Contrary to popular belief, 1977’s Star Wars did not introduce surround-sound technology to cinemas. That distinction belongs to Barbra Streisand’s 1976 remake of the musical A Star Is Born. The sci-fi epic is perceived as the surround-sound pioneer only because it was a much more popular film. Similarly, neither Apple’s iPod nor the newer iPod with video premiered the compression technologies that enable you to carry your favorite audio or video in your shirt pocket. But both products have been so wildly successful that they deserve credit for introducing those technologies to the world.
As millions of iPod owners know, with the excellent iTunes software, you can record your entire music collection on your PC’s hard drive and transfer the songs to your iPod, along with songs available from the online iTunes store. The video iPod advances this concept by adding TV shows, videos, and movies to the mix. Before the advent of the newest iPod, the idea of downloading video from web sites had languished on the sidelines for years. Now, television networks are stumbling over each other to put content online.
You will find a growing selection of TV shows at the iTunes store, ranging from such classics as The A-Team and Knight Rider to contemporary hits that include Lost and The Colbert Report. You can load as much as 150 hours of video (or 15,000 songs or 25,000 photos) on the new 60 GB iPod, which costs $400. A 30 GB version, priced at $300, will accept 75 hours of video, 7,500 songs, or 25,000 photos. The 2.5-inch screen may seem small initially, but it delivers a surprisingly detailed picture thanks to its 320-by-240-pixel resolution, and the images are amazingly bright and colorful. And with 20 hours of battery life, you do not have to worry about losing power quickly, as may be the case with your laptop.