Wednesday, March 26, 2014

iOS: Downloading SD Video Direct To iPads (When Purchased HD)

This has been frustrating me for a while so I thought I'd write a blog about it. Basically I have access to a couple of 16GB iPads which are ideal for the kids to play with BUT the movies/ TV shows I want them to watch I own in HD and when you look at the size of the HD files - such as Disney's Brave below - 3.42GB in HD vs 1.46GB in SD then the storage on the device is being eaten away pretty quickly;
Disney's Brave; HD vs SD File Sizes
Now back in the days when you used cables to connect iOS to iTunes you could just download the SD version into iTunes and sync it across. Technically you still could with iTunes Wi-Fi Sync but the problem is if you're going to use iCloud (which is just fantastically useful in every other way) to manage your content there doesn't seem to be an obvious or easy way to switch between versions.

As you'll know to download your pre-purchased content you need to go into the iTunes Application your iPad and then touch on the "Purchased" button (bottom right);

iCloud Purchases Tab (iTunes on an iPad)
and then touch the film you're interested in;
Downloading an iCloud Purchase Direct to an iPad
and finally touch the "Cloud" icon to start the download.

Occasionally you'll notice that instead of the "Cloud" icon you'll just get a "Watch" button. I'm not entirely sure what this button is for - it doesn't seem to actually start the movie playing (at least it doesn't on my iPad 2 or my iPhone 5!).

The problem is you can't choose between SD and HD when you trigger the download.

There doesn't seem to be any quick and easy way around this *however* there is a long and complicated way - go back into the iTunes application and search for the video you are interested in and go to the page. Taking "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" (as shown above) when you open the films page in the store you get the same iCloud download icon but this time you get the HD/SD option for your iCloud download;
iTunes Store Movie Details - With HD/SD iCloud Option
Hopefully Apple will do something about this - it's not exactly the best user interface in the world and as films get bigger and bigger it becomes more and more important to shrink the filesize prior to starting the downloads.
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