Apple rivals DVD with new iTunes Extras for movies and albums

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
The new iTunes 9 offers special "iTunes Extras" as free downloads with the purchase of "iTunes LP" albums or movies. The new free bonus content is delivered as a self-contained website of bonus materials, making it easy to author.



Apple's new move into bonus materials helps to enrich its media downloads, making iTunes digital albums more attractive to purchase as a complete set and positioning its movies better against the bonus features available on DVDs. Apple has offered simple PDF digital booklets with certain albums in the past, a step the new Extras builds upon. The DVD Forum has attempted to deliver DVD-A its own specification for value-added music albums, and Blu-Ray has similarly floated an audio version of the format, but along with SA-CD and other attempts to improve upon the CD, these efforts have all fizzled.



Previously referred to under the Cocktail codename, Apple's new initiative delivers a single .ite file along with standard purchased album tracks or the movie file. The iTunes Extra file is actually a bundle, which is directory of files masquerading as a single file. Inside the bundle are navigation pages built using web-standards including HTML pages, Javascript code and CSS presentation, along with content folders containing regular PNG graphics, AAC audio and H.264 video files. The package is essentially a self-contained website, although its FairPlay content requires iTunes 9 to view.



The ease of building this Extras content should help popularize the new bonus materials, and a quick review of the iTunes Store shows a variety of artists' albums and movie titles sporting the new bonus materials. Unlike earlier attempts to create a super CD format, iTunes doesn't require anything more than a software update to the free version 9 in order to play the new Extras content.







The newly unveiled Cocktail initiative may help explain why Apple hasn't thrown much effort behind developing its DVD authoring tools recently, and why it has pointedly ignored the Blu-Ray authoring market. DVD authoring requires participating in a licensing program that includes a book of authoring specifications.



Apple Shuns DVD and Blu-Ray Authoring



Apple entered the DVD authoring business when it bought Astarte in 2000, resulting in DVD Studio Pro and the consumer-oriented iDVD title. It then bought Spruce Technologies and released that company's authoring tools as DVD Studio Pro 2.0. Since the 4.x release in early 2006, Apple has done little to update the program, which still ships as part of Final Cut Studio. The iDVD portion of iLife has similarly only received the barest of attention over the last few years.



While Apple updated its DVD authoring tools to support changes required to create HD-DVD discs, it never threw its support being the format, which has since collapsed after a protracted battle against the rival Blu-Ray specification. Similarly, despite being a member of the Blu-Ray Disk Association, Apple hasn't released authoring tools for that format either. Apple recently added raw Blu-Ray disc burning support to Final Cut Studio, but this lacks any capacity to actually author navigation; the resulting Blu-Ray disc just contains plain video. This is commonly used to distribute edited work for review. Third party tools are required to author a fancy user interface for finished Blu-Ray discs targeted at consumers.



The Blu-Ray specification uses navigation and content presentation tools based upon Sun's Java, called BD-J, to both frame the video and any interactive bonus content on the disc. It is also designed to enable accessing the Internet to find additional content published after the disc was shipped. Different Blu-ray players support different minimal versions of the BD-J, and the BD-J runtime results in significant hardware requirements (similar to a low end PC) which have priced Blu-Ray players out of the mainstream of the market.



Apple's Competitive Cocktail



By offering easy to create, standards-based bonus content that does not require complex and convoluted authoring tools, Apple appears to be hoping to convert more users from DVD disc buyers to iTunes download customers. While downloaded videos can't match the quality of Blu-Ray movies, the mass market has still not embraced the Blu-ray format, leaving Apple with a large market to address.



Presenting iTunes Extras on Apple TV, and potentially on mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch, may also follow as Apple builds out its efforts to popularize albums and movies with the bonus materials.



For both movies and albums, iTunes Extras also differentiate Apple's own offerings in iTunes from identical content sold by other content distributors, such as Amazon.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 110
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    wheres the beatles ???
  • Reply 2 of 110
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Movies only in some countries. DVD importing should be added anyway. People shouldn't have to break the law to watch content they already own.
  • Reply 3 of 110
    So has anyone been able to spot the old 'upgrade your iTunes purchases to iTunes Plus purchases a la carte" option? I can't seem to locate it.
  • Reply 4 of 110
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    I'd love to buy all new movies as downloads but simply refuse to pay the same price as physical DVDs or Blu Rays, why should I?



    They don't have to burn it to disc, seal it, ship it and pay shops commision, downloads should reflect this but they don't!
  • Reply 5 of 110
    Do you get the extras when you rent a movie, or only when you buy it? Because there's no way in hell I'm paying $20 to buy an "HD" movie that's compressed to 1/10th the size of the equivalent film on Blu-Ray for about the same price.
  • Reply 6 of 110
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wws View Post


    So has anyone been able to spot the old 'upgrade your iTunes purchases to iTunes Plus purchases a la carte" option? I can't seem to locate it.



    It's the same place it's always been on the home page, in the top of the right hand column. It just says "iTunes Plus" now and gives a potentially rough count of how many items are available to upgrade (apparently it's been dumbed down since for me it only says 25+ whereas iTunes 8 gave an exact figure).



    As for this iTunes Extras thing rivaling DVD, I'd have to say, "Not really." As far as has been said, all the bonus content is stuck on on your computer. Hardly how I want to watch a movie or the bonus features. And even if it comes to the AppleTV, that would still require someone to go buy an AppleTV and then start purchasing these movies instead of just buying the DVD for the machine they already have (and have another device attached to the TV with yet another remote). Doesn't really sound like a good prospect for a product that doesn't provide anything new. No doubt fanboys on this site will latch onto it and declare DVD dead; DVD is dying but it's Blu-Ray that is killing it, not iTunes movie downloads or even the entire movie download market.
  • Reply 7 of 110
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,015member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The new iTunes 9 offers special "iTunes Extras" as free downloads with the purchase of "iTunes LP" albums or movies. The new free bonus content is delivered as a self-contained website of bonus materials, making it easy to author.



    Apple's new move into bonus materials helps to enrich its media downloads, making iTunes digital albums more attractive to purchase as a complete set and positioning its movies better against the bonus features available on DVDs. Apple has offered simple PDF digital booklets with certain albums in the past, a step the new Extras builds upon. The DVD Forum has attempted to deliver DVD-A its own specification for value-added music albums, and Blu-Ray has similarly floated an audio version of the format, but along with SA-CD and other attempts to improve upon the CD, these efforts have all fizzled.



    Previously referred to under the Cocktail codename, Apple's new initiative delivers a single .ite file along with standard purchased album tracks or the movie file. The iTunes Extra file is actually a bundle, which is directory of files masquerading as a single file. Inside the bundle are navigation pages built using web-standards including HTML pages, Javascript code and CSS presentation, along with content folders containing regular PNG graphics, AAC audio and H.264 video files. The package is essentially a self-contained website, although its FairPlay content requires iTunes 9 to view.



    The ease of building this Extras content should help popularize the new bonus materials, and a quick review of the iTunes Store shows a variety of artists' albums and movie titles sporting the new bonus materials. Unlike earlier attempts to create a super CD format, iTunes doesn't require anything more than a software update to the free version 9 in order to play the new Extras content.







    The newly unveiled Cocktail initiative may help explain why Apple hasn't thrown much effort behind developing its DVD authoring tools recently, and why it has pointedly ignored the Blu-Ray authoring market. DVD authoring requires participating in a licensing program that includes a book of authoring specifications.



    Apple Shuns DVD and Blu-Ray Authoring



    Apple entered the DVD authoring business when it bought Astarte in 2000, resulting in DVD Studio Pro and the consumer-oriented iDVD title. It then bought Spruce Technologies and released that company's authoring tools as DVD Studio Pro 2.0. Since the 4.x release in early 2006, Apple has done little to update the program, which still ships as part of Final Cut Studio. The iDVD portion of iLife has similarly only received the barest of attention over the last few years.



    While Apple updated its DVD authoring tools to support changes required to create HD-DVD discs, it never threw its support being the format, which has since collapsed after a protracted battle against the rival Blu-Ray specification. Similarly, despite being a member of the Blu-Ray Disk Association, Apple hasn't released authoring tools for that format either. Apple recently added raw Blu-Ray disc burning support to Final Cut Studio, but this lacks any capacity to actually author navigation; the resulting Blu-Ray disc just contains plain video. This is commonly used to distribute edited work for review. Third party tools are required to author a fancy user interface for finished Blu-Ray discs targeted at consumers.



    The Blu-Ray specification uses navigation and content presentation tools based upon Sun's Java, called BD-J, to both frame the video and any interactive bonus content on the disc. It is also designed to enable accessing the Internet to find additional content published after the disc was shipped. Different Blu-ray players support different minimal versions of the BD-J, and the BD-J runtime results in significant hardware requirements (similar to a low end PC) which have priced Blu-Ray players out of the mainstream of the market.



    Apple's Competitive Cocktail



    By offering easy to create, standards-based bonus content that does not require complex and convoluted authoring tools, Apple appears to be hoping to convert more users from DVD disc buyers to iTunes download customers. While downloaded videos can't match the quality of Blu-Ray movies, the mass market has still not embraced the Blu-ray format, leaving Apple with a large market to address.



    Presenting iTunes Extras on Apple TV, and potentially on mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch, may also follow as Apple builds out its efforts to popularize albums and movies with the bonus materials.



    For both movies and albums, iTunes Extras also differentiate Apple's own offerings in iTunes from identical content sold by other content distributors, such as Amazon.



    I agree, I find these features to be compelling enough. If I can throw the same content at AppleTV then I think my media centre wish list could be solved by an iTunes AppleTV Combination.



    I am not sure though how the lack of focus by Apple on the authoring front has so much at all to do with the consuming end, unless Apple are going to offer this authoring facility to end users to run their content through itunes? Nothing in the article suggests that to be the case, although if the tools were available it would be awesome way to retrofit previously obtained content.
  • Reply 8 of 110
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brucep View Post


    wheres the beatles ???



    Paul is dead, John Lennon buried him personally or hadn't you heard?!?!



    Sorry... as you were
  • Reply 9 of 110
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple Shuns DVD and Blu-Ray Authoring



    Apple entered the DVD authoring business when it bought Astarte in 2000, resulting in DVD Studio Pro and the consumer-oriented iDVD title. It then bought Spruce Technologies and released that company's authoring tools as DVD Studio Pro 2.0. Since the 4.x release in early 2006, Apple has done little to update the program, which still ships as part of Final Cut Studio. The iDVD portion of iLife has similarly only received the barest of attention over the last few years.



    While Apple updated its DVD authoring tools to support changes required to create HD-DVD discs, it never threw its support being the format, which has since collapsed after a protracted battle against the rival Blu-Ray specification. Similarly, despite being a member of the Blu-Ray Disk Association, Apple hasn't released authoring tools for that format either. Apple recently added raw Blu-Ray disc burning support to Final Cut Studio, but this lacks any capacity to actually author navigation; the resulting Blu-Ray disc just contains plain video. This is commonly used to distribute edited work for review. Third party tools are required to author a fancy user interface for finished Blu-Ray discs targeted at consumers.



    The Blu-Ray specification uses navigation and content presentation tools based upon Sun's Java, called BD-J, to both frame the video and any interactive bonus content on the disc. It is also designed to enable accessing the Internet to find additional content published after the disc was shipped. Different Blu-ray players support different minimal versions of the BD-J, and the BD-J runtime results in significant hardware requirements (similar to a low end PC) which have priced Blu-Ray players out of the mainstream of the market.



    Unless Apple's going to start letting any video professional (not just the five major movie studios) publish content on iTunes — free and otherwise — then their approach to HD distribution is terribly flawed. It's depressing to think that Apple's focus has shifted from helping it's users create original content to helping the major film and record studios sell their shit.



    Regarding the claim that Blu-Ray players are priced "out of the mainstream of the market", they're cheaper than an Apple TV or two of the three iPod Touch models. Who in their right mind would spend $229 to get their overpriced, overcompressed digital movies (of which the selection is limited I might add) onto their HDTV, when they could spend about the same on a Blu-Ray player (whose movies cost the same but are ten times larger in file size) that also includes Netflix streaming, Blockbuster streaming, Pandora streaming and YouTube support.
  • Reply 10 of 110
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:

    Apple rivals DVD with new iTunes Extras for movies



  • Reply 11 of 110
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    I'd love to buy all new movies as downloads but simply refuse to pay the same price as physical DVDs or Blu Rays, why should I?



    They don't have to burn it to disc, seal it, ship it and pay shops commision, downloads should reflect this but they don't!





    And then you have to spend extra money to back them up



    I'd buy an xbox for the netflix integration but I'd rather get blu-Ray on ps3
  • Reply 12 of 110
    pt123pt123 Posts: 696member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    And then you have to spend extra money to back them up



    I'd buy an xbox for the netflix integration but I'd rather get blu-Ray on ps3



    And the movie is authorized on 5 computers compared to the disc can play back on any DVD player in the house.
  • Reply 13 of 110
    idunnoidunno Posts: 645member
    I bought Iron Man last year from iTunes, can I now upgrade it to the newer version with the extra features?
  • Reply 14 of 110
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDunno View Post


    I bought Iron Man last year from iTunes, can I now upgrade it to the newer version with the extra features?



    Yes you can. Buy the Blu-Ray copy for twenty bucks at Best Buy.
  • Reply 15 of 110
    idunnoidunno Posts: 645member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post


    Yes you can. Buy the Blu-Ray copy for twenty bucks at Best Buy.



    Cory, thanks for taking the time to actually not answer my question.



    I like the lack of physical media my home is currently enjoying, which is why I am happy to pay for digital downloads.
  • Reply 16 of 110
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post








    Right, it rivals dying man. I would like Apple to rivals BD or join it if they cannot beat it.
  • Reply 17 of 110
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    It's the same place it's always been on the home page, in the top of the right hand column. It just says "iTunes Plus" now and gives a potentially rough count of how many items are available to upgrade (apparently it's been dumbed down since for me it only says 25+ whereas iTunes 8 gave an exact figure).



    As for this iTunes Extras thing rivaling DVD, I'd have to say, "Not really." As far as has been said, all the bonus content is stuck on on your computer. Hardly how I want to watch a movie or the bonus features. And even if it comes to the AppleTV, that would still require someone to go buy an AppleTV and then start purchasing these movies instead of just buying the DVD for the machine they already have (and have another device attached to the TV with yet another remote). Doesn't really sound like a good prospect for a product that doesn't provide anything new. No doubt fanboys on this site will latch onto it and declare DVD dead; DVD is dying but it's Blu-Ray that is killing it, not iTunes movie downloads or even the entire movie download market.



    I couldn't have said it better myself...I have a feeling it's all to do with the licensing, as this post says. It would be too easy to just rent movies from Netflix, blockbuster, etc. and just burn them to iTunes. I do that already with music. Just borrow a some CD's from friends or the library and burn them to iTunes. Imagine how much money the movie/TV industry would loose if you could just simply download any movie you wanted to iTunes, now including special features. It would be too easy.



    Of course this may sound like i'm defending Apple or the Movie industry for not giving the consumer what they've been asking for since iTunes went movie, but it's not. It really pisses me off that Apple seems to just thumb their proverbial noses at physical media. There is a benefit people! A hard drive will last you 10 years at best before crashing and even if you constantly back up stuff...it's just too much work for the non-IT person that i am.



    If i want to buy an album, i get the CD, or just borrow it from a friend and make a back up. I've purchased about 5-10 albums from iTunes and only back episodes of the Daily show for video, since you can't buy that in a store. I buy physical media because it lasts longer than computer hardware. Even DVD/BD players are backwards compatible.



    And let's not even get into the whole sharing thing. OK, it's great an convenient that you can share everything and download everything on up to 5 computers, but what if you're not married with kids? What if you break up with someone? How in the heck are you going to split up your iTunes collection between you two? If you're not an IT person then you probably will not. and you'll loose a ton of stuff. I'm not tech savvy enough to deal with it.



    For all you who say physical media is dead now...think again.
  • Reply 18 of 110
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDunno View Post


    Cory, thanks for taking the time to actually not answer my question.



    I like the lack of physical media my home is currently enjoying, which is why I am happy to pay for digital downloads.



    If the honest answer was yes, I would have let you know.
  • Reply 19 of 110
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDunno View Post


    I bought Iron Man last year from iTunes, can I now upgrade it to the newer version with the extra features?



    That?s a good question. Apple had iTunes Plus available for the additional 30¢, but the contracts may be very different with this. I?m sure there will be articles about how to do it or why Apple sucks if you can?t once these extras start appearing for currently available films.
  • Reply 20 of 110
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post


    And let's not even get into the whole sharing thing. OK, it's great an convenient that you can share everything and download everything on up to 5 computers, but what if you're not married with kids? What if you break up with someone? How in the heck are you going to split up your iTunes collection between you two? If you're not an IT person then you probably will not. and you'll loose a ton of stuff. I'm not tech savvy enough to deal with it.



    My understanding of it is that you can only "share" amongst computers in your home who use the same iTunes account. So if your spouse and kids have their own, you still can't share amongst eachother.
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