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Where's the iTunes Movies and TV shows? + The state of HD

I feel like I’ve been wishing Apple to put some video content on iTunes UK for so long now. The thing engadget posted about apple changing their UK apple tv page to not show any tv shows or movies and simply pictures of peoples home movies made sense, is just dissapointing, and also makes me wonder how many people here will buy one until movies are announced. I’m sure people will, but only those who rip their DVDs or want to watch podcasts (or even HD podcasts) and other net video content on their HD TV. I know I would be one of these people if we had an HD TV.

There are lots of shows that I would consider buying that aren’t available on DVD here (adult swim stuff) plus some movies like toy story and others maybe. We have toy story on video but now that video is all but obsolete and I would feel like punching myself after having to deal with a crappy tape I’d like to buy it again digitally.

Some of the stuff I would buy using the service: viva la bam, jackass, aqua teen, robot chicken and probably a load more when I think of them and some movies of course, although I tend to like animated and comedy movies rather than the more traditional genres.

I’m assuming the reason there is no content on the UK store yet is something to do with the BBC license fee. You would think it’s fine as long as the BBC don’t put any shows up on there but I’m skeptical. For example for those of you who aren’t aware, we pay a BBC license fee which pays for the ad-free BBC media over TV, radio and net. This fee, if not paid means you aren’t legally able (but not technically) to watch TV at all, even if you never watch bbc channels which is totally ridiculous and needs to be revised drastically.

Whether or not we get iTunes downloads soon or not, and regardless whether the license fee has anything to do with the delay, I still think something has to be done to make it more modern and fair. I think the people who don’t pay their tv license should be blocked from recieving bbc channels over freeview, cable or satelite and be able to view all the commercial channels. The bbc would be funded purely by the people who want to watch it. Now that makes sense to me.

While I’m on the subject of movies, TV and HD, I am so frustrated with the snails pace of HD adoption in this country. It’s taking forever seemingly where the US is blazing ahead with loads of HD channels and content. Over here we have just the sky channels in HD which to be honest I don’t really care about much. Virgin Media customers like ourselves seem to have it especially bad since we’re expected to pay £15 on top of the already fairly high and unjistified cost for only one channel in HD. That channel is BBC HD which we already theoretically pay for in our license fee (see this makes more sense as I go along). There is some HD content on-demand but you probably have to pay yet more for it so I guess it doesn’t count.

I had a thought tonight about HD how it’s developing well in some areas and frustratingly slowly in others. I think there has to come a point in the near future where HD becomes a standard feature for cable and possibly satelite. I mean considering firstly that digital is now free there has to be a way to justify the cost of pay services except the extra channels you get which aren’t exactly essential viewing most of the time. I mean for example MTV UKs “new shows” are repeats of new US shows shown in the states a couple of months earlier. For example I think Bam’s Unholy Union is starting soon when it’s been out for ages on iTunes now in the US.

There are three main points coming out of this. Firstly this country has to reinvent the way it deals with the bbc and the TV license. Secondly, there has to be more of a level playing field between the US and the UK and a more streamlined way of delivering content at the same time both sides of the Atlantic over traditional TV, net on-demand and iTunes and other download services.

Finally, HD has to take real strides in the next year in several areas. It has to get cheaper to buy TVs and cheaper to get the services. It has to become easier for people to choose a set. (Non-tech minded people don’t know the difference between 720p and 1080p except that one is bigger and they won’t know what the actual picture difference is). It also has to become easier for people to understand that just because they have an HD TV, they won’t get an HD picture for free. Then there’s the issue of getting far more HD channels available.

Despite the fact that there will be lots of content in HD online in the next year that will be abe to be played on your TV via Apple TV or something similar, and games can be played in HD now via the consoles, not to mention movies and TV show releases on HD format dics, those combined aren’t enough to make HD become the standard. TV has to catch up in a big way for it to happen.