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One-Half Percent of iTune Downloads Are HD

Apple has announced that all four major broadcast networks will offer much of their primetime programming online (for a price) at the iTunes Store, and in HD. But the fairly recent availability of HD is not exactly giving available SD downloads a run for its money. At least not yet.

Apple said its iTunes Store has sold more than 200 million TV episodes since it started—including the sale of about 1 million episodes in HD since it launched high-definition content a few weeks ago. So while HD sales only represent about one-half of 1 percent of all iTunes shows downloaded thus far, a million HD sales in a month might be considered a good start, although there's really nothing to compare it to quite yet.

HD downloads on iTunes sell for $1 more than SD feeds ($3 versus $2), so gauging how well HD sales do over the next several months in a shaky economy could prove telling. (HD TV fare for a price may not be helped by the fact that the video/audio quality of a lot of free broadcast and cable content offered online these days has gotten quite good.)

Some of the more popular fare on the networks that will provide HD content online includes: "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost" (ABC); "CSI" and "CSI: Miami" (CBS); "Bones" (Fox); and "Heroes" and "The Office" (NBC). The downloaded shows (both HD and SD) from the iTunes Store, which also includes content from more than 70 cable channels, are eventually viewable on computers (both Mac and PC), iPods, iPhones, and regular TV sets via the firm's Apple TV box.