. But honestly, If these rentals look AT LEAST as good as current dvd's that I rent, I'd be satisfied... For now.....
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

I'd love to have HD just like everyone else. But honestly, If these rentals look AT LEAST as good as current dvd's that I rent, I'd be satisfied... For now.....

Agreed, which is why I think DVD quality is likely-- most people will consider that a good value proposition, if the downloads look at least as good as what you get from Blockbuster, and particularly if they look as good as what you get from Blockbuster played back on a progressive output DVD player onto a 720p set.
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post #8 of 58
720p or DVD quaity? Offer both. I have PS3 and an HDTV that supports 1080p. Best quality there is... But I'm not going to go crazy and buy a lot of Blu-Ray movies unless there are blockbusters like Spider-man 3.
post #9 of 58
Interesting that this leak surfaces the day after Apple's stock drops in response to its most recent product announcements. BTW, isn't the screenshot from Lepoard? Isn't that a NDA breach? (Not, I suppose, if the leak was from Apple.)
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

You'll notice that the new iPods output 480p or 480i, as well as the PAL equivalent of 526p and i.

My video iPod (5.5g 30gb) supports up to 720x320 res (total of 230,400 pixels), which is the resolution of some DVDs (wider than 16:9). So, in essence, Apple added a whopping 160 vertical pixels of resolution capability to the new iPods, which doesn't do you much, since many movies are wider than 16:9 (a movie is wider than 16:9 if it still has black bars at the top and bottom of your widescreen TV).

Now, the MOST important addition Apple made was the component video out. This will actually allow you to view your movies with near-DVD quality (assuming, of course, that you use component cables for your DVD player).

(kicks himself for not waiting a few weeks for new iPods, then realizes that an iPod was just a nice bonus with the iMac...)
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post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by debohun View Post

Interesting that this leak surfaces the day after Apple's stock drops in response to its most recent product announcements. BTW, isn't the screenshot from Lepoard? Isn't that a NDA breach? (Not, I suppose, if the leak was from Apple.)

you can download the leopard background for tiger, or panther, or any other OS you want. So that may or may not be a leopard screenshot.

http://themes.belchfire.net/index.ph...showfile=6162#
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post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyInFlorida View Post

720p or DVD quaity? Offer both. I have PS3 and an HDTV that supports 1080p. Best quality there is... But I'm not going to go crazy and buy a lot of Blu-Ray movies unless there are blockbusters like Spider-man 3.

So you'll start buying a bunch of Blu-Ray movies after October 30th? That's when Spidey 3 and the first two films hit Blu-Ray.
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

You'll notice that the new iPods output 480p or 480i, as well as the PAL equivalent of 526p and i.

Assuming that "480p" means what it usually does, with the implied 720 horizontal resolution, we're talking line doubled DVD res.

Which I'm guessing is the next stop for iTMS video quality. That way Apple can brag about it's "better than DVD resolution" downloads without incurring the huge bandwidth increases needed for 720p, and, in fact, such material will look pretty good on most people's sets (assuming Apple doesn't throttle the hell out of the bit rate or do lousy compression, which appears to be the current case).

A lot of people are watching stuff on their big screens using progressive output DVD players and it looks great. The fact that the iPods can now do progressive out further suggests that the movie store's offerings will be 480p as well.

Makes sense, right? A bump in res for the roll-out of the rental store, and a brand new generation of iPods that can actually output that res to your TV (assuming you bought the pricey Apple approved component cable), and which looks plenty good to most folks.

I know the HD crowd will accept nothing less, but I strongly suspect that there will be an intermediate step.

Makes sense to me, do ED before HD. Most HD sets do a pretty good jod of upressing ED content.
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post #14 of 58
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Originally Posted by bobmarksdale View Post

you can download the leopard background for tiger, or panther, or any other OS you want. So that may or may not be a leopard screenshot.

http://themes.belchfire.net/index.ph...showfile=6162#

Hey thanks for that background link!
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post #15 of 58
So... what exactly was the problem with iTunes? Wait to update, or no biggie?

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post #16 of 58
If they release with 1080p that would certainly help AppleTV. Otherwise the product never had a chance!

http://answers.nobosh.com/
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate.willard View Post

If they release with 1080p that would certainly help AppleTV. Otherwise the product never had a chance!

http://answers.nobosh.com/

AppleTV doesn't support 1080p.

"Apple TV works with widescreen, enhanced-definition or high-definition TVs capable of 1080i, 720p, 576p, or 480p resolutions." (from http://www.apple.com/appletv/connect.html
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post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While attempting to notify Apple of a problem with its iTunes Store, one user stumbled upon evidence that suggests the company may be gearing up to offer movie rentals through the digital download service.

"I was trying to report a problem via iTunes, and this pop-up for selecting a reason contains some interesting/revealing strings," David Watanabe wrote in a posting the popular Flickr image sharing website. "[It] looks like 'RentalMovies' will be coming to the iTunes store."

Among the reasons for reporting a problem listed in the Apple-created menus were "DidNotReceiveMovie-RentalMovie," "AccidentalPurchase-RentalMovie," "ContentQuality-RentalMovie," "DuplicatePurchase-RentalMovie," "WrongVErsion-RentalMovie," "BadMetadata-RentalMovie" and "Other-RentalMovie."

Rumors that Apple would eventually be compelled to supplement its a la carte movie download service with a rental option have been making the rounds ever since the company first began offering downloadable flicks nearly two years ago.

The most recent report on the matter came courtesy of the Financial Times, which reported in June that Apple was in advanced talks with Hollywoods largest movie studios about launching an online film rental service to challenge cable and satellite TV operators.



According to the report, individual films on the iTunes service would fetch $2.99 for a 30-day rental and would be governed by digital rights-management software that would allow users to transfer the movie "from a computer to at least one other device such as the video iPod or iPhone."

I work for a movie rental company, who signed a deal with apple months ago. The details of this are above me but i do know both companies are relying on this to improve sales a great deal. My company in particular, which has been losing money due to competition such as netflix, is hoping this deal will save them.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmlight View Post

My video iPod (5.5g 30gb) supports up to 720x320 res (total of 230,400 pixels), which is the resolution of some DVDs (wider than 16:9)...

720 vertical lines? How do you figure? As far as I know, both the 5.5 and the Classic max out at 640x480. Encode a video with 720 vertical lines and I don't think any ipod will show that image. Even if it could, the resulting image would be awful. Really stretched out.

On a different topic... Whats funny to me is that if you intend on viewing your ipod video on a widescreen tv via the new component cables, and you want DVD quality video, you HAVE TO GET A CLASSIC. The ipod touch supports only 480i via these cables! See here.

Personally, I could care less about 480p (when it comes to TV). Its ancient, approaching 15 years old now. Not a big difference between 480p and 480i unless you have a great TV. But then if you have a great TV that was purchased in the 21st century, you don't want to put 480p anywhere near it. You want 720p minimum. Put 480p up on a 50" HDTV, and it will look like crapola, especially if you're used to watching 720p and 1080i via cable and satellite. So the iTMS needs to serve up something thats better than dvd quality for sure. Not EDTV. HDTV. 720p. I mean, why waste the technology inside the AppleTV?
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by spacecowboy 1138 View Post

I work for a movie rental company, who signed a deal with apple months ago. The details of this are above me but i do know both companies are relying on this to improve sales a great deal. My company in particular, which has been losing money due to competition such as netflix, is hoping this deal will save them.

What deal would that be? Or is it a secret?

More importantly, why in the world would Apple sign a deal with a flailing rental company when they regularly deal directly with the distributors?
post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by nate.willard View Post

If they release with 1080p that would certainly help AppleTV. Otherwise the product never had a chance!

1080p isn't that common yet, and when you consider internet bandwidth consumed and data storage to keep it, it's well past the cost/benefit for most people. As much as it would be nice (I have a native 1080p projector), I just don't see it being a stumbling block.
post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmlight View Post

AppleTV doesn't support 1080p.

"Apple TV works with widescreen, enhanced-definition or high-definition TVs capable of 1080i, 720p, 576p, or 480p resolutions." (from http://www.apple.com/appletv/connect.html

I just saw AppleTV at CostCo yesterday. I would expect an updated version in the near future.
post #23 of 58
It would seem based on Mr. David Watanabe's screenshot, that Mr. David Watanabe uses Xtorrent. Surely for legal purposes only. ;-)
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyInFlorida View Post

720p or DVD quaity? Offer both. I have PS3 and an HDTV that supports 1080p. Best quality there is... But I'm not going to go crazy and buy a lot of Blu-Ray movies unless there are blockbusters like Spider-man 3.

480p for $2.99
720p for $3.99
1080p for $4.99

I'm not a videophile so the $2.99 would be fine for me.
But I might spring for the 720p for a really good flick.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmphotoweb View Post

It would seem based on Mr. David Watanabe's screenshot, that Mr. David Watanabe uses Xtorrent. Surely for legal purposes only. ;-)

The gentleman, it seems, is the author of that app.
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bg_nyc View Post

But then if you have a great TV that was purchased in the 21st century, you don't want to put 480p anywhere near it. You want 720p minimum. Put 480p up on a 50" HDTV, and it will look like crapola, especially if you're used to watching 720p and 1080i via cable and satellite. So the iTMS needs to serve up something thats better than dvd quality for sure.

I have a HDTV capable of 1080p, but I've never even seen 1080p on my set as I don't own a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player. HD satellite channels look amazing, but all of the movies I rent are just standard DVD's and they look pretty good. I'd be okay if iTunes offered at least dvd quality.
post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

480p for $2.99
720p for $3.99
1080p for $4.99

I'm not a videophile so the $2.99 would be fine for me.
But I might spring for the 720p for a really good flick.

I think it's going to have to be cheaper. $17 a month buys you the "3 at a time" Netflix plan which also includes 17 hours of downloadable viewing per month. That's quite a lot. The unfortunate part is that at the moment it's Windows only (fuckers), and thus being so I have no idea what the quality is like. However, the fact that its windows-only does little to deposition it as a competitor to this iTune service.

I think it's going to be $0.99 per rental, 480p (or thereabouts). Any pricier, and it's kind of pointless. Most people don't have AppleTVs, and would rather pay the same price for a DVD rental, which is watched on a TV, than a streamed copy watched on a PC.
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post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Most people don't have AppleTVs, and would rather pay the same price for a DVD rental,.

I think that would change rather quickly if iTunes begins renting movies. Steve talked about how he sees TV as the DVD player for the 21st century..

Movie rentals directly from your couch via TV is the one thing that could make that happen.
post #29 of 58
Just like the new emphasis on video with the new Ipods and the WiFi Itunes store, I think we'll soon (3-6 months) see a few things converge simultaneously.

Apple will roll out a major update to the Itunes store adding a video rental program, probably fixed pricing but maybe subscription (10 movies a month 14.99 or something)?

In addition, we'll see a much larger catalog for the existing purchase program and the rental service and the quality of the videos themselves will go up to at least 480P resolution with much improved encoding/compression.

And the really exciting part: Apple will roll out an AppleTV-exclusive addition to the Itunes store for direct rentals to the box! you can already watch trailers, it has Wifi to update the firmware for the Store Menu and to download the videos themselves. They also upped the HDD to 160GB and it even it has HDMI/720P/1080i support for down the road.
And to top it all off, they'll cut the price by at least 50% - I would guess 129.99 or so to drive mass adoption.

Yep I cant wait...

Oh, I just thought of something else. Pure speculation, but assuming the AppleTV gets direct access to the Itunes store for direct downloads, maybe the USB port is for direct synching movies to the Ipod without even having to go to your computer. Then you'll have three-way synching between the box, your mac, and the ipod. Sounds dirty doesnt it
post #30 of 58
It's a good point - now that they have the "iTunes Wifi Music Store," they could use that interface (or very similar) for AppleTV. But one thing stood out to me: "iTunes Wifi Music Store." Why not "iTunes Wifi Store." It's a simpler, shorter name, and includes all content instead of just music. Why intentionally exclude everything but music? Perhaps that's waiting for integration with AppleTV?
post #31 of 58
Where can this alleged "Report a Problem" page be found in iTunes? All of the support options, whether clickable links or menu bar selections, open a new page in a web browser, not iTMS itself. That screen doesn't seem to exist. The list of issues is also irregular, in size, wording & the list isn't actually connected to anything, that doesn't fit the look of Apple's design standards.
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post #32 of 58
Sandman,

To get to the Report a Problem page in iTunes, click your email address and login to your account. Next, click Purchase History and near the bottom of that page there will be a button called Report a Problem.

I hope this helps.
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Just like the new emphasis on video with the new Ipods and the WiFi Itunes store, I think we'll soon (3-6 months) see a few things converge simultaneously.

Apple will roll out a major update to the Itunes store adding a video rental program, probably fixed pricing but maybe subscription (10 movies a month 14.99 or something)?

In addition, we'll see a much larger catalog for the existing purchase program and the rental service and the quality of the videos themselves will go up to at least 480P resolution with much improved encoding/compression.

And the really exciting part: Apple will roll out an AppleTV-exclusive addition to the Itunes store for direct rentals to the box! you can already watch trailers, it has Wifi to update the firmware for the Store Menu and to download the videos themselves. They also upped the HDD to 160GB and it even it has HDMI/720P/1080i support for down the road.
And to top it all off, they'll cut the price by at least 50% - I would guess 129.99 or so to drive mass adoption.

Yep I cant wait...

Oh, I just thought of something else. Pure speculation, but assuming the AppleTV gets direct access to the Itunes store for direct downloads, maybe the USB port is for direct synching movies to the Ipod without even having to go to your computer. Then you'll have three-way synching between the box, your mac, and the ipod. Sounds dirty doesnt it


I suspect you're right. I'd suggest that they also need to ensure the full Dolby Digital 5.1 (or DTS 5.1) or better sound tracks are also included on movies at 720p or better video and they really will have a DVD-killer on their hands!

The only other content offered by DVDs would then be the extras. But then those could be provided as downloads too!

Movie rental also gets over the 'how do I store hundreds of hours of movies that I've bought as downloads?' problem.
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Assuming that "480p" means what it usually does, with the implied 720 horizontal resolution, we're talking line doubled DVD res.

Which I'm guessing is the next stop for iTMS video quality. That way Apple can brag about it's "better than DVD resolution" downloads

Except that that isn't "better than DVD resolution". That is DVD resolution. (720 × 480). Very, very few DVDs (mostly early ones) have the picture data stored on disc in interlaced format. All the frames are progressive (i.e. 24 frames for one second of film, each with 720 x 480 resolution). The DVD player then outputs in either 480i (using software or hardware interlacing), 480p (player doesn't have to do much), or 720i/720p/1080i/1080p if it has upscaling capabilities.


Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

I'd love to have HD just like everyone else. But honestly, If these rentals look AT LEAST as good as current dvd's that I rent, I'd be satisfied... For now.....

Let's not forget sound. At the moment, the downloads are stereo only. It's about time Apple delivered Dolby Digital 5.1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmlight View Post

My video iPod (5.5g 30gb) supports up to 720x320 res (total of 230,400 pixels), which is the resolution of some DVDs (wider than 16:9).

Most NTSC DVDs have a resolution of 720 x 480 (some have less, but they can't have more). You will notice that 720 x 480 is neither 4:3 nor 16:9. That's because DVDs use non-square pixels - the picture is squashed or stretched on playback to make it the correct aspect ratio. But the resolution is still 720 x 480.
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post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


Let's not forget sound. At the moment, the downloads are stereo only. It's about time Apple delivered Dolby Digital 5.1.

True. However, I read on the AppleTV discussion forums that neither the Apple TV box, or Quicktime are capable of decoding multi-channel audio.
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

True. However, I read on the AppleTV discussion forums that neither the Apple TV box, or Quicktime are capable of decoding multi-channel audio.


Here is the explanation I found:

The real problem is that QuickTime (and remember the Apple TV is running Mac OS X and QuickTime) has very poor to no support for such 'high end' audio standards.

Yes you can pass a 5.1 encoded audio file in WAV format (or possibly AIFF format) to the Apple TV and it will then pass it unaltered to the optical out, which is connected to your AV Receiver and you will get surround sound. But WAV and AIFF are audio only standards, you cannot use them for movies.

The nearest you can currently get for video in QuickTime is to have 6 AAC channels in a H.264 file. However very few AV Receivers support this sort of audio.

Basically QuickTime is the problem, and until it has much better support for Dolby Digital etc. there is absolutely no point improving the movie files on the iTunes Store since QuickTime (and hence Apple TV) will not be able to play them. Even the QuickTime MPEG2 component is no better.
post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Except that that isn't "better than DVD resolution". That is DVD resolution. (720 × 480). Very, very few DVDs (mostly early ones) have the picture data stored on disc in interlaced format.

Most theatrical movies are properly coded for progressive playback, but a significant share of TV show DVDs, if not a majority, are encoded purely as interlaced. The newest TV shows are a lot more likely to be encoded as progressive.

Quote:
All the frames are progressive (i.e. 24 frames for one second of film, each with 720 x 480 resolution). The DVD player then outputs in either 480i (using software or hardware interlacing), 480p (player doesn't have to do much)

The player doesn't have to do much assuming the DVD is coded properly to take advantage of the simplest progressive scan playback modes. Interlaced video is the default for DVD standard, progressive was kind of an afterthought. The quality of playback varies if the player has to deinterlace it, the quality of the algorithms vary.
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Here is the explanation I found:

The real problem is that QuickTime (and remember the Apple TV is running Mac OS X and QuickTime) has very poor to no support for such 'high end' audio standards.

Yes you can pass a 5.1 encoded audio file in WAV format (or possibly AIFF format) to the Apple TV and it will then pass it unaltered to the optical out, which is connected to your AV Receiver and you will get surround sound. But WAV and AIFF are audio only standards, you cannot use them for movies.

The nearest you can currently get for video in QuickTime is to have 6 AAC channels in a H.264 file. However very few AV Receivers support this sort of audio.

Basically QuickTime is the problem, and until it has much better support for Dolby Digital etc. there is absolutely no point improving the movie files on the iTunes Store since QuickTime (and hence Apple TV) will not be able to play them. Even the QuickTime MPEG2 component is no better.

That's not much of an "explanation". Who makes QuickTime? Apple. Yes, they'd need to add an ac3 plugin to QuickTime, that could decode and down-mix to stereo for people without surround-sound systems, or output the unaltered ac3 bitstream through the optical port for those that do.

This is not hard for a company like Apple. So it's simple - add surround sound to the iTunes files, and update the AppleTV and QuickTime to properly support said sound.
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post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Most theatrical movies are properly coded for progressive playback, but a significant share of TV show DVDs, if not a majority, are encoded purely as interlaced. The newest TV shows are a lot more likely to be encoded as progressive

True. But aren't we talking about Movies? (see thread title)
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post #40 of 58
All of my movies are coming directly from the major studio (Bit Torrent);
No need for another payed service LOL
Right now I'm just waiting for iPhone hack that will
let you to dl stuff from the net and save it localy...
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