Apple iTunes Goes High Def | All Four Major U.S. TV Networks Now Offering HD Downloads

1 min read

As Apple adds more HD content to its iTunes Store line-up, questions are being asked over the quality of the content and the pricing structure.

High Definition Future

The world is shifting towards a high definition future, but that could be a problem for Web-based delivery systems due to the amount of data needed for content to display in HD.

Regardless of this, Apple is forging ahead with its plans to dominate the HD Web video world, and has just announced that all four major U.S. television networks are now offering prime time shows on iTunes.

Apple iTunes

Apple iTunes is the biggest repository of TV programmes in the world, and Apple claims to have sold more than 200 million television episodes through the service since it began.

Apple started offering HD downloads of certain shows in September, but until now, not all the networks were on board. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox are now all offering big shows in the high definition format to iTunes customers.

The programmes being offered include Lost and Grey’s Anatomy from ABC, CSI Miami from CBS, Bones and Prison Break from Fox, and Heroes and The Office from NBC.

While this is all well and good, and Apple should be applauded over its forward thinking in giving people an HD option, questions remain over the price of this content and whether any of it is in fact high definition.


Standard definition shows on iTunes sell for $1.99, while an HD episode sells for $2.99. That seems fair enough but the price adds up when you want to buy an entire season of shows (usually consisting of 26 episodes).

Apple does give discounts for these season passes but it still works out to around $50 or $60 per season, which is a high price to pay for digital content, especially when the HD credentials aren’t even clear.

HD Quality?

HD content downloaded from iTunes is not Blu-ray quality, and most people would be hard pushed to see any difference between iTunes HD and standard DVD. And if that’s the case then the pricing looks even worse than it already did.

So, iTunes HD: Nice idea but expensive and of poor quality. You may want to think twice before cancelling that Cable subscription in favour of Apple TV.