I’ve worked out how to take a typical AVI file download (generic MPEG-4 with MP3 audio, such as XviD) and convert it to something the Apple TV should be able to play without re-encoding all the video. There’s also the elgato turbo.264, which approximately quadruples the speed of encoding video for AppleTV. I tried re-encoding a good quality downloaded show that’s unavailable in the USA, using the QuickTime AppleTV preset. The result was indistinguishable from the original.
Today’s the big day. The iTunes Music Store has started actually selling DRM-free music. I decided to vote with my wallet and go find and buy something. I’m hoping that in a few weeks we’ll see a press release stating that EMI’s music sales tripled, or something like that, and the other labels will get that clue they’ve been missing. Unfortunately, it seems as if everyone else has had the same idea, and Apple’s Internet connections anre buckling under the strain.
I’ve had it for over a month now, and I have to say the Oppo OPDV971H is great. If you dislike censorship, like obscure movies, or download unavailable TV shows and movies from the Internet, this is the player for you. In a nutshell: It will play any DVD from any country in the world, on any TV in the world. It’ll also play XviD and DivX Pro MPEG-4 files on CD-R, CD-RW, or DVD-R, at resolutions up to 720×480.
A lot of blather about the video iPod has missed the point. No, I don’t think that many people are going to want to buy 320×240 copies of TV shows and music videos at $2 each, that they can’t even burn to a DVD. That’s not why the video iPod matters. You’ll notice that the new video iPod is still almost exactly the same as the old iPod, because it’s still primarily a music player.
I notice that 1GB of CompactFlash has dropped to under $100. It’s only a matter of time before it makes sense to replace DV camcorders with flash memory units. With MPEG-4 compression, a unit like the Fisher Sanyo FVD-C1 can record about an hour of NTSC quality video in a GB. (In fact, there are already some pro camcorders which use RAID arrays of CompactFlash, believe it or not.) Sure, DV is cheap, but DV also sucks a lot.