Purchase TV Shows from iTunes in Standard Definition

A few times a year, I travel to India. You may not know this, but that’s a helluva long flight. Seriously. Since I can’t sleep on planes (or trains or in automobiles, for that matter), I need a prodigious amount of entertainment to get me through that kind of flight. The iPod’s a given; in fact, I usually take both my 30GB and my shuffle to see me through. I also take five or six books. And then there’s the visual entertainment. For whatever reason, my effective attention span – even when captive – is about an hour so I’m not a big movie guy; I tend to prefer TV shows.

To support my need, I’ll often dig around on iTunes for shows and episodes that I’ve either missed or don’t usually watch. For my last trip, I did exactly that. I found some stuff that I wanted and, because I was in a hurry, I purchased it without paying too much attention to the details.

My bad.

During the download process, I kept getting out of disk space errors. This wasn’t entirely unexpected since I have a dual boot system in which I rarely use Windows. In fact, the only use I have for Windows is to run iTunes so I can amuse myself on long flights. I had increased my Windows partition size to accommodate the media downloads, but clearly not enough. While looking to see what I could kill to make more room, I realized that I actually had two copies of most of the shows I had purchased. That didn’t seem right so I dug around.

Screenshot highlighting the standard definition link It turns out that for many TV shows iTunes offers high and standard definition versions. The high definition copies, being more expensive, are the default (of course). Because I wasn’t paying attention, I bought the expensive version that also begot a larger file size. Additionally, when the high definition version is purchased, both the high and standard definition versions are downloaded, further increasing the storage needs. My entertainment needs are simple, so the high definition version was overkill for me and I ended up deleting the high definition copy to make more room. Money wasted.

For those like me who don’t care to pay for or download a high definition copy of a TV show, look for a link stating that This TV Show is also available in Standard Definition. It should appear just beneath the ADD ALL EPISODES button. Click the link and the listing will show the standard definition versions for $1.99 rather than the $2.99 high definition versions.

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