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In Search of Video

Your video iPod supports three popular video formats: .m4v, .mp4, and .mov. These file formats are commonly used for several kinds of video:

  • Music videos, shorts, and television shows. This content is released in a protected MPEG-4 (.m4v) video format.
  • Video and enhanced podcasts. A podcast is recorded content—a radio show, for example—that you can download and listen to on demand. Podcasts are normally accessed via RSS feeds, and iTunes can automatically download the latest episodes of the podcasts to which you subscribe. Video podcasts are podcasts with video content. Enhanced podcasts are podcasts that include images and links.
  • QuickTime movies. Any video that can be saved in QuickTime (.mov) format should work with iTunes and a video iPod.

Since the folks at Informit want me to tell you how to watch TV on your video iPod (hence the article title, "TV To Go"), I’ll concentrate on that first.

With the release of the video iPod, Apple has made television shows (as well as music videos and Pixar shorts) available for sale at the iTunes Music Store. The price: $1.99. Current year shows are released on the iTunes Music Store right after they air on television, and Apple is building a library of previous season episodes.

As I write this, five shows are available in the iTunes Music Store:

  • Lost
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Night Stalker
  • The Suite Life
  • That’s So Raven

You can see what’s available today by clicking Music Store in the iTunes Source list and then clicking the TV Shows link in the iTunes Music Store’s home window (see Figure 4).

Figure 4

Figure 4 The iTunes Music Store home page should be your first stop for video content.

To download a show, click its link or graphic to go to its main page (see Figure 5). Then click the Buy Episode (or Add Episode) button to add a specific episode, or Buy Season (or Add Season) button to add a previous season.

Figure 5

Figure 5 Here’s what’s currently available for the TV show Lost. I have Shopping Cart shopping enabled in my copy of iTunes, so the buttons say Add rather than Buy.

What happens next depends on how you have your Store preferences set in iTunes. If 1-Click shopping is turned on, the episode is automatically purchased and downloaded. If Shopping Cart shopping is turned on, the episode is added to your shopping cart and remains there until you check out. To check out, you’ll have to click Shopping Cart in the Source list and use the Buy Now button at the bottom of that window to complete your purchase and download the episode.

You can keep shopping while the video downloads. It may take a while, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. You definitely don’t want to start buying videos for your iPod if you’re on a dial-up connection. The sad truth here in my office is that I was on a 256 Kbps cable modem connection until I got my iPod Photo. Then I switched to DSL, which, in my part of the desert, is 26 times faster. Woo hoo!

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