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insidedanshead
Feb 25, 2008, 03:12 AM
Giiyah!
I recently picked up a spankin' new 46" Sony Bravia 1080p LCD TV.
Currently I have my digital cable box hooked up via HDMI and my PS3 hooked up via the other HDMI. The only HD input I have left is my component input.

If I buy an AppleTV will I notice a difference between it being hooked up via component vs. HDMI? Or should I look into getting some sort of switcher to share one of the HDMI ports?

Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated.



gr8tfly
Feb 25, 2008, 03:25 AM
I'm in the same boat with my 50" Panasonic plasma. I'm using component with the :apple:tv and it looks great. I don't think there's any noticeable difference. Text is crisp, no noise, no ghosting. I constantly switch between it and my DirecTV or Blu-ray - both on HDMI, and there's no difference. Perhaps if I had exactly the same content on HDMI and component, there might be, but I suspect it would be very hard to tell.

I have the :apple:tv set to 1080i. Yes, I know it only handles 720, but content tends to look better leaving the Panasonic to handle it. I've a/b'd the DirectTV on both 1080 and 720 (with 1080 content, however) and the 1080 looks better.

The integrated digital audio on HDMI is moot for me, as I use optical/coaxial digital to my amplifier.

Avatar74
Feb 25, 2008, 10:37 AM
I've a/b'd the DirectTV on both 1080 and 720 (with 1080 content, however) and the 1080 looks better.

This despite the fact that the human eye cannot actually resolve to finer detail than a 720p image at 7 feet viewing distance from a 40-50" television? Are you saying you have better than 20/20 vision?

Did you try doing this a/b blinded where you would not know which content was being played when? Have a friend switch the content on you without you knowing and see if you can tell the difference 75% of the time or better (you can probably get 50% right just by blind guessing...).

ftaok
Feb 25, 2008, 02:07 PM
This despite the fact that the human eye cannot actually resolve to finer detail than a 720p image at 7 feet viewing distance from a 40-50" television? Are you saying you have better than 20/20 vision?

Did you try doing this a/b blinded where you would not know which content was being played when? Have a friend switch the content on you without you knowing and see if you can tell the difference 75% of the time or better (you can probably get 50% right just by blind guessing...).

Whether or not the OP has 20/20 or better vision is not the point. Whether or not his eyes can resolve the detail in a 1080p screen is also irrelevant. He's already bought his 1080p TV, so the only relevant information to the OP is whether the aTV will look better at 1080p on HDMI or 720p/1080i on component.

My personal opinion would be that 1080i/component would look better than 720p/component. My experience with my 46" 1080p LCD connected to my Sony DHG-HDD250 is that 1080i looks a lot better than 720p.

I would also believe that 1080i/component would look just about as good as 1080p/HDMI, but this is just a gut feeling.

ft

Oops, my bad. I didn't realize you were replying to gr8tfly and not the OP.

gr8tfly
Feb 25, 2008, 03:11 PM
This despite the fact that the human eye cannot actually resolve to finer detail than a 720p image at 7 feet viewing distance from a 40-50" television? Are you saying you have better than 20/20 vision?

Did you try doing this a/b blinded where you would not know which content was being played when? Have a friend switch the content on you without you knowing and see if you can tell the difference 75% of the time or better (you can probably get 50% right just by blind guessing...).

It is a 1344x768 plasma. It needs to slightly upscale 720 content. For 1080, obviously it needs to downscale. But, any upscaling (like from DTV or Blu-Ray) should be done at the source. Since my TV is capable of slightly more than 720, there should be a slight improvement with 1080 input - and there is. I don't have a way to a/b the ATV itself (HDMI/comp). At some point, I'll get a HDMI expander and make the issue moot.

To answer the "20/20" question: I used to have 20/15, corrected. (note "used to" ;) ). I didn't do a scientific double-blind study (or much of anything that could be called a "study"). I've been in high-tech (engineering) AND graphic arts for way too long to not be able to discern subtle details. I can tell differences between which cameras were used in 1080 content (like "Planet Earth").

Total resolving power doesn't enter in to how the eye perceives sharpness. Otherwise, (for instance) unsharp masking (re: Photoshop) wouldn't work very well. Sounds like you're referring to a thread which did all the math on how big a pixel will be at distance, vs. the eye's resolving power. The ability to discern one pixel from another doesn't take into account how the brain perceives detail - it's much more complicated than the simple math. Think about why a glossy screen looks crisper than a matte one. Both have the same size pixels. The glossy enhances contrast - making the image appear sharper. It's somewhat like what unsharp-mask does, which is to increase contrast near edges.

The OP was asking for a real-world comparison between HDMI and component. Since I have a similar mixed setup, I had some experience to share. I will agree, the best, most trouble-free method, would be a direct digital connection. But, with this particular combination of TV, cabling, and ATV, there is apparently little, if any, difference. I'm sure there are component capable TVs with less than adequate a/d converters, filtering, DSP, etc, whereby there would be more differences between the two. That's not the case here.

When it gets down to it, if the OP tries component and thinks there's a difference, then there is. In my case, there's nothing I can see that's making me go out and buy a HDMI expander.

I would actually like to put everything on HDMI, just to help clean up cabling, if nothing else. But, the expanders are still a bit pricey. I also need more optical audio inputs, so I'm looking for a combo expander.

err404
Feb 25, 2008, 06:36 PM
It's really simple. Lets say you have a ripped DVD at 480p. You play it through your Apple TV at 720p.

The Apple TV has to upscale the source to 720p which introduces artifacts.
The 720p image is then received by your 1080p TV and the TV has to use it's internal scaler to upscale the image again to the screens native resolution of 1080p which introduces more artifacts.

Contrast this to the Apple TV being set at 1080 in the first place.
The Apple TV has to upscale the source to 1080 which introduces artifacts. But now the TV can display the image directly w/o scaling it a second time.

In most cases, the difference is not noticeable for either case, but not all TVs have equal internals for scaling. Depending on the age and brand they could be significantly worse then the Apple TV scaling ability.

BTW - I have seen some A/B switch boxes that can further degrade an HD signal

Rooskibar03
Feb 25, 2008, 07:02 PM
5 into 1 HDMI switch with remote, only $48 @ monoprice.com

insidedanshead
Feb 26, 2008, 12:33 AM
Thanks everyone... very helpful!

I am going to go pick up my AppleTV tomorrow and do some experimenting. If I can't tell the difference between component and HDMI, I'll stay component. If HDMI looks better ill pick up one of those handy HDMI switchers Rooskibar03 pointed out!

Thanks again!

hotshotharry
Feb 26, 2008, 12:49 AM
I havent persoanlly noticed a diff between 720 hdmi or 720 compnent! though i would assume 720 hdmi would be slightly better as you are not converting it to analog then back to digital ( there has to be a slight loss there)

720p looks great either way !:-) cant say that i will bother with all the 1080p fuss just so i can be one up! lol i just wanna enjoy my movies! :-)

yotoad
Feb 27, 2008, 10:28 AM
i am running mine with 1080i even though i have a 1080p tv and i have used it with a HDMI cable -- the handshake issues weren't worth it for me, and like others in this thread i use optical for my audio.

the question is, should i set it to 720p instead of 1080i?

ftaok
Feb 27, 2008, 10:45 AM
i am running mine with 1080i even though i have a 1080p tv and i have used it with a HDMI cable -- the handshake issues weren't worth it for me, and like others in this thread i use optical for my audio.

the question is, should i set it to 720p instead of 1080i?

My guess would be that you would get better results with 1080i. Here's my reasoning.

1. The menus would be sharper. My Sony DVR has sharper menus when set on 1080i vs. 720p.

2. You photos would look nicer ... but that's just my thoughts. I can't confirm this. I'm guessing that the aTV would downres your photos to 1920x1080 when set at 1080i. If you set at 720p, I would guess that the aTV would downrez to 1280x720, then your TV would upscale to 1920x1080.

ft

yotoad
Feb 27, 2008, 11:01 AM
makes sense -- i think it looks great in 1080i -- the only reason i was thinking 720p was for the "p"

it looks amazing regardless!

peeaanuut
Feb 27, 2008, 11:48 AM
hsa anyone tried the 4port HDMI switch from xtreme mac? I know there was an issue first off but I believe it has been corrected to work perfectly with the appleTV and having the same form factor is a plus. I was thinking of picking one up and the $100 price tag doesnt seem bad for what you get.

ChrisA
Feb 27, 2008, 12:16 PM
Whether or not the OP has 20/20 or better vision is not the point. Whether or not his eyes can resolve the detail in a 1080p screen is also irrelevant. He's already bought his 1080p TV, so the only relevant information to the OP is whether the aTV will look better at 1080p on HDMI or 720p/1080i on component.

It all depends on the content. What is being displayed. I own a 1080P TV and it is instructive to watch the news because they switch between various types of cameras. They use the big studio penistal camera and then they cut to a shoulder mounted camera of differtn types. I can almost always pick out the kind of camera used. Picture quality varies dramatically and I can notice artifacts for up-scaling or compression. Those studio camera are very, very good or maybe it's the studio quality lighting. The only camera that do full justice to the 1080P screen are the in-studio shots the others would look as good at 720.

So the "blind" test many times can't work. You switch between 1080 and 720 and don't bee a bit if different even if you stand 18 inches from the TV. The reason is that the content was shot with a 720P camera. Also many (most?) people are not good at judging images and Iread the majority can't tell 480 line DVDs from HD.

Try this experimant. Get 50 of us "computer nerds" together and have us judge horse. We get to look them over the decide which would be better to ride at a rodeo event. We do quite poorly at this becuse we know nothing about horses or rodeo but then some one comes in and says "see all horse at the same".

One other video source that really does show up the 1080P screen is a computer. It you are trying to read text on the screen more pixels help a lot.

One more thing: Don't believe most of those analysis about what your eye can resolve from whatever distance. Most of them are very badly flawed and then these wrong numbers get quoted as if they are gospel truth. If someone starts talking about how the eye needs to be able to see pixels ask them to explain digital sampling theory and if they know what "MTF" is.

ColonelSmith
Feb 27, 2008, 01:41 PM
I'd go Component since iTunes HD movies are only 720p.

Dont42Panic
Feb 27, 2008, 02:34 PM
I bought an Apple TV last week and also grabbed the XtremeMac 4 in 1 Switcher and so far I love it. I am running the Apple TV, my PS3, and an HD DVD player through it.

Rooskibar03
Feb 27, 2008, 04:20 PM
I bought an Apple TV last week and also grabbed the XtremeMac 4 in 1 Switcher and so far I love it. I am running the Apple TV, my PS3, and an HD DVD player through it.

Man thats a good looking switch. I just ordered a second one for my upstairs TV from Monoprice for half the money, but that almost makes me want to send it back.

Let me ask you, can you stack this under the Apple TV? Any heat issues?

Dont42Panic
Feb 29, 2008, 07:25 PM
Man thats a good looking switch. I just ordered a second one for my upstairs TV from Monoprice for half the money, but that almost makes me want to send it back.

Let me ask you, can you stack this under the Apple TV? Any heat issues?

Everything I have read online advises not to stack them because of the heat from the Apple TV, even though it looks like they'd fit perfectly. When it comes to something like that I'd rather play it safe.

BigYellow
Feb 29, 2008, 08:11 PM
My guess would be that you would get better results with 1080i. Here's my reasoning.

1. The menus would be sharper. My Sony DVR has sharper menus when set on 1080i vs. 720p.

2. You photos would look nicer ... but that's just my thoughts. I can't confirm this. I'm guessing that the aTV would downres your photos to 1920x1080 when set at 1080i. If you set at 720p, I would guess that the aTV would downrez to 1280x720, then your TV would upscale to 1920x1080.

ft

Photos would look slightly better under 1080i. The only time 1080i has any disadvantages compared to 720p is when there's quick movement (sports, video games), because every other pixel is drawn every second refresh under 1080i, as opposed to every pixel being drawn every refresh under 720p, so with a still image, the photos should look the same under 1080i as they would from a 1080p source (which is definitively the best HD source currently available), meaning they would look better than under 720p.

That being said, I can barely notice a difference with my 360 on my 56" Toshiba DLP Projection set. With sports (from my starchoice HD box), i find the textures look less pixelly (sp?) in 1080i mode when everything's fairly slow-moving (before the football is snapped, for example), but everything in movement is slightly blurrier as opposed to the 720p, which has the opposite in terms of strengths/weaknesses.

And this is with glasses on, so my vision is technically almost perfect (slightly better than 20/20)

slorro
Feb 25, 2011, 08:46 PM
I'm not particularly a gadget geek, but I just purchased an APple TV and want to connect it to my Sony 1080. Problem is, I have no HDMI ports left open on my TV. Is there another way to connect to still get 1080 quality, or should I buy a DVI adapter? I have a Direct TV DVR, a Sony blu ray DVD player, my son's old PS2 (no HDMI port) and some audio (none have HDMI ports).

Help!!