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Apple now offering HD movie purchases, rentals through iTunes

post #1 of 85
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Once only available through the Apple TV, HD movies can now be purchased or rented directly through iTunes on Macs and PCs.

The company now says that customers of the US iTunes Store can buy new-release movies in 720p directly from iTunes for $19.99 and rent them for $4.99 within 30 days of their being made available for sale. Many older titles are also available for rent in the HD format for $3.99.

As with TV shows, each HD copy also comes with a standard-definition version of the movie that can be transferred to an iPhone or iPod, neither of which yet supports HD. The initial lineup of HD rentals includes pre-orders for the Bond movie Quantum of Solace as well as Twilight and is focusing on new releases.

An HD Movies page is currently highlighting those titles that are already available at the increased resolution. Using the feature requires iTunes 8.1 or higher and a Mac or Windows PC capable of smoothly playing HD movies.

The shift signals a reduced dependence on the Apple TV as a driver for Apple's HD efforts. When given its well-known Take 2 firmware upgrade in early 2008, the device was at the time the only location for any non-podcast HD content from Apple until TV shows were made available in September.
post #2 of 85
Finally! I've been wanting to buy HD movies since they were first available to rent. I didn't think, with their push on Blu-Ray, that the studios would ever allow it.

It's also nice to be able to get HD movies for my MacBook Pro!
post #3 of 85
Now the big question if we already own the standard definition of a movie purchased from iTunes will we get a option to upgrade to the HD version at a reduced price?
post #4 of 85
No 1080p?

Yawn.
post #5 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by badNameErr View Post

No 1080p?

Yawn.

Seriously, keep dreaming.

And... you're not gonna see (legal) downloadable 1080p on a wide-scale anytime soon.

w00master
post #6 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post

Seriously, keep dreaming.

And... you're not gonna see (legal) downloadable 1080p on a wide-scale anytime soon.

w00master

That was my point.
post #7 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveLV702 View Post

Now the big question if we already own the standard definition of a movie purchased from iTunes will we get a option to upgrade to the HD version at a reduced price?

That is an interesting question:
In the digital world is this considered the same format- different quality?
post #8 of 85
Meh, these prices make Bluray look like the better option. $10 more and you get a physical 1080p copy that you can rip (with enough time) and carry around with you, plus no need to stay in the Apple ecosystem to view.
post #9 of 85
I could care less for buying movies in digital media. I still prefer discs. And my Bluray films look and sound saweet. BUT people would love subscription.

A subscription that could also include music would be cool. I still prefer Netflix when it comes to renting, but I know many people that would prefer an iTunes subscription.
post #10 of 85
$20? I can get the BD in all its 1080p video/lossless audio glory for that!
post #11 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post

And... you're not gonna see (legal) downloadable 1080p on a wide-scale anytime soon.

Define soon. Next week? No. Next month? Probably not. Next year? Possibly. Two years? Almost surely.
post #12 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galley View Post

$20? I can get the BD in all its 1080p video/lossless audio glory for that!

True. The pricing here seems quite silly.

Moreover: (i) Can one play this on an HD TV (say, via @TV) without physically hooking up the computer? (ii) Will DVD-burning be allowed?
post #13 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

When given its well-known Take 2 firmware upgrade in early 2008, the device was at the time the only location for any non-podcast HD content from Apple until TV shows were made available in September.

Am I the only one having trouble following this sentence?

Can someone explain.....
post #14 of 85
I'd say the rentals are worthwhile. If you've got a large computer display or you have a Mac mini hooked up to your HDTV, it may make more sense to rent the HD version there than to think about getting an Apple TV just for the sake of the higher resolution.
post #15 of 85
When they attempt to sell digital downloads for a premium over physical and warehoused product.

I'm sorry but they will never attain the level of dominance with video that the music store shares at this ridiculous pricing.

There is no way i'm EVER paying $19.99 for a HD movie download. Let's go back to the drawing board and negotiate some realistic pricing.

Hmmm lets see.

720p video at 5Mbps
No extras and basic surround audio.
No subtitles
More difficult space shifting

$11.99-13.99 tops per movie.
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post #16 of 85
For $20.00-$25.00 I can get a Blu-ray disc with high bit rate 1080P and uncompressed audio. I can play this disc in any of my 4 blu-ray players in the house. I can take it to my friends house and play it.

I can put it into my wife's laptop and play it. OR plug her laptop into a theater system using the HDMI port, she has a PC.

Come on Apple would you give us the Blu-ray option or I'm going to switch.
post #17 of 85
In my experience, many folks who claim Blu-Ray loyalty usually have PS3's. I have a PS3, but honestly only use it for gaming. ALL of the movies I watch/buy are from iTunes because it is so darn convenient. (My Mac is hooked up to my 40" HD Sony LCD) The quality really is pretty good, and not enough for my to really care about staying loyal to Blu-Ray. Sony is bleeding money with each PS3 sold so I'm not optimistic about the future of Blu-Ray, but iTunes is here to stay.
post #18 of 85
I don't mind new releases being $20 because that's what many DVD are close to.

Though there certainly needs to be a tiered system so that movies that have been out a while can be had for a good price (10 dollar or roughly near that amount). We are after all BYOB (Bringing Your Own Bandwidth) so we have costs too sitting on top.

Give us solid variable pricing and consumer uptake won't be that bad. Convience is worth a premium in same cases and it's up to each person to decide if the premium is worth it.
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post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

720p video at 5Mbps
No extras and basic surround audio.
No subtitles
More difficult space shifting

I'm really surprised that Apple isn't including subtitles and extras in their rental. I mean - Quicktime can do interactive menus etc, so really they could supply an entire DVD experience couldn't they?

720p/5Mbps makes sense for downloads for now but I hope to see that boosted in the AppleTV (ready for the future) and higher bandwidth stuff in a couple of years.

What do you mean that they only have basic surround audio? DD5.1 seems ample but maybe I haven't been following developments closely enough?
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Meh, these prices make Bluray look like the better option. $10 more and you get a physical 1080p copy that you can rip (with enough time) and carry around with you, plus no need to stay in the Apple ecosystem to view.

Yeah right... The world is just beating down the doors to get that.

After having HD for the past 5 years, I've come to the realization that 1080p vs 720p (and even HD vs DVD quality) is becoming less and less of a driving force for me.

Unless a movie was specifically filmed/recorded digitally in ultra high resolution, AND there is something particularly stunning that I have to see in ultimate definition, I've found that I really don't care that much.
The fact is that for any movie that's really absorbing my attention, I am absolutely unaware of the resolution after about 5 minutes, if then.

I say again... the switch from VCR/AnalogTV to DVD quality was revelatory for most normal consumers. They are not seeing the subsequent switch to HD as something that is worth re-stocking their electronics and content for, and definitely not the top of their budget priorities, particularly in these times.

HD aficionados (particularly 1080p snobs) are way out of touch with the general market on this, and Apple knows it. They're right where they need to be for what they're trying to accomplish... becoming the digital hub for the market sweet spot.
post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by DANIML View Post

For $20.00-$25.00 I can get a Blu-ray disc with high bit rate 1080P and uncompressed audio. I can play this disc in any of my 4 blu-ray players in the house. I can take it to my friends house and play it.

I can put it into my wife's laptop and play it. OR plug her laptop into a theater system using the HDMI port, she has a PC.

Yeah, it's a good idea, but since I have a PS3 and a 1080p TV I'll spend the extra $5 and get the bluray disc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DANIML View Post

Come on Apple would you give us the Blu-ray option or I'm going to switch.

I think this is the future, but we aren't ready yet. Need cheaper storage and faster internet download speeds. Right now Dish Network has VOD 1080p content, but you know it's not bluray quality 1080p.
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post #22 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyokuro View Post

In my experience, many folks who claim Blu-Ray loyalty usually have PS3's. I have a PS3, but honestly only use it for gaming. ALL of the movies I watch/buy are from iTunes because it is so darn convenient. (My Mac is hooked up to my 40" HD Sony LCD) The quality really is pretty good, and not enough for my to really care about staying loyal to Blu-Ray. Sony is bleeding money with each PS3 sold so I'm not optimistic about the future of Blu-Ray, but iTunes is here to stay.

I can bite. The people that say " ALL of the movies I watch/buy are from iTunes because it is so darn convenient." are only blind Apple fanboys who don't own a proper entertainment system.

That was fun.

What's Sony got to do with it? Some of us just like movies and don't feel iTunes is adequate. I love Apple and all it's incarnations, but think there online content is lame except for the music. Now if they offered a subscription based movie rental system, that would be a different story.

Blu-ray looks amazing so it's hard to back peddle to digital download. That's all.
post #23 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

When they attempt to sell digital downloads for a premium over physical and warehoused product.

I'm sorry but they will never attain the level of dominance with video that the music store shares at this ridiculous pricing.

I suspect the pricing isn't up to apple, that it's probably the studios insisting on these prices.

And I wouldn't think they'd sell much SD content at their pricing...and yet they do.

I don't think it's going to overtake physical HD media any time soon, but I'll bet Apple has the majority of the HD download pie, much like they do with SD video downloads.

I'm not defending Apple's pricing or offerings, I'm just saying that they have suffered the same disadvantages with SD download versus DVD and it hasn't seemed to hurt them much.
post #24 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

I suspect the pricing isn't up to apple, that it's probably the studios insisting on these prices.

And I wouldn't think they'd sell much SD content at their pricing...and yet they do.

I don't think it's going to overtake physical HD media any time soon, but I'll bet Apple has the majority of the HD download pie, much like they do with SD video downloads.

I'm not defending Apple's pricing or offerings, I'm just saying that they have suffered the same disadvantages with SD download versus DVD and it hasn't seemed to hurt them much.

Yeah I shouldn't be hard on Apple because variable pricing is more important for video purchases than audio. Movies that are popular will generally start out high and work themselves down to a comfortable range.

Apple simply needs to negotiate in the hopes of having a wide range of pricing for good movies worth a download.
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post #25 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

When they attempt to sell digital downloads for a premium over physical and warehoused product.

I'm sorry but they will never attain the level of dominance with video that the music store shares at this ridiculous pricing.

There is no way i'm EVER paying $19.99 for a HD movie download. Let's go back to the drawing board and negotiate some realistic pricing.

Hmmm lets see.

720p video at 5Mbps
No extras and basic surround audio.
No subtitles
More difficult space shifting

$11.99-13.99 tops per movie.

Yeah, at 5Mbps they might as well have just distributed it in 480p format. Seriously... a Blu-Ray disc has 10x that bandwidth, with correspondingly better video and sound. If you're watching one of these movies no wonder people don't see the benefits of "HD". "I know... I'll buy a super-expensive TV then intentionally buy blurry 'HD' content for it!" No thanks.
post #26 of 85
If I may say, with the low bitrates Apple uses for encoding, their "HD" content is no better than an upconverted DVD; it would be foolish to drop $20 on a file that's not only highly compressed, but forever-locked to your iTunes account.
post #27 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

What do you mean that they only have basic surround audio? DD5.1 seems ample but maybe I haven't been following developments closely enough?

Dolby Digital doesn't work from a computer. There's a known bug in iTunes that stops it from working; it wasn't fixed in iTunes 8.1 yet Apple still advertise DD5.1 as working on a computer
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post #28 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody OnThe Nets View Post

I can bite. The people that say " ALL of the movies I watch/buy are from iTunes because it is so darn convenient." are only blind Apple fanboys who don't own a proper entertainment system.

That was fun.
.

Glad it was fun since you're so wrong.

I use my AppleTV for spur of the moment rentals - when its late, or cold or rainy weather. I've used it when I'm sick as a dog and I download a whole season of a show because I'm feeling so miserable and the shows help me forget how miserable I am.

The music capability is underrated too. Hooked up to my stereo - shuffling the music - I can listen all day while I work at home.

There are those that pooh pooh it, but I wouldn't trade it.
post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

When they attempt to sell digital downloads for a premium over physical and warehoused product.

I'm sorry but they will never attain the level of dominance with video that the music store shares at this ridiculous pricing.

There is no way i'm EVER paying $19.99 for a HD movie download. Let's go back to the drawing board and negotiate some realistic pricing.

But is there a need for dominance? People that have DVD players or Blu-ray players can buy their movies. People with Appletv can buy their movies. Everyone is happy, right? I have 1.5 Mbps and no need to pay for anything else faster so I don't download, but I am glad people can do their download.
post #30 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As with TV shows, each HD copy also comes with a standard-definition version of the movie that can be transferred to an iPhone or iPod, neither of which yet supports HD.

Someone please put me in my place if I'm missing something obvious, but how exactly can a device with a resolution of 480×320 display a video of 1280x720 pixels (let alone 1920x1080)? Are we talking about output?
post #31 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwervel16 View Post

Someone please put me in my place if I'm missing something obvious, but how exactly can a device with a resolution of 480×320 display a video of 1280x720 pixels (let alone 1920x1080)? Are we talking about output?

The issue is that you still need two versions of every video because the iPod/iPhone won't play an HD file at all, regardless of image quality. It's annoying and eats up space.
post #32 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Yeah I shouldn't be hard on Apple because variable pricing is more important for video purchases than audio. Movies that are popular will generally start out high and work themselves down to a comfortable range.

Apple simply needs to negotiate in the hopes of having a wide range of pricing for good movies worth a download.

I've never understood the stance against variable pricing. It's not like all the software in the Apple store is the same price. Their computers are variable priced too.
post #33 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

There is no way i'm EVER paying $19.99 for a HD movie download. Let's go back to the drawing board and negotiate some realistic pricing.
$11.99-13.99 tops per movie.

very true. this "HD Ready" offer is more expensive than BR at amazon or deepdiscount and is definitely targeted towards idiots and blind fanboys.
post #34 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwervel16 View Post

Someone please put me in my place if I'm missing something obvious, but how exactly can a device with a resolution of 480×320 display a video of 1280x720 pixels (let alone 1920x1080)? Are we talking about output?

They can't... even if the resolution was sufficient, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between hd and dvd on that small of a screen.

Its a spec useful only for whose who want to brag to the ignorant.
post #35 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Quote:
When given its well-known Take 2 firmware upgrade in early 2008, the device was at the time the only location for any non-podcast HD content from Apple until TV shows were made available in September.

Am I the only one having trouble following this sentence?

Can someone explain.....

Previously, the AppleTV was the only place to get HD movies from iTunes Store, save for some HD podcasts. This option appeared with version 2.0 of the software known as Take2.
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post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Yeah, at 5Mbps they might as well have just distributed it in 480p format. Seriously... a Blu-Ray disc has 10x that bandwidth, with correspondingly better video and sound. If you're watching one of these movies no wonder people don't see the benefits of "HD". "I know... I'll buy a super-expensive TV then intentionally buy blurry 'HD' content for it!" No thanks.

I think the logic is true for some of our Aussie HD channels - One (sport) is over compressed and would look better if they just dropped the resolution. I've never seen people complain about "blur" though - they complain about compression artifacts, pixelation, etc. So perhaps just trolling?

Anyway, movie rental compression is much better than dynamic on-the-fly compression of TV broadcast signals. The Apple HD is certainly better & clearer than DVD ... and certainly NOT as clear as BluRay.
post #37 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

They can't... even if the [iPhone screen] resolution was sufficient, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between hd and dvd on that small of a screen.

[720p]'s a spec useful only for whose who want to brag to the ignorant.

Yep. Not only that, but a bigger file size takes up more disk space, and uses more power to read that* and to decode it for a screen that can't display it anyway.

I think Apple's strategy of supplying a standard def copy for use on the iPhone or iPod is a great idea - even though I often abort the download of that copy since I don't use it.

(ps.
* The same issue happens for people using Apple Lossless codec for their music - it takes up much more space on their iPod, and instead of powering up the hard disk every 7 songs it has to power up every song... much more draining on the battery. Similarly, 256Kbps AAC reduces the battery life of the iPod. )
post #38 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorotea View Post

Glad it was fun since you're so wrong.

I use my AppleTV for spur of the moment rentals - when its late, or cold or rainy weather. I've used it when I'm sick as a dog and I download a whole season of a show because I'm feeling so miserable and the shows help me forget how miserable I am.

The music capability is underrated too. Hooked up to my stereo - shuffling the music - I can listen all day while I work at home.

There are those that pooh pooh it, but I wouldn't trade it.

I think it's a great system. I actually love having my Mac Mini hooked up to my TV. I actually wish Mac Minis came with every home. It's the perfect all in one. I have it hooked up to my 52 inch Sony XBR4. It's just after watching things on Bluray I've been totally blown away by the quality. I don't knock people that like the iTunes store, but I think they just need to realize to some of us the quality isn't good enough. If Apple could somehow work something out with the studio pricing then that may change. Like I said a subscription style could be tempting.

Once the quality gets better I'll try it out. I just wanted to point out that not every Bluray fan is a Sony shill. It's just some of us are video enthusiasts and really prefer the quality.
post #39 of 85
Beware new (early 2009) Mac Mini users-

I have a new Mac Mini and have discovered that you CAN NOT play DRM-protected HD content from the iTunes store. I bought an itunes HD copy of a Smallville episode and discovered this problem. You will get an error message saying that your display is not HDCP-compliant and will not play.

I am connected to a non-Apple DVI monitor that is not HDCP compliant. However, from what I understand to be HDCP compliant you must have an HDMI connection - and this is something that Mac Mini (nor any other Mac except AppleTV) supports!!

It is interesting that they make such a big push for HD content and not be able to play HD content on their newest systems.

Anyone else have this problem?
post #40 of 85
I thought they dealt with that issue. I checked the Apple discussions forum and it looks to be a major problem still. Lame. I'd buy up more refurbed Mini's but mine doesn't play HD to well. The SD video plays fine though. So I guess the minis are stuck in a rut on HD. Damn. I hope they resolve this. I'd love to get a newer model.

The only option is Apple TV I guess.
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