Apple pushes podcasters to upgrade video quality | iLounge News


Apple pushes podcasters to upgrade video quality

Apple’s iTunes team has sent an email to current video podcasters, recommending that they increase the resolution of their videos. “Apple TV is here, and podcasts are making a big move into the living room,” Apple said in the email. “We want all of them to look as good as possible, so we have three video formatting recommendations for you.” Apple’s tips for enhancing a video podcast are included below.

Recommendations for Formatting Video Podcasts

1. If you’re encoding your video podcast at 320x240, please increase the resolution to either 640x480 or 640x360 (depending on the aspect ratio of your source files). Why? Because video podcasts at this resolution look great on Apple TV and still port to video iPods. Lower resolution podcasts might also work on both platforms, but they don’t look nearly as good on a widescreen TV. As always, make sure to test any encoding changes you make to ensure device compatibility. QuickTime 7.1’s “Export to iPod” function will ensure that a video file is encoded at a width of 640 and is iPod-compatible.

2. It’s best not to create two different podcast feeds for different resolutions. By doing so, you dilute the popularity of your podcast and reduce exposure in our charts. It’s better to have one feed high in the charts than two that are lower.

3. If your source files are 16:9, stick with that aspect ratio. Don’t add letterboxing to make them 4:3. By doing so, you prevent the video from expanding to fill a 16:9 widescreen TV and instead end up with black space on all four sides. Also, your original source files should be at least 640 pixels wide.

Of course these are just recommendations. We understand that there are good reasons for 320x240 (bandwidth bills) and 720p (looks fantastic). Do whatever makes the most sense for your show.  For more information on formatting video, see the recently updated spec.

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That’s all well and good, but who is going to pay for the extra hosting and bandwidth costs?

Posted by phennphawcks on April 12, 2007 at 11:55 AM (CDT)


Recommendation 3 is also going to force widescreen videos to be stretched to 4:3 when viewed on an iPod, right?

Isn’t there supposed to be a tag in the file that says what aspect ration it’s supposed to be viewed in? And isn’t/shouldn’t an iPod supposed to honour that tag???

Posted by Wibbly on April 12, 2007 at 12:17 PM (CDT)


That’s good news.  I don’t like watching a tiny 320 x 240 video on my MacBook, so why would I want to watch the same thing on my Apple TV?  As far as the additional costs go, I suspect we’ll be seeing more ads in the podcasts.

Posted by Galley on April 12, 2007 at 12:18 PM (CDT)


The iPod itself doesn’t do any Stretching of Non 4:3 content.
By setting the >Videos>Video Settings>Widescreen option to On, the iPod will letterbox, and with the option off, it will “Pan and Scan”.
Letterboxing is where black bars are added to the top and bottom of the video. “Pan and Scan” is where the sides of the Video is cropped. Most directors of Photography frame video so all the action is in the centre of the screen, meaning that the Viewers without Widescreen Displays can still follow the story.

Posted by Dan Woods on April 12, 2007 at 4:06 PM (CDT)

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