Thursday, April 19, 2007
Apple TV owners, who don't necessarily want to spend lots of money in the iTunes Store, are gobbling up video podcasts like never before. Even though there currently isn't any HD quality videos for sale in the iTunes Store, the Apple TV is capable of HD video playback. So several popular video podcasters, including The Washington Post, TWIT (MacBreak), Revision3 (Diggnation) and Vintage Tooncast, have decided to fill the void of HD content by distributing their podcasts in HD or hi res quality.
Why hasn't everyone started distributing their video podcasts in HD? Money. Not only does producing an HD podcasts require extra hard drive space (roughly 4 times more), special cameras and editing software, but just hosting these giant video files on the Internet can be enough to bankrupt your entire production. For example, the iPod Video version of MacBreak episode 63 is 21 MBs. The HD version is 93 MBs. To help alleviate increased HD production costs, many podcasters have reached out to HD television manufacturers like Samsung and Panasonic to get them to sponsor their new HD podcasts.
For video podcasters who are still producing content at 320x240 but want to do something to increase quality, there is an intermediary step before going HD. Podcasters can start by migrating their productions to 640x480, or even 640x360 (letterbox). This way their video files will still be compatible with portable media players like the Zune and iPod, but will also work on the Apple TV. If the material is carefully encoded, it will look as good or better than typical TV.
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