iTunes Video Guidelines for the Bandwidth Rich (So it looks nice on TV)

iTunes Video Guidelines for the Bandwidth Rich (So it looks nice on TV)

  • Posted on: 12 April 2007
  • By: jmc

Apple just sent out a notice today for those already hooked into the iTunes store about formatting your video so that it looks good on TV. Yes, I wrote on your TV. Apple released a new gizmo a while back that wirelessly connects your computer to your TV. No more balancing your laptop on the top of your TV with RCA and mini plugs dangling out everywhere. Apple TV is small set top box that grabs all your media from you computer and allows you to play it on your TV. That is, for about 300 bucks.

Here is the breakdown from Apple:

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:

    http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/podcaststechspecs.html

    To see a sample of excellent podcasts that also look great with Apple TV, check out the Apple TV Podcast Showcase .

    There you go. For information on how to prepare your RSS for iTunes, look for a future post.