Take a look at the viewfinder on my camera. Now, look at the pictures of the Zune (which will be announced tomorrow) or the latest iPods.
What do you notice? My viewfinder is widescreen. 16:9 aspect ratio. That’s what HDTV is all about.
But the new iPod and Zune are designed to play 320×240 or 640×480 videos. Not wide screen.
That just sucks. Ever watch a movie on an old TV after getting an HDTV? They look like crap. Either they get squished or someone cuts off the ends of the video so you don’t get the full movie you saw in the movie theater.
Now, imagine that Sony made a viewfinder, like the one on my camcorder, that “rips off” of the camcorder and you can carry it around and show your friends videos on it. Look carefully at that viewfinder. It looks much cooler — because of its wide-screen 16:9 aspect ratio — than either the Zune or the iPod does. And that’s before you even put a movie on it.
The one thing the Zune does do right, though, is give us a screen that’s dramatically bigger than the iPod for watching videos.
Oh, and don’t even tell me how lame the new iTunes videos are. Paying $10 or more for a 640×480 video? Do you have any clue how bad that looks on a good 60-inch 16:9 widescreen HDTV? At least if I get the DVD my player upscales it well so it looks pretty decent. Not to mention that DVDs usually come in wide-screen format now. So, count me out. Now, if Apple figured out a way to get HDTV widescreen videos online? I’d buy one of those things in a minute!
I’m shocked that Steve Jobs hasn’t gone 100% widescreen yet, Apple used to be so proud to be the most innovative company out there bringing us things like wifi before most other companies. I guess we’ll have to wait on widescreen, though (hey, Sony, here’s your opportunity!) Yeah, the iTV will let me do it, I think. The reason I’m pretty sure it does is because Steve Jobs demonstrated it using Rocketboom, which films in widescreen HDTV too, using a Sony HD camcorder too. But if I can’t buy movies from iTunes in widescreen, what good is it for most people? (Hey, I’m weird cause I watch Rocketboom instead of Lost or American Idol, most people outside of Silicon Valley aren’t like that).
It looks like I’m not the only one who wants a wide-screen portable device. Look at this Google News search for “widescreen” and you can see the disappointment with Apple coming through the headlines.
What about you? Do you think I’m nuts? Tell me about it! 🙂
UPDATE: Ironically Steve Jobs “Showtime” presentation yesterday is up on Apple’s site in, yes, you guessed it, widescreen format. Too bad you can’t watch that in all of its glory on your new iPod video.