iTunes customers can now buy and rent films in high definition. If you thought this feature was already available, let us clear up the confusion. High-definition content was first announced at Macworld Expo 2008 in concert with the Apple TV Take Two update and the introduction of movie rentals. At the time, only rentals were available in high-definition, and only Apple TV owners could rent those HD titles. The HD line-up expanded in September when Apple added HD television episodes to the store, but you couldn’t buy HD TV shows directly from Apple TV until October 2008.
Now, HD movies are available for purchase for $19.99. Titles will be available a month after the film is released on DVD. The high-def quality movies are compatible with Macs and PCs as well as widescreen TVs using Apple TV. iPhones and iPods can still only play films in standard definition. As a result, all high-def films will come with a standard-def copy to play on Apple’s handhelds. Apple's downloads use more compression than Blu-ray so that means a falloff in quality.
HD programming is taking off for Apple. In a statement, Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services, indicated customers have purchased over 50% of TV programming in HD when it was available.
iTunes customers can currently pre-order Quantum of Solace, which will be available for download on March 24. Twilight will be available on March 21. Titles such as Transporter 3 and Punisher: War Zone are currently available in HD.
While it’s nice to be able to download a high-def movie directly from your computer, users will definitely need to consider the space necessary to store these files. Customers can view the latest HD movies at www.itunes.com/movies/hd.