Apple has followed Amazon Unbox’s lead in offering weekly 99 movie rental specials. Call it a loss leader – these sales reinforce their respective movie rental service offerings. When we still had the bedroom 32″ SDTV, we often enjoyed Amazon’s discounted films via TiVo. (Though we haven’t enjoyed watching them on our HDTVs – letter and pillar-boxes? Please!) It’s not yet clear if iTunes will offer multiple weekly selections like Amazon (did), or if the sale will be limited to one select feature as it is this week (The Hours).
Archives For Apple
I’d like to thank Ben for loaning me his Apple TV at a good time. The folks behind Airfoil, which I’ve never heard of until today, just released an application update that streams any audio from a Mac or Windows PC to Apple TV (or other Macs, PCs, and Airport Expresses, too). In under a minute I easily linked the Airfoil software to Firefox and was listening to XM Online and Pandora via Apple TV.
Streaming media to set-top boxes isn’t new – in fact, I wrote an Engadget article covering a convoluted TiVo music streaming method two years ago and have used Connect360 to play Mac content on my Xbox 360. However, like Connect360, what makes Airfoil notable is it’s simplicity.
Airfoil is available as a free demo (which I’m using) limited to 10 minutes of unaltered audio playback or it’ll run you $25 to unlock the app.
Coming Soon: Apple TV v. Vudu v. Xbox 360
Yesterday’s other big news was the beta release of DVD Jon‘s DoubleTwist software – that aims to be the Swiss army knife of multimedia conversion, sharing, and syncing. The feature (rightfully) garnering the most attention is the behind-the-scenes conversion of DRM-ed iTunes into unprotected MP3s for playlist synchronization onto non-iPods. Though, being a video geek my first experiments were with TiVo content…
On a fairly clean Windows XP install (TiVo Desktop, minimal codecs), DoubleTwist was unable to play TiVoToGo content. In fact, the program didn’t see the video files (or directory) until I changed the file extension from .tivo to .mpeg. And as you can see above, once found, DoubleTwist doesn’t utilize TiVo’s .dll during playback. I was interested in seeing what would happen when syncing TiVo video to my iPhone and Nokia N95 as a possible free replacement for TiVo Desktop Plus, but I discovered device synchronization is currently limited to audio files.
Speaking of that N95, DoubleTwist immediately identified the photos and videos I’ve shot – had I wanted to share them with someone. Though, that brings up a problem (for me) with this software. I imagine DVD Jon is a nice guy, but the required online registration and service connectivity is a major turn off. I want to convert, sync, and possibly share privately.
Last week I paid tribute to Hallmark and jolly old St. Valentine. Or something like that. Melissa has said her iPod Mini is “too big.” Though she couldn’t tell me exactly what it’s too big for, I did replace it with a diminutive Nano “fatty” – doubling her storage capacity (8GB) in the process. We also went through an iTunes divorce – I’d been managing her iPod, but now she’s set up with her own iTunes software and account. So we’ve decided to only purchase single tracks from iTunes and, when we want entire albums, we’ll order physical CDs for ripping and sharing… until all iTunes are DRM-free. Or, perhaps it’s time to give Amazon’s DRM-free music download service a serious look.