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steve-p
Sep 12, 2010, 02:57 AM
OK, so it seems that Apple has decided that I don't need 1080p video. They are half right, since I don't currently use my first generation Apple TV for video, only lossless music and pictures. However, on the first generation Apple TV you can set the output to 1080p, even if it's incapable of playing video at that resolution (I assume).

The reason I do that is for pictures. I like viewing my travel photos at 1920x1080 on a 50" plasma TV. I wouldn't want to be doing that at only 1280x720. The loss of detail would be unacceptable. As would the fact that the dimensions differ from the native resolution of the TV (which would also be a problem with video since the TV would have to be upscaling all the time to fit the panel). So I was wondering if anyone has seen anything (yet) to indicate that the new Apple TV can be set to 1080p output at all, or if it's permanently 720i/p.



jaw04005
Sep 12, 2010, 08:44 AM
We won't know for sure until the device ships. However, most news outlets don't seem to know the difference between being able to play back 1080p content and outputting (upscaling to) 1080p. I haven't seen any footage of the settings menu.

I bet it keeps the same 1080p output capabilities as the first generation.

I don't know though. The old Apple TV's spec page listed:

"Compatible with enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080p/1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz, including popular models from these manufacturers: HP, Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Olevia, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Polaroid, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse"

The new Apple TV spec page lists:

"Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI and capable of 720p 60/50Hz,2 including popular models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse"

steve-p
Sep 12, 2010, 09:52 AM
I saw that spec page as well, which is not very encouraging. I hope there are some first generation Apple TVs on eBay soon, as the UK Apple store is sold out and I want to buy another one.

Hellhammer
Sep 12, 2010, 09:57 AM
I hope there are some first generation Apple TVs on eBay soon, as the UK Apple store is sold out and I want to buy another one.

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/i.html?rt=nc&LH_PrefLoc=1&_nkw=Apple%20TV%20160GB&_fln=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m283

Apple will likely add more refurbs (http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MB189?mco=MTg5MTczMjc) sooner than later

steve-p
Sep 12, 2010, 04:20 PM
Thanks, there's some nearly new ones listed at the moment on eBay so I'll grab one now.

4np
Sep 12, 2010, 04:37 PM
From that refurbished page mentioned earlier I quote:


What you need.

Widescreen TV

Apple TV works with widescreen TVs, from a variety of manufacturers, capable of:

1080i
720p
576p (PAL format)
480p


In addition, on the XBMC on Apple TV wiki (http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=XBMC_for_Mac_on_Apple_TV) it says:


Question: Will the Apple TV playback 1080p videos encoded with the H.264 codec (like Blu-ray rips)?
Answer: No, the Apple TV hardware is only powerful enough to decode 720p videos encoded with the H.264 codec. However, with the Broadcom Crystal HD card and the latest unstable release of XBMC, 1080P support is possible.
Question: Does XBMC on the Apple TV upscale standard-definition and 720p videos to 1080p output?
Answer: Yes, XBMC on the Apple TV will upscale all videos to 1080p if that is your output resolution.


So it seems like (the previous model) Apple TV will not play your 1080p mkv files, except if you install the Broadcom Crystal HD card (also available for Mac Mini). So yeah, it can output 1080p but it's not powerful enough to playback 1080p mkv files so in the end you end up with a stuttering 1080p movie...

SnowLeopard2008
Sep 12, 2010, 04:43 PM
Yes, 1080i is not 1080p. But more to the point, 720P is good enough for most people. For true videophiles, even 1080P isn't good enough. 4K cinema resolution is where it's at. But honestly, there is no difference between 720P and 1080P. You get more pixels but you can't tell the difference sitting 5+ ft away. If I showed you two clips, one 720P and one 1080P, you probably can't tell the difference unless you look really close.

bruinsrme
Sep 12, 2010, 04:51 PM
Yes, 1080i is not 1080p. But more to the point, 720P is good enough for most people. For true videophiles, even 1080P isn't good enough. 4K cinema resolution is where it's at. But honestly, there is no difference between 720P and 1080P. You get more pixels but you can't tell the difference sitting 5+ ft away. If I showed you two clips, one 720P and one 1080P, you probably can't tell the difference unless you look really close.

I would disagree with the 720p vs 1080p.
If your set is calibrated, whether basic or professionally you'll notice a difference, IF, the production of the material is produced to the highest standard.
Equipment determines how much of a difference you'll notice.
720p is sufficient for most.
Retina display is a great example, if the software isn't developed to support it, it will most likely not look any better than a 3GS would display it at.
720p will bring you a lot if enjoyment.

4np
Sep 12, 2010, 05:19 PM
Well, I have a Mac Mini + XMBC connected over DVI -> HDMI to my Philips 46" PFL9704. As the Mac Mini (without the broadcom extension card) cannot properly handle 1080p mkv files I generally only get 720p's (and as less XviD as possible) and it looks really good. 1080p looks a tiny bit better, but also is a huge increase in filesize. I'm sure people would be unable to tell if I was showing them 720p or 1080p... For now, I'm very happy with the way 720p looks... Perhaps when I decide to swap my Airport Extreme card for a Broadcom Crystal HD card (and storage has gotten cheaper again) I'll switch to 1080p instead ;)

jaw04005
Sep 12, 2010, 07:03 PM
Back to the actual thread topic, the lack of 1080p output is sort of a big deal. The old Apple TV was actually rendering your photos, album artwork, movie artwork and menus in 1080p and upscaling your videos to 1080p.

If the new Apple TV removes that support, you're talking 720p output only. Your 1080p TV will be upscaling everything including menus and fonts.

GreatDrok
Sep 12, 2010, 07:16 PM
Well, I have a Mac Mini + XMBC connected over DVI -> HDMI to my Philips 46" PFL9704. As the Mac Mini (without the broadcom extension card) cannot properly handle 1080p mkv files I generally only get 720p's (and as less XviD as possible) and it looks really good. 1080p looks a tiny bit better, but also is a huge increase in filesize. I'm sure people would be unable to tell if I was showing them 720p or 1080p... For now, I'm very happy with the way 720p looks... Perhaps when I decide to swap my Airport Extreme card for a Broadcom Crystal HD card (and storage has gotten cheaper again) I'll switch to 1080p instead ;)

Most of the 1080p encodes I see out there (you know where) are only 4 to 5Mbps which is barely sufficient. I do all my 720p encodes at 5Mbps since less results in a noticeable softening of fine detail so a 1080p image at the same bit rate isn't likely to appear any sharper than a 720p at the same rate despite there being more pixels and is quite likely to look significantly worse. Sure, a 20GB 1080p file is going to look great, but a 4GB one? Hmmm, I'll stick with my 5GB 720p files thanks.

steve-p
Sep 13, 2010, 03:22 AM
Yes, 1080i is not 1080p. But more to the point, 720P is good enough for most people. For true videophiles, even 1080P isn't good enough. 4K cinema resolution is where it's at. But honestly, there is no difference between 720P and 1080P. You get more pixels but you can't tell the difference sitting 5+ ft away. If I showed you two clips, one 720P and one 1080P, you probably can't tell the difference unless you look really close.
I can tell the difference, otherwise I would not have started the thread. It's probably true that most people can't, or even if they can, don't care. After all, people were still using crappy VHS long after DVDs came along. However Apple's new focus on "good enough for most people" rather than high quality does not bode well for future products. But I was not talking about video anyway. I was talking about pictures where you don't expect to be throwing away detail on a 50" screen which you may view from closer than video, and where detail is crucial. It was previously a rather good medium for viewing photos shot with a prosumer DSLR and post-processed in Aperture. At 1280x720, it would not be.