Thursday, September 21, 2006

Little Boxes

I didn't think I'd enjoy watching video on the iPod. If there were a 40+ GB, non-flash-memory iPod without video right now, I would have bought it. I'd experimented with video on the PSP, and it was surprisingly good, but about as small as I thought I'd want to go. Especially since that has a wide screen and didn't require letterboxing, which would make things even smaller. The other thing is I refuse to pay to download television. I pay too much for cable as it is. I can see how it's a good option for a lot of people, but $2 a show for something I can catch on the DVR is too much for me. And if I want to own a movie, chances are I'd rather own the DVD with all the extras than just a download.

And yet....

There were some free shows on iTunes when I got my new 'Pod, and I was even interested in a couple of them so I checked them out, just to see what TV on the iPod looked like. It wasn't so bad. Not really good for anything dark (unless you're going to watch in a pitch black room) or anything really quiet (unless you're going to watch somewhere with little ambient noise), but for a sitcom or music video or something I've already seen, it was perfectly tolerable. What really put me over the edge was Weeds; I'd gotten hooked on the first season through Netflix, but season two is currently on and we don't get Showtime, so I had to download. Then I realized that a half-hour TV show is really 22-25 minutes, which makes it ideal to watch during cardio at the gym. NYSC has those little TVs but there's usually nothing good on, and I really like being distracted from the fact that I'm exercising. So just sit the iPod on top of the machine and bam, personal TV.

Once I realized I liked doing this, it was all over. I have a stack of DVDs I bought but haven't watched, and I started to rip them for the iPod. (I could have done this with the PSP too, but that only has 1 GB of memory, would mean yet another device to carry, and see above re: the gym.) The first project was Season 1 of The Muppet Show, which is ideal in every way for the gym. Who cares if I'm sweaty and miserable, who can be unhappy when there are muppets and 70s C-list stars? I've now moved on to movies, some with commentary tracks. Since I'm ripping things only for the iPod, the files can actually be quite small (as opposed to Apple's movie downloads which are meant to be watched - if you want to - on a larger screen), so I won't fill up my iPod or my computer. Though I'll probably delete most stuff as I watch it anyway, since the point is just to watch it on the go, not to have it in my pocket forever. Though I did put Star Wars on the 'Pod, just because I could.

I'm sure I had a point to this post when I started it, but it's been that kind of a day. Anyway, yeah, technology good. Muppets even better.