News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

An Open Letter to Apple


Dear Apple (with greetings, and apologies, to Disney/ABC),

Thank you. Thank you for finally providing legal downloads of television shows. I just deleted all the episodes of “Lost” I downloaded via Bittorrent and from now on I will pay US$1.99 per episode (plus tax in my state) the day after that episode airs on the ABC network. It took only ten minutes to download an episode of “Lost” using iTunes, compared to several hours to complete a download using Bittorrent. There were no commercials (making the US$1.99 price absolutely worthwhile to me.) It was convenient and legal.

Please continue to add other television series to your lineup and consider offering older series at US$0.99 per episode with a discount for purchasing an entire season (please, bring me “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer”!) Here are a few other changes and future additions that will keep me happy and eventually wean me from Bittorrent forever:

  • Double or quaduple the file size for better quality video. Episodes downloaded using Bittorrent still have the advantage in quality (an hour of television looks great at 340 MB and absolutely fantastic at 700 MB.) Currently, the episodes through iTunes look about as good as standard television. Let’s bring on high definition…
  • The first season of Lost is available for US$34.99. If I buy all 24 episodes of this second season of Lost, I will pay nearly US$48.00. Please offer a subscription to a full current season of a show for the same price as full past seasons. I will prepay before the season even starts.
  • Please consider adding in extras that would normally show up on the DVD release of a television series, for no extra charge, when purchased with a full season.
  • More series, including obscure series, classic series, series that were cancelled early, Internet-only series, independent series, public-access series, series from around the world (hello, “Dr. Who” and “ReGenesis”,) and free series. Oh, and “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer”!
  • Movies – no more than US$9.99 to own, no more than US$0.99 to watch one time. All movies. I will pay, I assure you. Just please, please, please, build a complete movie library of all known titles from the dawn of movies until the present, accessible at any time (like those sleepless nights when just one particular treasured movie or genre will do.)
  • Let these movies be displayed on my iPod video, computer monitor, big screen television, refrigerator, glasses, sunglasses, retina-writing contact lenses, etc. In other words – buy once, own forever, play anywhere. If I cannot buy once, then at least let me buy everything for one-time playback at US$0.99 or less. I promise I will spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year.

Again, thank you, Apple. Thank you, Disney/ABC, Pixar, and the music video publishers, for your early offerings. I no longer require physical media for my entertainment content. Put everything on the Internet, let competition work on the prices, and let me have immediate access to it all whenever I want.

Best regards,

Richard Leis

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