The Future of Video

Apple just released a new video-capable iPod, as was expected. You can also download music videos from the iTunes Music Store, at $1.99 a shot. That's cool. Yawn.

But wait...what's really interesting is that you can also download episodes from some TV shows, like Lost or Desperate Housewives--also for $1.99. This is the start of a major paradigm shift. I'm not a huge TV watcher, but there are a few good shows out there that we've gotten hooked on (Lost, Smallville, Arrested Development, Battlestar Galactica). Not having cable and Tivo, though, I can't always catch my shows. I've always said I'd be happy to pay a small fee ($1.99 is about right) to be able to download an episode legally (it's not hard to find and download them "illegally" online). Now I can do that. Go Apple. The networks certainly weren't going to get their shit together to do it themselves.

It's still got a long way to go. Only a few shows are apparently available. Actually, I don't know exactly what's available because the only links to videos on their "Music" store home page are for "Music Videos" and a big "Lost" graphic. Is it so hard to just have a separate video section in your store? I'm guessing that Apple tried to push this out the door quickly, before properly redesigning their store interface to support the videos. Or maybe not. It's not that hard to do. Regardless, I'm sure they'll sort it out soon enough.

They're going to have to rename the Music Store, though. Media Store? Actually, my guess is that once they pad out their offerings a bit, they'll have a separate Video Store.

An Apple Video Store will be huge for everyone involved. The networks will be able to squeeze new money out of shows that have long since been written off. You'll be able to relive your youth by downloading some Miami Vice episodes or "owning" your own copy (as much as Apple's DRM lets you own) of the classic "Master of my Domain" Seinfeld episode, not to mention getting access to all kinds of old shows that will never make it to DVD. And of course Apple get its cut.

Go Apple.