iTunes TV launches in the UK

iTunes launched their UK TV service today. I think it’s the first UK retailer to sell season 3 of Lost, which at £33 is roughly the same price as the DVD box set. Otherwise, individual episodes are £1.89, which isn’t an unreasonable price. Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and South Park1 are probably the most interesting of the 28 US shows. Damn. I was happy to pick up the odd not-available-in-the-UK show via bittorrent before this; now I’ll feel guilty if it’s available legally. There’s nothing from UK tv yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

I haven’t tried it out yet – I don’t have a video iPod, and there’s nothing I’m itching to see – but it’s a popular service in the US and I’m sure it’ll come in useful. News articles have compared it to the ‘catch-up’ offerings from the BBC and ITV, but it’s actually quite different. I can keep these shows for as long as I want2 – the ‘catch-up’ services only let you watch for a week /month after transmission. The commercial channels will surely have to implement something like this; ‘catch-up’ just doesn’t cut it – I’m happy to pay for something without adverts that I can watch whenever I like and keep forever, and it seems like it should be profitable, depending on bandwidth costs. Not sure what the BBC will do, though…

  1. 22min episodes of which cost the same as 45min episodes of other shows; worth it for the Scientology episode, though. []
  2. admittedly if iTunes folds the DRM would ensure I couldn’t watch them any more, but that’s at least not the point []