Published February 6, 2009

With iTunes now starting to roll out HD versions of some TV shows, alongside the standard def versions, we had to investigate. Given the option, it feels wrong to buy a lesser quality version, even if it is slightly more expensive to do so.

LOST returned to our screens recently, and by screens, I mean monitors playing the HD show with the help of an Apple remote. I wasn’t sure that the higher quality made that much difference, but about halfway through the second episode, I suddenly saw it. It’s not always obviously better, but if there’s a close up, the definition is amazing. That’s just on our relatively small screen, I bet it’s brilliant on one of those overpriced flatscreens.

One curiosity of the iTunes purchasing process is that you select the HD version of a TV show and end up downloading the SD version as well. Nowhere do they tell you if this is meant to happen or why, but after a little search, we found that it is intentional. The SD version is supposed to hide away in the background and sync with your iPod, whilst the HD version is for your main screen.


There’s no option if you want to do this or not, so although you obviously have a good bandwidth deal to download HD in the first place, now you’re getting twice as much. What if you only have a small little nano (like me), and have no intention of ruining LOST by watching it on such a small screen? Why aren’t they telling us why they do this?

I can only imagine that the next iteration of iPods will be HD friendly, if not capable. iTunes can’t keep this double downloading up forever, and at some point they’re going to have to vocalise what’s going on. It’s alright for those who think, yes, it’s buy one get one free, but it just seems like an awful waste.

P.S. We just bought Planet Earth in high def, and although we haven’t watched it yet, I can already tell that this is what HD was made for.

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