Apple iTunes Now Selling HD Movies

March 19, 2009 | Chris Maxcer | Comments 0

By Chris Maxcer

iTunes HD Movies

Great news: Apple is now (finally) selling HD movies via iTunes instead of just renting them. Previously, you could only buy standard definition movies but rent them in HD, which was a mind-boggling limitation — it’s not as if you didn’t have to download the larger HD movie file just to rent it anyway. The price? The HD version will cost $19.99 while HD rentals go for $4.99.

Of course, there is bit of extra work involved for Apple: you couldn’t view an HD movie on an iPhone or iPod. To solve that potential consumer irritation, Apple is including a standard definition copy of each movie purchased in HD. Nice.

iTunes is the most popular TV and movie online store — customers have snagged 250 million TV episodes (that’s purchased) and rented or bought 33 million movies. And, it turns out, quite a few customers are opting to pay extra to view iTunes content in HD.

“Customers have made HD content on iTunes a hit, with over 50 percent of TV programming being purchased in HD when available,” says Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services.

Mostly HD

It should be noted that Apple’s HD is limited to 720p rather than the 1080p that comes with Blu-ray movies. No doubt many consumers who are still shy about shelling out for a Blu-ray player, however, will like the option of buying movies in a quality that’s “good enough” — especially since they’ll get backward compatibility with their video-capable iPhones and iPods via the standard def files.

Right now, the selection is limited to a handful of titles, including pre-order options for “Quantum of Solace” and “Twilight.” Titles that are ready now include “Transporter 3,” “Punisher: War Zone,” “Bangkok Dangerous,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Saw V.”

To check out the selection,, will redirect iTunes to the new HD Movies section.

Filed Under: Apple ActionConnected HomeFeaturedMaciPhone-iPod


About the Author: Chris Maxcer is editor and publisher of He's been writing about the tech industry for years. While he enjoys wicked cool gear and design, there's something to be said for turning it all off — or most of it — to go outside. To contact him, take a firstname.lastname guess at

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