The A Team

Today the Mercury News reviewed the Apple and Amazon online movie distribution services. It is a pretty interesting review. Here are the quotes that caught my eye.

But I also inserted the DVD versions of the two movies in my laptop, and the difference was stark. The DVD versions, in both cases, were noticeably sharper. The lower video quality of the downloaded movies would have been especially obvious if I'd connected my computer to a big-screen TV -- a move Apple and many others see as the next step for online video.

The few dollars I'd save with Unbox or iTunes movie downloads aren't enough to compensate for all these shortcomings. With DVDs, I can easily move from players attached to my home TV sets to the DVD-ROM drives on my computers to the $89 portable player I bought to keep my 6-year-old daughter Sara amused on long car trips

The transition to digital downloads won't ``happen overnight,'' Jobs told the Wall Street Journal. ``It takes years of investment,'' he said.

I'm happy to let Apple, Amazon and others make that investment, as long as they don't expect me to help that investment pay off until downloads are faster, video quality is better and prices are lower.

I am not sure how much control the download services will have on speed or price. If the price is too low the movie companies will say no. Speed is all about your internet collection. I wonder how much Apple and Amazon will be able to effect these things.

Replacing CDs with iTunes was a no brainer. The iPod and iTunes made listening to music easier for most people. It looks like the movie services make it harder than a DVD to watch movies. I think this is going to be the hard thing to overcome.

I also think that Apple and Amazon need to get companies to allow movies to be ripped into people's collections. Right now this is a major problem. Maybe they should work with rental companies to make discs that cannot be ripped and the ones I buy from the store can. I think that will be a barrier for these services to take off.


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