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Apr 12, 2001
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The Criterion Collection, film distribution company specializing in "gathering the greatest films from around the world" and releasing them in the highest quality, has debuted 46 of its 680 films on iTunes.
Criterion is offering a very small selection of films from their collection... but it is a start. They seem to be beginning with 46 films, including such hallmarks of cinema as Ingmar Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL, Jean-Luc Godard's BREATHLESS, Akira Kurosawa's SEVEN SAMURAI, and Francois Truffaut's THE 400 BLOWS.
Oddly, the movies are only available in HD on the iPad and Apple TV. Also disappointing is the lack of extras -- Criterion is famous for offering extremely high quality interviews and other extras in its releases. Regardless, the films [iTunes Store] are $14.99 to buy and $2.99 to rent.

Article Link: Criterion Collection Arrives on iTunes
 

Undecided

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So many HD movies in iTunes aren't available via iTunes on a Mac. I don't understand why. Very frustrating.
 
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Icaras

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Mar 18, 2008
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So many HD movies in iTunes aren't available via iTunes on a Mac. I don't understand why. Very frustrating.

I agree. I also want to own, not rent, most of them in HD. :(
 
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JTToft

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Apr 27, 2010
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So many HD movies in iTunes aren't available via iTunes on a Mac. I don't understand why. Very frustrating.

- I know. It's incredibly weird. I have contacted their iTunes Store e-mail support about it, but have not gotten a satisfying answer. I did get a reply, but it didn't really address my concern - it was like the representative tried to reply without actually answering the question. For me, this is the only time I didn't have a great experience with Apple's costumer service.
 
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*LTD*

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Feb 5, 2009
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Love it! I'm a very big fan of the Criterion Collection, especially releases of Akira Kurosawa's films.
 
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ChristIsLORD

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Jul 29, 2011
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This is interesting to see, but Criterion is really the only reason to have physical media for films anymore. Criterion Blurays are fantastic in quality, production, special features and packaging (with essays).
 
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MrSmith

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Nov 27, 2003
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The Seventh Seal. Now there's a movie to make your Friday evening go with a bang.
 
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fpnc

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So many HD movies in iTunes aren't available via iTunes on a Mac. I don't understand why. Very frustrating.
The obvious answer is that the content providers don't want the HD content on Macs/PCs because they are still worried about piracy. Since the Apple TV and iPad are both closed systems it makes it a little harder to copy the content over to a PC where the copy protection could be broken.

I think this is also ONE of the reasons why the Apple TV has never supported external, USB-attached hard drives. Also, I'm sure the content providers LOVE streaming for this very same reason -- it makes it harder to create a complete physical copy of the movie/TV show.
 
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NameUndecided

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Mar 28, 2011
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Criterion is the reason that I finally signed up for a Hulu Plus trial yesterday. Although I haven't watched a full film (just an interview extra feature) so I'm not sure how many, if any, commercials will be stuck into a film, and I can also understand that Hulu isn't available to nearly so many that iTunes is.
 
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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
This is interesting to see, but Criterion is really the only reason to have physical media for films anymore. Criterion Blurays are fantastic in quality, production, special features and packaging (with essays).

Given how strong Criterion's emphasis on the extras and the overall production package is, I find this oeuvre a little disappointing. Who knows, though, maybe they'll upgrade their offering after some initial success and offer a bigger package of more completely converted movies?
 
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Deefuzz

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Jan 27, 2004
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St. Louis, MO
Plenty. I recommend:

Ikuru (stars the leader of the Seven Samurai, Takashi Shimura; a lot of people think this is his best one)

Stray Dog (Stars a very young Mifune --incredible movie-- if you want to know what Tokyo was like after the war watch this).

Any other Mifune ones? I really grew fond of him from Sanjuro, Yojimbo, Hidden Fortress and Seven Samurai
 
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Amnesiac7

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Apr 4, 2009
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Given the lack of extras and the fact that buying physical copies means you can enjoy 1080p Bluray quality, which is clearly not available on iTunes... I don't see how this is all that great.
 
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Negritude

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Jul 14, 2011
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For an excellent Kurosawa and Mifune movie that doesn't involve Samurai, you absolutely must see "High and Low". That is one of their best. Too many people only associate them with Samurai films, but their non-Samurai films are actually way better. I also endorse the recommendation of "Ikiru". That is probably Kurosawa's greatest film.

This release of Criterion Collection films without extra features is directly analogous to their "Essential Art House" and "Eclipse" series sets, which also do not have extras, even though the films themselves are high-quality restorations. Criterion does this intentionally in order to make more great films available at lower prices, as well as to get films into the market sooner, whereas requiring the usual special edition releases for everything would result in too long delays.

If Criterion were to release these with all the extra features that you expect on a Blu-ray, they would be more expensive, and, as a further consideration, the market might not support that. People who truly want everything and who know what the Criterion Collection is will just buy the physical media. This is an alternative for those with less demanding needs.
 
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charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
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Los Angeles, CA
Given how strong Criterion's emphasis on the extras and the overall production package is, I find this oeuvre a little disappointing.

Add the lack of HD on the computer and I refuse to even rent these titles.

Of course when the extras do happen it will be either iTunes Extras that only work on the computer, or via an iOS app that won't work on the computer with our luck. Which also pisses me off. There needs to be a way for one system to work on both and I'm very disappointed that it hasn't happened yet. More disappointed than the lack of a HD+ with 1080p, 5.1 sound even at 1/4 the bit rate of a blu-ray disk.

These titles would be a great choice of debuting an HD+ option with multi track audio, multi language subtitles and a new 'extras' that works universally.

(and then there's the whole TV thing which needs similar changes but that's for another thread)
 
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