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Apple charges for QuickTime trailers By Stephen Schleicher
For those of you who did not rush out to see Monsters, Inc. this last weekend, you missed the first Lucasfilm Ltd. trailer for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones in large-screen format. Monday morning, Apples QuickTime site had the streaming trailer up for those who missed it. Chances are you wont be watching that in large-screen QuickTime format either.

Beginning today, in order to see some of these trailers in their full streaming glory--mind you, full streaming glory is about 480x320--you will need to upgrade your free QuickTime Player to QuickTime Pro at a cost of $29.99. If you dont want to upgrade, you can still watch the postage stamp version for free, but you wont get the big picture. As Hamlet said, "Ay, theres the rub!" Or in this case maybe he would say, "Oy, theres the rube!" Who is going to pay $29.99 just so they can watch Natalie Portman get her groove on for a few short shots?

Pay to PlayDont get me wrong, I think QuickTime Pro is an excellent product that every streaming professional should have to help encode and create streaming content. Over the last several months, some of the QuickTime tutorials and tricks that have been presented here have relied on the user having QuickTime Pro to accomplish the work. But watching a streaming trailer is not "professional work" (at least that is what my boss keeps telling me), and for the hundreds of fan-boys out there, the Gotcha! Factor has kicked in.

The Gotcha! Factor, as I like to call it, is when a Web site or company gives you the illusion that they are doing it all for you, but then turn around without notice and expect something from you. Its kind of like those free samples at the grocery store. They sucker you in with the smell of chicken nuggets that can be cooked in under a minute, and then before you are able to indulge your taste buds on this little golden tender nugget of chicken (at least that is what they are calling it), they want you to fill out some survey or try the (ugh!) competitors brand first. They hooked you and reeled you in. The same thing is happening with QuickTime; they have lulled viewers of their trailers in with the assumption that they get to watch "large" screen streaming content, only to smack them upside the head with an ultimatum... Pay or watch the smaller, poorer quality, stream. Gotcha!

Apple is not the first company to do this to users; it is happening more and more every day. Variety.com used to give a summary of all their stories to readers of their site, which was often enough to get the important information. If you needed to go even deeper to get the full story, you had to be a paid member. They did away with that several months ago and now are an exclusive subscription site. Gotcha!

I hear dating services on the Internet are a big thing, and for a long time Yahoo! Personals offered this as a freebie. No longer, as they expect Mr. and Ms. Lonely Hearts to fork over $90/year for access to their service. Gotcha!

As a dot-com millionaire (dot-com billions arent what they used to be), I dont have a problem plunking down my dollar to pay for pro versions of anything, so that is not my gripe. I watched the trailer in the theatre and saw everything I needed to see, and I have QuickTime Pro installed on all my computers. I can go to HollywoodReporter.com for all my tinsel town news, and the last time I looked, I didnt need to scam girls phone numbers off the net.

There is nothing wrong with trying to make a buck, but shame on those companies that are doing so by playing on the weak wills of those trying to get their Star Wars fix, Hollywood gossip or next date. Im sure there are those desperate people that will gladly type in their credit card number for access to these "bonus" features, but I have a feeling those are going to be far and few between.

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Stephen Schleicher is a well known writer, visual effects artist and media guru! You can see more of Stephen at
www.majorspoilers.com and www.stephenschleicher.com
Related Keywords:Apple, QuickTime, QuickTime Pro, Star Wars, Attack of the Clones, pay, variety, Hollywood Reporter, Yahoo!, streaming media, streaming video, digital webcast, stephene schleicher

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