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The After Mac

My iTunes Movie Rentals Experience

by Juan on January 26th, 2008

Finally I was able to score some credits for my iTunes account. I had 2 cents last week and through some kind friends, I was able to ask them to buy some iTunes Pre-paid cards for me to top of my account. After redeeming my iTunes cards and with $40 ($25 + $15) in my account, I then proceeded to scour the catalog of movies to rent from iTunes.

My dad’s boss was in town for awhile and while having dinner with him, he recommended that I try to see “Ratatouille”. I’ve seen most Pixar movies except for this one so I knew this was something I had to go and rent. So I clicked on the “rent” button for this movie and iTunes began downloading it. Another movie I’ve been meaning to see is “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” a classic. I saw it on iTunes and decided to download this one as well.

With the speed of our DSL connection or lack thereof, it took about a 8 hours per movie that I was downloading. I didn’t watch it as soon as it downloaded seeing that if I watched it, after 24 hours it would expire. I wanted my family to see it as well as to maximize the money I spent to rent it.

So we scheduled a viewing time wherein all of us can watch it. We finally did. Here are somethings I found out about iTunes Rentals.

1. The 30 day countdown starts from the time you download the movie. I lost a day already here since I didn’t know about this. I figured that the countdown would start after the file finishes downloading. So if you have a slow internet connection, tough luck that less time for you to watch it. However, I don’t see this as a very big issue since I think 30 days is enough time to watch the movies. If you still haven’t watched it after 30 days, you probably shouldn’t have rented it because you’re too busy.

2. You can’t access the Rented movies via Front Row or through another computer with access to your shared library. I thought that the rentals would work the same way as your purchased music or TV shows, you can actually authorize another computer and access your library through the other computer. The reason I found this out was because I lost my VGA to DVI adapter and I couldn’t connect my MacBook Pro to our LCD TV. My brother could connect his MacBook and so we wanted to watch it on the LCD TV through the MacBook. No dice. Luckily after hours of searching we found the adapter.

3. The quality of the video is good enough. Watching the movies through our 32″ LCD TV, the standard files of the movies were good enough. Close to DVD quality in my opinion although there were some parts of the movies that the gradients were still a little pixelated.

4. 24 Hours is too short of a time to watch movies. - While I find that 30 days is enough to start watching the movie, I think the 24 hour limit to finish it is quite short. There are times that you won’t be able to finish the movie for one reason or another, say you fall asleep or have something urgent to attend to, you only have 24 hours to finish it. My suggestion would be to extend the time to around 48 to 72 hours. Another alternative would be a finite time of watching the movies. Let’s say you can watch it 5 times in the span of a week or something like that.

5. You can’t move the movie to another computer and watch it from there. In trying out how to play the movies on my brother’s computer (initially that was the only computer we could connect to the LCD TV) I tried several things. Sharing my library and copying the files to the other computer. It wouldn’t play. Even if I’ve never played the movie on my computer when I copied the file to the other computer and signed in using my account on iTunes it still didn’t play. It’s said that it was only authorized to play on another computer.

6. I have to get an Apple TV. I wasn’t a big fan of the Apple TV before but now it seems like a good idea. Hooking up my MacBook Pro to the LCD TV every time I want to watch a movie is too much hassle. Plus the HD content is only available via Apple TV. So…

As a whole, my iTunes Movie Rental experience was ok. I’m sure as time passes and the selection of titles get better and wider, the rental service will pick up. I realized that for movies, the rental model will work better. Simply because people don’t want to watch movies several times over in a short span of time. Unlike music which we can listen to over and over, movies just aren’t made like that.

If you’re connection is slow, the rentals need planning. Rent your movies ahead of time and schedule a movie night with your family. I’m imagining getting an Apple TV and planning ahead of time for the rentals I want to make and making Saturday nights, movie night for our family.

Oh and one more thing that I’ve learned… Audrey Hepburn is one of the prettiest ladies I’ve ever watched.

POSTED IN: Commentaries, Juan's Posts, Services, Software, Videos, iTunes, iTunes Movie Rentals

1 opinion for My iTunes Movie Rentals Experience

  • Vic
    Jan 28, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Some other notes:

    1. You can work around the 24 hour time limit by putting the movie on Pause while watching it and leaving it paused. Even if you resume after the 24 hours have supposedly lapsed, the countdown will only continue after you un-pause. Just make sure you don’t close the window.

    2. You need iPhone firmware 1.1.3 to copy rental movies to your phone. Found that out too late, so had to watch my rented Ronin at home instead of on the plane flight. Woohoo. Best car chases ever, plus Natascha McElhone! (albeit with a slightly irritating accent).

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