Apple increased the number of popular US series in HD on its UK iTunes Store with names likes Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Heroes and Grey's Anatomy likely to attract the most attention. The BBC has also announced that it will be bringing HD content to the media service "soon".
Speaking to Gadget Blog Crave, a spokesperson for BBC Worldwide, the commercial segment of the Beeb, said that the broadcaster "will at some point soon be releasing HD titles on iTunes in the UK"; BBC already offers HD content through Freesat HD, Sky HD and Virgin Media.
The content is available at 720p, encoded as H.264 media, and is priced between £1.99 and £2.49 per episode with seasons packages starting at £24.99; Apple will allow SD versions to be downloaded to iPhone or iPod touch for free.
It turns out that like for like, iTunes is cheaper than buying the physical media (i.e on a Bluray support). As one might expect, the files are pretty hefty with each hour of programme eating nearly 2.5GB worth of space (that's HD and SD content altogether).
Meanwhile, iTunes US has announced a significant price cut on at least one popular series (24) but it seems unlikely that it will pass on the savings especially as some are reporting that Apple is blocking overseas iTunes stores sales based on your location.
It will be interesting to find out whether ISPs will argue with Apple that high definition content is clogging their broadband pipes and that the Fruity company will have to fork out a few pounds for each download.
Go To Page 2 for our comments and more related links
BBC already offers content on iTunes (but only in standard definition for a fee) and is expected to offer HD content on iPlayer later this year. You can of course watch (some) HD content from the BBC through Youtube for free and right now. At the moment, none of Apple's competitors (Lovefilm, Amazon) offer HD download.