Plenty of Content, No Tools

Before its release, one of the biggest reasons why Apple would never release a video enabled iPod was because there was no content. That's not true. There is plenty of content, it's just hidden away on those shiny discs and doesn't want to come out. Worst of all, the software tools to extract (rip) video content that you already own suck.

A few of the CDs I buy these days come with companion DVDs. These companion DVDs include videos, documentaries, and even video of live performances. A few of these include...
* Hybrid - Morning Sci-Fi
* Ferry Corsten - Right Of Way
* DJ Shadow - Mashin' On The Motorway

These are just the audio discs that came with some video content. Let's not forget about the pleathora of music based DVDs filling the store shelves. I personally can't wait to watch Underworld and DJ Shadow on my next plane trip.

The movie studios don't even want us ripping DVDs, even ones we own, to portable devices. HandBrake can help you out here if you run OS X. Unfortunately, as I play with HandBrake, I'm finding that it wants to rip things to widescreen when they aren't, and it doesn't properly handle anamorphic content. I'll post the details if I come up with something I'm happy with.

I guess I can't be too mad. I didn't have to pay anything for HandBrake. But this begs the question, why didn't Apple release dead-easy video content ripping to their dead-easy audio content ripping tool, iTunes? Are they scared of the MPAA? Is the software just not ready yet? Are they waiting for the release of the real Video iPod?

The content isn't limited to video enhanced audio. Most people are far more likely to have a season of their favorite TV show on DVD. It will be a happy day when I can easily rip my Simpsons and Seinfeld episodes to play on any computer on my network, and all of my video enabled portables. Who will be the first media distributor to include a "formatted for iPod" disc in the same case as the DVD? I'm guessing it won't be Sony :) Will it be the next Pixar release, or will they expect you to buy it again online?

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