UK iTunes Store gets massive HDTV library

A pile of popular shows from various studios have hit the download store in 720p, including the BBC's Planet Earth series and Channel 4's Skins

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After reporting earlier this week that BBC content is soon to hit the UK iTunes Store in high definition, a pile of popular shows from various studios have arrived at the download store in 720p, including the BBC's Planet Earth series and Channel 4's Skins.

Other notable additions under the new HDTV section of the store include Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Dirty Sexy Money, Ugly Betty, Desperate Midwives (oh teh lolz), Grey's Anatomy, 30 Rock and the US version of The Office.

Individual episodes in HD cost £1.99 or £2.49, while complete seasons vary in price. The complete series of Planet Earth costs £24.99, which, at the time of writing, is the same price as the Blu-ray version on Amazon.co.uk. The complete fourth season of Lost costs £33.99, which is a whole tenner and a quid less than the price of the Blu-ray version on Amazon.

We downloaded an episode of Battlestar Galactica and found the quality outstanding, with the 1,280x720-pixel resolution file encoded at 4Mbps in H.264, though it is of course DRMed. But, when you buy an HD episode, you get a standard-definition version bundled for playback on iPods and iPhones. The 45-minute episode we watched clocks in at 1.3GB in HD, and just under 500MB in SD, and the complete 13-episode HD series will eat 17GB of hard-disk space.

You can check out all the featured HD offerings in the iTunes Store by hitting up this link.

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