February 2006


iTunes Music Store Updates for Sunday, February 26 through Tuesday, February 28, 2006.

(Sorry about the missed updates, you didn’t miss that much.)

New Seasons:

New Episodes:

Also added were the five 2006 Academy Award nominated short films, “Six Shooter,” “Ausreisser (The Runaway),” “Our Time Is Up,” “The Last Farm” and “Cashback.”

Well, Apple’s event has now come and gone. The crazy thing is, it built up all week with the typical furor that Apple events engender and it all turns out to have very little impact on what we do here at Tunevision. There was no new iPod, there was no iTunes Movie Store (although I was basically telling anyone who would listen that this wasn’t going to happen yet). In terms of general Apple news, there is a new Intel-based Mac mini and a few iPod accessories. All in all, kind of a letdown, especially for this web site as I was kind of hoping for something new to write about. For a wrap-up of what did happen, Macworld has the roundup and is not being crushed by the traffic like several other sites.

It’s Tuesday and we all know what that means! Let’s get it started.

Academy Award Nominated Short FilmsFor the past week, the internet has been all a-flutter about today’s special event at Apple HQ. That event won’t be until later today, but one of the more popular speculations has been the possibility of Apple offering full-length feature films in iTunes. I haven’t been the most ardent supporter of this rumor (I don’t believe it’s a possibility until Apple releases new iPods), but many people believe this to be happening. However, at least for now, it turns out that we’re both right. The iPod isn’t ready for feature-length films AND Apple is adding movies to iTunes, but in the form of this year’s Academy Award nominated short films. That’s right, the five 30-minutes-or-less short films up for an Oscar this year are available for purchase in iTunes for $1.99. The films are being assembled and managed by Shorts International and are also distributed in theaters by Mark Cuban‘s Magnolia Pictures.

Inside the Actor's StudioAlso expected today was the arrival of Bravo’s Inside the Actor’s Studio and five episodes of this series are now available in iTunes. The episodes currently available feature Robert Redford, Angelina Jolie, Michael J. Fox, Martin Lawrence and a double-length episode with Dave Chapelle. All episodes, including the double-length Dave Chapelle episode, are just $1.99.

Top Chef Free TrailerBravo has also added a free trailer for a forthcoming series called Top Chef. This series will premiere on Bravo on March 15. It’s good to see networks trying to use iTunes to the fullest as a promotional tool for upcoming series. As they begin to see the value of iTunes in this regard, we will see more content from the same networks available for purchase.

Comedy Central Standup Additional Acts Just AddedFinally, Comedy Central has added more stand-up comedy to their lineup. Eight new stand-up acts are available for purchase from Brian Regan, Darrell Hammond, Maria Bamford, Carlos Mencia, Dat Phan, Frank Caliendo, Demetri Martin and Greg Giraldo. Lots of names in that list have been frequent requests (at least, if you believe the iTunes commenters) for their addition to iTunes. As you may recall, the popularity of stand-up comedy in iTunes has been a pleasant surprise for both Apple and Comedy Central and they apparently have been scrambling to make more comedy available for purchase.

And that’s it for this morning. Stay tuned to see what today’s Apple event has in store for us (if anything).

Updates for Saturday, February 25, 2006:

New Episodes:

  • Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi) – Downloaded (Aired Feb. 24)

Yesterday’s addition of Project Runway is apparently a portent of more things to come from Bravo. Bravo’s popular series, Inside the Actor’s Studio will also be added to iTunes this coming Tuesday.

And speaking of this coming Tuesday, if you’re an Apple fan in general, you’ve likely heard of this event that Apple is hosting on February 28. Well, as is typical, the Apple world is all a-twitter with speculation as to what the event will be announcing. New Mac minis? Intel-based iBooks? The fabled touch-screen iPods? But of interest to the iTunes watchers is a report from Macworld UK. In the article, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu states that they believe there is a good chance that Apple will announce the iTunes Movie Store, where users could purchase full-length feature films through iTunes. I’ve previously talked about the possibility of iTunes eventually hosting films at length, but I would be very surprised if this were to happen now. The battery life and hard drive capacity just isn’t there yet. However, as is the custom with all Apple events, it’s still all pure conjecture and we’ll just have to wait until Tuesday to find out for sure.

UPDATE: One more tidbit, in an article from CNNMoney.com, they talk predominantly about the forthcoming Apple event next Tuesday. Nothing especially groundbreaking about the article itself—it’s pretty standard boilerplate—but at the end they indicate that Apple has signed a deal with the NBA to make certain content available in iTunes. Obviously, NBA games currently aren’t available in iTunes and this is the first I’ve heard of such a deal. NBA currently does offer some games for purchase in Google Video for $3.95.

Updates for Wednesday, February 22, 2006:

New Episodes:

Project RunwayThe Heidi Klum-hosted Project Runway briefly appeared in iTunes this afternoon. The reality television show from NBC Universal’s Bravo network would be the first for that network. No episodes were made available for download, so it appears that this is a mistake on Apple’s part and someone jumped the gun in posting it live into iTunes. (UPDATE: This is now fixed.) It also appears that whomever is working on this particular one is having difficulty doing it correctly because it keeps appearing and disappearing in iTunes.

And a screenshot for proof:

Project Runway Screenshot

UPDATE: Must not have been a complete goof, because this is now fixed and live, complete with one episode and a free trailer for you to download.

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