Apple well shy of movie rental goals

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
While Apple promised 1,000 movie rentals for the iTunes Store in January, an in-depth search reveals that only 384 movies are available -- and that the rarer-still HD titles scarcely take full advantage of the format.



The catalog represents just 39 percent of the official target set for the end of February and includes just 91 high-definition titles -- 21 of which come from the 1980s and earlier, predating even basic surround sound and providing little actual benefit from the higher resolution or 5.1-channel surround sound that often come with Apple's 720p videos.



Some of these HD movies, such as the Kirk Douglas movie Lust for Life, date back as early as 1956 and predate most modern filmmaking techniques. Other movies, however, lack age as a reason for their stripped-down features: 40 HD movies (26 of which were released before 2000) lack Dolby 5.1-channel audio.



A few movies are even mistakenly labeled. Aliens and Dodgeball are labeled as HD titles but reveal themselves to be standard-definition upon a closer look.



Even if users are willing to pay for a permanent download, Apple supplies just 770 movies regardless of their delivery format, still 230 titles short of what Apple promised just for rentals alone. Of the entire collection, just 384 movies are available for rent.



First alluded to by a tipster in one of AppleInsider's Friday reports, the shortfall puts Apple significantly behind other online rivals, some of which take advantage of links to traditional DVD business. Amazon's Unbox claims 10,442 titles, while the mail-in rental firm offers roughly 6,000 movies -- though in some cases, these titles include anything from instructional videos on marine radar systems to sports matches.







No matter how many full titles are available through each service, however, the deficit tarnishes Apple's attempts to expand its modest iTunes video library. The Mac maker aggressively claimed in January that it "has it right this time" with the Apple TV and has pushed its video rental service since its Macworld San Francisco debut, going so far as to promote 99-cent weekly rentals ever since the Apple TV's version 2.0 firmware upgrade in mid-February.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    11thindian11thindian Posts: 181member
    It is a slow start. And quite confusing considering that you would think they would have a dedicated team who's sole job it is to gather masters from the studios and encode them. They should be putting 20 or 30 new movies up each week!



    I do have to take issue with one statement in this article though. To say there is no benefit to downloading movies made prior to the 1980's in HD is just silly. Anything shot on film- from ANY time period- is much higher definition than 720. In general, film is rated at 4K, and some 1940's Technicolor films with separated colour elements can be rated as high as 6K. MANY of the film I personally look forward to seeing most in HD are pre-1980; and most films that have seen a DVD release in the last 10 years have been given surround remixes, so that statistic is also dubious.
  • Reply 2 of 67
    pmoeserpmoeser Posts: 79member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    No matter how many full titles are available through each service, however, the deficit tarnishes Apple's attempts to expand its modest iTunes video library.



    Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely the number of titles available will be dictated by the content owners (studios) being tardy in supplying the titles to Apple?



    This hardly tarnishes Apple. This is evidence that the studios are once again telling the consumer how they are to use their hard-earned for poor return.



    The current 24hr model has so many holes in it.



    Criticise the studios who provide the content, not the system that is trying to deliver it (making money for all along the way)
  • Reply 3 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Whether this a problem on Apple's end or reneging by the content providers (as the number of total movies was just over 800 at one point) this makes Apple look bad,
  • Reply 4 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmoeser View Post


    is hardly tarnishes Apple. This is evidence that the studios are once again telling the consumer how they are to use their hard-earned for poor return.



    It doesn't have to be Apple's fault for them to be tarnished. Steve made a claim of the number of rentals to expect and you are watching them with a device made by Apple.



    When Apple did the battery recall for all those faulty batteries that Sony made.... Apple looks bad.

    When an antagonist in a movie uses a Mac to bring down a government... Apple takes the fall.

    When the US government purchases Xserves for use in Iraq... Apple was accused of starting the war.
  • Reply 5 of 67
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,404member
    This does tarnish Apple if they claimed they'd have number of titles certain by a date certain. This is very embarrassing for Steve and for Apple.
  • Reply 6 of 67
    rainrain Posts: 538member
    Up here in Western Canada, all we have is Shaw Cable for an 'On Demand' option (without going to satellite). The digital box costs $450 and a basic digital cable package is around $80/month. That doesn't include any movie channels or HDTV.

    The 'on demand' offerings are lame. We get about 8 - 10 new movies a month, of which 6 are total shit titles like "Jerry Springer - Undressed". There are probably only 100 movies at any given time available for download of which 10 are new releases.



    Now the fun part, the quality is horrific. Picture is pixilated, artifacts galore, stalling, hickups and sometimes movies just get dropped. This is because our cable provider wants our government to update their servers. Basically, it's a massive bandwidth problem. (watching a movie at 3am is mostly fine)

    None of the movies are in HD and all in 2 channel.



    This hockey season, there has been 17 PPV games so far, none in HD. And of all those, only 2 didn't have massive disruptions, blackouts, glitches, or just plain dead air. All that for $12.99.



    All this points to one thing... We will never see Apple TV in Canada. To do so would destroy our oh-so-loved cable companies.

    Apple TV is flying off the shelves, but thats only because we are a torrent mad country. Apple would have to have over 30% of all it's content 'Canadian Made' before our CRTC would allow the service. Shows like "Anne of Green Gables" and movies like "Brazil"... in other words, it would look like our National channel CBC.



    If Apple was able to provide it's service up here, you can bet that it would instantly have millions of customers overnight... and we would be gobbling up those 387 movies with a smile.

    So we may have Universal healthcare... but we are 3rd world when it comes to media streaming.

    Socialism has it's downsides.
  • Reply 7 of 67
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    Some of these HD movies, such as the Kirk Douglas movie Lust for Life, date back as early as 1956 and predate most modern filmmaking techniques.



    I'm not entirely sure what the author means by this sentence. It seems to allude that this film is not HD and does not have surround sound is because it was made so long ago.



    This would be wrong. The filmmaking technique does not necessarily determine its presentation. Film from any era can be scanned into an HD format. Surround sound is created in post production sound mixing.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    This does tarnish Apple if they claimed they'd have number of titles certain by a date certain. This is very embarrassing for Steve and for Apple.



    If this were a Japanese company Steve would step down or commit Seppuku.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rain View Post


    So we may have Universal healthcare... but we are 3rd world when it comes to media streaming. Socialism has it's downsides.



    But we don't get to enjoy the "hillarity" of Little Mosque on the Prairie. Seriously though, it does suck that content can't be sold to people all over the world at the same time.
  • Reply 9 of 67
    vinitaboyvinitaboy Posts: 156member
    Tell me, oh wise ones of this forum and others like it . . . Is it time to sell the company and give the money back to the shareholders? Sure sounds like it. I guess Michael Dell was right after all.
  • Reply 10 of 67
    Just bought an Apple TV and its awesome..a game changer. So many things to use it for, including podcasts in HD. If you haven't checked it out do so;even better than having a large screen(in my case 32" )HD video ipod. It makes You Tube so much more enjoyable(in better quality and on a huge screen). In the future, I can see this or something like it killing blockbuster and Netflix regular service...its great...even better quality movie rental than I can get from my cable service..similar to a DVD...and I'm not even talking about the HD rentals.
  • Reply 11 of 67
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nothowie View Post


    Just bought an Apple TV and its awesome..a game changer. So many things to use it for, including podcasts in HD. If you haven't checked it out do so;even better than having a large screen(in my case 32" )HD video ipod. It makes You Tube so much more enjoyable(in better quality and on a huge screen). In the future, I can see this or something like it killing blockbuster and Netflix regular service...its great...even better quality movie rental than I can get from my cable service..similar to a DVD...and I'm not even talking about the HD rentals.



    Hi Steve!
  • Reply 12 of 67
    I bought a 40 gig Apple TV back when it was first introduced - it was great back then and is simply amazing with the software upgrade. The size of the rental library is not under Apple's control as mentioned by others in this thread. The studio's promised Steve that they would deliver and they are - but not according to the "agreed-upon" schedule. Does this make Steve or Apple look bad? To the people who don't know how these things work maybe. I think most folks are going to be happy that new movies keep showing up in the listings. The rental experience is great the vast majority of the time ( I had a hiccup in one rental but Apple took care of it promptly and to my complete satisfaction).



    Apple TV is a game changer - check it out for yourself!





    Stan Timek

    www.pollywogtheater.com



    in development - www.HD4appleTV.com

    an HD distribution site for independent film makers and video producers
  • Reply 13 of 67
    How DARE you imply Apple did something wrong!!??? This is clearly the studios faults! Apple never does ANYTHING even REMOTELY less than perfect! And Steve's turds smell like flowers.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,404member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tuneman07 View Post


    How DARE you imply Apple did something wrong!!??? This is clearly the studios faults! Apple never does ANYTHING even REMOTELY less than perfect! And Steve's turds smell like flowers.



    And what about his tears? Tell us about his tears!
  • Reply 15 of 67
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,404member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    If this were a Japanese company Steve would step down or commit Seppuku.



  • Reply 16 of 67
    junkiejunkie Posts: 122member
    Its strange to me that this happened. At the show floor at MacWorld an Apple guy told me that they already had 1000 movies up there for rent, they were just being conservative. I can't imagine what wait is. You'd think they would be just ripping DVDs for now to fill the catalog.
  • Reply 17 of 67
    mrjoec123mrjoec123 Posts: 223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    This does tarnish Apple if they claimed they'd have number of titles certain by a date certain. This is very embarrassing for Steve and for Apple.



    Why so many people insist on taking everything Jobs says literally and insisting that the company follows it to the letter is way beyond me. Circumstances change things. And CEOs often state goals and then miss them by a week or two. Vista was several YEARS behind schedule; I don't remember many people calling for Bill Gates' head on a platter.



    The fact that Apple doesn't have exactly 1000 titles available by March 1 is not the problem. That they have far fewer than that is beginning to look like a problem, if it doesn't change in a month or so. Fixating yourself on a particular date or a particular number is rather pointless.



    I have no doubt the library will grow. How fast it grows is what will determine the overall success of Apple TV 2.0 and the future of iTunes video.
  • Reply 18 of 67
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post


    The fact that Apple doesn't have exactly 1000 titles available by March 1 is not the problem. That they have far fewer than that is beginning to look like a problem, if it doesn't change in a month or so. Fixating yourself on a particular date or a particular number is rather pointless.



    Still, I wish Steve had said something like "we have commitments from film studios

    for over 1000 movies to be available for iTunes rental by the end of February". It

    would have been weasel-like, but the current situation would have been slightly

    less disappointing. Also I am getting a queasy feeling that Apple is starting to use

    a perverted form of "management by expectations" in the recent series of slipped

    deadlines. Making a public statement of due dates, which later turn out to have

    been unrealistic, is demoralizing to Apple employees who are, no doubt, working

    their asses off trying to meet the deadlines.
  • Reply 19 of 67
    Anyone bother to do the math?



    When browsing MOVIES:



    Action & Adventure: 154 items

    Anime: 3

    Classics: 15

    Comedy: 236

    Documentary: 32

    Drama: 239

    Foreign: 1

    Holiday: 8 items

    Horror: 60 items

    Indepedent: 37 items

    Kids & Family: 118 items

    Music: 24 items

    Romance: 56 items

    Sci-Fi- & Fantasy: 78 items

    Short Films: 253 items

    Special Interest: 2 items

    Sports: 23 items

    Thriller: 102 items

    Urban: 12 items

    Western: 29 items





    That comes in just under 1,500 movies, almost 50% MORE than the 1,000 promised, and 100% MORE than the writer is giving them credit for. And I'd bet that if we go back and watch the keynote, there was something in Jobs' wording that left open the possibility that 1,000 would be available, but not yet available for rent, by this point.
  • Reply 20 of 67
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Whether this a problem on Apple's end or reneging by the content providers (as the number of total movies was just over 800 at one point) this makes Apple look bad,



    It makes Apple look bad when people associate the problem with Apple. This article should have targeted the problem to the movie studios NOT Apple. People believe what they see and read, just like the news, so it's no wonder why Apple is gonna get the blame for this.
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