Some of you may be aware that I have a video iPod now. I’ll be writing something about it at some point, but what I’d like to get hold of at the moment are video podcasts, or videocasts, or whatever you want to call them, except vodcasts because that’s clearly just stupid.
I’m subscribed to DigitalLife TV Videocast, Insane Films, 64mm Vlog and Rocketboom but I’d like a few more. The iTunes Podcast Directory does have videocasts on it but there’s not a huge number and a lot of them look crap, so if anyone could recommend some….
A few preliminary observations:
it’s absolute sex to look at, glossy black shiny gadget porn, everybody coos over it when they see it;
it scratches far too easily and needs a screen protector thing – I already have three fair-sized scratches on the screen and I’ve just been keeping it my jacket pocket;
the sleeve that comes with it looks cheap and is already stained;
the video quality is actually really good and I can comfortably watch kung fu DVDs that I’ve ripped and converted, though you need them to be dubbed rather than subtitled;
a two hour DVD comes to four hundred meg or so, and it’s got sixty gig of storage, only thirty-five of which is filled with music, so theoretically I could keep an awful lot of films on it;
transferring video is an absolute breeze once it’s converted – you just drag it into iTunes and then, when you next sync the iPod, it gets transferred. No complaints about DRM, nothing. This isn’t Sony or even worse, Nintendo;
videocasts are even easier, you just subscribe to them and when there’s a new one, it’s automatically downloaded and transferred.
I would like to experience the videocast aspect a bit more though. I find it quite gratifying that people have been working on the indie videocasting aspect since the thing was announced, and that there are already videocasts in the iTunes directory, making my earlier predictions seem less ridiculous. I’m not going to praise Apple for being selfless encouragers of creativity but they’ve got a rational commercial attitude here that bears repeating:
the easier you make it for people to produce things for your platform and distribute them, the more they add value to it, for free
It’s always stunned me that this is such a hard thing to grasp. If you provide a space for people to do creative things in and publicise them, they will utilise it. The device for which they are designing these things then becomes much more valuable. People are more likely to buy it, not because they’re locked into a platform, which seems to be the generally-used tactic, but because they can get better content for it. So what if somebody buys an iPod then just uses the iTunes Music Store to find free podcasts (and all of them are free)? They’ve still bought an iPod, haven’t they? And they’re more likely to think “ooh, I’d like to produce a video diary that people like me can watch, maybe I’ll buy a Mac and iLife as well”.
Edit (2005-10-26): Just to repeat the point of my first iPod post, in case anyone thought it was all about Apple getting “added value” for free – if you’ve not got an iPod, this is still good for you. As long as you’ve got a computer, and if you’re reading this I imagine you do, you can subscribe to and watch videocasts, just like you never needed an iPod for podcasts either. The iPod is just a lovely shiny lickable gimmick. The content and the distribution are what’s important.