Monday, March 19, 2012

iTunes: How to Download 1080p Content By Default (If Available)

By default iTunes is set to download HD content (TV Shows and Movies) in 720p and while this is the maximum supported resolution for the AppleTV 2 the new Apple TV supports up to 1080p and, if you've paid for the HD content, you might as well see it full size!*.

Start with opening iTunes and bring up "Preferences" and select the green "Store" icon;
iTunes Store Preferences > Store Tab
In the second section at the bottom there is a drop down, showing "720p" in the image above, you can change this to "1080p" to download the maximum high-definition format (well, until maybe the iPad 4 anyway ...).

If you want to check it's working just go to a HD item in the iTunes store and take a look at the settings on the left;
Alcatraz, Season 1 Showing 1080p HD Download as Default (click to enlarge)
Of course not all HD content is currently 1080p but there are a few titles which offer free previews in 1080 like the BBC's Sherlock.

To go straight to the option screen from the TV/ Movie screen just click on the "(Downloading xxx)" indicator on the left, it's actually a link and will take you straight to the settings page to change your option.

*- Disk space permitting of course! A 22 episode series HD will take you around 3.5GB (SD 600mb, HD 720p 1.4Gb, and HD 1080p 1.6Gb) per episode. That's around 80Gb for the complete series. Looking at West Wing that's over half a terabyte for all seven seasons for 1080p!

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