Brits get iTunes movie downloads, rentals
Local AppleTV user rejoices
Apple has finally allowed UK iTunes users to buy or rent SD oldies and HD blockbusters.
From today, Brits will have access to films from a selection of studios, including Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures. US-based iTunes users already have the service, but it was predicted last week that Apple was close to launching iTunes film downloads over here.
Around 700 flicks are available initially in the UK, and film fanatics can choose how to receive titles. For example, movies can be downloaded directly into iTunes, from where they can be transferred to an iPod, iPhone or to a TV connected up to an Apple TV box.
Once you start watching a film, you have 48 hours in which to watch it all, but if you don’t open the film as soon as it starts downloading then you’ll have 30 days before it ‘expires’.
Apple has split titles roughly according to their release date. So if you want to watch a recently released film, like teen pregnancy flick Juno, then it’ll cost you more than for an older back-catalogue rental of, say, Dangerous Liaisons.
Library titles cost £7 (€9) to download permanently to your hard drive, whereas the latest movies are priced at £11 (€14) each. If you’d rather rent a film then a selection from Apple’s library sets you back £2.50, while blockbuster titles are £3.50.
Some movies can be bought or rented, but others are available on a buy-only or rental-only basis.
The good news is that HD quality films only cost £1 more where available. Sections of each film can also be previewed online. HD downloads have to be acquired using an Apple TV.
HD? More like Mid-Def
Why oh why do we have so many different definitions of HD? HD should be a 1080p picture, streaming at 20mbps+ (and not in MPEG2) with either a Dolby TrueHD or (preferably) a DTS Master Audio soundtrack.
The "HD" that Apple peddle is way short. There should be a new "Mid Def" definition - "better than you're used to, but not as good as it could/should be!"
Oh, come off it, Apple!
I'm an Apple fanboi and fanatic.
Buy an AppleTV? At the prices they want? NO CHANCE!
Buy a movie from iTunes when I can get the same movie delivered free on a DVD at less than half Apple's price? NO CHANCE!
Apple, you are ripping us off in the UK ... and this is from a fan.
OK, I'm leaving ... no need for the 'cuffs.
You'd have to be stupid to buy to own
Just when vendors are finally getting a clue concerning music downloads and offering it in an open format, along comes video with DRM even more hideous than last time around.
I can see the attraction of renting. After all, who cares about DRM or disk storage space, or proprietary lock-in with a rental. But owning? You'd have to be mad to buy to own an Apple movie and lose such basic rights as being able to play the movie anywhere on any device, to loan it to a friend or resell it. And for those prices DVDs probably work out the same any way.
DVD vs H264
DVDs are encoded with mpeg2. Mpeg4 H264 is far superior for the same filesize. I have the same films on original DVD and smaller file H264 720P - in comparison the DVD looks like a pirate copy.
Upscalers do nothing for quality (epsecially if there is subsequent pixel sharing in the display device).
@ Scott Mckenzie
I agree for the most part. Films that are encoded in 1080p rarely have better resolution than those in 720P (excluding animations), but they do appear smoother (less jaggies) when viewed close up; however, most people won't be able to see the difference when viewed from any nominal kind of distance.
IMO, H264 on DL-DVD is enough. The only reason why the two blue disks came out was to help prevent people 'backing up' their movies.
Me? I'll stick with iMule for now :c)
720p vs DVD?
"720p h264 encoded is a perfectly acceptable compromise in my opinion, it's a significant step up from DVD quality!"
Don't know about that. UK DVDs are 576i. Difference between the two is minimal, especially with inherently progressive displays (LCDs etc). More so with even a cheap upscaler. I wouldn't say it's significant, especially for anyone with a TV 32" or less sat at a sensible distance from it. Thus it comes down to whether the price justifies it.
Personally I wouldn't bother with the HD downloads for such a small improvement over DVD (and potential artefacts by the compression levels used). But then currently I have a vast source of £5 1080p HD DVD titles thanks to them losing the format war, so don't care anyway :) !