Apple will begin offering full HD 1080p movie downloads from iTunes later this year, according to reports.

AppleInsider sources say that the current offering of 480p (SD) and 720p (HD) will be bolstered by a 1920x1080p (full HD) version on some movies from this autumn.

People 'familiar with the matter' reckon that documentation for a handful of releases slated for September and October has been submitted with an "optional 1920x1080 resolution".

Only 720p

Apple has long been criticised for offering "only 720p" HD movies, with many movie fans disappointed not to be receiving the full HD experience, so this potential development is a welcome one.

The AppleInsider report also claims that Apple may be working on a new version of its Apple TV set-top box, with a faster processor to enable 1080p HD playback.

The current model can receive a 1080p signal, but spits it out on your TV at 720p because the A4 chip inside lacks the necessary power for full HD.

The 1080p rumblings are supported by the discovery that the developer build of iOS 5 contains a new video player which would allow the playback and syncing of full HD video to the iPad 2.