Tuesday, September 12, 2006

iTunes 7

I confess to looking forward to Apple Special Event days like a kid anticipating Christmas. I fire up my web browser and keep several new feeds running in different tabs, and when the streaming video becomes available, I watch it as well.

But this time, I'll have to wait on that replay. Forget the ipods and the iTV, I immediately downloaded iTunes 7 for the new features.

My problem, that this new version solves, was how to let my family access the hundreds of tv shows and movies I had collected on the Mac Mini. Of course, I know how to access everything, multiple ways, but then I've gone through all the startup pain of capturing and encoding them. But should I recommend firing up Front Row? iTunes? EyeTV? or just navigate using the Finder and play them in Quicktime Player?

Now, it's a no-brainer. Everyone knows iTunes, and the new browsing mode for movies is very nice. Plus, they've included a floating control bar when playing video full screen, much like the Quicktime Player. Forget Front Row, this is the way to go.

Of course, now that I think about it. I do like that new 80GB iPod. I just have to figure out how to hint to Mary Ann that I'd like one for Christmas. (the black one).


Karen said...

Are these movies DVD quality? Is there an easy way to burn DVDs you own into iTunes?

Henry Melton said...

Not DVD quality, but certainly good enough for me. The video you buy from iTunes is 640x480, and I bought several at 320x240 (their earlier standard) and haven't regretted it. Video I capture off the TV I also encode at 320x240 with H.264 encoding, which gives me a 43 minute TV show (after I've removed commercials) in about 240 MB.

I've run my favorite DVD's through iSquint, a Mac program that produced good quality encoding, although it does take a while. Probabaly a lot faster on one of the newer multi-core processors.

I'm sure this is totally unacceptable for some people who must have higher quality, but I grew up with old standard TV, often with ghosting or noise, so my personal standards are low. These recordings I've made are a lot nicer than most of what I've seen over the years.

iSquint is donationware and the author also has a bigger program to buy if you want. Try it out and see if the quality is good enough for your purposes.