Is it just me, or will movies self-destructing in 24 hours after you start viewing it going to be a dealbreaker for renting movies from iTunes?
When I used to frequent the local video tape rental stores, I could never understand why some people would rent 2 titles at once. When I'd ask, they'd sometimes say, "We'll see a little of each and pick one to see to the end - then see the other the next day." But me - never. I always carefully chose the one movie that I would want to see over the next couple of days.
Because of the 24 hour rule, I'm not sure I will take much advantage of the iTunes movie rentals. It takes too much advance planning for me and my family to watch a 2 hour movie in one sitting. I have a similar problem with going out to the movie theater, which is why I do that maybe once or twice a year. There is something going on almost every night for me, whether it's listening to live music or playing some myself, exercising, looking at the stars, paying bills, visiting friends and family... You know, real life. I tend to avoid doing anything that forces me to be a couch potato. That's why I never had cable. Don't look at me weird like that - everything good on cable eventually comes out on DVD anyway.
Almost all movies these days are staged in 3 acts. It's pretty easy to find a good stopping point and pick it up the next day. But these rentals are designed to disappear just when it's time the next day to continue from where you left off. That is going to be so frustrating for a lot of us out there.
I had a similar problem with MovieLink rules and I have only seen one movie with that service. Just extending the deadline 3 more hours would make a huge difference. Typical scenario:
You' finish dinner by 7:30 - OK, 8:00 because of dishes or 8:30 because of kids
Phone rings once or twice, make some popcorn, run to the restroom - stop the movie
Get tired and shut it off 2/3 of the way through.
With only 24 hours, you are forced to either skip dinner the next day to beat the clock or pay double to see the ending. With a 27 hour rental period, you have a second evening to really enjoy the ending.
For me - I'd prefer 50 hours to split the viewing into 3 equal parts. I have been known from time to time to keep one Netflix DVD for a whole month before being able to view it in pieces over the next week.
There are other ways to make the rules sane. For example, once you reach the last 15 minutes of the movie, it could self-destruct in 3 hours. Overlay a discreet reminder when it approaches that point so there is no question as to what will happen.
To balance it out, as an early AppleTV adopter, I am very pleased at the fact that a free upgrade will get installed in 2 weeks. I will definitely enjoy the flickr and .mac photo integration, as well as improved podcast support. Thank you for that.
Apple, Steve Jobs, I hope you're listening. I know it took a lot to convince the studios to give you this much, but could you please think different and negotiate just a few hours more? It will be THE difference between being just another rental option and being wildly successful in the online rentals business.