When Steve Jobs announced that Apple was going to update iTunes and Apple TV to allow movie rentals from the iTunes Store i was quite excited.  Generally I purchase all of my content via DVD and then rip them to view via Front Row.  This method works rather well since my iMac is close enough to my TV to allow me to just run an HDMI cable to the TV.

After updating to iTunes 7.6 I decided to rent a movie.  I ended up renting Hart’s War, standard definition version.  I rented this via iTunes since my Mac is hooked up to my 5.1 stereo system.  The purchase experience, as always, was flawless.  As soon as I agreed to rent the movie it began to download.  At this point I left to go and get something to eat, since I only have a 1.5mbps DSL connection I couldn’t actually begin watching the thing for a while.  And I didn’t want a “˜negative user experience’ so I let the thing start downloading and then began to watch about an hour later.

The actual presentation was indistinguishable from my encoded DVDs with a few exceptions.  I did notice some compression artifacts with black levels from the rental that I don’t think I would have gotten with my ripped version.  But other than that, the movie played flawlessly with no issues.

I have not yet rented a movie directly from my Apple TV since I have not yet had a chance to buy the proper cables to connect my Apple TV to my speaker system.  Once I do that I’ll be able to give my take on renting movies from the Apple TV and HD Rentals.  I may just go ahead and rent an HD Movie just to see if there is a major difference in quality between the two experiences.

The only complaint I have is why aren’t there HD rentals in iTunes?  Does Apple really think that somebody couldn’t go ahead and crack open their Apple TV’s and pull the file off, then go ahead and crack the DRM?  I understand that not all macs can display the HD resolution, but c’mon I should be able to consume the content I want, where I want.  End of story.

Wayne

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