TV show: only DVD available, no Blu-ray, iTunes HD=what? upscaled?


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 27, 2006
United States
I prefer blu-rays, but, not available for some shows/movies.

So, for example, Warehouse 13 is only available in DVD format, unless I watch online, then it's HD. iTunes, however, has it available in SD or HD formats, and charges more for the HD format, but, what am I really getting?

is it upscaled SD to HD, going to look like an upscaled DVD?

or does apple use the actual HD content from the source (syfy in this case) for the HD format available in iTunes? And how do I know it's actually 1080p and not 720p/1080i "converted" to 1080p?

I did a search, so if I missed a thread on this subject, please help me out by posting a link.



macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
I only have limited iTunes video purchases, but the "HD" stuff is at a higher resolution and does look better (not as cloudy) as the SD stuff (I made the mistake of buying something on my iPhone instead of on the ATV).

However even the HD stuff still has pixilation around color boundaries. So the resolution itself is higher, but the bitrate is still low.

According to iTunes and episode of South Park is 1916x1076 / 128Kb Audio / 5.3Mb Video / 870MB file size.

And an episode of YoGabbaGabba! is 640x480 / 118Kb Audio / 1.6Mb Video / 290MB file size.

And it shows. I rip my DVD's at 3.5Mb/s and they look superior. The YoGabbaGabba episode looks very rough on my 82" TV. That's the one I accidently (or rather didn't know the consequences of) bought on my iPhone so it would be ready when we got home one day.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2011
Harrisburg, PA
It's actual HD from the source. All current TV shows are shot in HD, most in 2k or 4k. It simply isn't always cost effective for them to release Blu Ray versions of every show, usually when they're not hugely popular. Most people still buy DVD because it's cheaper and they really don't know the difference.

Even old movies that were shot on film are generally converted to High Definition formats when they're digitized from the original prints. Again, you might see HD versions available on iTunes while a Blu Ray isn't available for the same reason as above.
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