Apple's Movie Rentals Great In Theory, Sucks In Practice | Cult of Mac

Apple’s Movie Rentals Great In Theory, Sucks In Practice



Steve Jobs’ much-ballyhooed movie rental service looks all fine and dandy, but the question in my mind is: “How long will it be before the service offers a single decent movie to rent?”

At present, the movies on offer are even shittier than the local video store, or those available on-demand from my cable providor, Comcast, which utterly stinks.

It’d be depressing if all Apple offered was popcorn garbage. Surely the service is serving the wrong demographic. Early adopters, the kind that run out to buy an AppleTV box, are surely more interested in less mainstream fare. How long will it be before there’s some independent movies, classics, artsy fartsy foreign stuff, and genre titles?


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34 responses to “Apple’s Movie Rentals Great In Theory, Sucks In Practice”

  1. Drew Caster says:

    “How long will it be before there’s some independent movies, classics, artsy fartsy foreign stuff, and genre titles?”

    Since many of those kinds of movies are handled by several dozen independent distributors, those will come in time. Getting all the major studios was the biggest hurdle.

    So you don’t like Zoolander or Live Free or Die Hard? I’d like to see a baseline of the movies you consider good.

  2. Andrew Mayne says:

    It Happened One Night, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Great Escape, The Lives of Others, The Magnificent Seven, House of Games…

    That’s a pretty good start for me in the classic and artsy department Leander. I can’t find any of those on Comcast. Maybe it’s better where you live.

  3. Dann says:

    I think the main point is that people who use Apple TV or an online movie rental source do so because nothing that suits their taste is available at the local Blockbuster. Anything on the iTunes store is on the pirate bay 32 days earlier.

  4. E says:

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    West Side Story
    The Magnificent Seven
    War Games
    Trading Places

    How many more classics do you need ? ;-)

    Seems like a decent start for day 1. I’m sure more will come. But I’d certainly hope they add a section showing only the movies available for rental. It’s disappointing when you find a movie you want to rent, but then see it’s only available for purchase.

  5. Alex says:

    Have you actually ever watched Zoolander before insulting it so prominently?

  6. George Kelly says:

    I love the fact that apple has now got round to renting movies as for what’s on offer well that’s down to the boys behind the big desks in movie land.

    Only two gripes I have with it is you have to wait 30 days after it has been released on DVD before it shows up in iTunes second I live in the UK and when it does arrive over here we will as usual get a raw deal on pricing

  7. Andy says:

    Wow. The service is not even 24 hours old and you can already declare that it “sucks in practice.” When iTunes started it didn’t have anywhere near the 6 million song catalog to sell that it does now. These things take a little time. Good lord. I think the fact that a good majority of studios have signed on is a good indication that the service will offer a lot more in the near future.

  8. tony says:

    Dude, give it time. The service hasn’t even been available for a day. Sheesh.

  9. Eric says:

    My exact sentiments. It’s been one day and your already slamming Apple for having a crappy selection of titles to pick from. Give me a break! Even the title of this article “Apple’s Movie Rentals Great In Theory, Sucks In Practice” is ridiculous. Apple said 1,000 titles by the end of February so until then, wait then review the iTunes Movie rental selection.

  10. alex says:

    sucks in practice? no, it sucks in practice if you find it difficult to use. sucks in selection? thats a matter of opinion, and your opinion doesnt even relate to your title which is just taking a cheap shot to get you some attention.

  11. Andrew DK says:

    I second that Alex.

    Besides, Zoolander IS the greatest movie ever. I’ve always liked how when they show screen shots of the iTS (like when it started selling movies) Zoolander was always there, front and center.

    It’s taught me that there’s more to life then being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.

  12. ballpein says:

    I have to agree with Leander. The inventory of movies to date is like a “top 40” list, and I’ve already seen all the ones I care to see. Hopefully the indie distributors will come online soon. Right now iTunes looks like an online Blockbuster, but I hope it becomes more like that funky video store that carries foreign films and festival releases.

    As a side note, the 30-day waiting period after DVD release is going will mean that a lot of potential customers (like me) will continue doing what they’ve been doing – pirating these movies via bitorrent. Hopefully this will change once the studio people clue in.

  13. CSMcDonald says:

    My question is why can’t I copy the rental movie to my iPod Video (5G)

    What’s special about the newest rev of iPods? Could this have something to do with Apple changing the video out from being through the earphone jack to the dock connector?

  14. Doug S. says:

    The problem with the sort of niche fare that Leander is talking about is that it is niche fare; i.e., by definition its appeal is fairly narrow. Apple would have been foolish to rely too heavily on it at first. Start with the highest-percentage bets, then move to the margins once those have begun paying off.

    They’ll definitely need a larger library than the 1k titles by the end of February that Jobs talked about, but it is way too soon to complain about it.

    As far as Apple TV goes, those of us who are into niche stuff don’t necessarily need iTunes movie rentals to find it useful. I watch downloaded anime fansubs, and if I didn’t already have an iPod and an AV cable, AppleTV would be just the thing for me to store them and watch them on my TV.

    I thought Zoolander was pretty clever, personally. And of course Live Free and Die Hard had to be in the mix; they couldn’t diss Justin Long, could they?

  15. jamie Tucker says:

    It probably won’t be in Canada for another four years, probably just before they launch the iphone. I don’t know what the deal is, if it has to do with the CRTC or what. This is a service I would actually use and I’m being denied it. Do they not think the market is large enough to make it worth while? Is it a question of CANCON? because most movies either star or were made by Canadians, or at the very least they were filmed in Canada.
    Come on.

  16. Kenny says:

    From the Wired story you link to ‘Apple says it plans to add more than 1,000 films by next month’

    Kinda answers your first question dontcha think? Jobs also said that new releases would be available 30 days after the DVD release.

    As for the artsy fartsy stuff, yep would be great to have diversity and choice, and I’m sure it will come. But it’s the blockbusters, like Zoolander, that pay the bills so why should we be surprised that they’re on there first?

  17. Aart Gerritsen says:

    By the time we get the features in Europe, the system will be grown up! Just be a bit patient, it is an honour for you guys in the US that you are the first to experience all this new cool Apple features. It was the same with the introduction of itunes and the iphone. We as Apple believers should always support our “Company”, don’t forget that the only alternative is the Bill Gates Maffia.