Over the course of the last week my cable company added Discovery, TLC, National Geographic, and Animal Planet in HD. I already had Discovery HD Theater, but this is Discovery proper in HD. Finally watching MythBusters in HD yesterday was a big slice of awesome.
My wish list of HD channels is growing ever shorter. The main absentee being The Science Channel. SciFi and BBC America would be nice as well, if only for Doctor Who and Torchwood. Beyond that, there’s not much left for someone who watches as little traditional TV as I do.
An increasing number of the podcasts I watch are offering HD versions, Microsoft announced the addition of further studios and networks to the Xbox Marketplace at CES last week, much of which will be HD. I’m watching less and less in SD, and becoming less accepting of the poor quality of a lot of upscaled SD and sub-SD content.
Which brings me to Apple. I don’t talk much about Apple any more, but it’s a couple days from MacWorld and the nauseating hype is in the air, so I’m getting sucked into it a bit. Where is Apple’s HD content? You canot buy a single TV show or movie from iTunes in HD right now. Hell, you can’t even buy it in SD if you want to be pedantic, as it’s 640×480 letterboxed. Sub-SD.
If there isn’t an announcement of the arrival of HD content to the iTunes Store at MacWorld, Apple is out of the game as far as video content goes. Game over. They need to move to HD and, in the case of movies, need to offer rentals and not just the current over-priced purchase option.
The iTunes Store is already dead to me for music. Amazon had 3 of the 4 major labels and will have the 4th by the end of the month. DRM free in the more ubiquitous MP3 format, at higher bitrates, and cheaper than Apple. So far, iTunes for video was stillborn as far as I’m concerned. Intrusive DRM, poor quality, and high prices put TV shows out of the questions, and the lack of a rental option kills movies for me. 99.9% of movies I have zero interest in actually owning.
They’re already losing ground with music, but the video market is still has no dominant provider. They have time to get their foot in the door, but not much. They’ve been handed their hat already, and they’ll be shown the door if they have nothing new to show next week.
But, yeah… I’m loving all this HD content.