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Movie Studios Harnessing iTunes Extras For Advanced Features

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Apr 12, 2001
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Introduced in late 2009 with iTunes 9, iTunes Extras have been billed as a way for movie studios to release additional features and functionalities with their iTunes Store video content, offering a way to compete with and even exceed bonus features found on DVD releases. But while widespread usage of iTunes Extras has yet to take off, paidContent.org notes that Sony Pictures has started to test some advanced bonus features on its iTunes releases that could begin to turn the tide.

In particular, three new iTunes Store releases from Sony, including the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg film The Other Guys, Salt, and Resident Evil: Afterlife, include a trio of unadvertised features designed to enhance the viewer's experience with interactivity and further iTunes integration.
Buy the Will Ferrell comedy The Other Guys and you'll notice three extras that can't be found on DVD or any other digital platform. A search button allows you to input a word, and any mention of it in the script will be retrieved along with a link to the exact moment in the movie in which the line was uttered. A "clip & share" function lets the viewer take select scenes and post them to social networks. There's also a playlist with songs from the film, which are linked to to places on iTunes where those songs can be purchased.
The report notes that the features are available only for iTunes Store purchases, and not rentals of the titles where they are being trialled.

Despite the apparent efforts of movie studios like Sony to differentiate their iTunes Store content by offering such interactive features, Apple has yet to offer full support for iTunes Extras, with compatibility limited to viewing the additional content through iTunes on Mac or Windows or on a first-generation Apple TV. While Apple CEO Steve Jobs has promised support for iTunes Extras and the related iTunes LP format on the new Apple TV, Apple's entire line of iOS-based devices remains incompatible with the bonus features at this time. The shortcoming has been viewed as a major hindrance to the adoption of the extended features, particularly given that the iPad with its larger screen appears to be particularly enticing for such capabilities.

Article Link: Movie Studios Harnessing iTunes Extras For Advanced Features
 

davidwarren

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
782
2
Too bad the place most people would view an iTunes movie (AppleTV 2), can't utilize extras yet....
 
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ReallyBigFeet

macrumors 68030
Apr 15, 2010
2,935
101
While this particular implementation needs a wider audience, this is EXACTLY the kind of stuff studios should be working on to make people want to buy their movies rather than downloading copies illegally off the 'net. I applaud their (early) efforts here and hope to see a lot more of this stuff and a lot less suing-everyone-with-an-identifiable-IP-address nonsense.

Value-add folks....its da future.

PS: The Other Guys was, indeed, a god-awful movie.
 
Comment

HelveticaNeue

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2010
637
41
Give me Lord of the Rings Extended Edition in HD with all the extras found on the disks and then we'll talk.
 
Comment

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,929
1,239
Washington DC
Too bad the place most people would view an iTunes movie (AppleTV 2), can't utilize extras yet....

This is all cool stuff but I agree that there is just SO MUCH potential in ATV and iTunes waiting to be joined together and fired up.

I think all this stuff could be super awesome eventually, but they're still working towards it. But it's coming.

First step, why are the buy/rent & SD/HD options different between Apple TVs, iPhones, and computers? This is the first thing to tackle because it just makes no sense and only makes people angry. WHERE I get the movie shouldn't make a difference.
 
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Joe-Diver

macrumors 6502
Aug 2, 2009
265
0
Once that massive new datacenter is fully operational.....we're going to see major changes to the iTunes store, AppleTV and content delivery.
 
Comment

dscuber9000

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2007
665
1
Indiana, US
Those are some nice features that actually take advantage of iTunes integration! Good job, Sony.... for once. :D

And I liked The Other Guys. :(
 
Comment

Cameront9

macrumors 6502a
Aug 6, 2006
804
120
Won't buy any movies on iTunes unless they are subtitled, closed captioned. It's 2011. There is NO EXCUSE for not having your media subtitled.
 
Comment

mattwolfmatt

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2008
1,032
60
All I want is director and/or actor commentary. Is that too much to ask? It's just an additional audio track. . . I miss these from DVDs.
 
Comment

trainwrecka

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2007
469
462
Earth
The Toy Story 3 extras don't fully work on my ATV (1G), and has prevented me from buying other movies like Inception. I want the extras, but not to gather around the computer to watch them.
 
Comment

Rooskibar03

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2007
1,119
67
State of Denial
Meh,

Just give me HD movies, plain and simple without the extras at a reasonable price and I'll be one happy camper.

Heck, just give me more HD choices to purchase.
 
Comment

BornAgainMac

macrumors 604
Feb 4, 2004
6,594
3,769
Florida Resident
Won't buy any movies on iTunes unless they are subtitled, closed captioned. It's 2011. There is NO EXCUSE for not having your media subtitled.

You are right. I remember reading about the MPEG-4 spec about 5 years ago and I thought it would be a perfect technology to allow for that feature. Maybe it was the encoding process that wasn't advanced enough to have the separate title track saved separately from the movie for deploying on iTunes. In theory, you can have French, Spanish, and English as separate tracks that could be overlay with the movie at playback if you wanted it.
 
Comment

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,985
1,992
Western US
Meh,

Just give me HD movies, plain and simple without the extras at a reasonable price and I'll be one happy camper.

Heck, just give me more HD choices to purchase.

I agree, better selection and possible slightly cheaper prices (especially for movies that are over a year old) is by far the best "extra feature" they could add.
 
Comment

Ctrice

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2007
17
0
Won't buy any movies on iTunes unless they are subtitled, closed captioned. It's 2011. There is NO EXCUSE for not having your media subtitled.

I agree 100%. That's why I just rip all my movies myself.
 
Comment

tatonka

macrumors 6502
Aug 25, 2009
495
40
How about adding something simple that people (aka I) actually care about .. lets say subtitles, different audio tracks, multi language support ...

I can't even think of a reason why I would ever fire up iTunes, enter a search phrase and be happy it jumped right to that moment in the movie .. what a useless gimmick.

I must say I don't care at all for the very most extra stuff that is on DVD's nowadays. Most of it is horribly produced and doesn't really add much value to the purchase. The Lotr extended set and a few other exception excluded.
The same is by the way true for the iTunes LP music feature .. utterly useless. Doesn't add a bit of value in my eyes. </rant>

But hey .. I am glad that the studios are trying out things .. something good may stick in the end.

T.
 
Comment

Sayer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2002
981
0
Austin, TX
Studios are the ones making content available for iTunes downloads, its not Apple that is adding or not adding extras. Apple would love to have as much content as possible, but they are not creating it, they are merely selling what they are given.

Some movies don't have any extra audio options or even a chapter list. That's just how bargain basement or indie stuff gets put out. Studios love making new boxes with "extra deleted scenes" and "extended editions" to get fresh revenue. Can't get away with that in digital downloads.

All of the extra audio, language, and closed captioning costs money to create. Creating it for a digital download takes more time/effort/money and some studios are still in the "stick their toe in it to check the water" stage.

Sony seems to be "getting it" and is expanding their offerings. Apple is also trying to consolodate all iOS work to bring a grand-unified update that plays back iTunes Extras and digital LP stuff to iPhone, iPad and Apple TV as soon as humanly possible (that stuff is all web site-based tech anyway).

FYI: I definitely would love to have commentary audio for digital movies so I can finally understand what the heck they were thinking, like when Sam Raimi made Spider-Man 3, for example.
 
Comment

MacFly123

macrumors 68020
Dec 25, 2006
2,340
0
This is all cool stuff but I agree that there is just SO MUCH potential in ATV and iTunes waiting to be joined together and fired up.

I think all this stuff could be super awesome eventually, but they're still working towards it. But it's coming.

First step, why are the buy/rent & SD/HD options different between Apple TVs, iPhones, and computers? This is the first thing to tackle because it just makes no sense and only makes people angry. WHERE I get the movie shouldn't make a difference.

Agreed! Apple is working toward these things but the studios have been slowing everything down. Hopefully they can work together more quickly!

I think it is ridiculous that SD is even still an option! GET RID OF IT!!! IT IS 2011 FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! It is bad enough we still have to settle for 720p instead of 1080p let alone SD... COME ON!

Give us 1080p with iTunes Extras including the type of special features we are use to on DVD (Commentary, subtitles, etc.) unify it across all devices on the iOS platform and then we are talkin'! :cool:
 
Comment

ten-oak-druid

macrumors 68000
Jan 11, 2010
1,980
0
As a consumer I am a little hesitant to buy video content through itunes yet.

I believe some features will be added and eventually the resolution will be improved. All of this is coming. And I can understand Steve Job's take on Blu Ray as the more I get used to accessing media through a data base and streaming it to the TV, the less inclined I am to bother with the DVD player.

However, I am hesitant to dive into purchasing content through itunes because the future upgrades will mean a second purchasing of the media. I have already seen this with music. Itunes upgraded the bit rate of the music while removing DRM. In my opinion this should have been a free update on previous purchases but instead it cost $0.30 per track. Most of my music is imported from CDs but I do have a collection of itunes purchases. Mostly singles from artists I had no intention of purchasing an entire album of work from.

I can picture this happening with video. First you buy the movie. Then when the DVD extras become available, you will have to purchase those separately. And then a year or two from now as the resolution of itunes purchases increases to 1080p, an upgrade price will likely be required.

If Apple made it clear that upgrades would be free, then I would purchase more video from itunes.

At least Apple is kind enough to offer free replacements of defective video. I did purchases a couple of TV seasons and reported flawed video in an episode or two. Eventually the video was fixed and I received an email that I had a credit for a new download. Other people must have reported flaws I missed because once or twice this happened with a purchase that I did not report to Apple.
 
Comment

SAIRUS

macrumors 6502a
Aug 21, 2008
675
201
Seems like a "bag of not enough"

Apple TV does have a lot of potential (and yes I have one), but sadly its squandered at the moment and it'll only sit beside my bedroom tv, and not near the home theater (Blu-ray).
 
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