Using the iPod as a content delivery tool

I have been playing around with conversion of the 22C3 video recordings to iPod video format a bit the recent days. The results have been very good: overall audio and video quality is great and viewing the recordings on the iPods 320×240 pixel screen was sufficient. So far I tested simple the MPEG-4 standard codec only so I expect MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) to deliver even better quality (with even smaller files). One hour of recording will be around 350 MB. The whole 22C3 would need around 50 GB of storage.

Then an idea hit me: why not deliver the whole 22C3 documentation on an iPod video? We would use 50 GB for video and the remaining 5-6 GB for the audio-only versions, additional footage, photos and such. The iPod would be perfect in size and would have the player built-in. We could also laser engrave the 22C3 logo in the device and everything would be just perfect. Well, but there is one more thing…

The problem is Apple and it’s “don’t steal music” paranoia. If we would copy the videos to the iPod so that you could just take it after delivery and hook it up to your projector, TV set or whatever, the data would be in danger once you connect your iPod to your computer for the first time. From what I know, iTunes would come up, detect the new iPod device and asks you to DELETE all your files because this device is not yet sync’ed to the computer. If you’re smart enough you could hit the right button and prevent from getting your payload erased but there is no easy way to first sync the computer with the iPod’s content.

Well, we could use the iPod as a simple hard disk as well. But then you wouldn’t be able to play the videos without further action because the iPod wants to have all the files in it’s own library directory structure and doesn’t display videos that are “just” normal files in a normal folder.

Well, let’s be fair and say that delivering the videos on the iPod as simple files is sort of okay. Then you would be forced to

  1. Copy the files from the iPod to the computer (to iTunes)
  2. Sync the files back to the iPod

Managable, but a pain the ass. However. What do you think of this idea? Would you be tempted to buy an iPod for – let’s say – EUR 500 with a cool laser-engraved logo and get it with the whole 22C3 AV documentation on disk? Would you expect the files to come on DVD as well in the same package? Or would you prefer the files to come on DVDs only instead?

5 Gedanken zu „Using the iPod as a content delivery tool

  1. The idea to deliver the recordings on iPod is great for people who are planning to buy an iPod anyway, but I don’t think people who are not planning to buy one or already have one wouldn’t want to pay EUR 500.
    A seperate DVD package would also be great, you could bundle it with the iPod, but you should (if you really want to do this) also make the DVD package available without the iPod.

  2. I don’t think that you could sell more than a handful of those Ipods. But I cannot understand the hype about Ipods anyway (I own an Iriver H120 myself , which is much more linux-friendly).

    But the idea of engraving devices sounds really cool. At some event at my FH you could have your gadgets branded with a custom image or text for very little money. At that time, I was too afraid this could brick my devices. But if someone could bring an engraving machine to the next congress, I would probably do it. Maybe this could generate some more revenue to the CCC.

  3. nice idea. but i will probably never buy a €500 ipod. i trashed my €250 ipod mini a year ago and am on a “no name” 1gb mp3 player now.
    i’d much rather just download a podcast of a lecture each day this year (as suggested on events.ccc.de blog).
    and, of course, download the videos in mpeg4 to my pc and watch them there.

  4. I really dislike the idea for a couple of reasons: It’s a bad idea to promote a company like Apple which pushs DRM into the market and builds spyware into their media player. I also dislike the idea to do that under a CCC-like label. Should we also start to help other companies selling their products with a label called “xC3-proof”, or “certified by CCC”? I also cannot follow your Apple/iPod enthusiam at all.

    However, I find this idea somehow very problematic that way.

  5. About the deletion issue: What’s about putting the stuff twice on the device: once on the HD side and once on the iTunes site. Via Hardlinks this should waste next to no space.

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