mini Blockbuster

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Date: Friday, December 16th, 2005, 08:00
Category: Mac mini

mac-mini-200.jpgBlockbuster, Hollywood Video, Netflix, GreenCine, whatever the movie rental competition, I predict that Apple will eventually challenge these services. The Video iPod and iMac G5 were just testing the waters. The iPod screen is tiny and the iMac, even with the biggest screen is too small to be a home entertainment system. I wouldn’t have predicted it would start by selling TV episodes, but at some point Apple will need to rent feature length films at HD quality.
The Mac mini is the real deal. The size is right and video via Apple is poised to be the next big thing. The next mini is going to have to be a digital video recorder capable of decoding surround sound right out of the box. Think Secret is saying that video will reside on the user’s iDisk and never reside on the computer. I don’t think streaming feature length films or HD content can work that way any time soon, but I can envision a number of solutions that are far more robust than the DRM used to lock iTunes songs.
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mac-mini-200.jpgBlockbuster, Hollywood Video, Netflix, GreenCine, whatever the movie rental competition, I predict that Apple will eventually challenge these services. The Video iPod and iMac G5 were just testing the waters. The iPod screen is tiny and the iMac, even with the biggest screen is too small to be a home entertainment system. I wouldn’t have predicted it would start by selling TV episodes, but at some point Apple will need to rent feature length films at HD quality.
The Mac mini is the real deal. The size is right and video via Apple is poised to be the next big thing. The next mini is going to have to be a digital video recorder capable of decoding surround sound right out of the box. Think Secret is saying that video will reside on the user’s iDisk and never reside on the computer. I don’t think streaming feature length films or HD content can work that way any time soon, but I can envision a number of solutions that are far more robust than the DRM used to lock iTunes songs.
What about caching a movie and then retrieving unlock keys on the fly for each chapter. No single file sitting in a folder, just cached chapters that require an iTunes account to unlock while playing. How about encrypted and compressed video that requires an active internet connection to decrypt during playback. Whatever the mechanism, I am thinking about rental and not ownership of feature films. Just remember, that unlike the iPod, it would be easy to require an active Internet connection to enable playback with a mini. Tie the playback to deletion and you have a very robust system that protects content. After all, it would be easier for casual pirates to just rent the DVD and copy it in order to steal a movie. The studios should be happy with a roadblock that works better than the current copy protection built into DVD disks.
To really break out, the mini will have to replace not only Tivo/DVR but also Netflix/Blockbuster and perhaps even Playstation/Xbox. Too bad Apple is so weak in gaming right now. In addition, the mini needs to be the Super iPod of home entertainment. The mini could be your music player, video player, video recorder, your video rental store and game console. On top of that, you can store and edit your own movies and photos. iLife on the big screen. Just sell plasma displays and slick compatible home audio at the Apple Stores. The newest Intel Napa platform should go a long way towards keeping the mini fanless and add ViiV to deal with video content. The biggest problem I see is with the price vs. capacity of the 2.5″ hard drive, but time heals most storage capacity issues. If the new mini can do it all and do it all better, it will be a blockbuster product!
(Contributed by Bob Snow)

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