Change iTunes Video Quality on iPhone, Mac and Apple TV

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How to Change iTunes Video Quality on Apple TV

Apple TV makes it easy to adjust video quality. Simply click on Settings > iTunes Store > Video Resolution. From here, you can set the video resolution to 1080p, 720p, or SD. One can also adjust the quality of previews.

How to Change iTunes Video Quality on the Mac

iTunes for the Mac offers the ability to manage video quality for all of your devices. To change video quality, click on Preferences from the iTunes menu at the top of the screen. Next, click on Store. Select your desired video quality for high-definition downloads, then click OK.

change video quality using iTunes for the Mac

It is possible to download the SD version of an iTunes movie or TV show, even if you have purchased the HD version. This is useful if you don’t have the time, bandwidth or are worried about using too much data on a limited plan. First, select TV Shows or Movies from the drop down menu on the top left of the main iTunes window. Next, click on the show you would like to download. Click on the more button (the angle bracket in a circle) to the right of the show title. Select “Show in iTunes Store”. Click on SD on the left side of the screen, underneath the image for the show. Finally, click on the episode you would like to download. You can follow this same process for movies.

Video Quality Management Needs Improvement

It can be confusing to manage video quality between Apple devices. Apple TV is by far the easiest. iOS devices are limited in this respect. Apple needs to add a setting to toggle 1080p or 720p directly on an iOS device. The iPhone, in particular, is often used with limited data plans. On the small screen, the difference between 1080p and 720p is hardly noticeable. In fact, it is barely noticeable on flat screen TVs below 40 inches. 720p video is almost half the file size of the 1080p version. If you are paying per GB, this can add up fast.

Although it is possible to change HD video quality settings, it is not easily accomplished. Even switching to SD is cumbersome. These options should be presented on the iTunes Store app’s downloads screen. There should also be a global setting for the specific device under Settings > iTunes Store. This just goes to show, as good as Apple products are, there is always room for improvement.

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  1. Dec 2018: I found a solution on an Apple community post that solved this exact issue for me. Hopefully it’s helpful to someone else. Here it is:
    1.) Go to the iTunes Store in the iTunes Client

    2.) Scroll to the bottom and look under “Features” (its at the very bottom where there are options like Explore, Features, Help, Manage….)

    3.) Click on the “Purchased” option

    4.) Once in the Purchased menu, select “Movies” or “TV Shows” (whichever you are looking for)

    5.) In the bottom right corner of the window there is a little check box that say “Download HD When Available”, uncheck that box

    6.) You should see all of your movies and tv shows that have a SD version available to you have a cloud appear in the upper right hand corner of the icon. CLICK THE CLOUD and not the movie icon to download the SD version. If you click the movie icon it will take you to the store page where it offers you the chance to buy the HD and SD version.

    7.) This should get you the SD versions of the HD movies/TV shows you bought so you can put them on your devices as a smaller file, yet you will still have the HD option for your computer as well.

  2. This doesn’t work for Mac OS anymore. Is there an updated way to download SD movies that you purchased in HD??

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