iTunes HD movies are too much, too late

Apple has learned a little about selling media over the last few years. Its music files started out laden with DRM, only of average quality and costin

Apple has learned a little about selling media over the last few years. Its music files started out laden with DRM, only of average quality and costing 99 cents (67p) each. They're now (mostly) DRM-free, decent enough 256Kbps and will soon cost as little as 69 cents (50p) a pop.

So what is possessing Apple to start selling 'High Definition' movies this week that are encoded at 720p resolution, locked with HDCP copy protection and priced at $20 (£13.60)?

To take Quantum of Solace as an example, that's a just a few bucks shy of a Blu-ray package that includes a choice of superb digital soundtracks, language and subtitle options, trailers, videos, Making Ofs and, oh yes, a pristine 1080p transfer. Basically, the 50GB disc includes over ten times as much data for about the same price.

No one is suggesting that this is Apple's fault, of course. Movie studios seem intent on duplicating the mistakes of music labels: if you don't understand it, jack the price up and dig in your heels. 

The results are inevitable: punters that are disappointed with their 'High Definition' experience and increased levels of piracy.

It took Apple eight years to ditch DRM, up the quality and lower the price of its music downloads. I'm expecting a HD movie download revolution in a fraction of the time. Go 'HD' now at your peril.