Blog Post

HD Movies Now For Sale in iTunes

hditunesBlu-ray took another today hit as Apple (s aapl) announced that it will be offering HD movies for sale (iTunes link), rather than just for rent. That means consumers can download HD quality movies directly into their iTunes library, for use on their computers or Apple TV, or TV-connected Mac mini, if you happen to be me. This probably explains why Blu-ray support hasn’t been forthcoming in recent hardware updates coming out of Cupertino.

Don’t get too excited, though; you don’t get much of a price break for giving up physical media. HD movies on iTunes cost $19.99, which, barring new releases, isn’t that much of a discount from Blu-ray prices. And the file sizes are likely enormous, so plan on either upgrading your internal or moving that iTunes library to an external drive in order to accommodate them.

Launch titles for the service include “Punisher: War Zone,” “Bangkok Dangerous,” and some movies that are actually worth buying, like “Transporter 3.” A number of pre-orders are also available, including the wildly popular teen vampire love story, “Twilight,” and the latest Bond installment, “Quantum of Solace.” The movie files will play no problem on your Apple mobile devices, too, although in standard definition.

I should point out that HD movie purchases are not yet available in the Canadian or UK stores (the only two international stores that I checked so far), and Apple hasn’t released details as to when they might be made available. Currently in the Canadian iTunes store, you can only buy HD TV shows using Apple TV, though the UK store has them available for computer and Apple TV users. I really hope they don’t plan on running the same scheme for HD movies here in Canada as they do for TV shows, because I refuse to be bullied into buying an Apple TV when we don’t have access to most major American network content.

19 Responses to “HD Movies Now For Sale in iTunes”

  1. But at least you can’t scratch or damage the files, like the DVD (“just dropped a BD the other day and chipped it” Ooops!) 720p is just fine but they just need to be cheaper.

  2. Just so, you know the HD apple movies are in 720p and recorded in Dolby 5.1 compressed surround sound. Whereas Blu-Ray disks are 1080p video that is completely uncompressed and the audio is Dolby HD or DTS master audio, which is completely uncompressed up to 7.1, which provides the viewer with a far better home theatre experience.

  3. Bluray will still be of higher quality of course.

    The HD videos on itunes appear to be ~1.55gb, an impressive quality for a download service. A big step over what their standard videos.

    I’m wondering, do their videos follow the itunes plus service? Or are they DRMed?

  4. I assume that these are essentially the same as the AppleTV HD Rentals which have been available for some time now (@Richard – that is what you were thinking of – HD rentals). Those have 5.1 surround sound. The video quality is decent, but still not as good as a disc on a good player.

  5. I’m waiting to see what upgrades they make to the apple tv.
    Hopefully online storage that will allow you to stream your owned content from apple and not have to store it locally.

  6. No mention of the sound though, do these come with HD sound quality too, 5.1, 7.1 what? If there is no HD sound then Blu-ray is still the better option. A movie without it’s not much better than standard def.