I decided to test out the iTunes Movie rentals and compare it to Amazon’s Unbox and I have to say, I like it. That’s not saying much because Unbox is pretty….frustrating, to say the least. Both still use proprietary software but since iTunes has a huge install base, most people won’t find it to be that big of a deal. I rented The Waitress first. Watched it. Thought the movie was a little lack luster but the service worked fairly well. I still find it annoying that you only have 24 hours to watch a rental because you might want to pause it to, let’s say go out and party for the night and pass out in a bush, and by the time you get back home, your viewing time is expired and you’re out $2.99-$3.99. The viewing time should really be extended to at least 48 hours but it would be ideal if it were for an entire week. I mean the movie’s going to be deleted off of your computer regardless so why not give us a week to enjoy it? If someone found a way to crack the DRM, they’re going to be able to strip the DRM off it it within 24 hours or a week or a year. Having a 24 hour viewing window is just hurting the customer that is trying to watch their rental legitimately.
One thing that will keep me using iTunes’s movie rentals is the excellent customer service. I recently had a system process called “syslogd” go crazy on my Mac and at up 100% of the CPU cycles on one core which lagged my computer to the point where it was unusable. I reinstalled Leopard and migrated everything back with Time Machine, which worked PERFECTLY. I am really impressed with Time Machine and makes backing up simple and enjoyable. When I migrated everything back, my movie rental for Hey Arnold! The Movie disappeared. I looked through my purchase history and got the order number for it and contacted an iTunes Store representative at about 10:30 at night. I woke up at 7:30 and checked my inbox and there was a reponse from an iTunes Store rep that told me he reactivated the rental and it would be available to download immediately. This was a real boon because Anne and I wanted to watch it last night to find that it wasn’t on my hard drive. I am really impressed with the level of customer service that Apple has whether it be for their computers or their iTunes Store.
All in all, Unbox = 0, iTunes Store = 1