But wait...yep as expected, no British ones. But then I don't watch Dr. Who anyway (c'mon, y'know that'd be the first in there, well if the BBC gets over itself with the whole charging thing and drops the cockPlayer).
So, is it worth it?? Well they seem to have arrived with less fanfare than they did in the States on their initial launch, maybe everything's being overshadowed somewhat by NBC/Universal's imminent departure from the store, but anyway...
I've been waiting for TV shows in the UK store ever since the original launch, my TV viewing habits have changed considerably over the past couple of years, moving away from the traditional schedule driven pattern and more towards a hip, funky
on-demand lifestyle for my main programmes with my "traditional" style sitting down watching TV generally being more 'impulse' viewing if you will, sit down see what's on.
So being able to get the series I watch downloaded podcast stylee to my Mac, so that I can watch either at home or on the train to/from work is ideal.
Now of course that option is pretty much already available to me, should I wish to pursue it, albeit, it's not legal and involves file-sharing (BitTorrent has only ever worked once for me, it's shite, don't know what all the fuss is about...or I'm missing something), hoping the description matches the content and that the connection's good enough, oh did I mention it was illegal, thus not something I or anyone should do.
Do I want to wait a good decade for Heroes to reach BBC2? No. Do I have regular access to a Sky Box? Normally, no (I do at the moment but that's not the point).
Sky have done a pretty good job of securing deals with the Yanks to get Battlestar and Lost pretty quickly, the last series of Lost aired literally a few days after it did in the US, so props to them... if I had the option of Sky all the time that is.
So anyway, I'm very tempted to buy a season pass for the next season(s) of Lost and Battlestar (unless that dissappears with NBC which I have a feeling it will...wait it's not even there now!! DAMN!), so again is it worth it?
Well let's have a look..
All 3 seasons are currently listed at £32.99 on the UK iTunes Store, each are the full 23/24 episodes and are the (now) standard iTunes video res of 640x480 h.264, I'm not sure on the file size as I haven't bought an episode yet, i'd hazard a guess at around 350Mb tho, and I'm pretty sure 16:9 & widescreen aren't letterboxed as files.
Compared to a DVD box set, Lost Series 3 will retail at somewhere around £50, so iTunes is cheaper, but then you don't have them on a 'physical' media..get over it, no DVD extras, ok that's valid, I'm normally a geek for extras but for some reason I'm not that fussed about them for the shows I watch, whereas for a film DVD, it could be a deal breaker.
You don't have to wait half a year for the DVD to come out, true, but is that a worthwhile comparison? Kinda as regards the fact that I'm, paying for the episodes, but not kinda (?) as the download is instead of watching the broadcast.
Yeah? But what's the quality like??? According to Apple (for the movies at least) "Near DVD". Oh.
iTunes - 640x480 h.264 QT
DVD - 720x576 PAL MPEG-2
So DVD's are a higher picture quality, on both res and compression, HD?? Not fussed at the mo so we'll leave that one.
What's the alternative download option tho? Well, if you were on of those pirate people, there is the BitTorrent, File sharing option, how does iTunes compare to that?
Well there's a massive price difference for starters, that's assuming you're ok with breaking the law every week. The end product is essentially the same, a single episode each time, no extras, but the BT/FS options aren't encoded by the studios or Apple, they're done by some enterprising young scallywag somewhere over the pond, so surely the quality won't compare to pro stuff that you pay for from the store??
Well let's compare an episode of Lost series 3 (Greatest Hits). I previewed the episode, full screen, in the store and used the standard Mac screen cap for a few shots, then I opened up a DivX version that I'd been given to test with, played it full screen in Quicktime Player (Perian thankyou) and screen capped as best i could the same shots without being too anal about it.
Here's the stats for the DivX vid:
iTunes wouldn't give me the stats on their one :(
Now for the screen caps (iTunes on the left, DivX on the right and hopefully clicking on them will take you to the relevant page on my Flickr account)...
Now I don't think there's a lot in it, I think the iTunes one's a bit over saturated, but at first glance, it could be ok. BTW it may be worth noting that currently I'm either watching this stuff on my 19" CRT or my 13" MacBook, not a 40" HD LCD ;)
Anyway, I'm gonna ponder some more in a bit as I have to go out now, but would be interested in people's thoughts on this...