Download DVD movies from Apple’s iTunes?

itunes_movies_twilightApple announced today the ability to purchase movies from iTunes in the US (I’m sure it will spread worldwide in time). Now, the news release doesn’t mention what file size the movie downloads are, but I think it’s ridiculous that anyone would consider this for standard viewing. Here’s why.

Standard DVD is 4.7 GB. Double sided is 9.4 GB. (Wikipedia: DVD). If we start considering the remaining High Definition format (Blu-ray), we’re looking at 25 GB (standard) or 50 GB (double sided).

The average download speed in the US is 5288 kbps and 4066 kbps in Canada (from May 1, 2008 21:30 PDT).

Plugging these numbers into a Download Calculator gives these results:

File Size Download Time (Days:Hours:Min:Sec)
@ 1.5Mbps-DSL/Cable @ 3.0Mbps-DSL/Cable @ 6.0Mbps-DSL/Cable
4.7 GB 0:06:47:59 0:03:28:53 0:01:44:26
9.4 GB 0:13:35:58 0:06:57:46 0:03:28:53
25 GB 1:12:10:08 0:18:31:06 0:09:15:33
50 GB 3:00:20:16 1:13:02:13 0:18:31:06

The download file size of a movie through iTunes is not available to me at present. Nor is the pixel count to be able to properly compare these maximum DVD and Blu-ray file sizes with iTunes. I would hazard a guess that if you buy a movie from iTunes, you will get lower quality than you would get if you bought the DVD or Blu-ray. Those still watching TV on standard definition TV sets likely won’t notice or care that the quality is lower. Those who’ve made the investment in high definition equipment of any sort aren’t going to like what they get. Hopefully Apple has a good refund policy….

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