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Apple slowly bringing HD shows to UK iTunes

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Folks in the United Kingdom are finally finding some HD content in their iTunes store, but so far the selection is very limited.

They've been waiting since September when Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced that HD TV shows were coming, only to find out later that the Brits would have to wait a bit longer.

As of press time, only ABC's hit series Lost is available in high definition, for £2.49 an episode (or £41.99 for the season pass), which is 17% premium compared to the standard $2.99 rates charged for HD downloads on the US version of the Apple digital download service.Â*Â*

On the series page forÂ*24, which is still in standard definition, one reviewer rated the series one star and wrote, "iTunes UK are seriously misguided if they think the price here represents good value for money.Â* It's considerably cheaper in the US and moreover they get it in HD."

Another wrote, "So our standard version is almost as much as the US HD version of the show (where is our HD version btw?)"



Meanwhile, popular BBC shows like Top Gear and are also still waiting for the HD treatment.

If readers from across the pond spot other shows being added in HD, please let us know in the forums.
post #2 of 29
Didn't Mr. Jobs promised rental of movies by end of calender 2008? Goodbye promise... Im still waiting for it, till then I wont buy an Apple TV.
post #3 of 29
Don't remember where I heard it or what it really meant but I thought someone said that iTunes HD wasn't true HD. Is it true and if so what does it mean?

Thanks
post #4 of 29
It's fairly unlikely that iTunes will get Dr Who in HD, given that the BBC makes it in SD.
post #5 of 29
Pushing Daisies? Did they miss that the show was CANCELLED?

Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Don't remember where I heard it or what it really meant but I thought someone said that iTunes HD wasn't true HD. Is it true and if so what does it mean?

Thanks

I believe it is 720p, which is one of a few HD formats, while there are higher resolution formats, it's still HD. There's no such thing as "true HD", the range of quality can vary quite a bit since there is no standard bit rate.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Folks in the United Kingdom are finally finding some HD content in their iTunes store, but so far the selection is very limited.

Before anybody else craps on Apple or Steve Jobs, it is the networks that make the decisions what gets hosted.

Apple cannot just unilaterally post content and that goes for music as well.
post #7 of 29
As a representative of "the rest of the world" I would just like to point out that I'm still waiting for any non-music (or iPhone Apps) content to be available on iTunes Store. I don't blame Apple for that, but I nevertheless think it is sad that EU regulators are so swift and interested in music and "Internet Explorer" but couldn't care less if their supposedly "unified EU market" doesn't work AT ALL as far as movies and video content in general are concerned.

Maybe in the next 10 years? Who knows...
/rant
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMat View Post

I nevertheless think it is sad that EU regulators are so swift and interested in music and "Internet Explorer" but couldn't care less if their supposedly "unified EU market" doesn't work AT ALL as far as movies and video content in general are concerned.

Maybe in the next 10 years? Who knows...
/rant

Agreed. The only video content I can find on iTunes Belgium are video podcasts and Pixar shorts.
post #9 of 29
17% isn't what I'd call considerably more expensive and certaiy not a deal breaker if you were already willing to pay the equivelant of $1.99 USD.

I wish Tennant was staying on as The Doctor.

Top Gear is my favourite show on either side of the Pond. The US version starts this year with Adam Corolla taking the lead role as brash Jeremey Clarkson-type host.
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post #10 of 29
Apple is probably just passing on the extra cost of doing business in the UK. It's not necessarily discrimination.
post #11 of 29
Nice to see it Finally arriving, not really supprised that it costs more, or that we don't have nearly as much content, Apple likes to charge non Americans a premium for less content.

It's just Apple's way.
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post #12 of 29
Isn't the whole point of the Internet that information flow around the world and through national barriers?

I certainly see no problem with differential pricing: taxes and billing practices vary in each country and there are exchange rate fluctuations that require coverage and additional costs.

But why does each country get a limited catalog? Who knows if I want to watch a German soap opera, a Chinese stamp collecting miniseries, or an American show about baseball cards from 1953, dubbed into Polish?

If iTunes and Apple TV is limited like cable, what's the point?

Apple should press hard for global licensing terms from content providers, and automatically distribute content though all the stores.
post #13 of 29
will we ever get this in Ireland!

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post #14 of 29
Can someone tell me please when itunes movie rental is comming to Ireland
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by krispie View Post

It's fairly unlikely that iTunes will get Dr Who in HD, given that the BBC makes it in SD.

Beat me to it.

--

I haven't bothered buying or renting any HD movies (ATV into a 26" TV at the moment) but there sure are a lot of "HD" tags on the interface!

has been for at LEAST the last month, so, it must be a SLOW news day!!


Star Trek TOS Re-mastered now THAT would be news!
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post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielJvdBerg View Post

Didn't Mr. Jobs promised rental of movies by end of calender 2008? Goodbye promise... Im still waiting for it, till then I wont buy an Apple TV.

Which country are you in? In the UK we have Movie rentals. I don't remember rentals being associated or promised for anything else.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

• 17% isn't what I'd call considerably more expensive and certaiy not a deal breaker if you were already willing to pay the equivelant of $1.99 USD. [sic, it's actually $2.99]

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Apple is probably just passing on the extra cost of doing business in the UK. It's not necessarily discrimination.

By my maths, using yesterday's exchange rate of 1.38265, the "premium" is more like 15.1%

Given that prices at the iTunes UK store include UK VAT of 15%, this seems entirely reasonable. Apple is charging exactly the same price as in the US.
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post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

Beat me to it.

--

I haven't bothered buying or renting any HD movies (ATV into a 26" TV at the moment) but there sure are a lot of "HD" tags on the interface!

has been for at LEAST the last month, so, it must be a SLOW news day!!


Star Trek TOS Re-mastered now THAT would be news!

Thanks for filling me in on Doctor Who being broadcast in SD. I'll fix it. And for the record, Top Gear is brilliant and one of my faves.
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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Given that prices at the iTunes UK store include UK VAT of 15%, this seems entirely reasonable. Apple is charging exactly the same price as in the US.

Exactly! How stupid are people? They always forget how much their government is taking...

And you can't compare licensing costs with an exchange rate, anyway. If anything, you need to compare them to the customers' purchasing power. It's not like they pay the labels in $. They pay the people in the UK that have the UK distribution rights in GBP. CD prices don't go up and down when the exchange rate changes, either.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

Apple should press hard for global licensing terms from content providers, and automatically distribute content though all the stores.

While it would be great if Apple could do that, the content providers are reluctant since they don't want to step on their international deals for rebroadcast and DVD sales. They still make a decent amount of money from those and don't want to undercut them by having something available on iTunes first.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Don't remember where I heard it or what it really meant but I thought someone said that iTunes HD wasn't true HD. Is it true and if so what does it mean?

It is 720p at a kind of modest bitrate for the resolution, though sometimes it's better than cable or satellite, depending on circumstances. I think that qualifies as HD. Some companies are being overly broad with the HD term, it helps to take a look at what they mean. Sometimes it only means being better than the crap they had before. Sometimes 480p is called "HD".

Quote:
Originally Posted by iMat View Post

As a representative of "the rest of the world" I would just like to point out that I'm still waiting for any non-music (or iPhone Apps) content to be available on iTunes Store. I don't blame Apple for that, but I nevertheless think it is sad that EU regulators are so swift and interested in music and "Internet Explorer" but couldn't care less if their supposedly "unified EU market" doesn't work AT ALL as far as movies and video content in general are concerned.

Maybe in the next 10 years? Who knows...
/rant

I don't see how the EU regulators would be stopping the apps.

But if the media companies still want to sublicense the rights by country, then that's their business, though doing so gets sillier as time goes on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

Isn't the whole point of the Internet that information flow around the world and through national barriers?

I certainly see no problem with differential pricing: taxes and billing practices vary in each country and there are exchange rate fluctuations that require coverage and additional costs.

But why does each country get a limited catalog? Who knows if I want to watch a German soap opera, a Chinese stamp collecting miniseries, or an American show about baseball cards from 1953, dubbed into Polish?

If iTunes and Apple TV is limited like cable, what's the point?

Apple should press hard for global licensing terms from content providers, and automatically distribute content though all the stores.

They should, but if the content providers have already provisioned and sold off those rights to other companies by country or such, then it doesn't matter. But that's less of an excuse as time goes on.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachSpear View Post

Thanks for filling me in on Doctor Who being broadcast in SD. I'll fix it. And for the record, Top Gear is brilliant and one of my faves.

There is, as I'm sure you know a LOT of content on the iTunes store that is old and will never be in HD, but having access to, say old cartoons I grew up with is part of the draw, the fact that not much of it is as cheap, or cheaper than the DVD means it won't sell as well.

With the mindset of "Rip off Britain" blinding people (and there is evidence of it on this thread RE VAT) means that the internet savvy population in the UK order discs/media from THE cheapest source possible, and currently that means ordering your discs through an online retailer. (ok ok so the torrents are cheaper)

I don't think its Apples/Jobs goal to charge more for iTunes content, its to let more people have instant access to more content, bringing the power to the people.

"Hotel Babylon" has a single HD series available... actually scratch that, HAD, just checked and could have SWORN a few days ago it was there!!

whats going on?

Torchwood (series 2) and Robin Hood were made in HD as well.

there are (at a rough count) 420 HD movies on the UK store, from "XXX" to "12 Angry Men"
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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

It is 720p at a kind of modest bitrate for the resolution, though sometimes it's better than cable or satellite, depending on circumstances. I think that qualifies as HD. Some companies are being overly broad with the HD term, it helps to take a look at what they mean. Sometimes it only means being better than the crap they had before. Sometimes 480p is called "HD".

FWIW, I think it looks very good. Granted, it's not as good as what I see on my HD DVDs (yeah, I'm one of them), but it does look great. To be frank, however, depending on the content, it's not always that much better than the SD content from iTunes. A bit more artifacting sometimes, but my primary reason for going with the HD content is the audio. HD content contains Dolby Digital encoding, while the SD content is pro-logic.
post #24 of 29
Hey, it could be worse, you could live in Canada where we get none of these shows on iTunes, rather mind in HD.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachSpear View Post

Thanks for filling me in on Doctor Who being broadcast in SD. I'll fix it. And for the record, Top Gear is brilliant and one of my faves.

It's also worth noting that other than a one-off special, Top Gear is not produced or aired in HD.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Meanwhile, popular BBC shows like Top Gear and are also still waiting for the HD treatment.

Top Gear, like Doctor Who, is not filmed in HD - apart from the Polar Challenge, which is the only Top Gear to date that has been filmed in high def.

EDIT: Dammit, Dave beat me to it.

That said, the Top Gear that's on iTunes is not as good as the original broadcast version, since the BBC doesn't have the license to use the incidental music they use for broadcast.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

By my maths, using yesterday's exchange rate of 1.38265, the "premium" is more like 15.1%

Given that prices at the iTunes UK store include UK VAT of 15%, this seems entirely reasonable. Apple is charging exactly the same price as in the US.

My thoughts exactly; and I find myself very pleasantly surprised that we aren't paying a premium.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

While it would be great if Apple could do that, the content providers are reluctant since they don't want to step on their international deals for rebroadcast and DVD sales. They still make a decent amount of money from those and don't want to undercut them by having something available on iTunes first.

The problem is not only that the content doesn't appear first on iTunes, it doesn't appear at all!

And the reason for this, I suspect, is that each territory requires a specific deal for each content collection, and there is a substantial bureaucratic overhead.

By automatic I do not necessarily mean simultaneous, though of course that would be best. What I mean is that one deal (contract) covers the planet, rather than multiple deals. This contract could include a sequencing clause.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

The problem is not only that the content doesn't appear first on iTunes, it doesn't appear at all!

And the reason for this, I suspect, is that each territory requires a specific deal for each content collection, and there is a substantial bureaucratic overhead.

By automatic I do not necessarily mean simultaneous, though of course that would be best. What I mean is that one deal (contract) covers the planet, rather than multiple deals. This contract could include a sequencing clause.

It is not bureaucratic overhead.

The recording industry falls in part under the laws as dictated by the countries respective government communication agencies. For example, the USA has the FTC, Canada the CRTC and in the UK, the Ofcom. As such, no foreign company can simply sell into another, content, devices or programs without some formal abidance. In addition, and probably because of the variance between countries laws, basically every entertainment company is independent; at least from a managerial, financial and regulatory respect.

In most countries, radio and TV stations have a set maximum amount of foreign content that they are allowed to play. Countries have language laws "to protect their culture" from foreign invaders. In addition, the music you like may not necessarily be readily accepted by others and thus not worth the effort or resources to bring it to market.

Remember, that these companies whether producing, managing or distributing music, movies, tv shows etc., have other regulatory agencies to answer to re sales, business and income taxes, royalties, transportation, etc. And think about the issues re managing credit card transactions and foreign exchange rates. And then there is protectionism which virtually every country has laws for in one form or another.

Therefore, costs of doing business is not universal and is of such enormous variance that it dictates that a considerable degree of negotiation must be carried out before a store can be opened in any country.
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