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iTunes


Today's Show:
If you have been listening to our show for a while you know that Braden would really like an a la carte sway to buy TV. It makes sense, why pay for 300 channels when in reality you only watch about 30 or 40. And really you probably only watch about 10 to 15 90% of the time. So the other day Ara missed an episode of Lost and was forced to watch it via the ABC website. After about 5 minutes of so called streaming HD video he got fed up and downloaded an HD version from iTunes. It cost $2.99 but had no commercials. The quality was quite good and it even had 5.1 audio. Something that makes watching Lost quite enjoyable. That got us wondering. Could heavy TV watchers like ourselves get by with buying TV programming A la Carte style via AppleTV. This would also work if you have an HTPC with iTunes on it.

What if AppleTV Replaced my DVR?

The following are TV shows that Ara watches with his family. Many of the shows stay on the DVR until the Summer. In fact last year he didn't watch everything that he recored.

ABC:
  • Lost Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $49.99
  • Pushing Daises Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $29.90
  • Life on Mars Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $38.87
ABC Final Score 3 for 3 in HD and 5.1 audio. Total Cost $118.76

CBS:
  • Big Bang Theory Season One Only, SD Only
  • How I met your Mother Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $67.99
  • Two and a Half Men Up to Season 4, SD
  • Rules of Engagement Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $32.99
  • NCIS Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $66.99
  • Survivor Current Season, Widescreen SD Pro Logic, Season Pass $28.99
  • The Unit HD 5.1, Season Pass $63.99
  • Ghost Whisperer Not Available
  • Numbers Current Season, Widescreen SD Pro Logic, Season Pass $44.99
CBS Final Score 6 Shows out of 9 that I watch up to date availability. Four in HD with 5.1 Two in Widescreen SD. Total Cost $305.94

NBC:
  • Chuck Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $59.99
  • Heroes Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $64.99
  • 30 Rock Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $52.99
NBC Final Score 3 for 3 in HD and 5.1 audio. Total Cost $177.97

FOX:
  • American Idol Not Available
  • 24 Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $59.99
  • Bones Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $69.99
  • House Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $59.99
  • Hell's Kitchen Current Season, Widescreen SD Pro Logic, Season Pass $26.99
  • Fringe Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $59.99
  • Sarah Connor Chronicles Current Season, HD 5.1, Season Pass $59.99
Fox Final Score 6 for 7 with 5 shows in HD and 5.1 audio. Total Cost 336.94

In order to do away with my DVR Ara would need to spend 939.61 and that wouldn't even get all the shows that he records. And for doing that he would get a slight less quality HD and in two cases the shows would be widescreen Enhanced Definition. Still an improvement over the old analog days. For the record many series on Pay TV are available as well. Heads up for HBO fans, there are not many shows in HD and some are 4:3. Showtime series are in HD by the way.

For arguments sake let's say Ara drops his DirecTV service to basic receivers and eliminates his pay channels which will reduce the satellite costs by more than $700 a year. With the amount of TV we watch its cheaper to keep the Satellite service. Plus if you want to record something other than a network show it becomes problematic. Where we think iTunes is going to make a big impact is with people who watch little TV or with younger people.

If all you do is watch a few series than you will be well served with the a la carte format of itunes. The quality is good and the content is timely. If you have a laptop then you can watch what you want when you want where you want. Put up an antenna and you have access to live news and sports. In this case you can reduce your TV bill down to a few hundred dollars a year. If you can take less video quality and stereo audio then Hulu and network sites may be all you need bringing your cost down to zero.

Think of the iTunes store as a DVR guilt reducer. Ara recently removed The Sarah Connor Chronicles from my DVR. If he runs out of things to watch this Summer. You can bet he'll pay the $60 to have first run HD content when there is nothing but reruns on.

Posted by The HT Guys, March 13, 2009 12:08 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.