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Ipods and Video
Last December, Forbes wrote a piece on whether iPod would take over the film rental industry, effectively killing Blockbuster, with their new service of delivering videos to iPod. (Will The iPod Kill Blockbuster?)

Some time has passed since then, and it seems as though the market is more difficult to disrupt than the music market. Back in December, I commented on the Forbes article. Re-reading it, I still stand by my original points and feel they've so far held to be true. Though Blockbuster has lost some ground to NetFlix, the important distinction being made here is the more traditional form of movie-viewing (sitting at home, and watching it on a TV/Projector Screen/White wall) vs. the transportable form of some type of player, in this case iPods. Before getting to my comments on the Forbes article, I've got a poll to satisfy my curiosity:
How often do you download video to your portable media player?

So here's my take:

With each day, projectors become more powerful, and equally more affordable. I believe more people will make a trend towards building up their home theaters - including projectors, screens, surround sound, and fresh popcorn. A small screen that requires you to wear headphones pales in comparison.

I highly doubt that Blockbuster or others are at threat. There's a few more reasons why:

1) Movies rely on 2 of our sensory systems, not one, like music. One needs to be more active in watching and listening to a movie, while music allows for passive attention.

2) Movies are 90+ minutes long. In fact, they've progressively been getting longer. A quick search online shows that in 2003 the average American commute was 24.3 minutes. I doubt it's changed much since then. I equally doubt many would want to watch less than a third of a movie. What it does contend with are television shows, however.

3) Movies are social. People prefer listening to music alone, tv can be watched alone, but most people prefer to watch a movie with at least one other friend. iPods ask for a particularly forgiving friend - forgiving of the neck cramps and lack of audio they'll be put through.

4) People have shown the importance of music portability. The trend has been consistent from portable cassette players to portable CD players, to mp3 players. The same trend hasn't quite been there for films, particularly when we consider that though personal DVD players are popular, they are nowhere near as popular as portable audio players, and are only ever seen on airplanes, or on long road trips. And here, at least, portable DVD players offer less neck-cramps to a friend.

5) Lastly, quality and delivery. As DVDs become Blu-ray, and mpeg becomes mpeg4, one consistency holds across formats - higher quality means more bits, and thus larger file sizes. MP3s offer equal quality to CDs, more portability than CDs, and delivery time is pretty quick. Not true for movies.

(Will The iPod Kill Blockbuster? - Comment)

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