iTunes and iPod users can now enjoy the fruits of HD movies as offered by Apple’s iTune store. Starting today, HD movies can be bought and downloaded for $19.99 apiece, and Apple’s also promising movie rentals for $4.99 within 30 days after new releases. Downloads include both the standard HD file as well as an iPhone/iPod-ready SD file. The store already had 1200 “stunning” HD videos for rent, now has a growing arsenal of ones for purchase, and Apple intends to steadily add to that arsenal as time goes on. The press release is really pushing that vampiric film “Twilight” for pre-order, so go out and purchase your favorite tale of a spineless teenager with less emotion than a stick (no offense to sticks) today, now in flying HD colors.
Apple Offers HD Movies in iTunes Store
2009-03-22 2:49 amatsureki
What’s that about? The release mentions the AppleTV and says that it works with the HD video right in the first paragraph.
And how well did they think it would do? It’s the leader in its class, which has never been a terribly relevant class of devices (note that it’s not a DVR; it’s merely a media relay box), and Steve Jobs has consistently called it a “hobby” rather than another major product line.
I’m curious how iTunes will handle the two versions of the same movie. Is each copy individually exposed to the user in the library, or is it done automatically? I would be in favor of that precedent. I’ve wanted for a long time to keep Apple Lossless of some of my CDs in iTunes and have them automatically downconverted to something more sensible when I sync with my iPod.
As to the discussion about bitrate and whatnot below, it’s not a fair comparison because they’re on completely different equipment, but I think the iTunes store’s preview of Heroes in HD looks better than the Blu-Rays. There’s been a ton of spottiness on all the disc releases I’ve seen (s1 on HDDVD and s2 on BD), while the iTunes preview was nothing but clear and sharp. I probably would have gone with the iTunes release of season 2 if I had a convenient way to watch them on my TV. Go figure.
What the press release doesn’t say is whether the movies will be 720p or 1080p and what the bit-rate will be.
Blu-ray trumps downloads by its sheer capacity. It’s not practical for most people to download a 1080p FullHD movie encoded at Blu-rays typically high bit-rates in a timely manner. I’m pretty sure the movies at the iTunes store are 10 Mbps or lower.
I wonder if the masses will care enough about quality to take a stand and insist on buying Blu?
2009-03-21 2:21 amssa2204
Problem as I see it is not the size of the file, but what the customer’s ISP will have to say about all this bandwidth. Speaking primarily of US customers of such splendid ISPs as Comcast and Rogers, people can soon find their internet cut off if they chose to ‘purchase’ too many movies. I know for one that Comcast meters and monitors customer’s bandwidth usage (wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact they oversell in areas?). Whether it is 720 or 1080, this is still a large download.
For most countries outside US, it is still not possible
to buy movies or tv-series from ITunes.
The only option is to use another well known OS which supports the DRM that makes the content-producing companies to consider world-wide distribution.
I would say that adding tv-series to ITunes as a world wide service would have a far bigger impact than adding another US-only (or close to) service in any format, including 3D!
Apple TV not doing as well as they thought it would?