Wednesday, October 12, 2005

iPod Video, come to me!

Oh, my friends, I can't tell you how excited I am! Today, my good buddy (at least, I wish we were buddies) Steve Jobs announced the arrival of the iPod Video. The biggest question surrounding this device's arrival was what kind of content would be available for it. Well, this is the part that excites me. I am not into the music video scene, though they are available for purchase. I am not even really into ABC's Lost. Still, the fact that Apple has been able to score a contract with ABC Disney is huge. For those of us who do not want to pay Comcast or Dish Network or DirecTV or any other money-hungry service provider, there is finally another option. I can now legally download shows I want to see. I can play them when I want without paying TiVo (a digital VCR, for those of you who don't know). Most importantly, I don't have to have stuff I don't want piped into my house. Goodbye, Magic Bullet infomercials. Goodbye, beer commercials. Goodbye, channel surfing.
In my mind, I would hope that the contract with ABC would soon extend to such things as college football on Saturdays or Sportscenter each night. Granted, I am not going to pay the same two dollars wanted for a download of Lost just to watch a nightly show like Sportscenter. The cost would have to be less. It would cost me a minimum of forty dollars a month to get satellite TV at my apartment. That's a buck and change each day for fifty channels. Let's say I'm able to watch an hour of news before I go to work, one primetime show after work, and Sportscenter before bed. On the weekends, there is usually at least one football or basketball game I would like to see--two if it's rivalry week or the playoffs. Roughly, this puts me at about three hours per day (this is in line--good or bad-- with the national averages according to the National Center for Educational Statistics). That means I'd be paying about 44 cents per hour of television watched in a given month. Apparently, Apple and ABC have come to the conclusion that it is worth another $1.54 for an episode of a popular show without commercials. That's a 350% increase in price. Is it's value that high? I guess that is going to be up to consumers to decide with their credit cards. I have to admit that I would probably be willing to buy the basketball or football games I miss for a buck or two. It would sure beat having a bunch of VHS copies laying around.
On a different side of this issue, what about my cousin Josh? For those of you who don't know, he is going to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Central American country of Honduras. I did the same thing a few years ago in Colombia. In my experience, we had a few occasions when we took a VCR in a backpack to the homes of people we were visiting, so we could show them some Church-produced videos about Christ and His teachings. Carrying that backpack probably contributed a bit to my losing fifty pounds over two years, but I digress. What if Josh were able to carry an iPod Video with 150 hours of content on it? The thing would be a million times less noticeable than some 6'6" white kid carrying a VCR on his backpack while riding down the street on a bike. Of course, VCR's cost $50, while the iPod Video is going for a few hundred today. But, what if? Even if they don't start passing out iPod Video's to the missionaries, I would still like one, and I want to be able to have those Church videos for myself. The Church's semi-annual General Conference is already podcasting, now let's take care of the VODcast, too!