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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Apple/iTunes: New Downloads OK, Broken Downloads Still Fail

Not long ago I wrote about Apple's most recent dagger in the back of their customers with the temerity to attempt to play downloaded iTunes Store video content on “fifth generation” iPods still in warranty. In that article I said that as a consequence of that betrayal, I would never again give Apple any of my business. But I had already purchased “season passes” for two series, which download new episodes automatically pursuant to a purchase made before the disaster, so even though I'm not sending them any more money, these files automatically arrive on those instances I soil my machine by booting into Windows XP.

Last week-end I booted the legacy operating system and launched iTunes, and two new episodes for series I had previously purchased downloaded. After being transferred to the iPod, they played correctly, while the previously downloaded defective videos continued to fail. I used the “Contact Us” form in iTunes to request refunds for the defective episodes (specifying the series, episode, and order number for each). The next day I received a reply which stated:

John, I am happy to tell you that this issue has now been resolved, so I have posted these 2 episodes back to your account to download again.
I then booted the system back down into Windows XP and within iTunes deleted the two defective episodes (because I wasn't sure what would happen if I tried to download purchased videos which were already in the local library). When I subsequently performed a “Check for Purchases”, the replacement programs downloaded and, after transfer to the iPod, played correctly.

This problem is, then, as far as I'm concerned, resolved. But while I shall continue to download material for which I have already paid, I still do not intend to make any additional purchases from iTunes. Two consecutive bootprints in the face suffice: from now on I'll just buy the DVDs when they come out—some patience is required, but at least they don't randomly stop working when some Apple coder flubs an update.

Posted at April 29, 2008 22:54