PDA

View Full Version : Apple TV vs...




luffx
Jul 30, 2008, 03:06 PM
Hey all,

I am looking for a well-rounded media solution that can perform.

I have a 1080p LCD and I would like to take full advantage of it.

I was originally thinking about using a PS3 for the job, due to the Blu-Ray player, DVD Upscaling, 1080p, and Divx compatibility. Then I realized that I don't know much about the :apple:TV. What kind of quality can it output? Can it take advantage of a 1080p set? How well does streaming high-quality movies handle? Can I replace the HDD or hook-up an external?

Thanks for your advice!



Mindflux
Jul 30, 2008, 03:08 PM
I think the AppleTV does 1080i at best. I still haven't updated to the latest Software to verify that though.

luffx
Jul 30, 2008, 03:16 PM
I just found this on Apple's site...

H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

Ack! So it can 'support' 1080i, but will display as 720? That's awful for a product purely dedicated to media. :(

Is there anyone here that uses the :apple:TV w/ a 1080p set?

Croatian
Jul 30, 2008, 03:39 PM
I just found this on Apple's site...

H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

Ack! So it can 'support' 1080i, but will display as 720? That's awful for a product purely dedicated to media. :(

Is there anyone here that uses the :apple:TV w/ a 1080p set?


Use Sony PlayStation 3
it supports 1080p, you can connect your external hard drive to your router (on your mac u can install MediaLink) and u can stream the content onto your tv and have playstation 3 up convert it to 1080p, but u have to have the video files in MP4 format

dynaflash
Jul 30, 2008, 04:33 PM
um, the atv can upscale to 1080p. No blue ray though.

http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html

Under TV compatibility. Of course it cannot play true 1080p content. But not much can tbh from an mp4 file. The AC3 5.1 DD is nice.

megfilmworks
Jul 30, 2008, 04:48 PM
I've been using both the PS3 and the ATV through an Epson 1080p UB with over 9ft wide projection.
There is no doubt that the 1080p on the BluRay is better than Apple (less to do with 1080i vs 1080p than compression).
But the movie download service is not as good on the PS3.
The quality of the Apple rental, download time, cost and rental period (not to mention 5.1 Dolby) make the ATV the hands down winner for rentals.
The BluRay is hands down the best picture though.
I love them both for different reasons.

wwooden
Jul 30, 2008, 04:56 PM
I have both a PS3 and an AppleTV and I would so rather use the :apple:TV for media streaming. The interface is 100x better and more pleasurable. I also like it's integration with youtube, flickr, and podcast. You can spend tons of time with the :apple:TV and never stream media; just browsing youtube and other online content.

dynaflash
Jul 30, 2008, 05:23 PM
The BluRay is hands down the best picture though.
Well, there would be no comparison obviously, an average atv preset encoded dvd with HB would be along the lines of *maybe* 2 gigs of data with the ac3 5.1 dd track, whereas the BlueRay content would be up to say 30 gigs. Two completely different scenarios. If BluRay is your thing, Obviously the PS3 would be king.

Now, next version of HB encoding a BluRay title to a true 720p upscaled by the atv ... maybe not so much at a distance of more than 8 feet away ;)

gcmexico
Jul 30, 2008, 05:24 PM
I have both a PS3 and an AppleTV and I would so rather use the :apple:TV for media streaming. The interface is 100x better and more pleasurable. I also like it's integration with youtube, flickr, and podcast. You can spend tons of time with the :apple:TV and never stream media; just browsing youtube and other online content.
*
great point...the video podcast are awesome!

luffx
Aug 1, 2008, 10:33 AM
Most of the music/conversation I enjoy is too obscure to have a podcast dedicated to it, and YouTube is fine on a computer.

I'm mainly wondering about the :apple:TV's ability to do what it is meant to do....play movies. The Apple site says that it 'supports' 1080 sets, but outputs a max res of 1280 by 720, which is certainly not 1080.

Here is a quote from another forum...

"One is geared for graphic intensive video games and high quality movies. The other is for watching low quality videos from itunes. Apple tv is basically an ipod that connects to your tv."

That's what worries me. I'm looking for results, not a nice GUI or nice downloading services. I won't be downloading from the store, I won't be doing YouTube or podcasts. I will only be ripping to it. Everything I've heard so far sounds like the AppleTV is a 4-cylinder engine in a Camaro's body. I guess I was hoping to hear otherwise from somebody who actually has a 1080 setup.

<Rant>
It pisses me off that Apple constantly makes products that are just below industry standards, and stamps a big fat price on them. They make the main feature subpar and cover it up with extra features. They make a computer that uses 667MHz RAM and a slow FSB, another company makes a computer that is using 800 to 1066MHz RAM and an equivalent FSB. Now the aTV. Grrrr....oh well.
</Rant>

I'm crossing my fingers for an AppleTV that truly supports 1080P and has a built in BluRay drive. >.>

I think I'm going to wait a bit and do more research until I make a decision. Thanks for all of your input!

ViViDboarder
Aug 1, 2008, 02:49 PM
What I thought about was buying an :apple:TV and installing Leopard on it so I can run EyeTv on it to get it to function as a PVR. That'd be a solution for me. The only problem is that I use a widescreen PC monitor as a TV instead of an HDTV... So that defeats the purpose... So MacMini?

macworkerbee
Aug 1, 2008, 03:03 PM
From the sound of what you want, the PS3 is a much better option for you. I mean you get the bluray player, the streaming media using medialink and a pretty awesome gaming console as well. I would say that if downloading apple content from itunes isn't a priority for you, then go for the PS3 and you should be happy.

fivepoint
Aug 1, 2008, 04:17 PM
It all depends on your setup. Most people don't sit close enough to their TV to see any benefit from 1080p over 720p. In theaters it makes a difference more often.

For example, if you have a 50" set, and you're sitting more than 8 feet away (most people would sit more than 10) you will not see ANY DIFFERENCE between 1080 and 720. Your eyes physically can't resolve the difference. It's kind of like having 16GB of RAM when you never use more than 4GB.

This chart might give you a better idea of what I'm talking about:
http://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadgethd.com/media/2006/12/resolution_chart.jpg


Personally, I have an AppleTV hooked up to my 720 Panny Plasma, and it looks GORGEOUS! Absolutely perfect.

almostinsane
Aug 1, 2008, 04:43 PM
That chart above is crap. You can see the benefit from 1080P from any distance. Not to mention that 1080P just has a smoother overall picture.

http://home.comcast.net/~dnell87/optimalscreensizes.JPG

fivepoint
Aug 1, 2008, 05:23 PM
That chart above is crap. You can see the benefit from 1080P from any distance. Not to mention that 1080P just has a smoother overall picture.


I'm sorry, but you're 100% wrong. The graph is based on hard science. This chart simply states the facts. The human eye can only resolve so many pixels per square inch. The distance you sit from the TV is EQUALLY important to the resolution of the screen. If you go back 25 ft or 30 ft. a SD TV and a 1080p tv LOOK IDENTICAL as far as resolution is concerned. Just like a photo taken with a 5mp camera and a 12mp camera look exactly the same its a wallet sized print or even a 4x6 for that matter. It's science man, there's no use disputing it.

Try this test... go to your local best buy, walk to the HDTV section, find two identical TVS with the only difference being the resolution (1080 vs 720). Now, walk backwards... keep walking backwards. If you can see the difference at more than 12 feet for example, you're not human. You're an alien or have been genetically gifted with the ability to resolve more data through your eyes than most humans.

Needless to say, this is not something television manufacturers tell people. They want to get the easy up-sell. But if you do some reading from sources that know what they're talking about... this is COMMON KNOWLEDGE.

Here is Engadget's take on the subject:
http://www.engadgethd.com/2006/12/09/1080p-charted-viewing-distance-to-screen-size/

Here is what CNET said:
9. Side by side, how do 720p and 1080p TVs match up in head-to-head tests?
We spend a lot of time looking at a variety of source material on a variety of TVs in our video lab here at CNET's offices in New York. When I wrote my original article two years ago, many 1080p TVs weren't as sharp as they claimed to be on paper. By that, I mean a lot of older 1080p sets couldn't necessarily display all 2 million-plus pixels in the real world--technically, speaking, they couldn't "resolve" every line of a 1080i or 1080p test pattern.

That's changed in the last couple of years. Most 1080p sets are now capable of fully resolving 1080i and 1080p material. But that hasn't altered our views about 1080p TVs. We still believe that when you're dealing with TVs 50 inches and smaller, the added resolution has only a very minor impact on picture quality. On a regular basis in our HDTV reviews, we put 720p (or 768p) sets next to 1080p sets, then feed them both the same source material, whether it's 1080i or 1080p, from the highest-quality Blu-ray and HD DVD players. We typically watch both sets for a while, with eyes darting back and forth between the two, looking for differences in the most-detailed sections, such as hair, textures of fabric, and grassy plains. Bottom line: It's almost always very difficult to see any difference--especially from farther than 8 feet away on a 50-inch TV.

I said so much in a 2006 column I wrote called The case against 1080p, but some readers knocked us for not looking at high-end TVs in our tests. But the fact is, resolution is resolution, and whether you're looking at a Sony or a Westinghouse, 1080p resolution--which relates to picture sharpness--is the same and is a separate issue from black levels and color accuracy.

Our resident video guru, Senior Editor David Katzmaier, stands by what he said two years ago: The extra sharpness afforded by the 1080p televisions he's seen is noticeable only when watching 1080i or 1080p sources on a larger screens, say 55 inches and bigger, or with projectors that display a wall-size picture. Katzmaier also says that the main real-world advantage of 1080p is not the extra sharpness you'll be seeing, but instead, the smaller, more densely packed pixels. In other words, you can sit closer to a 1080p television and not notice any pixel structure, such as stair-stepping along diagonal lines, or the screen door effect (where you can actually see the space between the pixels). This advantage applies regardless of the quality of the source.


Often times the EXACT same TV, with the only difference being resolution, can cost you TWICE as much. My 720 Panny was $1300. the 1080p was $2600. In the store, I walked back to a good 'viewing distance' (about 9ft. for me) and I couldn't see ANY DIFFERENCE AT ALL. NONE. That was the end for me. If nothing else, I just saved $1300 on something that 99% of people couldn't see a difference with. The funny thing, people see that big number and just automatically assume the can't have anything else. That's what I almost did... but its similar to the old mac arguments. Less Ghz didn't translate to less speed.

almostinsane
Aug 1, 2008, 05:26 PM
I had a 50" 720P Panny plasma and a few months ago bought a 50" 1080P. Night and day difference. I can immediately see the additional resolution and it is a lot smoother.

This is from an 8' to 10' distance.

The TV sets you see in store are not calibrated so maybe that is why you can't see a difference. And who knows what the quality is of their source material.

Buy the biggest TV you can afford or fit in your location. And get 1080P. 720P is legacy.

bacaramac
Aug 1, 2008, 05:34 PM
I had a 50" 720P Panny plasma and a few months ago bought a 50" 1080P. Night and day difference. I can immediately see the additional resolution and it is a lot smoother.

This is from an 8' to 10' distance.

The TV sets you see in store are not calibrated so maybe that is why you can't see a difference. And who knows what the quality is of their source material.

Buy the biggest TV you can afford or fit in your location. And get 1080P. 720P is legacy.

Just my thought, I think if you have two identical TV's (quality wise) with two different resolutions, you wouldn't be able to tell the diff. Your switch in TV's may have just provided you with a nicer picture on 1080p because your older TV was not as good.

almostinsane
Aug 1, 2008, 05:55 PM
The old TV was a 50" Panny Plasma from 2005. It was a damn good TV. The new one just looks that much better. And I did look at 720P vs. 1080P side by side at Magnolia Hifi just for the hell of it. Big difference.

Usually the people who say they can't see a difference between 720P and 1080P and the ones who settled for a 720P TV.

None of this really matters when AppleTV is brought into the mix as it doesn't display any 1080P content.

fivepoint
Aug 1, 2008, 06:05 PM
Usually the people who say they can't see a difference between 720P and 1080P and the ones who settled for a 720P TV.


Haha! Excellent argument. Well crafted. Perhaps I'll turn it around on you.

"Usually the people who say they can see a difference between 720p and 1080p at normal TV viewing distances are the ones who paid through the teeth and feel guilty/stupid for wasting their money on something they'll never see."

Now, I don't necessarily think this is true. For "home theatre" applications for example, where you sit considerably closer and/or have a larger screen, 1080p makes a TON of sense. The problem is that people don't realize when it does matter, and when it doesn't. The chart I posted lets people know the facts. When it matters, and when it doesn't. Simple as that.

For 90% of people, in 90% of TV viewing situations, the human eye physically can't resolve the difference between the two. It's as simple as that. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, and you like sitting really close, then go ahead! You can read the chart. Maybe you'll benefit from it. Most won't.

Scott6666
Aug 1, 2008, 06:17 PM
I have both a PS3 and an Apple TV. I hardly EVER use the ATV and use the PS3 two to three times a week (for video).

Unless you are a fan of renting from Apple, pick the PS3. All the other video you can acquire comes in formats that the ATV cannot play.

MikieMikie
Aug 2, 2008, 07:35 AM
Well, there would be no comparison obviously, an average atv preset encoded dvd with HB would be along the lines of *maybe* 2 gigs of data with the ac3 5.1 dd track, whereas the BlueRay content would be up to say 30 gigs. Two completely different scenarios. If BluRay is your thing, Obviously the PS3 would be king.

Now, next version of HB encoding a BluRay title to a true 720p upscaled by the atv ... maybe not so much at a distance of more than 8 feet away ;)

Take your time, Dyna.

(Is it done yet?) pant pant.

tronic72
Aug 2, 2008, 07:41 AM
Hey all,

I am looking for a well-rounded media solution that can perform.

I have a 1080p LCD and I would like to take full advantage of it.

I was originally thinking about using a PS3 for the job, due to the Blu-Ray player, DVD Upscaling, 1080p, and Divx compatibility. Then I realized that I don't know much about the :apple:TV. What kind of quality can it output? Can it take advantage of a 1080p set? How well does streaming high-quality movies handle? Can I replace the HDD or hook-up an external?

Thanks for your advice!

I recently built a media centre and am pretty impressed with it. But..... there's so much stuffing around involved in getting it to work. Vista is ALWAYS asking for updates and often these mess with reliability.

There are obviously "some" things that Windows Media centre does that ATV doesn't but the Apple TV does what it does, better and with less hassles. The lack of H.264 compatibility for Media Centre is also a real downer

my 2c

tronic72
Aug 2, 2008, 07:58 AM
Haha! Excellent argument. Well crafted. Perhaps I'll turn it around on you.

"Usually the people who say they can see a difference between 720p and 1080p at normal TV viewing distances are the ones who paid through the teeth and feel guilty/stupid for wasting their money on something they'll never see."

Now, I don't necessarily think this is true. For "home theatre" applications for example, where you sit considerably closer and/or have a larger screen, 1080p makes a TON of sense. The problem is that people don't realize when it does matter, and when it doesn't. The chart I posted lets people know the facts. When it matters, and when it doesn't. Simple as that.

For 90% of people, in 90% of TV viewing situations, the human eye physically can't resolve the difference between the two. It's as simple as that. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, and you like sitting really close, then go ahead! You can read the chart. Maybe you'll benefit from it. Most won't.


I agree 100%. It's all numbers and a big ploy to sell more units.

The picture on my Sony CRT HD TV (not full HD and over 4 years old!!) is wayyyyy better than my neighbours $5000 Full HD Sony LCD. Even he admits it. Myself, I'm waiting for at least 1 year before I purchase a new TV because the new technologies (yet to be released) compare much better to CRT in the quality stakes. This is why the argument about 720, 1080i and 1080p is not "very" relative to the actually visual quality.

The other thing to remember is most recorded content doesn't even supply enough data to take advantage of the potential of HD. How much content is filmed/recorded in "full HD"?

When will people realise that we've actually taken a big step backwards by moving from CRT to Plasma & LCD? They are big, that's all. It's like the move from CD to MP3, it's step back for the sake of convenience. Plasma manufactures are trying tell sell us on their "amazing black" it's still NOT BLACK. LCD makers are trying to sell us on their "super fast refresh rates" and yet both Plasma & LCD still suffer from shocking lag compared to CRT.

My 2c

tronic72
Aug 2, 2008, 08:11 AM
The old TV was a 50" Panny Plasma from 2005. It was a damn good TV. The new one just looks that much better. And I did look at 720P vs. 1080P side by side at Magnolia Hifi just for the hell of it. Big difference.

Usually the people who say they can't see a difference between 720P and 1080P and the ones who settled for a 720P TV.

None of this really matters when AppleTV is brought into the mix as it doesn't display any 1080P content.

I don't disagree that the picture may well be much better on the newer 1080P TV. What you need to remember is it may have little to do with the higher resolution and more to do with the refresh rate and other technologies.

As I said in my earlier post, how is it, my neighbours Sony Full HD, top-of-the-line Sony LCD TV has a much lesser quality image, than my CRT that isn't "Full HD". I used his TV as an example. It's pretty much the best (or one of) TV money can currently buy, but the same goes for Pioneers, Panasonics and all the quality brands. (I'm a reseller so I see them all the time).

The analogy I use is PCs (macs included). They get fast and faster each year, but it's silly to say they get faster simply because the processor speeds increase. On the contrary, the recent increases have been brought about by higher speed buses, RAM, better graphics cards AND processors. Remember, we had 3 Ghz computers 3 years ago!!!!

Same goes for TVs. The early LCD and Plasma TVs were crapola! We only put up with them because they were new and big. How many people have upgrade their LCD TVs recently? Lots, and the reason is that even the best current Plasmas and LCDs aren't great but they are heaps better than a few years ago. They are much better, but not great.

My 2c

fivepoint
Aug 2, 2008, 08:16 AM
Tronic, some very good points. You obviously know what you're talking about. Everyone pay attention... this man SELLS these TVs, and he agrees that there is a "big ploy" to up-sell customers to 1080p... which wouldn't be beneficial to most customers under normal viewing conditions. He would know.

People looking for a new HDTV -- if they're educated -- should be looking for contrast ratio, black levels, refresh rate (on LCDs), noise levels, etc. if they're concerned with a quality image. Resolution is far down on the list... and frankly, its the lowest feature in terms of bang vs. buck. WAY too many people get conned into buying a lower end 1080p, when they would have been MUCH better off with a high-end 720p.

If you're looking for a plasma, I would suggest sticking with Panasonic, Samsung, or (if you can afford it) Pioneer. Plasmas have better viewing angles, contrast ratios, black levels, and over all picture quality than LCDs do. Image Retention and burn-in is no longer a significant problem with the modern plasmas.

If you're looking for an LCD, I would suggest sticking with Samsung, Sharp, or Sony. Get the model that judders the least during high-motion scenes, because most LCDs look DEPLORABLE in those situations.

For home living room situations, 90% of people would never get any benefit from 1080p. It's a complete waste of money. To pick a TV, you need to first define what kind of room you'll be watching in, how far you'll be sitting away, etc. Don't just get the expensive model with high numbers or you'll be kicking yourself in the end.

Now, if you're building a home theatre, this conversation needs to change a little.

tronic72
Aug 2, 2008, 09:04 AM
Tronic, some very good points. You obviously know what you're talking about. Everyone pay attention... this man SELLS these TVs, and he agrees that there is a "big ploy" to up-sell customers to 1080p... which wouldn't be beneficial to most customers under normal viewing conditions. He would know.

People looking for a new HDTV -- if they're educated -- should be looking for contrast ratio, black levels, refresh rate (on LCDs), noise levels, etc. if they're concerned with a quality image. Resolution is far down on the list... and frankly, its the lowest feature in terms of bang vs. buck. WAY too many people get conned into buying a lower end 1080p, when they would have been MUCH better off with a high-end 720p.

If you're looking for a plasma, I would suggest sticking with Panasonic, Samsung, or (if you can afford it) Pioneer. Plasmas have better viewing angles, contrast ratios, black levels, and over all picture quality than LCDs do. Image Retention and burn-in is no longer a significant problem with the modern plasmas.

If you're looking for an LCD, I would suggest sticking with Samsung, Sharp, or Sony. Get the model that judders the least during high-motion scenes, because most LCDs look DEPLORABLE in those situations.

For home living room situations, 90% of people would never get any benefit from 1080p. It's a complete waste of money. To pick a TV, you need to first define what kind of room you'll be watching in, how far you'll be sitting away, etc. Don't just get the expensive model with high numbers or you'll be kicking yourself in the end.

Now, if you're building a home theatre, this conversation needs to change a little.

If I was buying a TV right now, this is what I'd do.

Not buy a TV.

If I HAD to buy one, I'd by the 1080p Panasonic (not the Full HD). They are nearly one third of the price of the current Full HD models and very similar picture wise.

I know what you are thinking. This guy is crazy. Well my daughter might agree, but my reasoning is simple. Current Plasma & LCD TVs aren't very good. Give them a few years and you'll see what I mean. Some of the new technologies to look out for are:

OLED http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6741419-1.html
Laser
FED
SED http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6741419-1.html

fivepoint
Aug 2, 2008, 09:27 AM
If I was buying a TV right now, this is what I'd do.

Not buy a TV.

If I HAD to buy one, I'd by the 1080p Panasonic (not the Full HD). They are nearly one third of the price of the current Full HD models and very similar picture wise.

I know what you are thinking. This guy is crazy. Well my daughter might agree, but my reasoning is simple. Current Plasma & LCD TVs aren't very good. Give them a few years and you'll see what I mean. Some of the new technologies to look out for are:

• OLED http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6741419-1.html
• Laser
• FED
• SED http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6741419-1.html


Did you mean "I'd buy the 720p Panasonic (not the Full HD)."? If so, I agree. And that's exactly what I did after a TON of research. However, I'm not very keen on telling people to "just wait a few years" with technology. Sure, there are a ton of advancements just around the corner... but after that there will be just as many around the corner. Things are always changing, always adapting. There will always be something just around the corner. The key is to buy good stuff, and get the best bang for the buck whenever you buy anything. That's my philosophy anyway.

tronic72
Aug 3, 2008, 03:00 AM
Did you mean "I'd buy the 720p Panasonic (not the Full HD)."? If so, I agree. And that's exactly what I did after a TON of research. However, I'm not very keen on telling people to "just wait a few years" with technology. Sure, there are a ton of advancements just around the corner... but after that there will be just as many around the corner. Things are always changing, always adapting. There will always be something just around the corner. The key is to buy good stuff, and get the best bang for the buck whenever you buy anything. That's my philosophy anyway.

No, I mean buy the 1080p, instead of the 1080i. Not sure if they actually sell 720 still. Both are HD, but most manufactures are ditching their non Full HD stock because the public believes it's cr@p. They'd like to have us believe that the full HD is "twice" as good and non full HD. Full HD is a just a ploy to get punters selling their old LCD or Plasma TVs.

Have you ever wondered why many stores won't display the same images on all TVs at the same time. (Some do). They usually run the media the manufactures give them, which is often nothing like the media we all watch. The reason they do this is if you display them all together, there isn't a huge amount of difference between models.

I'm not telling them NOT to buy if they need to. I'm saying, that technology of Plasm & LCD TVs plateaued recently and manufactures are ripping customers off by making them believe a new "full HD" TV will be so much better than what they currently own.

If it was me. I'd save $$$$$ by buying the less expensive model which I'd put towards a new set in the next 2-3 years, when I believe we'll see much better TVs than are on offer currently.

my 2c

fivepoint
Aug 3, 2008, 08:31 AM
No, I mean buy the 1080p, instead of the 1080i. Not sure if they actually sell 720 still. Both are HD, but most manufactures are ditching their non Full HD stock because the public believes it's cr@p. They'd like to have us believe that the full HD is "twice" as good and non full HD. Full HD is a just a ploy to get punters selling their old LCD or Plasma TVs.

Have you ever wondered why many stores won't display the same images on all TVs at the same time. (Some do). They usually run the media the manufactures give them, which is often nothing like the media we all watch. The reason they do this is if you display them all together, there isn't a huge amount of difference between models.

I'm not telling them NOT to buy if they need to. I'm saying, that technology of Plasm & LCD TVs plateaued recently and manufactures are ripping customers off by making them believe a new "full HD" TV will be so much better than what they currently own.

If it was me. I'd save $$$$$ by buying the less expensive model which I'd put towards a new set in the next 2-3 years, when I believe we'll see much better TVs than are on offer currently.

my 2c

720p is still widely available at 50" and less. I just got mine a few months ago. It is a 2008 model from Panasonic. Samsung, Pioneer, and others also have many 720p models 50" and less. I think Cnet's top editor's choice TV is still the Pioneer 50" 720p set.

tarz4n
Aug 4, 2008, 06:15 AM
My Setup:

AppleTV (Podcast, Airport Express, photos and youtube)
MacMini with Plex/OSXBMC (plays everything smoothly - better than VLC/frontrow. 480/720/1080, PAL, NTSC, upscale, dts, subtitles, dd5.1 etc etc.: http://elan.plexapp.com/ Great community and support - and it's free.

video: http://www.tinkeringwithin.com/2008/07/17/plex-osxbmc-with-aeon-skin-demo/

davidjearly
Aug 4, 2008, 02:30 PM
fivepoint,

You seem to have a sound knowledge of HD resolutions, so I have a few questions for you.

1. What is the best resolution to select on the Apple TV for a 1080p capable 37" LCD TV? This seems like a no-brainer, but I am hesitant due to my reasoning below.

2. My movies are encoded using Handbrake from DVD, at the standard Apple TV preset with 2-pass enabled. Will setting the Apple TV resolution to 1080p decrease the quality of these movies when viewed on an Apple TV because they are not HD quality?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

fivepoint
Aug 4, 2008, 03:10 PM
fivepoint,

You seem to have a sound knowledge of HD resolutions, so I have a few questions for you.

1. What is the best resolution to select on the Apple TV for a 1080p capable 37" LCD TV? This seems like a no-brainer, but I am hesitant due to my reasoning below.

2. My movies are encoded using Handbrake from DVD, at the standard Apple TV preset with 2-pass enabled. Will setting the Apple TV resolution to 1080p decrease the quality of these movies when viewed on an Apple TV because they are not HD quality?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

1. For a 1080p set, I would set the AppleTV on its highest settings... regardless of anything else.

2. No. They should look perfect. If you had a 720p TV I would have to ask you which manufacturer it was from, how old it was, to determine which settings to use... but because yours is a 1080p, it's that simple. Set the AppleTV to its highest setting, and be done with it.

P.S. Enjoy handbrake/AppleTV It's a fantastic setup.

kjr39
Aug 4, 2008, 03:29 PM
No, I mean buy the 1080p, instead of the 1080i. Not sure if they actually sell 720 still. Both are HD, but most manufactures are ditching their non Full HD stock because the public believes it's cr@p. They'd like to have us believe that the full HD is "twice" as good and non full HD. Full HD is a just a ploy to get punters selling their old LCD or Plasma TVs.

Have you ever wondered why many stores won't display the same images on all TVs at the same time. (Some do). They usually run the media the manufactures give them, which is often nothing like the media we all watch. The reason they do this is if you display them all together, there isn't a huge amount of difference between models.

I'm not telling them NOT to buy if they need to. I'm saying, that technology of Plasm & LCD TVs plateaued recently and manufactures are ripping customers off by making them believe a new "full HD" TV will be so much better than what they currently own.

If it was me. I'd save $$$$$ by buying the less expensive model which I'd put towards a new set in the next 2-3 years, when I believe we'll see much better TVs than are on offer currently.

my 2c


I thought that 1080p was full HD?

And, you can still get the 720p Panny 11uk for $1100 shipped.

quid squid
Aug 4, 2008, 04:06 PM
I thought that 1080p was full HD?

And, you can still get the 720p Panny 11uk for $1100 shipped.

i think he was confusing 1080p and 1080i.

almostinsane
Aug 4, 2008, 05:54 PM
1. For a 1080p set, I would set the AppleTV on its highest settings... regardless of anything else.

2. No. They should look perfect. If you had a 720p TV I would have to ask you which manufacturer it was from, how old it was, to determine which settings to use... but because yours is a 1080p, it's that simple. Set the AppleTV to its highest setting, and be done with it.

P.S. Enjoy handbrake/AppleTV It's a fantastic setup.

The only problem with setting it to 1080P is that the ATV will reset to 720P when you switch inputs on the TV then back to the ATV. Frickin' annoying. For this reason I leave it on 1080i as it sticks.

davidjearly
Aug 4, 2008, 06:21 PM
One problem I am having is the loading time for playing a movie that is stored on my Mac, but not on the Apple TV. I have the Apple TV set to sync photos, but stream everything else from my Mac. When I select a movie to play on the Apple TV, it takes very long to load - I gave up after 10 mins of loading time for one film and even tried others. These films are all encoded using the latest version of Handbrake with the Apple TV preset.

However, when I purchased Zoolander directly from the Apple TV, it started downloading immediately, and playback began within 15 seconds.

Any tips or advice?

1. For a 1080p set, I would set the AppleTV on its highest settings... regardless of anything else.

2. No. They should look perfect. If you had a 720p TV I would have to ask you which manufacturer it was from, how old it was, to determine which settings to use... but because yours is a 1080p, it's that simple. Set the AppleTV to its highest setting, and be done with it.

P.S. Enjoy handbrake/AppleTV It's a fantastic setup.

Many thanks fivepoint. I am quite pleased with the quality now that I have had the time to play around with it.

The only problem with setting it to 1080P is that the ATV will reset to 720P when you switch inputs on the TV then back to the ATV. Frickin' annoying. For this reason I leave it on 1080i as it sticks.

It doesn't do this with me. I switched from using the Apple TV, to playing the Wii through composite, then to Sky on Scart, and then back to the Apple TV tonight to watch a movie, and the 1080p stuck from the initial setup. Perhaps this is only with some movies?

David

almostinsane
Aug 4, 2008, 06:40 PM
Turn off your TV or receiver then go back to the ATV. It will have reset to 720P.

Both my ATV's take about 5 seconds to buffer and start a movie or TV show. They are both wireless connected to an Airport Extreme that is set to wireless N 5ghz only. My Mac is hard wired into the APX.

Are your ATV's wired or wireless? If wireless, are they connected via wireless B,G, or N?

davidjearly
Aug 4, 2008, 06:48 PM
I tried switching off all of the equipment and it is still firmly stuck on 1080p.

As for connections, my Mac is connected to a D-Link Wireless base station (802.11g) running at 54mbps. The Apple TV is also connected to both the Mac and router wirelessly.

almostinsane
Aug 5, 2008, 12:56 PM
Wireless G is probably too slow in your house. There's probably other wireless networks and interference slowing down your connection. You could try manually changing the channels on the AP but the best way is to either hard wire the ATV of move to wireless N which is on the 5ghz band and has less interference.

Chris Blount
Aug 5, 2008, 01:09 PM
I have both PS3 and ATV.

I use both. PS3 mainly for Blu-Ray movies and ATV for rentals. Quite frankly I think ATV HD movies look fantastic on my 106" screen. The selection of movies is great and the interface is very easy.

The PS3 is better in terms of quality but the movies are too expensive to rent.

almostinsane
Aug 5, 2008, 01:27 PM
That's what Netflix is for.

spatlese44
Aug 5, 2008, 02:37 PM
I was just copying files from my iTunes directory to an external drive. Looking at the file information, didn't I see that the resolution was 640x360 or, in other words, half of 720p? These were TV shows I bought off of the iTunes store using Apple TV. Yes, quality isn't perfect, but a lot better than you might expect. Amazing really. I haven't rented much, but what I have looked considerably better. BTW, I have an old rear projection HD with 1080i.

I guess what I'm saying, is if you are going to Handbrake your stuff, it's probably going to be way better quality than 360p, and will look fine. And yes, my eyes aren't bad; I'm the type that can not only read that sign from across the room, but can read the fine print that tells who printed it.

I find the TV show quality Apple chose to be a little disappointing. They could have set their sights a little higher, but maybe they were worried they couldn't deliver video that would play right away.

Don't know what this means, but I almost didn't buy an Apple TV because I went to the Apple store on 5th in NY and they were playing a movie on an LCD and I thought it looked terrible. I think this was pre "HD" upgrade to Apple TV (early January 2008). BTW, Apple TV is my only video source short of a rarely used upconvert DVD player.

dynaflash
Aug 5, 2008, 02:42 PM
didn't I see that the resolution was 640x360 or, in other words, half of 720p? These were TV shows I bought off of the iTunes store using Apple TV.
Right, those tv shows you buy are universal in that they are to play on everything from a 5G iPod to the AppleTV. So they are encoded to the lowest common denominator and really do not show the capabilities of the AppleTV.

Mexcelsior
Aug 5, 2008, 03:02 PM
It's all in the contrast ratio. I'll take a 720i with a 8,000 - 15,000 to 1 contrast ratio over a 1080i with a 1,500 to 5,000 to 1 contrast ratio any day. In fact, you'll find that the prices of tvs will be directly related to the contrast ratio.

fivepoint
Aug 5, 2008, 03:30 PM
Most important for image quality on new HDTV sets. 5 and 6 are debatable. you could switch them, I suppose.

(Most Important)
1. High Quality Source
2. Contrast Ratio
3. Refresh Rate (LCDs Only)
4. Color Saturation
5. Color Accuracy
6. Resolution
(Least Important)

almostinsane
Aug 5, 2008, 08:34 PM
I'd say #2 is black level. A lot of LCD's claim a high contrast ration but have a terrible black level. It washes out the picture and the blacks are a muddy grey.

basesloaded190
Aug 5, 2008, 10:34 PM
fivepoint-

Im going to be buying a tv very very soon right now and have been going back and forth between lcd and plasma and many different models. I am going back to plasma right now and like the Panasonic TH42PX80U. Its either that model or for a little more there is the TH42PX85U. The picture quality and contrast ratio is higher on the better model. What are your thoughts or anyone's thoughts on these two sets!

fivepoint
Aug 6, 2008, 06:55 AM
I'd say #2 is black level. A lot of LCD's claim a high contrast ration but have a terrible black level. It washes out the picture and the blacks are a muddy grey.

'Black level' is part of contrast ratio. You can't take the set's 'offical' contrast ratio as the bible, you have to look at it with your own eyes to some point. I agree 100%. Black levels are very important... many sets, especially LCDS look GRAY instead of black.

fivepoint
Aug 6, 2008, 07:02 AM
fivepoint-

Im going to be buying a tv very very soon right now and have been going back and forth between lcd and plasma and many different models. I am going back to plasma right now and like the Panasonic TH42PX80U. Its either that model or for a little more there is the TH42PX85U. The picture quality and contrast ratio is higher on the better model. What are your thoughts or anyone's thoughts on these two sets!

By the two models you've got it narrowed down to, I'd say you've already done your homework. Either model will suit you well. I've heard opinions both ways, some saying they can't see any difference at all and that it's just a marketing difference, and others that say they like the 85 model a little better.

If you can, look at them both in the store and see if you can see a difference. The THPX80u line is considered by most "pros" to be probably the best "bang for the buck" set for 2008. The price is amazing for what you get.

zedsdead
Aug 6, 2008, 07:43 AM
Right, those tv shows you buy are universal in that they are to play on everything from a 5G iPod to the AppleTV. So they are encoded to the lowest common denominator and really do not show the capabilities of the AppleTV.

Which is something Apple needs to seriously stop doing. There is no reason to cripple the quality of their media for the 5th gen iPod.

The new movies are all now encoded using the new anamorphic spec. So should the TV shows.

fivepoint
Aug 6, 2008, 09:01 AM
Which is something Apple needs to seriously stop doing. There is no reason to cripple the quality of their media for the 5th gen iPod.

The new movies are all now encoded using the new anamorphic spec. So should the TV shows.

Agreed. Or at least allow us to choose from 2-3 major quality levels. Besides the complexity that would add, I think another reason Apple is slow to move on these types of things... is that the Movie cartels are always dragging their feet on everything. They're trying to make sure Apple doesn't get a stranglehold on movies, like they do on music. Can't really blame them, although it seems that we, the consumers, are the people that loose out in the meantime.