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If You Want 1080P iTunes Downloads You Have To Ask

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Apple now offers 1080P HD video rentals and purchases in iTunes, but if you want to enjoy all the High Definition pixels you need to ask for them.

The new update to iTunes 10.6 lets you turn on 1080P downloads by going into your settings and changing the preferences.

There are a two main reasons Apple is forcing users to opt in to 1080P HD downloads, and both have to do with the size of 1080P HD files.

If you are downloading 1080P HD video files from iTunes to play back on a device that can’t display 1080P, you’re taking up precious space for no reason. This is an issue if you plan to transfer to an iPad 2, or if you have limited storage space on your computer.

Secondly, if you have any type of bandwidth cap on your home connection or if you try to download these movies over 4G LTE, you’ll blast through it in no time.

The good news is that you can quickly change your preferences to always download 1080P from iTunes by opening up Settings.

1080P iTunes settings

How to turn on 1080P downloads in iTunes.

  • Click on Store.
  • At the bottom, switch from 720P to 1080P.

From now on all of your downloads will be in 1080P, if available.

Thanks to good compression, Apple is able to keep these 1080P files to manageable sizes. Ars Technica took a look at various file sizes and found that going from 720P to 1080P resulted in a file size increase of 21-25%. This is because Apple uses better compression, to keep file sizes small without degrading quality.

itunes 720p vs 1080P

Left: 720P, Right: 1080P - Notice the sharpness of the bottle.

In the sample above, you can see the difference between 720P and 1080P, which is more noticeable on some shows and movies than on others.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

3 Comments

  1. Anuenue_Honi

    03/10/2012 at 9:14 pm

    What about existing purchases? I have the entire Season 1 (almost entire Season 2) of the new Hawaii 5-0 and all episodes are max at 720p. Is Apple allowing us to download the 1080p version in the near future?

    • Some1toShout4

      03/11/2012 at 1:12 am

      Yes they do. :)

      • Anuenue_Honi

        03/11/2012 at 7:45 am

        Maybe in the near future as I checked iTunes and the shows I already have: they all are 720p and I donʻt see any option to download the 1080p…(yes, i checked 1080p in the setting but thatʻs for future downloads).

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