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Apple's preps iTunes 7.6 with support for movie rentals

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
Apple Inc. at the Macworld conference next week will show off a new version of its iTunes jukebox software that bundles support for a digital movie rental service slated for an introduction at the same time, AppleInsider has been able to confirm.

Currently labeled iTunes 7.6, the software will let iTunes Store shoppers buy into the new rental service, which is expected to serve up digital movie downloads from the catalogs of motion picture studios Walt Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, and others.

Reports have suggested that individual rentals will fetch between $2 and $5 depending on their stature, but last only 24 hours from the time they're downloaded to the time they'll expire and become unplayable.

Apple's foray into digital rentals may also be complemented by a move on the opposite end of the spectrum, whereby studios participating in the iTunes rental service will also begin shipping physical copies of their movies with iPod-compatible versions included on the same DVD.

A tipster speaking to MacRumors recently noted that his copy of Family Guy - Blue Harvest arrived early and that an iPod-compatible version of the flick -- labeled "Fox Digital Copy file" -- was included on the disc.

The Twentieth Century Fox film is due for release on January 15th, the same day Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is expected to introduce the iTunes movie rental service to a crowd of thousands at the Macworld Expo and Conference in San Francisco.

Like the rental service, iPod-comptable digital film files that will be included on future DVD discs will also require the presence of iTunes 7.6.
post #2 of 91
A poster on ARs said that this was more spreading of Apple's DRM.

Oh well, if it has to be someone's...
post #3 of 91
I like the idea of portable copies with physical sales. It will get the studios used to digital copies being around.

And at least it appears that Apple will be getting a consession with their limited rental duration--24 hours is useless for most iPod usage...
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post #4 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

A poster on ARs said that this was more spreading of Apple's DRM.

Oh well, if it has to be someone's...

Does this imply that the included copy would only work on iPods?
That would be huge for Apple, I suppose.
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post #5 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Does this imply that the included copy would only work on iPods?
That would be huge for Apple, I suppose.

Exactly! Though possibly it would work on Mac's as well, since the DRM is the same, just like with music and Tv shows now, etc.

After all, this is a deal with APPLE, not the general download industry.
post #6 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Exactly! Though possibly it would work on Mac's as well, since the DRM is the same, just like with music and Tv shows now, etc.

After all, this is a deal with APPLE, not the general download industry.

WOW.

Quote:
...will also require the presence of iTunes 7.6

I see it now.

Surely there will be a Zune version included too...
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post #7 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Exactly! Though possibly it would work on Mac's as well, since the DRM is the same, just like with music and Tv shows now, etc.

After all, this is a deal with APPLE, not the general download industry.

Im fairly certain that it would work on any machine that can run iTunes - since thats what the requirements state on the image - that would include windows based machines.
post #8 of 91
BRILLIANT

Bring it on baby. Finally AppleTV will be more then what is now - my digital hub
post #9 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Exactly! Though possibly it would work on Mac's as well, since the DRM is the same, just like with music and Tv shows now, etc.

After all, this is a deal with APPLE, not the general download industry.

I agree with FreeState. The logical conclusion that is that it will work with iTunes 7.6. That means connected iPods and AppleTVs will also be able to use these supplementary DVD videos.

I do wonder if there is a digital signature for each video on each DVD that will require each of these videos to be tied to an iTunes account. This would meant that the supplementary DVD video can only be tied to one iTunes account. This seems like to much effort and overhead, but I figure Apple has been desperate to get more studios online, therefore may have jmped through a few hoops.... but I doubt it.

I am certain that rental DVDs will not have these additional files on them so don't start looking.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

And at least it appears that Apple will be getting a consession with their limited rental duration--24 hours is useless for most iPod usage...

I can't imagine that it will disappear after 24 hours on the iPod. i would think that iPod software is not intelligent enough to determine this. After all, it doen't currently determine which iTunes Store content it can play; iTunes tells it when you are syncing your media. I assume that the media on iDevices will be playable until you re-sync with iTunes, at which time it will determines if your rented media is out of date.
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post #10 of 91
Quote:
but last only 24 hours from the time they're downloaded to the time they'll expire and become unplayable.

I sure hope the timer starts when I first play the file, not when it's first downloaded.

If that's the case, I'll stick with Unbox on my TiVo.

CUE: Apple TV slowly fading into the distance...
post #11 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I can't imagine that it will disappear after 24 hours on the iPod. i would think that iPod software is not intelligent enough to determine this. After all, it doen't currently determine which iTunes Store content it can play; iTunes tells it when you are syncing your media. I assume that the media on iDevices will be playable until you re-sync with iTunes, at which time it will determines if your rented media is out of date.

Unless Apple releases an update to all ipods/iphones...requiring you to update in order to play rental movies. They could then implement some sort of time monitoring software.

The article also states "but last only 24 hours from the time they're downloaded to the time they'll expire and become unplayable."

To have the rental start before you've even started watching it seems a little unfair, especially with such a short rental period. If it was a week rental that would make sense, but for some people they will fire off the download either overnight or when they are at work, and you'll lose precious viewing time. Also doesn't make a whole lot of sense for business travelers, who will be gone for a couple days, and only have the first day to watch their rental.

Time-shifting has got a whole lot more complicated, now you have to know when you want to watch, and work backwards from that.
post #12 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I am certain that rental DVDs will not have these additional files on them so don't start looking.

That's a very interesting point. I hadn't even thought of that!

Quote:
I can't imagine that it will disappear after 24 hours on the iPod. i would think that iPod software is not intelligent enough to determine this. After all, it doen't currently determine which iTunes Store content it can play; iTunes tells it when you are syncing your media. I assume that the media on iDevices will be playable until you re-sync with iTunes, at which time it will determines if your rented media is out of date.

The download itself could be timed. Isn't there a clock of sorts in iPods?
post #13 of 91
I'd only be interested if there is an option to download an HD version that makes the AppleTV experience worthwhile. Renting a low-res iPod compatible version and playing it on an HDTV is incredibly stupid. I already have access to low-res video thanks to YouTube. Why would I want to pay for it?


Stan

www.pollywogtheater.com
post #14 of 91
If you read the macrumors blurb, in the link on the appleinsider new site you will see the line: However, indications are that both WMV and H.264 (iPod/iPhone compatible) digital copies will be distributed.


I take it that this is NOT an iPod only deal, and not strictly tied to iTunes - with the fud about the apple-monopoly that would just add fuel to the fire. Rather the movie industry (unlike other industries which I won't name here)(RIAA ) has enough sense to recognise that most of the people who would use this feature use iTunes to manage thier content and probably run it on an iPod...

How long will it be till some agency stands up and says, "Screw all established Fair Use Policies, it is ILLEGAL to import this converted copy of the movie you purchased onto any device, such as a computer, iPod, iPhone, iPod enabled refridgerator (did you see that thing?)"
post #15 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan_Timek View Post

I'd only be interested if there is an option to download an HD version that makes the AppleTV experience worthwhile. Renting a low-res iPod compatible version and playing it on an HDTV is incredibly stupid. I already have access to low-res video thanks to YouTube. Why would I want to pay for it?


Stan

www.pollywogtheater.com

It depends on what you mean by low rez. Right now, video on iTunes is 640 x 480 for 4:3, and 640 by whatever, depending on the aspect.

That's not quite DVD.

Hopefully, we will see, at least, 720 x 480.
post #16 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifino View Post

If you read the macrumors blurb, in the link on the appleinsider new site you will see the line: However, indications are that both WMV and H.264 (iPod/iPhone compatible) digital copies will be distributed.


I take it that this is NOT an iPod only deal, and not strictly tied to iTunes - with the fud about the apple-monopoly that would just add fuel to the fire. Rather the movie industry (unlike other industries which I won't name here)(RIAA ) has enough sense to recognise that most of the people who would use this feature use iTunes to manage thier content and probably run it on an iPod...

How long will it be till some agency stands up and says, "Screw all established Fair Use Policies, it is ILLEGAL to import this converted copy of the movie you purchased onto any device, such as a computer, iPod, iPhone, iPod enabled refridgerator (did you see that thing?)"

Everything I;ve read so far has said that the deal was to have a file that would also play on "your iPod".

I haven't yet read anything different.

I suppose we'll see shortly.

But I read a post by someone who said that the iPod file was on the copy of the Family Guy he just received. He didn't mention a WMV file.[/quote]

Ok, responding to my own post—a first for me.

Ok, I found this. It does seem as though both formats are on the DVD's. Too bad.

http://www.macrumors.com/2008/01/08/...igital-copies/
post #17 of 91
48 hours would be more appropriate. A weekend to watch the movie is not unreasonable. 24 hours, too short.

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post #18 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The download itself could be timed. Isn't there a clock of sorts in iPods?

It could, but since Apple has kept the iPod simple for 6 years I think that they may still continue down that path. I guess we'll find out for sure next week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan_Timek View Post

I'd only be interested if there is an option to download an HD version that makes the AppleTV experience worthwhile. Renting a low-res iPod compatible version and playing it on an HDTV is incredibly stupid. I already have access to low-res video thanks to YouTube. Why would I want to pay for it?

Are you implying that video purchased on iTS is comparable to YouTube video?

• DVD video is 720x480
• iTS video is 640x480
• YouTube is 320x240 (I believe)

I recall reading that YouTube is ~360kbps and iTS video is ~1.5Mbps. That is huge difference between the two.
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post #19 of 91
24 hours? Are kidding me? for crappy looking highly compressed content? I can rent dvd's 2 blocks from my house for $2 and keep it for 2-7 days AND the quality will be great. They should allow unlimited watching in a 7 day period, minimum.
post #20 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by techno View Post

48 hours would be more appropriate. A weekend to watch the movie is not unreasonable. 24 hours, too short.

Personally, I think any kind of timed exploding file is a bad idea. And it would necessitate making the iPod and Apple TV DRM scheme more complicated, etc.

I really, really hope all these reports are wrong, and that the rentals are subscription-based, like Netflix. Otherwise, I'll be largely uninterested. At the very least, I'll be keeping my Netflix account for most of my rental needs.
post #21 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It depends on what you mean by low rez. Right now, video on iTunes is 640 x 480 for 4:3, and 640 by whatever, depending on the aspect.

That's not quite DVD.

Hopefully, we will see, at least, 720 x 480.

Pixel ratio might be 640x480 but it's HIGHLY compressed video, meaning it's NO WHERE NEAR DVD quality. Pixel ratio alone does NOT = high picture quality.
post #22 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmedia1 View Post

Pixel ratio might be 640x480 but it's HIGHLY compressed video, meaning it's NO WHERE NEAR DVD quality. Pixel ratio alone does NOT = high picture quality.

It's not THAT compressed. H.264 is very efficient when compared to the MPEG-2 used in DVD's. And yes, DVD's use compression.
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's not THAT compressed. H.264 is very efficient when compared to the MPEG-2 used in DVD's. And yes, DVD's use compression.

DVD's use mpg4
post #24 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan_Timek View Post

I'd only be interested if there is an option to download an HD version that makes the AppleTV experience worthwhile. Renting a low-res iPod compatible version and playing it on an HDTV is incredibly stupid. I already have access to low-res video thanks to YouTube. Why would I want to pay for it?


Stan

www.pollywogtheater.com

Exactly- and it should download directly to the AppleTV not some other location.
post #25 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

Personally, I think any kind of timed exploding file is a bad idea. And it would necessitate making the iPod and Apple TV DRM scheme more complicated, etc.

I really, really hope all these reports are wrong, and that the rentals are subscription-based, like Netflix. Otherwise, I'll be largely uninterested. At the very least, I'll be keeping my Netflix account for most of my rental needs.

I agree- as stated for 24 hours- what a ripoff!
post #26 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmedia1 View Post

24 hours? Are kidding me? for crappy looking highly compressed content? I can rent dvd's 2 blocks from my house for $2 and keep it for 2-7 days AND the quality will be great. They should allow unlimited watching in a 7 day period, minimum.

And you can rip the DVD too- right? Using Handbrake of course.
iTunes will only rip music but not videos- what's up with that?
post #27 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by freelander51 View Post

BRILLIANT

Bring it on baby. Finally AppleTV will be more then what is now - my digital hub

It needs a hell of a lot more than that.
It needs a blu- ray drive and recordability like a Tivo and Websurfing like an iTouch.
post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeny View Post

DVD's use mpg4

DVDs use MPEG-2. MPEG-4 did not even exist when DVDs came out.
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Are you implying that video purchased on iTS is comparable to YouTube video?

• DVD video is 720x480
• iTS video is 640x480
• YouTube is 320x240 (I believe)

I recall reading that YouTube is ~360kbps and iTS video is ~1.5Mbps. That is huge difference between the two.

I think he's implying that iTune videos/movies look like crap on an HD TV, which they do in their present format.
I would rather buy a DVD for $9.99, rip it, and throw it out rather then buy the downloadable VHS -quality version currently on iTunes.
post #30 of 91
I'm sure that Apple has studied up on all of the usual suspects in the movie rental market - everything from the 99¢ movie I can rent from a Red Box machine at the Albertson's up the street to Post Office-delivered Netflix to drive-your-car-to-Blockbuster to the local mom-and-pop video rental store to a PPV movie from Dish Networks. Bottom line: I'm guessing that Apple is betting that next-to-instant-gratification is worth a premium, and that most people will most likely watch an internet-delivered rental movie IMMEDIATELY upon paying for it.

This is just me, but we have a 1-year old 67" Mitsubishi rear-projection TV that, when coupled with HD content over our Dish Networks satellite service, it just stunningly real. I'm not much of a movie buyer (we own a few movies, but realized that we seldom watch an owned movie more than once or at most twice), but we like to rent a movie from time to time, and if we could rent a movie with at least DVD quality (and optionally HD quality), start watching it relatively soon after we rented it online (in other words, watch it as it was downloading), didn't have to sit through a bunch of previews (some DVDs won't let you go straight to the main menu without first watching the previews), and didn't have to pay a huge premium over other movie rental models, we would be a customer, no question about it.
post #31 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeny View Post

DVD's use mpg4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Video


Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I think he's implying that iTune videos/movies look like crap on an HD TV, which they do in their present format.

iTS purchased video look as a good as DVD on my 37" LG HD LCD TV (that is a lot of initialisms). Perhaps my Sony DVD player is crap or the AppleTV is up-converting content, but it is indistinguishable from my couch which is 10' away. The former is connected via Component, the latter is via HDMI.

I would like to see 720p quality but this rampant torch and pitchfork party against iTS video is unfounded from my point of view. Wouldn't using 720x480 resolution tax the CPu and therefore reduce the battery of your iDevice since it would have to work harder to alter the unbalanced resolution to fit the display?
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post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

I sure hope the timer starts when I first play the file, not when it's first downloaded.

If that's the case, I'll stick with Unbox on my TiVo.

CUE: Apple TV slowly fading into the distance...

I can't imagine that the timer starts when the download completes. It would have to be when you start playing it, just like TiVo/Unbox rentals.

And if by some bizarre chance it was when the download completed, that would just make it a game of Russian roulette considering you have no control when your movie would finish downloading.

I guess if the movie was being streamed, but that would really limit the number of people who could use it. Either it would have to buffer enough to guarantee no interruptions (which for some connections could be nearly the whole movie), or just deny people the ability to download if their connection speed wasn't fast enough.
post #33 of 91
I prefer to buy my movies from iTunes because if I want to watch it more than once I could have bought it assuming these prices are right. In addition, I tend to spread out my viewings over several days. 30-40 minutes is about the maximum amount of time I can spend in a passive activity.

Now TV shows, that's another story. I usually only watch an entire series once. Being able to rent episodes for 25-50 cents each would be ideal and I would probably take more chances with shows. $1.99 per episode is bordering on obscene, especially shows that are 11 minutes. I even saw a two minute "episode" as part of a series for $1.99. Who is going to buy that?
post #34 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I do wonder if there is a digital signature for each video on each DVD that will require each of these videos to be tied to an iTunes account. This would meant that the supplementary DVD video can only be tied to one iTunes account. This seems like to much effort and overhead, but I figure Apple has been desperate to get more studios online, therefore may have jmped through a few hoops.... but I doubt it.

The dvd's don't have to be different, it will just be a file that needs to be authorized by the iTunes server (with a serial number) before it can be used, and the file will be written with that user-specific information. That's pretty much how iTunes sales work already.

Rental DVDs could contain the same files, they just wouldn't work because there would be no serial number provided to unlock the file.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

Personally, I think any kind of timed exploding file is a bad idea. And it would necessitate making the iPod and Apple TV DRM scheme more complicated, etc.

I really, really hope all these reports are wrong, and that the rentals are subscription-based, like Netflix. Otherwise, I'll be largely uninterested. At the very least, I'll be keeping my Netflix account for most of my rental needs.

Subscription based would be cool, but it's hard to imagine them not offering the option to just rent one movie. I don't see how that would be possible without the file expiring after some number of views or length of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmedia1 View Post

Pixel ratio might be 640x480 but it's HIGHLY compressed video, meaning it's NO WHERE NEAR DVD quality. Pixel ratio alone does NOT = high picture quality.

And you think DVDs aren't highly compressed? Really?

Aside from 640 versus 720, the biggest difference in iTunes store picture quality is that it doesn't use anamorphic, so it doesn't use the full 480 lines of resolution like DVD does.
post #35 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

The dvd's don't have to be different, it will just be a file that needs to be authorized by the iTunes server (with a serial number) before it can be used, and the file will be written with that user-specific information. That's pretty much how iTunes sales work already.

Rental DVDs could contain the same files, they just wouldn't work because there would be no serial number provided to unlock the file.

I don't understand how the DVDs can be the same but have different serial numbers. Are you saying that your DVD would come with a print serial number that when added to your iTunes account forever allows you to use any DVD containing that same movie with your authorized account?
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post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It depends on what you mean by low rez. Right now, video on iTunes is 640 x 480 for 4:3, and 640 by whatever, depending on the aspect.

That's not quite DVD.

Hopefully, we will see, at least, 720 x 480.


I'd like to see 720P HD resolution, the stuff AppleTV supports. Not quite DVD resolution doesn't cut it especially when we lose all the bonus features DVDs carry when we buy or rent them.

When we give up so much for "convenience" sake w should at least get a better picture.


Stan

www.pollywogtheater.com
post #37 of 91
It doesn't matter because there will be a hack to bypass the 24 hour limit anyway. You will also be able to burn it to DVD.

Every DVD encryption method has been hacked. You think some client side/server side iTunes software or special file format is any different?

There are guys hoping for new encryption methods just so they break them within 24 hours.
post #38 of 91
ok, heres my thougths

24 hours - has A.I. EVER been wrong before?

24 hours - is it a case of Apple throwing out the rumor to test the water? or throwing it out to PROVE to the studios that 24 Hrs isnt gonna fly to well on the blogsphere?

24 hours - is it Apple throwing it out there, so the hype gets going, negative though it is, and then Steve spake unto them and sayth "42" haha .. ok 48 or 72 or a week, and the crowd, well.. the crowd goes nuts -BOOM.

--

how WOULD 24 hrs work?

Timed is out - exploding media is out ain't gonna work, and if thats what it is then I'll gladly eat my hat, in the AWE that Steve must have lost his ability to strike a deal with the studios.

but hey ho, I'll bite, how does it work?

On a computer.
24 hours begins AFTER download, from you first hit PLAY on the mac/pc running iTunes 3,2,1 GO!

On an iPod.
24 Hrs begins once you sync. it. once synced you STILL have 24 Hrs to play it on the computer. but as long as you don't sync. the iPod AFTER that 24 hours it remains playable on the iPod, SIMPLE. The media you have rented does NOT explode INSIDE the iPod, you can go away for the week for business or pleasure and watch the movie whenever you want.
But, once you sync back to that computer/iTunes you get a warning saying your time was up a week ago so iTunes will remove the file/movie for you, also "don't worry, no late fee"*

ATV is somewhat the same, your 24 hrs starts once the sync. is COMPLETE. after that it gets slightly tricky, but only slightly, as the ATV can be synced wirelessly, IF you have the computer/iTunes running, and the 24 hrs elapses a warning will pop up letting you know the time has expired, in this case it may well be that the media can indeed seem to explode from the ATV because iTunes will sync wirelessly and remove the file.

BUT, if you switch the computer/iTunes OFF or move the ATV out of wireless sync range (take it to the friends/beach house) then it will keep playing the movie until it gets re-synced, JUST like the iPod - again, SIMPLE.

--

One thing no-one seems to have mentioned so far is, "What happens if my 24 Hrs finishes part way through the movie?"
Well I guess thats only really relevant on the wirelessly synced ATV.
You get to keep playing the movie and don't get a warning until you press pause. that would seem fair-ish.

But thats IF its 24 Hrs, and IMO thats a BIG "IF"

Most people seem ok with it being 48 though. and I reckon thats the shortest time you will see.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.



*Gonna play Macworld bingo, on Steve using that phrase, or it popping on screen.
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post #39 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Video



iTS purchased video look as a good as DVD on my 37" LG HD LCD TV (that is a lot of initialisms). Perhaps my Sony DVD player is crap or the AppleTV is up-converting content, but it is indistinguishable from my couch which is 10' away. The former is connected via Component, the latter is via HDMI.

I would like to see 720p quality but this rampant torch and pitchfork party against iTS video is unfounded from my point of view. Wouldn't using 720x480 resolution tax the CPu and therefore reduce the battery of your iDevice since it would have to work harder to alter the unbalanced resolution to fit the display?

OK- No matter how you find the video quality comparison there is no way you can possibly think that the audio on an iTunes movie is anyway near that of a DVD- no way.
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't understand how the DVDs can be the same but have different serial numbers. Are you saying that your DVD would come with a print serial number that when added to your iTunes account forever allows you to use any DVD containing that same movie with your authorized account?

They have been doing it for years with challenge/response. Or even with regular serial numbers - if you buy Final Cut, they include a serial number to make the app run. You don't think those dvd's are all different, do you?

The dvd has a file that won't run until it's authorized. You type in a serial number that comes on a piece of paper with the dvd. iTunes contacts the iTunes server and copies the video file to your hard drive and flags it as authorized and tied to your machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

It doesn't matter because there will be a hack to bypass the 24 hour limit anyway. You will also be able to burn it to DVD.

Every DVD encryption method has been hacked. You think some client side/server side iTunes software or special file format is any different?

There are guys hoping for new encryption methods just so they break them within 24 hours.

Do they have those hacks for the iTunes videos already for sale? Including burning to dvd? It doesn't really matter if they get hacked, the studios are usually happy just to get drm at all since the average person won't take the trouble of hacking the drm.
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