The Criterion Collection comes to iTunes

With virtually no fanfare -- or even a press release -- The Criterion Collection has made 46 of its 680 films available on iTunes. Among the films released are art house classics any lovers of cinema will recognize, including The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman, Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa, and The 400 Blows by Francois Truffaut.

Criterion is known for its releases of some of the world's greatest films (plus, strangely, this one by Michael Bay), and it publishes them with the utmost care and quality given to the film-to-digital transfer. The company first released films on Laserdisc in the 1980s before moving to DVD and Blu-ray in the following decades. However, with the move to iTunes, The Criterion Collection loses one of its most appealing features: the extras. Gone are the multi-track commentaries, behind the scenes featurettes and documentaries, and pretty much anything else that sets the collection apart.

Perhaps it's that lack of extras that is the reason for the average US$14.99 price of each Criterion Collection movie on iTunes. That's in line with most other new releases on iTunes, and a far cry from the premium price a Criterion DVD or Blu-ray commands.