Tuesday, 24 June 2008

First iTunes Movie Rental

So now that we poor (in the sense of timing and selection but not pricing!) relations in the UK have iTunes movie rentals I thought I should try it out. The selection isn't all that extensive as yet (and a number of movies I would have loved to rent are only available to buy) but I did managed to find one that we wanted to watch.

I downloaded the movie entirely before we started watching, as we had timeos , I can't comment on the select and start straight away approach. The film played flawlessly. The picture quality was fine on our 32 inch LCD and probably equivalent to standard DVD levels. I am disappointed that HD movies are only available on the AppleTV (which hacks off those of us with Mac Mini media centres!) but since our TV is only 720p it's not a huge issue.

I can't say that I thought the 24 hour limitation applied in the States would have been an issue for me (though friends with very small children have said quite the opposite) it was nice to see that we have 48 hours in which to finish watching the film.

So overall the experience was pretty good. It's convenient and it works (no taking back scratched DVDs!); however, the pricing could have been better thought out. As I've mentioned before we have been getting increasingly poor digital reception so are in the market to watch more rented movies. If only the movies were cheaper we would probably be chewing through the available selection at a rate of knots. But with the pricing equivalent to DVD rentals (and without any access to special features etc.) there is a psychological barrier there - it just seems too expensive. If it was 99p for back catalogue films (of which they have plenty - which are showing for free on broadcast TV) I'd probably not worry about paying in order to get the convenience but at £2.49 I can't justify it.

Anyway, overall a good experience but the selection needs massive improvement, the pricing could be better and when are we going to be able to rent TV shows?

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

PicLens - 3D Image Viewer

I spotted PicLens earlier today. It's a Firefox plug-in which allows you to browse images on appropriately enabled sites. The 3D wall of images is brilliant and has to be seen to get the effect. Currently only a few sites are enabled but they include some of the main ones you'd probably use it on anyway - flickr, picasa, youtube, google and yahoo image searches along with the major social networks. It's a great way to browse image and video sites on the web!

There are versions for IE and Safari too.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

It was with a little trepidation that I took my better half along to see the latest instalment of of the Indy franchise, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I had really enjoyed the first three movies and was concerned that the fourth would be disappointing. I needn't have worried as, whilst it's not the best of the movies, it makes a good showing.

It's been set some time after the others, which fits nicely with Harrison Ford's age, but it does mean that the Nazi's have gone and it's the Reds that are the opposition. Cate Blanchett is a little disappointing as the main baddie but the others make a good fist of it and, whilst a couple of the set pieces are pushing things (even for pulp), the overall effect is very entertaining.

If you set your expectations at an appropriate level it's a fun way to pass a couple of hours.