UPDATE iTunes 8 was announced on September 9th, 2008. Sadly still no DVD integration or movie album art functionality.
Think about it. iTunes currently works very well with your CD collection: insert a disk, it grabs the track names from Gracenote CDDB, downloads album art and allows you to “Import” the album in various formats into your Library. Simple.
Why not enable the same functionality for DVDs? Looking at the About Gracenote page they seem to mention that their database holds information about not only 4 million albums but also 17 thousand DVD titles. On the surface it looks as though they already support this feature*
So all Apple would need to do is enable this service, rough up a DVD-equivalent of an album art service then code some functionality to “Import” the DVD to your iTunes Library. This needn’t be at native resolution: I’d be happy with the same resolutions and formatting as the movies they’ve started offering in the iTunes Music Store (iTMS). They need only offer a couple of preferences for quality and intended destination (screen or iPod). Click “Import” and the DVD is encoded, artwork is added and you have a copy of your movie. iTunes becomes a single library for your music and DVD collection, available for use on your Mac and on-the-go on your iPod. Simple.
I should also mention that Apple has obviously been spending some time cleaning up the video controls within iTunes as evidenced in the latest v7 release - that’s a screenshot of them above this paragraph - to the stage where the controls in iTunes are now actually much better than those available in DVD Player.app.
It’s not even like this functionality would cannibalise much in the way of sales from their own iTMS Movie service, I’d actually offer that it would increase sales by channelling users into iTunes to watch their existing DVD collections; from where the user could be presented with further recommendations via that iTunes mini-store pane or via inline iTMS links direct to similar movies on the iTMS Movie Store, which naturally are available to purchase.
I’m sure none of this is rocket science and I by no means believe I’m the first person to think about integrating these two apps - however I can’t seem to find anyone else talking about this so I thought I’d lay it all out here, if only for future reference.