Movie downloads from Apple: VGA res for $12.99 or less in 30 minutes


itunes movies.jpgEngadget is running their typical “live-blog” coverage courtesy of writer extraordaniare, Paul Boutin, but the server is buckling under the strain. We’re not ones to steal thunder, but since the iTunes Movie service fits the “It’s Showtime” theme, we figured to share the details.

As expected, Apple will provide movie downloads; look for around 75 movies available in the near term with more to obviously follow. I think Apple did smart move on the pricing. For new movies, you can pre-order them or buy them the during the first week at a cost of $12.99. Movies will be available for download on the same day they hit the DVD retail shelves. Older movies will cost just $9.99; again, not a bad price for a movie that you own. I’ll likely be canceling my Vongo subscription as a result; the service hasn’t been working in a stable fashion for me anyway.

Better yet, the resolution of 640 x 480 comes much closer to DVD resolution than 320 x 240 and his Jobness indicates you can grab a full movie in around 30 minutes. You’ll see a new iTunes client (v. 7) later today that integrates iTunes Movies along with your videos and audio files. There’s plenty more (but no Tablet), so check it out over at Engadget and hit that Refresh button! Does anyone else see another use for those 800 x 480 UMPCs, or is it just me?



Aaron, it’s definitly not VHS quality. VHS is 320×240 MPEG1. This is more like 640×480 MPEG4. This is not only 4 times the resolution of VHS, but also much better codec driving the whole thing.

Also, deduced from the 2 hour movie downloaded in 30 min thing, and that it’s giving you near DVD res (720×480 vs 640×480) and using MPEG4 instead of MPEG2 of DVDs, each 2 hour movie would clock in around approximately 1.5GB in size (vs 4~5GB for your typical 2 hour DVD movies). We are talking about a respectable 2mb/s average bitrate for the video and audio running in some form of MPEG4, which compares very well to the average of 5mb/s bitrate for DVDs using much less efficinet MPEG2.

So if you want to have alot of these movies in your UMPC, you better make sure you have a big HDD installed. 10 movies are gonna easily go over 10GBs!

Kevin C. Tofel

That’s ridiculous! JK and I would never share a tombstone; we’d each want our OWN stone tablet. ;) I’m actually giving the new iTunes a walkthough now, complete with “near DVD quality” movie download. Technically, I’d consider that statement accurate as DVD resolution is 720 x 480. VGA res is 640 x 480 or 4x the res of the QVGA video that Apple previously provided. I believe the sound is Dolby Surround, but I’ll have to verify that. As a subject matter expert on HDTV, you have to realize that the mainstream consumer is JUST getting ready for high-definition; this is a market this is on the cusp of breaking out. There’s no point for Apple to leap all the way to HDTV quality movies; the bandwidth infrastructure isn’t there yet and the display infrastructure is just taking off.

Tablet PC User

LOL! Good one Nikoooo. We can all imagine JK and KCT’s tombstone….Favorite saying – “Someday, there WILL be an Apple Tablet!”

Also, did anyone catch if this download will be 5.1 surround? After all, you can get a DVD with 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS. If this is 2-channel stereo, this will suck for the home user. I may have 2 ears, but I can hear about 16 channel audio!


I’m not impressed at all with this video stuff. The price is still way too high, and for VHS quality. (I love how they don’t want to even use the word VHS, so instead say “near DVD quality”. ha!)

I’m much more content to just use pocket DVD to make portable versions of the DVDs i already own.

And really, right now I can get DVDs for <$14 in any store. Why would I want to pay that price for this lower res copy that I can't do as much with?

Tablet PC User

You mean that I will have to pay extra for SDTV quality? I don’t know where apple is going but video is going to High Definition from now on. With HD-DVD and Blu-ray at 1080p, I can watch shows on my widescreen HDTV in its REAL quality…not some 640×480 crap.

This “It’s Showtime” has been a real let-down…

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