Dear Lifehacker, I purchase the odd movie or TV series from the iTunes store to watch on my iPad and iPhone. With such (relatively) small screens, is it worth getting the HD versions, or are they really only for watching stuff on an actual hi-def TV? Thanks, Screensaver
The answer to that partly depends on your hardware; as Apple's own support note on its HD video playback page points out, you need an iPhone 4 or later, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad or iPad 2. If you're using an older iPhone, you won't have the capability.
I'd strongly argue that HD is a waste on an iPhone or iPad screen anyway due to the smaller screen size and fact that you're taking up a lot more of your precious storage capacity for a difference you're unlikely to discern, but I know that individual tolerances vary a lot when it comes to what's acceptable. Some folks will scream that their eyes are falling out for anything less than 1080p, while others are happy with YouTube style block-vision. I fall somewhere in-between, but would suggest you save a few bucks by only picking up standard definition, unless you've also got plans to send those files out to a larger display; it's perfectly feasible to output that video to a larger screen from an iPad 2 or later (or iPhone 4S or later), as per Apple's own support pages.
Another quick tactic here, more for if you're a movie fan is to pick up the digital dual/triple packs. While iTunes movies don't often drop much in price, there's still fierce competition in the real world retail space. I have acquired a number of iTunes movies that way via the physical disk, which is a best of both worlds solution, as long as you check that the digital copy is actually an iTunes copy, and remember that you're not legally entitled to rip other DVDs or Blu-Ray discs.
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