With Apple’s delay of the AppleTV update, I’m stuck watching this copy of “The Simpsons Movie” on my wife’s iPhone if I want to actually watch the thing. This experience with the iTunes rental process has made it very clear to me that if Apple is going to succeed with this they’re going to have to give it a “take 2″.
The first problem with the iTunes rental model is clear. 24 hours. It’s a problem with ALL the current online rental models that I’m aware of, so this one isn’t an Apple exclusive, but it is a problem that is going to have to be fixed if there is any chance of this succeeding. Like a lot of people today, I very rarely have 2 hours (or more) to commit to a movie these days. What I like to do is what a movie over the span of a day or two in the 30 minutes or so that I have the spare time to commit to it. That, of course, is impossible with the iTunes rentals model as it stands now.
There are two other current rental models in my area that I can compare it to.
The first is my local video store. I hate the place. Long lines, employees that don’t seem to know how to operate the buttons on their shirts, much less the scanners required to scan the movies. The only good thing about the place is that all the rentals are for 5 days. If you don’t bring it back on the 5th day, it’s re-rented to you for another 5 days. It’s not a bad deal. I get plenty of time to watch my movie. Now, the rentals are $5 – so isn’t not cheap…it’s basically $1 a day.
The second option in my area is the Redbox. Redbox is the current king of rentals for me because I have 3 different Redboxes within immediate driving distance. None of them are more than 5 minutes away, and I can go onto Redbox.com, find the movie I want, then drive to whichever box has it, and pick it up. It costs me $1 a day. If I can watch the flick that night, I’m only out a buck. If I need to keep it a few more days, I pay for it. It’s the greatest rental experience possible right now.
And it’s the perfect model for iTunes.
$1 = 1 day. If I need to keep the thing for a week, let me keep it for a week. Redbox has it figured out. The only negative to Redbox is the whole “actually leaving the house” thing – but I will gladly stop by the Redbox 100 times before I’m going to rent 1 movie from iTunes that I won’t be able to finish in the time allowed.
The second major problem with the rentals in iTunes are that, apparently, no one even considered a two Mac house hold when planning this idiotic DRM scheme. I should be able to move this rental over to my iPhone, AND my wife’s iPhone…maybe I’ll concede that after moving it onto one, I can’t movie it onto the other….maybe…but why on earth, especially when we’re talking about the SAME iTunes account here, can’t I watch the rental on my iPhone?
It makes no sense. Even if you create a seperate user on the host Mac, and log in, so that you can access two iPhones on one machine, I STILL can’t move the rental over, because it doesn’t show up. It’s sitting right there on the hard drive taking up space, but I can’t use it.
What it leaves us with is a rental system that is going to have to consider a multi-Mac household, and is going to have to give us more time to watch these movies. Otherwise, this model simply will not work. At least, that’s what I think. What about you?