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iTunes: Purchasing and viewing HD videos

Video purchases from the iTunes Store are delivered in Standard Definition (SD), which can be played on your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Apple TV. Some videos are also offered in High Definition (HD).

HD videos feature a higher-quality picture, but are designed to be played only on your iPhone 4 or later, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad, iPad 2, computer, or Apple TV. HD content is offered in either 720p or 1080p1.

When you purchase an HD video on a supported device or computer, only the HD video will be downloaded. To download the SD version, you need to download the video again from your Purchased page. Conversely, if you purchase an HD video on an unsupported device, the SD version will be downloaded. Then, you will need to download the HD version from your Purchased page. Learn more about downloading previous purchases.

Note: Some previously purchased movies may be unavailable in iTunes in the Cloud. At the time of purchase, these titles will continue to download both HD and SD version to your Mac or PC. These movies will indicate that they aren't available in iTunes in the Cloud on their product details page in the iTunes Store.

To purchase, rent, and view HD content from the iTunes Store on your computer, you need to have the latest version of iTunes installed, you can download the latest version. In addition, you will need to have components that support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) installed on your computer.

Minimum system requirements for HD 720p content

Mac system requirements for HD 720p content

  • Mac OS X v10.5 or later
  • iTunes 10 or later 
  • 2.0 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor
  • At least 1 GB of RAM
  • A display that supports HDCP with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher

Windows system requirements for HD 720p content

  • 32 or 64-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8; Windows XP and Vista don't support HDCP
  • iTunes 10 or later
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor
  • At least 1 GB of RAM
  • A video driver that supports HDCP (you may need to check with the manufacturer to determine if your video driver supports HDCP)
  • A display that supports HDCP with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher with a digital connection (DVI, DisplayPort, or HDMI)

If your computer doesn't meet all of the above requirements, you will be unable to purchase, rent, or view HD content from the iTunes Store.

Minimum system requirements for HD 1080p1 content

Mac system requirements for HD 1080p1 content

  • Mac OS X v10.5 or later
  • iTunes 10.6 or later
  • 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor
  • At least 2 GB of RAM
  • A display that supports HDCP with a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 or higher

Windows system requirements for HD 1080p1 content

  • 32 or 64-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8; Windows XP and Vista don't support HDCP
  • iTunes 10.6 or later
  • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor
  • At least 2 GB of RAM
  • A video driver that supports HDCP, such as an Intel GMA X4500HD, ATI Radeon HD 2400, Nvidia GeForce 8300 GS, or better (you may need to check with the manufacturer to determine if your video driver supports HDCP)
  • A display that supports HDCP with a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 or higher with a digital connection (DVI, DisplayPort, or HDMI)

If your computer doesn't meet all of the above requirements, you will be unable to view HD 1080p content from the iTunes Store.

How to purchase, download, or view HD 1080p1 content

iTunes 10.6 by default is set to purchase, download, and playback HD content in 720p. You must change your local preference setting if you prefer to download, purchase, and playback HD content in 1080p1. Depending on your computer's hardware configurations, you may be unable to purchase, rent, or playback content in 1080p1. iTunes may display the following dialog:

On Mac or PC

  1. Download the latest version of iTunes. You can download iTunes for free.
  2. From the iTunes menu, choose iTunes > Preferences > Store (for PC, choose Edit > Preferences > Store).
  3. Next to "When downloading High Definition videos, prefer:" set your preference to 1080p1.
  4. Click OK. Now, when you purchase or download HD content, your computer will always download in 1080p1, when available.

Note: Depending on your computer's hardware limitations, you may be unable to purchase, rent, or view HD content from the iTunes Store. If you are trying to view HD video on an external display, the display must have a digital connection (DVI, DisplayPort, or HDMI) and support HDCP.

Learn more

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Aug 25, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 25, 2014
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