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HD movies now sold in iTunes Store, iPod versions included

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, March 19, 2009
News Categories: iTunes

Apple has announced that it is now offering high-definition films for purchase and rent on the iTunes Store. HD movies will be priced at $19.99 and can be viewed on a Mac, PC, or Apple TV; according to the announcement, HD films will also include standard-definition copies for viewing on an iPod or iPhone. Starting today, iTunes users can pre-order HD versions of Quantum of Solace which will be available for download on March 24, and Twilight, which will be available on March 21, and can purchase HD versions of films including Transporter 3 and Punisher: War Zone, both of which are available immediately. Apple claims the iTunes Store is the “world’s most popular online TV and movie store,” with over 250 million TV episodes purchased and over 33 million movies purchased and rented.

“Movie fans are going to love being able to buy and rent films including ‘Quantum of Solace’ and ‘Twilight’ in stunning HD from the iTunes Store,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “Customers have made HD content on iTunes a hit, with over 50 percent of TV programming being purchased in HD when available.”

Rental prices for HD films through iTunes remain the same as they were via Apple TV: $3.99 for older titles, $4.99 for new releases. In our brief initial testing, we found that Punisher: War Zone consists of one 3.09GB HD video file, and one 1.15GB SD iPod/iPhone compatible file.

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Comments

1

I’m gonna need a bigger hard drive now!

Posted by Adam on March 19, 2009 at 2:09 PM (PDT)

2

Oh god - you those Punisher: War Zone to review the HD movie downloads?  I’m so sorry - no job is worth watching that movie.  We honor your sacrifice in order to keep us informed!

Posted by FunkyMan on March 19, 2009 at 2:09 PM (PDT)

3

Not available here in Australia, of course, but it does pave the way. I’m going to put off any further movie purchases until we get HD.

I’ve rented a few movies in HD on Apple TV and the quality is very good. I’d be happy to buy movies in this format.

Posted by Japester on March 19, 2009 at 3:18 PM (PDT)

4

I am surprised to see people getting excited about some “new” offerings by companies that are trying to sell us their “low-significance” products (Quantum of Solace for example) -again- just because it is out in HD. Yeah, and next year that we’ll have a new format out, named TrueBlackXHD out, we’ll going to re-market the same products and you ‘ll be excited at the technology we ‘re offering you and go buy again.

In a nutshell, we people are working our ##### off, to go buy movies, that have really nothing to say and sit and stare at the 33% more pixels we are able to see on our new tv’s we have bought and actually get excited about all these!

We seriously need to reconsider our priorities and the true meaning of all these and get to understand the loop we have been thrown into…

With all the respect to each one’s choices in life….
a friend smile

Posted by Annto on March 19, 2009 at 5:30 PM (PDT)

5

Geez Annto, panties in a bunch? People do it b/c it is fun. The law of diminishing returns most certainly applies, and people won’t participate when they cannot see/feel the difference b/c it won’t be any more fun. It is as simple as that.

Posted by Stuart on March 20, 2009 at 7:06 AM (PDT)

6

Will I be able to play these HD files on my PS3, or are these files locked?

Posted by iLly on March 20, 2009 at 8:17 AM (PDT)

7

iLly, the main question here is, why do you have a PS3?

Posted by Mike on March 20, 2009 at 8:58 AM (PDT)

8

#6 iLly: The files will most certainly be DRM-protected like any other video file purchased from the iTunes Store, meaning that they will only play on Apple hardware and software.

Only music has gone DRM-free on the iTunes Store, which wasn’t unreasonable considering that CDs themselves have never been copy-protected.  On the other hand, we may never see movies and TV shows released in a similar manner considering that commercial DVDs are also copy-protected, and of course the MPAA and TV industry have been actively fighting to copy-protect the shows even when they air on your TV screen.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on March 20, 2009 at 9:56 AM (PDT)

9

JDH , thank you very much for answering my question.

Posted by iLly on March 21, 2009 at 8:30 AM (PDT)

10

Hi Stuart, it is just my point of view…
I don’t put myself out of all this, it happens to me also sometimes.

What I was trying to say is that instead of us using technology to live better and enjoy more free time, technology has become a goal itself and we are (or at least I am sometimes) anxious on weather we have the latest driver and last HD screen and all these things you already know…

Sorry for my english wink


P.S
(what is “panties in a bunch”?)

Posted by Annto on March 21, 2009 at 11:47 AM (PDT)

11

Um… DVD, or 480P is 720x480 resolution, 345,600 pixels. 1080P is 1920x1200 resolution, or 2,073,600 pixels. That’s right, a lot more than 33% more pixels, folks. That’s 1,728,000 more pixels.

Get your facts straight before you post about us getting excited over quality. Current HD is 600% better, 1200% better if coming from a 480i standard definition TV (True HD is 1080P. Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, PS3 media, iTunes HD. Digital television signal is 1080i).

Posted by Joe TV on March 27, 2009 at 12:21 AM (PDT)

12

Actually, iTunes HD is only 720p, which is 1280 x 720 maximum.  Note that most broadcast HD television shows are also only 720p, even though they may be carried on stations broadcasting a 1080i signal.

HD-DVD (now defunct) and Blu-Ray are about the only mainstream content sources that are guaranteed to be 1080p, which to clarify is actually 1920 x 1080 (not 1920 x 1200).

As far as re-purchasing content, I haven’t purchased anything in standard-definition in quite some time… I’d rather wait for it to come out in HD.  Older content that I already have on standard-definition DVD is just fine by me, and I rarely feel a need to re-purchase any of it to “upgrade” my library.

Keep in mind as well that the farther back you go, the more diminishing returns you’ll get from HD content.  Certainly, film was higher resolution than DVD allows for, so there is a difference, but there’s going to be less of a difference than for something that was specifically mastered for HD in the first place.

(Then of course we can also get into the technical issue of the fact that most movies are shot at 24fps on film and therefore not really “True HD” anyway, - which is 60fps - but that’s opening another can of worms).

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on March 27, 2009 at 5:14 AM (PDT)

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