An Apple iTunes customer has taken the company to court after paying extra for a high-definition film although his iPhone 3GS didn’t support playback of HD content.

Apple has sold HD resolution versions of movies and television shows sold on the iTunes Store since the release of iTunes 8 in September 2008.

The customer, from Florida, claims that consumer protection laws have been violated. He is arguing that he was unaware that a standard-definition version of the film, Big Daddy, which he purchased, was available. The HD version he bought at $4.99 cost $1 more than the SD version and the customer is now convinced Apple should be compensating the “millions” of customers who he thinks must have run into the same problem as him.

At issue is the fact that when Apple introduced HD movies and TV shows to the iTunes Store they were listed as default, even on those devices that would by default only play in standard definition. We have previously warned people downloading movies to watch on the iPhone to save £1 by downloading the SD version as on a device that small there really is no need to download an HD version, we feel.

The official complaint, which was filed in June in San Francisco, states that even though the first three versions of the iPhone and the iPod touch do not support HD video, Apple made HD the default options in iTunes 8. The customer is seeking compensation, disgorgement, an injunction and damages for unjust enrichment.

Some time after the release of iTunes 8, Apple added a notice to make sure customers with non-HD devices were aware that they did not need to buy, HD content, and that an SD version was available. However, if you have buy HD content for a device that isn’t capable of taking advantage of the extra resolution, remember it is still possible to play the HD version on other Apple devices that can, such as via the Apple TV.


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