Well, some new programming finally started coming on the networks after their spring break, so I was happy to have new 30 Rock, Scrubs and Office to watch last night.
Since this is the first time during this testing process that I’ve gotten the chance to download new episodes (other than Lost) of the shows that I commonly watched on cable, it was an interesting experience, having to wait a full day after everyone else in the world.
I didn’t that would bother me, since most of the time I didn’t watch the shows the day they aired when I had my cable DVR…but these episodes were ones that I’ve REALLY been waiting on, and it was incredibly hard to not find them from another source immediately after they aired.
Still, I waited, and I got to watch them on Friday. The quality inconsistency reared its ugly head again, this time between 30 Rock and The Office. Now, I know they aren’t the same shows, but they are on the same network, and you would think that they could at least have the same video quality.
The Office looked great…just as good as my cable HD used to look, but 30 Rock was kinda blurry…much more so than the cable HD used to be. Now, I know that the show wasn’t HD levels of encoding…but The Office manages to pull it off…so I expect the same thing from 30 Rock. Still, I got used to it, and I was able to enjoy the show…but this is still another example of how the iTunes content needs work.
Appreciate all your posts. One bit of clarification on your quality issues. I have no inside knowledge of Apple’s workflow but traditionally content is encoded by the content owners (or a trusted/bonded third party) and specifically left out of the hands of the reseller. While you and I see a ‘network’ as airing two products, it is also possible that the networks do not specifically manage the encoding for both shows. Different encoding firms may be responsible for two different ABC products for instance. Expect the inconsistency you are finding and realize that Apple probably has no hand in it than to point out QC issues and urge the owners to increase their professionalism.
You’ll also find the samd disparity at the news stand buying magazines. All are not of the same quality even though they’re sold at the same place.
Hey Greg –
I know that Apple doesn’t encode all of the shows, but I do believe that enforcing some quality control standards could fix this problem. I would expect NBC to be able to maintain a consistent level of quality for all of their programing as well.
It’s something they really need to work on (everyone from Apple to each of the networks) if they want this kind of content delivery to be a success. If they episodes were free, no one would complain, but if they’re going to charge me almost as much as a DVD box set…I really want consistent quality.
I expect once iTunes moves to HD shows that they will have a consistent quality, I’m surprised nothing was announced yet, maybe they are waiting for the NAB event to announce it.
That’s what I’m hoping for, but I’m not sure we’re going to see it this soon. I would have thought that, had they known they were going to do it this quickly after the product launch, that they would have just waited until then to actually ship the thing…but you never know.