iTunes update brings HD Extras to the Mac, also coming to Apple TV and iOS 8

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited July 2014
Apple on Thursday released iTunes version 11.3 and with it announced the availability of high-definition iTunes Extras for the Mac and Apple TV, with the bonus features coming to iOS 8 after the operating system's rollout this fall.




The update is a welcome one for those who regularly take advantage of the additional content on Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display, where standard-definition content is at odds with the computer's high-resolution screen. The same is true for the Apple TV and iOS devices, where the behind-the-scenes videos, short films, image galleries, and commentary are often missed.

Consumers who have previously purchased HD movies from the iTunes Store will receive the new content as it becomes available at no additional charge.

Apple first introduced iTunes Extras in 2009 as a way of better positioning the then-nascent digital video store against DVD sales. However, their years-long absence on Apple TV and iOS devices -- especially the iPad -- exasperated many consumers.

iTunes version 11.3 is available now as a 143-megabyte update from the Mac App Store. iTunes Extras on Apple TV require version 6.2 of its own software, available through the Settings menu.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    If they actually wanted iTunes Extras to take off and get physical media killed, they would have included support ecosystem-wide when it was announced. :grumble: 

     

    Though the fact that you get the extras for FREE on movies you already own is pretty great. That’s the opposite of the physical realm where they’re just not putting extras on the DVD to upsell you the BD.

  • Reply 2 of 30
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,019member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    If they actually wanted iTunes Extras to take off and get physical media killed, they would have included support ecosystem-wide when it was announced. :grumble:


     

    Better late than never. It never made sense to me to limit it to iTunes and because of that I only tried it out, but now that it is going to be on Apple TV it will get some use.

  • Reply 3 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member

    Now this is something where I think people can legitimately say... finally!

     

    I remember getting annoyed at the lack of ecosystem consistency years ago.  Happy they've (finally) got to it. 8-)

  • Reply 4 of 30
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Another big leap forward for the Apple TV.  Does Android offer extras?  I know Amazon doesn't have extras, but does Vudu allow their extras to be viewed on Roku?

     

    Even still- Vudu extras blow in comparison to Apple's.

  • Reply 5 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member

    Amazon does have that cool-sounding feature where you can get context-relevant information about what is that you're watching - the music playing, the actors on screen etc.  It'd be cool if Apple did something along those lines too, I fairly often load up the IMDb app on my iPhone or iPad to check out the details of a show or movie.  I think that's on the Kindle Fire.

  • Reply 6 of 30
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,574member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    If they actually wanted iTunes Extras to take off and get physical media killed, they would have included support ecosystem-wide when it was announced. :grumble: 

     

    Though the fact that you get the extras for FREE on movies you already own is pretty great. That’s the opposite of the physical realm where they’re just not putting extras on the DVD to upsell you the BD.


     

    iTunes Extras worked on the original AppleTV... as of the 2nd generation, they dropped support for some reason. So glad it's coming back.

  • Reply 7 of 30
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Playing around with it and thought I'd mention- this allows me to stream original versions of films too.  I have tons of movies that are extended- example- Lord of the Rings Extended (I actually prefer the theatrical)- now I can watch either/or.  Same with dozens of others: About Time, Adjustment Bureau, Admission, Adventures of Tintin- just mentioning my As.  :)

     

    Edit:  My mistake. It isn't that there are theatrical versions- its that those have the old iTunes Extras- not the new ones.  So once the studios update those, we'll have more.

  • Reply 8 of 30
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    No update for the windows version haha
  • Reply 9 of 30
    vl-tonevl-tone Posts: 337member

    The iTunes Extras framework hadn't been updated since 2009, it's nice to see that they put someone back on the project (I've heard that the employee that worked on the original since left Apple). 

     

    I hope it means that more movies will include them, as it's one of the main reason why I still buy Blue-Ray discs (I'm a sucker for extras and commentary tracks) though Blue-Ray still offers a better image quality.

  • Reply 10 of 30

    This provides more detail and sounds like building out availability to the full ecosystem is in the works:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6307

  • Reply 11 of 30
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kkerst View Post



    No update for the windows version haha

    Well I can eat some crow today, the update just showed up. So, nevamind.

  • Reply 12 of 30
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by VL-Tone View Post

     

    I hope it means that more movies will include them, as it's one of the main reason why I still buy Blue-Ray discs (I'm a sucker for extras and commentary tracks) though Blue-Ray still offers a better image quality.


    Outside of dark scenes (like Star Trek)- iTunes holds up pretty well with image quality IMO- It's the sound that is the biggest difference to me.  This is on my 60" in the den at least (from about 18' back).  But it's much more obvious on my 130" projector screen in the media room.

     

    But for most movies- I just prefer the convenience of Apple TV/iTunes with the exception of great movies where "immersion" is more important (Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Lone Survivor, etc)

  • Reply 13 of 30
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Apple first introduced iTunes Extras in 2009 as a way of better positioning the then-nascent digital video store against DVD sales.

     

    Yup.  And if iTunes Extras were HD I would have completely stopped buying DVD and Blu-Ray.  What I've done is buy discs when I wanted to see featurettes, hear director commentary, and get all the typical extra features.   And I'd buy on iTunes when I didn't care about all that, or if the director doesn't do commentaries, or if the movie is old enough that the extras are just interviews and newsreel footage (e.g. 'Vertigo.')  I think I have only about a dozen Blu-Ray discs, and I'm not eager to buy any more, really.

     

    [Update: apparently the new iTunes Extras can be streamed and therefore don't need to be downloaded.  That may have been the gating factor in getting iTunes Extras to Apple TV.  Some discs have many GB of extra features, and Apple TV doesn't have many GB of local storage to spare.]

     

    Still not convinced that iTunes Extras has enough features to replace the traditional disc extra features.  If it can do "second audio" or however the director commentary audio is implemented, then I might be done with discs forever.  (And I wonder if/when Apple TV will have 4K capability.  It wouldn't even need to have much more local storage if the 4K content is streamed.  But can the A7 or A8 and their GPU handle 4K content?)

  • Reply 14 of 30
    bokesbokes Posts: 4member
    This is step in the right direction, but:
    Will itunes extras contain everything you would get from the disc?
    For instance, the Walking Dead, Twilight Zone and upcoming Twin Peaks Collections include TONS of extra material.
    Can itunes give me all that and match the image/audio quality?
  • Reply 15 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    iTunes won't match Blu Ray's image and sound quality for a fair while yet. But Blu Ray has nothing on the convenience of iTunes. Depends on your priorities.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post



    iTunes won't match Blu Ray's image and sound quality for a fair while yet. But Blu Ray has nothing on the convenience of iTunes. Depends on your priorities.

    I watched "Bad Words" last night w/ Jason Bateman on iTunes HD last night.  Who needs Blu-Ray quality and sound for that movie?  Lone Survivor- which I also just watched, I absolutely preferred Blu-Ray.

    It doesn't have to be either/or for priorities- you can enjoy both formats.  :)

  • Reply 17 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Sure, you can have different priorities on a case by case basis depending on the movie. Some movies are so beautiful that it seems like a disservice to not watch them in the best available image and audio quality, some are throwaway fluff that you spend £1.99 renting, watch, laugh, then forget. Entirely up to you where you draw those lines, if you draw them at all.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    djames4242djames4242 Posts: 639member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by VL-Tone View Post

     

    I hope it means that more movies will include them, as it's one of the main reason why I still buy Blue-Ray discs (I'm a sucker for extras and commentary tracks) though Blue-Ray still offers a better image quality.


     

    ...that and the fact that Blu-Ray discs are almost always cheaper for some completely perplexing reason.

  • Reply 19 of 30
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

     

     

    ...that and the fact that Blu-Ray discs are almost always cheaper for some completely perplexing reason.


    -And universal, Paramount, and Disney titles include iTunes HD codes included as well.

  • Reply 20 of 30
    neillwdneillwd Posts: 32member
    Slow down. These are a "new" iTunes extras. They are only available from the cloud and only for HD versions of content. The previous iTunes extras came as a separate download file and would only play from that package on Mac and Windows iTunes. You could open the package and copy the files to your iTunes library for play back on Apple TV. Apple says movies purchased before July 10, 2014 will still be able to re-download the original iTunes extras file. After that, it is cloud playback only from the Movies tab on the Apple TV. So if you have to pay for extra data you may be out of luck playing that special audio commentary.

    P.S. Purchased the Planet of the Apes Legacy bundle Monday and only "Planet of the Apes" had iTunes extras. Today the rest of the bundle are showing iTunes extras. Tried re-downloading "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" and no iTunes extras file but they are available from the Movies tab on the Apple TV. So I guess the purchased before July 10, 2014 only counts if the movie had iTunes extras before July 10, 2014.
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