Apple to Debut 'HD+' 1080p iTunes Movie Services Later This Year?
AppleInsider reports that Apple may be preparing to begin supporting 1080p movies in its iTunes Store later this year, based on reports of film studios submitting films to Apple in a new "HD+" format at the higher resolution.
Thus far, 1080p HD content has largely eluded users of Apple products, with HD versions of videos on the company's digital download service maxing out 720p (1280x720) and chief executive Steve Jobs balking at adoption of Blu-ray on Macs due to licensing complications and other challenges that he said threatened to translate into a "bag of hurt."
But that could begin to change later this year, as a handful of feature films being submitted to the iTunes store for a release in the September and October timeframe are being sent with documentation for an optional 1920x1080 resolution, according to people familiar with the matter.
According to the source, at least three of the five largest movie studios have submitted titles scheduled for fall releases with optional resolutions of 1920x1080 at average bitrates of 10 Mbps.
The report's sources also point to rumors of an updated 1080p-capable Apple TV, which lines up nicely with increased 1080p support in iOS 5, which is due for release around the same September timeframe. Those improved capabilities were noted last month to have opened the door to a true 1080p Apple TV.
Apple is said to have the capability to stream 1080p video already in hand, but that the company remains concerned that many users' personal connection speeds aren't yet high enough to support streaming of the "HD+" content without significant buffering time.
In order to address that issue, Apple could offer the 1080p only for downloadable movie content, although that would be incompatible with the simplicity of the Apple TV, which offers only limited storage space for caching purposes and otherwise streams all content. Alternatively, Apple could make the 1080p content available for streaming only if a user's connection is determined to be fast enough to support the bandwidth.