Prediction: 1080p Digital Media in 2011

Although a few companies already claim to stream 1080p video, Apple will announce 1080p television and movie downloads and streaming for purchase or rental through iTunes and Apple TV in the United States, sparking a rash of similar announcements from other digital media vendors like Amazon and Netflix. The H.264 video will play back at a bit rate between 8 and 12 mbps (Blu-ray video plays back at approximately 40 mbps.)

Expect pricing for 1080p movie purchases to be between $25 and $30 and rentals to be $5.99. Television shows will likely be priced for purchase at $3.99 per episodes and nearly $100 per season. Streaming TV episodes to Apple TV will likely cost $1.99 or $2.99 each. The amount of content available in 1080p will be limited at first, but will rapidly increase between 2012 and 2014. By 2014, 1080p video (perhaps with a bit rate comparable to Blu-ray) will become the standard format offered by Apple and prices may drop as a result.

A new Apple TV model in 2011 will be required to support 1080p streaming rentals, and will likely be announced at the same time Apple fires up their new data center. iPhone 5 and iPad 2 will likely also support 1080p video, though their respective displays will not reach a comparable resolution until the 2012 or later models.

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