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TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.

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Trial and Error



iTunes Latest Software Gets Sluggish

September 22, 2006 10:59 AM

I’ll be the first to admit – I’ve been drinking the iTunes Kool-Aid since the start of the year. (See story at: http://www.tvweek.com/article.cms?articleId=29449)

As far as I am concerned, iTunes has been a raging success because it’s easy to use.

Well, it was easy to use.

The week of Sept. 12, iTunes released a new version of its software, iTunes 7. If you want to download videos or TV shows, you need to install the new software upgrade.

I upgraded last week when I purchased an episode of NBC’s “Passions.” I made a mental note that the 38-minute episode took about 30 minutes to download. I was especially surprised at the length of time because earlier this year when I purchased most of the second season of NBC’s “The Office” on the service, each episode downloaded in about two to three minutes. Granted, “The Office” is a 22-minute show while “Passions” lasts 38 minutes, but the longer show shouldn’t take a half hour to download when the shorter one only needed a few minutes.

I encountered more trouble when I played back “Passions.” The video was stilted, as if running on an old dial-up connection. In fact, several tech Web sites have reported problems including playback issues and installation crashes with the new iTunes software.

On Thursday Sept. 21, I tried the new iTunes software again. I’ve become a “Grey’s Anatomy” addict within the last 24 hours thanks to the DVDs of season one and two making their way into my hands within the last week. To enable new junkies like me, ABC has thoughtfully offered last season’s finale for free on iTunes. To get up to speed before the start of season three, I downloaded the finale on Thursday afternoon. The download took more than an hour for the one hour and 25 minute episode. Plus, I had to shut down iTunes three times because it slowed every other function – e-mail, word documents – on my computer to a quicksand pace. Finally, on the fourth try, iTunes successfully downloaded the episode.

This time, however, the video played back flawlessly. The junkie is at ease and iTunes gets a reprieve.

For now.

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