DVDs and iTunes

This has kind of been bug­ging me about iTunes for the past year or so. I had some tiny hope that it would be addressed in iTunes 9, but of course it has­n’t:

Why aren’t DVDs played in iTunes like CDs are, instead of a sep­a­rate uni-task app (DVD Play­er)?


Okay, I under­stand clear­ly why Apple isn’t going to allow users to rip DVDs using iTunes. But iTunes has clear­ly moved beyond just audio (or Tunes, as it were) and now stores videos, movies, TV Shows, and even mobile appli­ca­tions. With iTunes Albums (for music) and iTunes Extras (for video), it has become the mac’s dig­i­tal media repos­i­to­ry. Some of the changes in iTunes 9 reflect this evo­lu­tion.

What makes this even weird­er is that DVDs are present in Front Row, which has always seemed to me like noth­ing more than a pret­ty, full-screen inter­face for iTunes. Why, then, isn’t DVD play just inte­grat­ed into iTunes? All of the extra fea­tures in DVDs could eas­i­ly be account­ed or with­out adding much to the inter­face with the same sim­ple con­trols any remote offers and the heads-up dis­play in iTunes video already has.

OS X has loads of inter­face incon­sis­ten­cies; most of which are eas­i­ly over­looked by the vast major­i­ty of its users (espe­cial­ly if they came from Win­dows1). How­ev­er, this is a func­tion­al incon­sis­ten­cy that seems con­fus­ing to me. As iTunes has now sup­port­ed video for some time, many users might expect a more con­sis­tent treat­ment of enter­tain­ment on an opti­cal disc.

  1. The way Win­dows treats DVDs is not only con­fus­ing, but actu­al­ly down­right pathet­ic. Win­dows Media Play­er will rec­og­nize a DVD and add it to the media list. That’s where the con­ve­nience ends, unfor­tu­nate­ly. That’s because Win­dows does­n’t come with a codec that will actu­al­ly play DVDs. Instead, you have to pur­chase a third-par­ty DVD Decoder, even if in the so-called “Ulti­mate” edi­tions. A cryp­tic error mes­sage indi­cates that you need to do some­thing to get Win­dows Media Play­er to play the DVD, just not what. And Win­dows Media Cen­ter (the equiv­a­lent to Front Row) does­n’t even show a DVD at all (though it might once you’ve paid for some­thing Microsoft should have includ­ed in the OS).Windows7_RC_Media Player []

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