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SD vs. HD Movies on the iPad

Reader Jack recently posted us this question

Can you really tell a difference between movies and tv shows in SD vs HD if you’re only going to watch them on the iPad? I tried downloading a few to see for myself but I noticed when you buy an HD video in iTunes you also get the SD version too. Once you sync the iPad I can’t tell which version I’m looking at. I guess a second question is where does it say you’re watching an HD video once its been downloaded?

Well, one of the tech sites recently addressed this issue, the short answer is: not really.

Because the iPad is a 4:3 aspect ratio screen, it cannot even display 720p movies, which are normally 16:9. What we get instead is a maximum resolution of 1024×576 pixels assuming we maintain the 16:9 aspect ration.

Since SD video is 480p, essentially all you’re gaining in the HD version of the iPad is an extra 96 lines of horizontal resolution.

Of course if you ever intend to watch these on a TV or computer screen at some point, HD may be worth the extra bucks.