Coldplay Video Album- Innovating around the edges [Updated]

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Apple has posted the Coldplay concert from Austin City Limits as a Video Album on iTunes. Price for the concert? $9.99

I think this type of content is what’s really compelling about the video pod. If you were to buy the live album, it would cost $9.99 anyway- and as a plus you get the video footage as well. This is a product that would have never attracted me as a physical product, i.e. buying a Coldplay DVD of this concert. However, as iPod content, it really grabs me. It plays on the iPod the same whether you watch the videos or just listen to it- it all depends on which menu you select.

This type of new product innovation is what’s going to drive video pod sales and cement the iPod and iTunes (iContent?) as the defacto place to get your entertaiment.

My  only gripe is watching the concert on my iMac is less than spectacular. Apple should offer a higer-res version- afterall, those 100GB ipods are just around the corner…

[Update]

I realized there’s one small issue with enjoying my Coldplay concert- I have to listen to it through my iMac’s speakers, not through my stereo via Airport Express. A quick search through Apple’s support pages revealed:

If you’re listening to music on remote speakers via AirTunes, and you then play a movie (.mov, .mp4, .m4v) or MIDI file in iTunes, the audio will play through your computer’s speaker’s instead of through the remote speakers.

Pretty lame. Even more so considering Front Row’s potential. Hopefully this will be sorted out soon. In the meantime, Airfoil provides a work around.

Shure E2c Review

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Santa Claus brought me a new pair of Shure E2c earphones for my iPod this Christmas. My initial impressions:

Sound Quality

These earphones are definitely clearer than my old Sony Fontopia MDR-EX71s. There isn’t as much "boom" to the bass, but that doesn’t mean they are lacking- it’s just that the bass is tight and well reproduced. Comparing the two side by side, the Shure’s are only a subjective 10-15% better- not really a reason to upgrade if you’ve already got a pair of Sony’s, but, if you are looking to get a replacement set of earphones for the ones that come with your iPod, get these.

Build Quality

I’ve gone through two pair of Sony MDR-EX7X earphones in 2 years. The cables are very, very thin and prone to breakage. My last set just looked pitiful. I had patched them in 4 places with Scotch tape. That’s $100 spent on earphones that have broken and are in the trash. The cable on the Shures are solid. There should be no breakage with these- and hopefully these will be my last pair for a while.

Noise Isolation

They passed the in-flight test with flying colors. I had to actually take out *both* buds in order to hear the flight attendant speaking to me. No engines, no screaming kids. If they can pass this test, they’ll block out sound anywhere.

Podcast overkill?

I have to admit to being a Vodcast junkie, but podcasts haven’t won me over at all. Case in point is VentureWeek. Excellent concept and all-star participants, but really, even with a tube commute how can I dedicate ONE HOUR listening to the podcast?

I participated in the VC Show during the summer and I would never listen to myself for 40-odd minutes. It was a fun experiment and hopefully somewhere in my rambling there was an ounce of interesting content.

Which brings me to my point: We can read several times faster than we can listen- which is one reason I found audiobooks, and now podcasts, to be infuriating. I’m always thinking “Get to the point already!”. Is anyone else under-whelmed by podcasts or have I been getting the wrong ones? (or is it Attention Deficit Disorder?)

5G vs 1G iPod

1gvs5g_1 I’ve uploaded a few pictures to Flickr comparing my old iPod with the new 5G video iPod. Amazing what a few years can do for a product.

It’s great that Apple has returned to the same look as the original iPods. I can’t say that I miss the mechanical scroll wheel – the reason I bought a mini iPod orginally was the form factor- I think the click wheel is a really elegant implementation. Plus, I really hated the 3G iPods with the buttons above the wheel.

The Future of Media

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Business Week reports that Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers have invested $10 million in Adam Curry’s podcast network:

This month, pioneer Adam Curry is launching a podcast network, with 30 to 50 shows that will split ad revenues. The concept won Curry a $9.8 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, two top venture firms in Silicon Valley. "We saw the amazing adoption across the Net, and it was obvious that there was a big opportunity," says Mark Kvamme, a partner at Sequoia.

After spending 5 minutes with my 5G iPod (VidPod, VodPod?) the killer app is the video- not the voice. I already have several Podcasts (Vodcasts?) that are video-based. Jamming advertising into those podcasts would be a piece of cake. (Check out Channel Frederator if you haven’t already)

With acquisitions like Weblogs Inc. by big media- there’s an incentive to grab viewers/listeners/readers. I’m not sure how they’re going to spend that $10 million, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to do it. Will it give KPCB 50x their money in a (few) year’s time? Doubtful, but they have the connections to sell the network on at a healthy return.

iTunes Music Store Sells One Million Videos

“Selling one million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings, so that customers can enjoy watching more videos on their computers and new iPods.”

This is exactly why I downloaded the entire first season of Lost immediately: to support the format and promote its expansion. Anyone for old Seinfeld episodes?

Video on iTunes

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I’ve just downloaded the first season of "Lost" from the iTunes Video store. I agree completely with C.K’s comments over at tuaw. Even if the format might be considered "small" by some people, I think the format and distribution channel should be supported.

Since it’s introduction, I’ve become a real fan of the iTunes Music Store- I very rarely buy physical CDs anymore- usually only if there is a DVD included- and this is something that is going the way of the dinosaur with Videos being included along with the music.

I don’t have the new iPod with video (yet), but this will make my evening commute much more fun. Also, since American shows tend to run 1 season behind, I can download the entire season in one fell swoop- at an attractive savings per show.