Print 37 comment(s) - last by angryhippy.. on Nov 29 at 2:45 PM

Recent research shows that users aren't giving much thought to video playback on iPods

Despite strong sales during the initial launch of downloadable movies from Apple's iTunes Store, recent studies suggest that watching videos on iPod players is isn't quite as popular as Apple would lead you to believe. A study performed by Nielson Media Research shows that roughly 2.2% of the content 5G iPod users viewed through iTunes or their own device were videos.

The research, which involved 400 iPod users monitored during the month of October, also showed that:

  • Only 2% of the total time spent watching videos for the users surveyed was through the device itself or on iTunes.
  • For 5G iPod users alone, total time spent watching videos on the device itself or on iTunes was 11%.
  • Only 15.8% of all iPod users have even watched video content on an iPod or on iTunes.

Given Apple's wide embrace of movie content and TV shows on iTunes, one would expect for the usage numbers to be a bit higher for iPod users. With the typical song lasting 3-5 minutes versus a 30-minute of hour-long television show (and even longer for feature-length films), TV shows and movies have the playtime advantage over music. But given that iPods were originally portrayed as music players, the wealth of audio content versus video content on typical players is hard to overcome. Reuters reports:

Nielsen's take on video consumption is highly subject to interpretation. Worst-case scenario: The panel is an early indication that TV and movies have limited appeal on iPods. Best-case scenario: While adoption of video may be proceeding more slowly than the hype suggests, there is tremendous upside ahead. Either way, the results will be of interest to a media world intent on migrating video to wireless hand-helds, whether portable media players like Microsoft's new Zune or mobile phone market entrants like Verizon's VCast.

Microsoft is betting big on not only music, but video for its Zune player. The player comes standard with a 3" screen that would make it a bit more useful for video playback than the 5G/5.5G iPod's smaller 2.5" screen. Even so, the usage figures for the iPod must give Microsoft executives some pause given that the Zune won't have nearly the same impact or clout in the market as the iPod.

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By MobileZone on 11/21/2006 11:50:27 AM , Rating: 4
Funny to read this. I was just trying to figure out how to put movies in my wife's ipod just a hour ago. Gave up after I realized the HASSLE that it is... Only quicktime is allowed. For me, ipods are just like black boxes that you can only access using itunes. itunes sucks. Windows explorer is 1000x easier to use and makes much more sense.

RE: Funny
By airjrdn on 11/21/06, Rating: 0
RE: Funny
By mpc7488 on 11/21/2006 12:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised to hear these stats - I suspect I've used my iPod more for video than for music so far. I just got back from a plane ride to the U.K. and I watched a movie and a few TV shows. I haven't bought any though, I encode my own using Videora iPod encoder and it's a piece of cake. Maybe this would take off more if copy protection didn't try to prevent you putting your OWN movies on your own devices.

RE: Funny
By Spivonious on 11/21/2006 4:09:31 PM , Rating: 4
Both times I flew across the Atlantic to the UK there was a screen in the back of the seat in front of me, which had a selection of about 4 movies and 2 tv shows, in addition to 8 or 9 music channels. The screen was a lot bigger than 2.5"

RE: Funny
By Oregonian2 on 11/21/2006 7:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think people using the iPod for movies hold the iPod against the back of the seat in front of them. Maybe a little closer?

In any case, in my trips to/from Europe (to U.S. west coast), none have had personal video screens (despite ticket prices over $1K). No domestic ones had personal screens either for that matter.

You travel in first class by any chance? I'm too poor for that. :-)

RE: Funny
By MobileZone on 11/21/2006 8:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
No need for 1st class. These days, any 3rd, 4th and 5th classes has some lcd screens in the seat, so, ipod video still no big deal, specially if you consider it's screen size. It's almost the size of a pulse watch!

RE: Funny
By msva124 on 11/22/2006 5:10:30 AM , Rating: 2
Europe to US West Coast? Ouch. I don't know if I could stand that on a regular basis.

RE: Funny
By Aikouka on 11/21/2006 1:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
Mobile, I'd recommend reading this tutorial, but replacing the PSP format with the iPod format (it should be right above the 2 PSP selections) and the upload information with the proper iPod information.

I use the software presented in that guide for my PSP and it works great.

RE: Funny
By AstroCreep on 11/21/2006 2:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Funny
By Wolfpup on 11/21/06, Rating: 0
RE: Funny
By MobileZone on 11/21/2006 8:58:37 PM , Rating: 3
Not true. Most of the portable players accepts many kinds of differents formats without the hassle of findind rare softwares to convert files. When I want something in my ppc phone, I do it in 2 seconds. No conversion, no spytunes, no hassle.

The truth about Ipods
By encryptkeeper on 11/21/2006 11:52:52 AM , Rating: 2
I don't really see why it is that video on the IPod is supposedly doomed to fail, if you can have video on your cell phone why not the IPod? It probably comes down to aggravating conversions to Quicktime. If Apple got over that, video on the Ipod would be great.

RE: The truth about Ipods
By phatboye on 11/21/2006 12:52:59 PM , Rating: 5
I can't understand why anyone would want to watch a movie on a small screen like most PMP or a cell phone screen. Personally I'd rather wait till I get home and watch a HD movie on my big screen TV at home. These integrated video players on PMP or cell phones are just gimmicks to get people to buy their products IMO.

RE: The truth about Ipods
By Oregonian2 on 11/21/06, Rating: 0
RE: The truth about Ipods
By therealnickdanger on 11/21/06, Rating: 0
RE: The truth about Ipods
By Pirks on 11/21/2006 9:03:19 PM , Rating: 1
ever tried those large screen archos media players, like 404, 504 and 604 models? wanna check out their 160gb hdd? head to

RE: The truth about Ipods
By cochy on 11/21/2006 2:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
I can't understand why anyone would want to watch a movie on a small screen like most PMP or a cell phone screen. Personally I'd rather wait till I get home and watch a HD movie on my big screen TV at home. These integrated video players on PMP or cell phones are just gimmicks to get people to buy their products IMO.

I agree 100%. The screen on the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet is just getting their in size for media viewing. But ipods and cell i don't get it.

RE: The truth about Ipods
By kelmon on 11/22/2006 4:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
I really don't think that the iPod (or anything with a small screen) would be used to watch a movie but for watching TV shows it's absolutely killer. I'm waiting for the (eventual) delivery of my 17" MacBook Pro to rip most of my DVD collection but I've used my old PowerBook to rip a couple of series of Family Guy and Futurama and the results are great. It's just really convenient to have an easily pocketable device that I can pull out if I have some down-time, such as when flying on short-haul trips or waiting for my wife at work.

To be honest, the process of ripping DVDs to the iPod could be easier but apart from that I really can't complain about the video functionality. Watching video might not be for everyone but for me the device is perfect for short TV episodes or YouTube clips.

RE: The truth about Ipods
By retrospooty on 11/21/2006 3:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
The same reason it hasn't taken off on Palm or Winmobile OS devices... Its neat from a tech perspective, but in reality, not very useful.

1. Small screen
2. Severe Battery drain
3. Most people have no need to watch movies on the go, even if #1 and 2 were not true.

RE: The truth about Ipods
By Oregonian2 on 11/21/2006 7:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
True. Don't need music or audio either for that matter.

I've seen that a more and more popular option for cars is a video screen. Not useful for the driver-only car, but obviously can be useful otherwise. Having a video iPod or equivalent is roughly the same thing in terms of usefulness.

Very convenient video viewing
By Constable odo on 11/21/2006 3:14:57 PM , Rating: 2
I've spent more time watching videos on my 5G iPod w/video than listening to music. TV shows watched over the past year are:
Two seasons of Lost
Two seasons of Grey's Anatomy
Three seasons of X-Files
One season of The Simpsons
One season of Firefly
One season of StarTrek Enterprise
One season of Stargate SG-1
Twenty or so Discovery Channel programs
Many more seasons of various downloaded older TV shows yet to be watched.

I downloaded all these from BitTorrent sites and/or premium newsservers, so it didn't cost much. I had to re-encode some of them from .avi to mp4 which I do overnight. Then I just drag them to iTunes and sync up my iPod. No problems at all.
I watch them usually before falling asleep at night and the screensize is just fine for me.

I had a Sony Watchman years ago and the iPod is exponentially better to watch. Truthfully a video playing iPod is great for me.

RE: Very convenient video viewing
By patentman on 11/21/06, Rating: 0
RE: Very convenient video viewing
By Oregonian2 on 11/21/2006 7:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming he recorded those off his TV for personal viewing later, wasn't he doing things legally according to the Sony court decision quite some time ago (also assuming he's in the US)?

I'll admit recording that many full series would take a lot of perseverance, much more than my semi-random "taping" of TV movies (before my iPod was stolen). But I try to assume the best. :-)

RE: Very convenient video viewing
By angryhippy on 11/21/2006 8:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well, he did say he downloaded them off the internet, so I guess that is piracy, not that I care much.

Itunes store video is pretty low quality, I bought a whole season of Lost, but it was mediocre looking even on my old non-HD tv. The "pirated" DivX versions are much higher quality, and still fairly quick to download off of usenet servers. It would be nice if legitimate video download sources like Itunes offered decent quality video. The prices are kind of high too. You're basically paying DVD prices for less than broadcast quality video. Obviously some people enjoy viewing video on Ipods, if they increased the video quality for people who hook their Ipod to a TV they might be on to something too. With DivX you can squeeze a feature length DVD movie into a file of about 1 GB without a huge loss in quality. You could easily fit 50+ 1Gb movies on a larger Ipod with plenty of room left for music. I wouldn't mind buying an Ipod for that if the video quality was higher for TV/monitor viewing, and they were more flexible about file formats.

The online "pirate" community is far ahead of sites like Itunes when it comes to downloadable video quality. I guess there's bandwidth costs to consider too, but I don't see why companies are so far behind the "pirates". Companies could probably take a decent chunk out of piracy if they offered comparable quality to DivX at $1-$2 a tv episode, or $10 or less a movie.

RE: Very convenient video viewing
By Oregonian2 on 11/22/2006 8:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, I missed the internet reference. You're right on that point.

Can't imagine downloading all that stuff though, he must have something a lot faster than my 768k (theoretical) DSL line or is very very patient.

Much easier and faster doing timed-recording off TV, and then just converting with the interVideo tool to see it later on the iPod.

I think the iPod can take up to 640x480 although I think I recall there was a tradeoff vs bitrate or some such (now that my 5G is gone, details start fading out of my brain). Full resolution obviously only good for when used with a connecting cable.

RE: Very convenient video viewing
By angryhippy on 11/29/2006 2:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, on your connection it's probably not really worth it. I have 3mbps cable, you probably need at least that to be really worthwhile. Itunes movies/shows do download pretty fast at least(a few minutes), the video just has a lot of artifacts. A 400mb xvid (tv episode size) file takes about 20 min, and looks much better, about digital cable/dish quality. I think if you have a 3mbps connection or faster a 1 gb movie is worthwile to me if it's fairly cheap, that's about 40 minutes download time. I haven't seen a decent looking movie compressed below 700gb. Plenty of people are probably pickier about video quality than me though. It well be several years before full dvd quality video can be downloaded within an hour or less though. Netflick or Blockbuster online are great deals I think, you just have to wait a couple days.

RE: Very convenient video viewing
By Spivonious on 11/21/2006 4:11:23 PM , Rating: 1
Only on the Internet do people blatantly admit that they stole something.

Imagine if someone came up to you on the street and said "Why don't you have a Ferrari? I just stole one from two blocks over. It just took some lockpicking overnight."

RE: Very convenient video viewing
By xzc145 on 11/22/2006 9:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine if someone came up to you on the street and said "Why don't you have a Ferrari? I just stole one from two blocks over. It just took some lockpicking overnight."

Non sequitur.
By stealing a ferrari you are directly taking from another.
By downloading content you are not.
A non pirate does not necessarily buy more media than a someone who downloads things - I certainly don't anyway, on the principle that £15 ($28 USD) for a DVD is a total rip off.

Only on the Internet do people think that spewing their illogical, irrational 'thoughts' online is somehow clever

RE: Very convenient video viewing
By angryhippy on 11/22/2006 4:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
"Non sequitur.
By stealing a ferrari you are directly taking from another.
By downloading content you are not.
A non pirate does not necessarily buy more media than a someone who downloads things - I certainly don't anyway, on the principle that £15 ($28 USD) for a DVD is a total rip off. "

I agree. Not to mention those tv shows are available essentially for free by simply using a vcr or digital recorder. At most you're paying $50 a month for cable/satellite service, but that works out to pennies a show if you watch a lot. Downloading "pirated" tv shows is basically the same as asking a friend to record them for you. Movies are a little different I suppose, and this is all technically stealing, but it is fairly harmless. Worse case, piracy puts all the major producers out of business (not likely). Some companies with more intelligent distribution systems would simply take their place. Most of the big budget movies and tv shows are crap anyway, and not even worth downloading for free. I'd love to see all the big movie producers and record labels go out of business as a matter of fact. Individuals and smaller companies can produce great shows on more reasonable budgets, and sell for better prices. Piracy might actually hurt them, but if people want decent entertainment they'll have to pay something or there won't be any.

Not surprising
By bunnyfubbles on 11/21/2006 12:56:15 PM , Rating: 1
iPods (or any portable media player for that matter) are great for the ability to use them on the go.

Problems with mobile video:

1. Requires added attention - you can't exactly go out for a jog and watch a movie.
2. Files are much larger, leaving you less selection. If you're on an extended trip you might only have a few movies to choose from as opposed to thousands of songs (which is another point, the movies can take up valuable space for your songs).
3. The screen is so small. It isn't comfortable to watch and you certainly can't share the experience like you could with larger (albeit less portable) media/video players.

Video playback really is mostly gimmick, especially with the truly portable (flash based) players where available space drops and screen size drops even further.

RE: Not surprising
By Oregonian2 on 11/21/2006 1:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
Although I agree the screen should be larger, I think comments to the lack usability are overstated. I got the 5G iPod specifically for the video ability, and got the 60MB one so I'd have plenty of room for movies, music, and podcasts. It's adequate, and the 5.5G's 80GB would be even better. It's particularly good for long plane flights and related long waits at airports. I found it very useful. But having the media available makes a difference and using iTunes as one's only source of video would make things challenging. Having a DVD recorder to record shows off movie channels plus a fast computer with conversion software OTHER than iTunes (which is *dreadfully* slow) of which there are many choices makes it much more practical (as well as only choosing movies that are of 4:3 ratio). Unlike what was mentioned, it takes multiple formats although I used H.264 (MPEG-4 part 10) encoding because it has higher quality for a given filesize.

That said, my unit was recently stolen and I await the hopefully larger-screen (but not larger unit) iPod before I replace it (rather than getting a 5.5G unit). I've considered the Zune's slightly larger screen, but but at least in photos they look incredibly ugly (IMO) plus the disk size is a bit small.

RE: Not surprising
By kmmatney on 11/21/2006 1:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree - mobile wideo on the Ipod just isn't convenient. If am going to watch a movie, I use my laptop if I'm waiting around at the airport and am plugged in. I travel a lot, but get free DirectTV on Frontier Airlines (I live in Denver). When I go to England 3 times a year, I get free movies on the plane, and use my Ipod for music only. I really don't see why I'd bother to put a movie on an Ipod. I can only see it was useful for a TV show.

So Steve Jobs was right
By veggiedude on 11/21/2006 3:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
Steve Jobs said all along (when everyone was shaouting for Apple to produce a video iPod) that people just want to use a iPod for audio, not video. So he was right. Now Apple wants to converge tv with the pc, and "iTV" is coming close to doing that, so having the choice for video to play on the iPod makes sense, though it doesn't look to be getting popular.

RE: So Steve Jobs was right
By Gatt on 11/21/2006 4:20:52 PM , Rating: 2

That's a pretty functional idea under the right circumstances.

With things like X-box 360, and wireless LAN, there's no reason why you couldn't "On demand" a TV show and wireless it to your large TV. Given we're talking standard definition due to bandwidth constraints, it's feasible.

The only problem is Itunes "Pay once to download and if something happens, Pay again!" policy.

But all in all, it's a feasible idea, and one MS hopes to get in on.

By Phynaz on 11/21/2006 12:54:12 PM , Rating: 3
What a screwed up "survey".

One third of the users questioned didn't even have a video capable iPod. They had "technical issues" with the responses.

After all the errors and oversites are removed, they had 65 positive responses. Not exactly what you would a representative sample.

By iamthegasman on 11/21/2006 9:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
If you want an easy way to put movies on an ipod, DVDFab or the converter. I use DVDFab and it works seemlessly. A couple of clicks and leave it alone. Put any DVD you own into a file ready for the ipod.

I keep a few movies on my ipod for short regional flights (no in air movies) and when the kids get bored on short trips and all other means of distraction has been exhausted.

I did use it recently on an hour wait to get some service work done on my wifes car. Sure beat the dealership infomercial on their TV.

Screen is too small!!!
By mlittl3 on 11/21/2006 11:41:34 AM , Rating: 1
Hopefully, this will change with next generation players. However, iPod is still fore and foremost a music player.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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