November 2, 2014
Understanding the file sizes of movies on your iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV
Understanding file sizes is an important part of being a professional graphic designer, or web designer, but it's not important to the average person who just wants to watch movies on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. So, if you're wondering if you need to understand about Bytes, Kilobytes, Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes, etc., you really don't need to. And if you're a pro, you already understand it. But to help clarify something, please rest assured that your library of high definition movies can't possibly be physically stored on your iPhone. Even the iPhone 6 has only 6 Gigs of space, whereas the average high definition movie is about 5 Gigs.
Times have changed. There was a day, not too many years ago, when I would store lots of standard definition movies on my iPod, which held 160 Gigs. Even then, it was easy to fill it up, and the movies were of poor quality, not high definition. Of course, you are wise to download your purchased iTunes movies onto the hard drive of your computer, where there is plenty of room, but you really can't with other devices, nor is it necessary.
When you watch a high-definition movie through the Video app on your iPad, or iPhone, or through Apple TV, the movie is not being downloaded to the device, it remains on a server at iTunes, who checks to see if you own it, and are authorized to watch it. It then streams it to your device. Ordinarily, I would call this having something *in the cloud*, but since there actually is storage space that you can buy through iTunes that they call iCloud, I'm tending to stay away from that term. Your movies are not in iCloud, they are on the server at iTunes.
So, no, you don't need to worry about file size. You don't need to download movies to your iPhone, or iPad. These devices were never designed to be gigantic storage devices, anyway. They're designed to communicate to a server, which stores the files remotely, and let you access them through your device.
So, there you go. If someone starts talking about file sizes, Gigabytes, etc., just put your hands over your ears and hum. Better still, go watch a high-definition movie on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.
Posted by Brad Hall