Print 15 comment(s) - last by xRyanCat.. on Mar 22 at 8:34 PM

PC or Mac users can now purchase HD movies through iTunes, Apple announced

Apple has announced that iTunes users now have the ability to purchase and rent movies in high-definition content, which has been widely requested by iTunes shoppers over the months.

The Cupertino-based company will charge $19.99 for HD movie downloads, and $4.99 for HD movie rentals 30 days of release.  Older movie titles can be rented for $3.99.

Apple's current library isn't very impressive, but the company promised it's working to add TV shows and movies for shoppers.

Apple offered HD content for Apple TV users -- the company's rather lackluster set-top box that hasn't been popular among consumers -- but haven't been available through the PC or Mac.  iTunes has more than 10 million songs, 40,000 standard-quality TV episodes, and 5,000 SD movies -- there are around 1,200 HD movies for rent, but the HD purchase catalog also is growing.

"Movie fans are going to love being able to buy and rent films including 'Quantum of Solace' and 'Twilight' in stunning HD form the iTunes Store," Apple Internet Services VP Eddy Cue said in a statement.  "Customers have made HD content on iTunes a hit, with over 50 percent of TV programming being purchased in HD when available."

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What sort of HD
By hlper on 3/20/2009 11:06:18 AM , Rating: 2
So looking at iTunes, and this article, I cannot see what exactly you are buying. Is it 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p? Doesn't that seem like something that would be mentioned somewhere?

I am looking at the "Quantum of Solace" on iTunes and there is no mention other than the HD version is 3.37 GB, compared to 1.55 GB for whatever iTunes standard definition is.

RE: What sort of HD
By Whaaambulance on 3/20/2009 11:08:33 AM , Rating: 4
Apple assumes their user base doesn't need to know, or couldn't possibly know what that means. They build for the lowest common denominator. Telling them crazy things like movie resolution would only confuse them.

RE: What sort of HD
By AlexWade on 3/20/2009 11:36:32 AM , Rating: 2
If it 3.37 GB, I can tell you now that it is not 1080p and not a very high bitrate. Blu-Ray movies are about 20kpbs in H.264 if I remember correctly (you may need to verify me).

Using my Hauppage HD PVR as a guide, a 9kbps movie in H.264 is somewhere around 3.5 GB per hour with an average quality AC3 5.1 surround sound. That is 1080i.

Maybe Apple is using an aggressive encoding. Even still, 3.37 GB is too small for a high-quality video and sound. I really think Apple is using H.264 or variant of it. I doubt Apple is using VC-1 and I know they aren't using MPEG-2 for a file size that small. Even in VC-1, you couldn't get a 1080p movie that small.

RE: What sort of HD
By sprockkets on 3/20/2009 4:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
H.264 with AAC would probably be Apple's choice.

Oh well. If it isn't 8GB like my Bourne Supremacy is, it won't be HQ. It used 9 mb for the bitrate and 1.5mb DTS sound.

The whole i vs. p is irrelevant. The source will always be 23.976 FPS, and the player has the job of making it whatever the TV needs to be.

RE: What sort of HD
By CU on 3/20/2009 11:39:02 AM , Rating: 2
Not only the resolution, but what about bit rate.

RE: What sort of HD
By SoCalBoomer on 3/20/2009 3:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's 720p

RE: What sort of HD
By xRyanCat on 3/22/2009 8:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
Let's assume the movie is 720p.
3.37GB, 106 minutes.
DTS Audio: 768Kbits/sec... 596MB
H.264 Video: 3.6Mbits/Sec... 2.77GB.

That's not very high quality. Add another Gigabyte onto the total size and the video bitrate would have a little more breathing room.

I think it's safe to guess it's not 1080p@3.6Mbps.

Yeah this'll work...
By FITCamaro on 3/20/2009 9:05:27 AM , Rating: 3
Why would you spend $20 for an HD movie that you don't even own?

RE: Yeah this'll work...
By Alphafox78 on 3/20/2009 9:19:58 AM , Rating: 2
the $20 option is if you buy it, thats why theres a $5 rental version. you dont own the rental.

Id rather get a physical disk for a few bucks more in bluray though, nothing like TrueHD surround sound! that doesnt work so well on a PC.

RE: Yeah this'll work...
By Wolfpup on 3/20/2009 9:43:12 AM , Rating: 3
You don't own it though, it has activation. I don't see the point in spending as much or in many cases more than a Blu Ray, for something that most people say at best roughly matches DVD in video quality, is far less flexible in what can play it, that you don't own, and that has no extras. It just makes no sense.

RE: Yeah this'll work...
By jeepgeek on 3/20/2009 10:39:38 AM , Rating: 2
They had a word for this in the 90's it was called DIVX and Circuit City sold it. I can't believe people would be stupid enough to fall for it now. If I don't own it and I can't use it how I see fit why would I buy it? I can get Blu-Rays quite often under 15.00.

RE: Yeah this'll work...
By FITCamaro on 3/20/2009 10:41:38 AM , Rating: 2
Clue. You have one.

RE: Yeah this'll work...
By Fenixgoon on 3/20/2009 10:46:18 AM , Rating: 1
I voted you up FIT, as I am in the same mindset. Or at the very least, you should be able to then burn physical copies so you can watch it in a BD player if you so choose. I'm interested in what kind of DRM restrictions are on it, even though I refuse to buy anything through iTunes.

Recently, my mom bought a DVD that featured some "digital copy feature" that "allowed" you to have a version of the movie on your local machine. Bullshit - she owns the movie now so she damn well better be able to copy it onto her PC (not that my mom would want to, or even can).

By chizow on 3/21/2009 9:00:43 AM , Rating: 2
This was a pretty hot topic about a year ago when the embers on the HD format war were still glowing. Blu-Ray had just won and there was still much speculation about MS and Apple holding out support hoping to win with their own brand of HD digital distribution methods.

A year later, digital distribution formats still haven't closed the gap in either visual and most notably audio quality. Now Netflix (imo) offers the highest quality and most versatile options with physical BD support, free with subscription internet-based streaming content (similar quality compared to Apple's offerings), and digital distribution through Xbox 360 Live on a subscription or purchase basis. Amazing developments considering Netflix's future was in doubt a little over a year ago and their main rival Blockbuster now faces an uncertain future.

Also for those saying its difficult to get all the benefits of TrueHD and BD on a PC, that's partially true. Just pick up any of the $70-$100 BD optical drives from LG or Sony/Optiarc and a full version of PowerDVD 8 and you can output 8ch over analog or 8ch LPCM over HDMI on parts that support it. Bitstream support over HDMI is still shaky atm but its on the feature list of many new and upcoming discrete and integrated audio solutions.

By SoCalBoomer on 3/20/2009 3:09:41 PM , Rating: 1
A: it's 720p. Ick. Oh well - I mean, better than SD but still. . .they couldn't do 1080? Come on.

B: If you're using a newer mac with the newer style Apple-only (although now it's a standard. . .) display connector which is non-HDCP then you're hosed - you'll buy the movie for $20 and you can't watch it in HD, you can only watch it in SD. . . which you could have paid far less for.

If Apple would use what the REST OF THE FRIGGIN WORLD USES, this wouldn't be an issue. HDMI (for all its flaws) is pretty much standard; is a very small connector; and is HDCP compliant. . .

So if you've got a newer Apple, merry Christmas, you get to waste your money - oh, and iTunes won't warn you. . .

mmmmmmm, yep.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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