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iTunes HD vs. SD: Tell Apart the Difference

By Patrick Dyer

September 15, 2017

"Is there a significant difference between the way HD and SD movies look on the iPad?"

I've got this question when wandering through the Communities. iTunes HD and SD are diverse resolution specifications to adapt to users' unique demand. Somehow it's not immediately obvious to see the distinction between iTunes HD and SD movies. So the question arises whether I should buy iTunes HD or SD version for a better purchase experience. As such, you will get informed of the differences between iTunes HD and SD movies.


Part 1. iTunes HD VS. SD: See the Contrast

#1. iTunes HD VS. SD: Features



File Size


SD (Standard   Definition)



$9.99 - $14.99

HD( High Definition)


4GB or more

$14.99 -$19.99


around 4.5GB

As you can see, HD shares higher resolution than SD version. Normally a higher resolution brings a higher picture quality. In this sense, iTunes HD movies present much clearer video picture which is more apparent on a large-screen device.

In other words, a higher resolution often requires for a larger memory occupation. An iTunes movie with HD version even is three times the file size of the SD one. In this respect, iTunes SD movies dwarf HD types with great capacity on space saving. SD version may be a nice choice if you don't want the purchased iTunes movies occupying too much space on your device.

iTunes HD VS. SD

It's commonly recognized that you should pay more for an HD movie for the pleasant watching effect. Sometimes you may amazingly find that you're charged the same fee for SD and HD. But normally they have certain price difference as the table shows. Yet some unexpected expensive charges may occur for the whole season of some TV shows.

#2. iTunes HD VS. SD: Compatibility

As a basic video version, SD definitely shows greater compatibility to fit for most devices. Poorly, iTunes HD movies can only be playable on some specific devices or software. For example, you can play iTunes HD movies on iPhone 4 or later, iPad, iPod touch 4 or later, and Apple TV. Your Windows and Mac should have at least 2 GB of RAM and have iTunes 10.6 or later installed. More often, only when you fail to purchase the iTunes HD movies can you know your device doesn't support HD version. Or maybe you can have a precautionary insight into the inner details of your device like consulting the manufacturer.

iTunes HD Movies

#3. iTunes HD VS. SD: Conclusion

To sum up, whether an HD or SD iTunes movie is better for you still depends. If you pursue a supreme video watching experience, the iTunes HD movie is your right choice for respectful resolution. But it is quite a money-saving way to watch iTunes SD movies if you don't attach much importance to it. Still, the compatibility is the urgent problem for your free choice. If so, let's see an alternative practice to fix the playback problem.

Part 2. How to Fix the Playback Problem of iTunes HD & SD Movies

As mentioned above, iTunes HD movie shows weaker compatibility than SD. Actually both iTunes HD and SD movies get to play on specific Apple authorized device due to the Apple's FairPlay DRM. Even if you have managed to play the iTunes HD or SD movie on the device, you may find it fail to play when streaming them to another device. Here a friendly recommendation is to remove the DRM from iTunes HD & SD movies with a splendid iTunes video DRM removal, TuneFab M4V Converter.

TuneFab M4V Converter specializes in converting iTunes M4V videos (HD & SD) to MP4 with the annoying DRM removed. After the process, you can freely play iTunes movies on other common devices or players as MP4 is commonly playable. For your movie experience, the converted videos will be kept the 5.1 Dolby and allowed to select the audio tracks.

Step 1. Launch TuneFab M4V Converter

Click on the Try It Free button above to launch the program. After installation, run it.

Main Interface

Step 2. Add iTunes HD or SD Movie Files

Select all the iTunes HD or SD movies that you want to convert after clicking "Add Files". Then click "Add" to confirm the selection.

Add M4V Files

Step 3. Convert iTunes M4V Movies to MP4 Files

Before conversion, you can click "Gear" icon to select the audio tracks and subtitles. Then click the "Convert" button at the bottom. TuneFab M4V Converter will quickly convert iTunes M4V movies to MP4 files.

Convert M4V to MP4

This time you can get the easy access to appreciate DRM-free iTunes HD & SD movies free from the compatibility restrictions as much as you want.

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