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Gregintosh
Jul 23, 2009, 02:23 AM
Well, I recently got an AppleTV, was happy with it overall. Looked fine, though not perfect, on my 26" Toshiba 720p TV (from 2003).

Now I got a 1080p TV (37" Insignia at Best Buy for $599) and I must say I am very disappointed... not necessarily with the TV but with ATV.

The HD rentals and movies (of which I have a few) look about the same as DVDs used to look on my old 720p. Not very sharp, quite pixellated, and overall just poor quality (speaking as a techie who likes a quality experience). Definitely watchable though and not bad for casual watching, but not something I would invite friends over to see.

Granted, it is significantly better than 480i DVDs (nostalgic moment as I remember how DVDs were considered awesome quality before), and MUCH better than my Dish Networks 480i receiver (which looks like poor quality internet video on this TV), but it is definitely not an "HD" experience.

Network TV so far, OTA HD, looks the best (but still not 100% perfect, except maybe the 1080i stations which look good).

I was hoping that the Apple TV would replace the need for a bluray player, I mean sure bluray is the highest quality you can get, but I figured hey, a passable 720p iTunes rental might be "good enough", guess I was wrong.

It almost makes me wonder if I should have gotten a 720p TV (though everyone says thats like buying outdated technology).

I guess I will be buying a Bluray player afterall, making Apple TV "a hobby" for me much like it is for Apple (and I really wanted to make it my primary content source on my TV). Maybe someday, in the not too distant future, they'll make a 1080p version and upgrade iTunes HD rentals to 1080p too.

I also won't be upgrading my Apple TV's hard drive. I was planning on putting a 320GB in there, but I'd rather put the $90 some odd dollars toward a new Apple TV for when they do finally upgrade them to 1080p or boost their processing speed enough so that video from sources other than iTunes, in high def, doesn't have to be neutered in order to play nicely.

Until then, for those out there doing research about replacing your home theater content needs or even HD Cable or Satellite with just an AppleTV, you can forget it.

Any other 1080p TV owners care to share their experiences?



CPD_1
Jul 23, 2009, 02:26 AM
See, I don't see how 720p can look anything like a DVD resolution to anyone, even on a 1080p screen. If your set has a decent upscaler, it should be a very satisfactory experience on most films.

gr8tfly
Jul 23, 2009, 02:32 AM
I have a 50" 1080P plasma. The :apple:tv looks fine - not 1080P Blu-ray, but definitely hi-def. Upscaling a DVD would be good, but still not easily confused with the :apple:tv's 720 output. It looks on par with 720 DirecTV. If you have the :apple:tv set to 720, try setting it to 1080. Usually, having the source device do the scaling gives better results (yes, I know HD content is only 720, but the :apple:tv can scale it's output to 1080P).

It's not a replacement for Blu-ray, but a good addition to it and satellite, and very convenient for rental.

oregon2
Jul 23, 2009, 02:34 AM
Yeah, I would expect AppleTV content to be kinda iffy just because it's not very powerful hardware (or is it?), and it is all downloaded.

At this point I use my MBP for most of my movies. It sometimes struggles with high bit rate 1080p, but for the most part it is fine. Hook it up via mDP, hook up the speakers, and it is just as good as blu-ray. Just make sure your video files are high quality.

Though Blu-ray is good quality, I will not support any disk medium. We should be beyond that, and I hope blu-ray fails to gain widestream adoption. Downloadable content FTW!

DoFoT9
Jul 23, 2009, 02:53 AM
you dont say the bitrate of your 720p movies.. i have heard great things of movies that are encoded properly, maybe you should try encoding differently?? (or are you using online-bought rips? because they are worse quality then DVDs?)

DoFoT9
Jul 23, 2009, 02:55 AM
At this point I use my MBP for most of my movies. It sometimes struggles with high bit rate 1080p, but for the most part it is fine. Hook it up via mDP, hook up the speakers, and it is just as good as blu-ray. Just make sure your video files are high quality.

you should be using Plex to play your movies then, even more original MBP can play 1080p movies.

Though Blu-ray is good quality, I will not support any disk medium. We should be beyond that, and I hope blu-ray fails to gain widestream adoption. Downloadable content FTW!

the world cannot handle download-able blu-ray content.. its TOO large. give it 15 years.

Gregintosh
Jul 23, 2009, 03:39 AM
Okay, well I must admit I am using component cables to get the 720p output (waiting for HDMI cables to arrive in a few days). Though I am not sure how big of a difference this will make.

I know in theory digital is better than any analog cable, but to be honest, I hardly saw a difference going from component to DVI when I was using a set top box to get HD signals on my old TV. Perhaps (and hopefully!) the difference will be more pronounced here.

I am referring to watching iTunes bought rentals/downloads. I bought a 2.99 discovery channel show in HD as well as downloaded a free HD movie they had this week (some racing documentary). Both looked kinda like crap - pixillation galore, almost like watching a small movie on the computer in full screen on high resolution (which is exactly what this is, really).

My "looks like DVD" comment was meant to imply that I can see that the picture is being scaled noticeably, which produces some pixilation, the same way that I used to see pixilation on my 720p TV when I was using my 480p DVD player. The detail is better on the HD, yes, but it is a far cry from a "crystal clear" picture that I would see on display in a store or even on some broadcast TV.

I just watched a free promo for Kings in HD and it actually did look decent. I guess the quality varies even on the iTunes HD store. I still think the best quality was broadcast TV.

I just bought a few more HD shows, a free episode of Smallville Season 8 in HD (currently free for anyone as a promo I guess) and an episode of South Park. I guess it will give me a better range on which to judge.

If the quality of these is pretty good then perhaps AppleTV will still fulfill its purpose as a movie rental and TV show purchase place that doesn't require me to leave the house.

As far as downloaded movies, I downloaded a rip of the Matrix in HD and it was very choppy on the Apple TV. I tried re-encoding it to a different format but then the AppleTV said it couldn't play it (even though I was following the exact directions on a website that told people how to encode HD for Apple TV).

Perhaps if someone here posted the parameters of their home made HD files for Apple TV (bit rate, exact codecs, etc.) that would be helpful in my experiments. :D

Oregon2, I totally understand what you mean. I am on a crusade against two things: wires and physical media. I have my iMac down to just my power cable. My home theater hopefully will be down to a few power cables and 1 or 2 HDMI cables soon, at least in the back of the TV (a welcome change from nearly a dozen different plugs).

However, if I want to entertain some guests with my TV, or even if I want to make a movie night for myself, I would definitely like to watch something in really high quality (especially a movie I really really like). If Apple TV can't deliver, and it doesn't look good so far but this may change when I get the HDMIs, bluray will have to come into play.

DoFoT9
Jul 23, 2009, 04:05 AM
wel, there is your first problem.

you are watching the apple movies! they are, what.. encoded around 3,000kbps?? how anyone could class that as HD i dont know (even DVDs are higher then that!). having such low bit rates will give you much blocking etc, especially on that racing documentary you mentioned because of the faster moving pieces (as im sure you know).

i bet that if you were to convert a DVD with handbrake, using the appropriate settings, it would look better then the apple HD rips.

the only way you will be happy with the quality, is for you to download/acquire a *proper* Blu-Ray rip and convert that to the maximum quality (i think somewhere around 6,000kbps). apparently that looks very very amazing :)

oregon2
Jul 23, 2009, 04:06 AM
I guess you really can't have downloadable blu-ray in full quality, but I definitely get by with 1080p rips that look damn good. I don't think I've ever viewed an actual bluray on a nice tv, but I'm not sure how it could be much better. My videos are artifact free and seemingly flawless. Sure, downloading them will take a while, because they are usually 10gb minimum, but its worth it for me. Just plan a day in advance.

I'm curious though. I know mp3 files have almost equal quality to uncompressed, or even analog recordings, yet the file size is MUCH smaller. For example, it might be 1/4 the file size, with 98 percent of the quality. Could the same thing be done with bluray? Trade off small quality decrease for a major decrease in file size?

EDIT: now that i think about it, that must be exactly what my video files are.

DoFoT9
Jul 23, 2009, 04:10 AM
I guess you really can't have downloadable blu-ray in full quality, but I definitely get by with 1080p rips that look damn good. I don't think I've ever viewed an actual bluray on a nice tv, but I'm not sure how it could be much better. My videos are artifact free and seemingly flawless. Sure, downloading them will take a while, because they are usually 10gb minimum, but its worth it for me. Just plan a day in advance.

yes i use downloaded BR files too (have seen some fully uncompressed ones but at 45gb they are a tad large for my 25gb monthly allowance). but yes they are quite nice, the full version looks much better though.

I'm curious though. I know mp3 files have almost equal quality to uncompressed, or even analog recordings, yet the file size is MUCH smaller. For example, it might be 1/4 the file size, with 98 percent of the quality. Could the same thing be done with bluray? Trade off small quality decrease for a major decrease in file size?

mp3 files are nowhere near 98% quality, i would say they are around 50% (128kbps). 320kbps might be about 70-80%, but they still sound funny to me. you cannot beat the original :)

its alot harder with movies, compressing the video is so much harder because there is so much more and it takes time to do it yada yada yada. but looking at h.264 compared to mp4 you can really see the difference, h.264 can normally be around 2/3 the bitrate of mp4 yet maintain the same 'quality'.

dont forget, BluRay is already considerably compressed :p

TonD
Jul 23, 2009, 06:31 AM
I don't know about the ATV yet, but I know from experience with other devices that you cannot, and I repeat, cannot judge the HD quality of any given device when you connect it with component. Please stop using it, you don't want to add a totally unneccesary extra Digital->Analog->Digital conversion...

Get a decent encode and an HDMI connection and I'm sure it will look very good indeed. Not Blu-ray or HD-DVD quality of course, but good quality for sure!

randy98mtu
Jul 23, 2009, 06:56 AM
I have a 61" Samsung DLP 1080p. I think the 720p content from iTunes looks great through the Apple TV. I did a comparison the other day between The Dark Knight Blu-ray and the "digital copy" that came with it and the difference was huge. I have Quantum of Solace from the iTunes store and Casino Royal on Bluray. I may buy Casino Royal from iTunes so I can do a direct comparison. I definitely think Quantum looks great in 720p.

I'm not as critical in my viewing as I once was, but I definitely feel that the 720p content is significantly better than the 480p and worth the extra cost in most cases. I'm sure that the 1080p will be sharper, but 720p is more than sufficient for most purposes.

Question on the 1080p Insignia. You say the picture otherwise is good. I have a 42" 720p Insignia plasma. I like the picture, but it is so prone to burn in it's horrible. It's just in our bedroom so I don't worry about it, but when I have the money that sucker is getting replaced. If there is something paused on the screen for 2-3 seconds and then the screen goes black, you can see the burned in image. I've actually found the best thing to clear up the burn in (it will go away, but it is visible for quite a long time) is the ATV screen saver. It will clear it all up in a few minutes to the point that you see no burned image. I've read other reports of the burn in, so I know it's not just mine. Just wondering if it's just this set or if it's Insignia. It was just such a good deal at the time I couldn't justify getting a nicer set for the bedroom.

DoFoT9
Jul 23, 2009, 06:59 AM
I'm not as critical in my viewing as I once was, but I definitely feel that the 720p content is significantly better than the 480p and worth the extra cost in most cases. I'm sure that the 1080p will be sharper, but 720p is more than sufficient for most purposes.


have you made any comparisons between a DVD and a 720p downloadable iTunes HD movie?? i would be interested in knowing, apparently the HD content is terrible..

roidy
Jul 23, 2009, 07:12 AM
Well, I recently got an AppleTV, was happy with it overall. Looked fine, though not perfect, on my 26" Toshiba 720p TV (from 2003).

Now I got a 1080p TV (37" Insignia at Best Buy for $599) and I must say I am very disappointed... not necessarily with the TV but with ATV.

The HD rentals and movies (of which I have a few) look about the same as DVDs used to look on my old 720p. Not very sharp, quite pixellated, and overall just poor quality (speaking as a techie who likes a quality experience). Definitely watchable though and not bad for casual watching, but not something I would invite friends over to see.


I`m sorry to even suggest this but could it be that the TV is just rubbish. As far as I know Insignia is Best Buy`s budget in house brand. I`ve got a 37" Samsung series 6 and ATV content looks fine. Not as good as Blu-ray but thats to be expected. I play a lot of HD content that I`ve encoded myself and it looks great.

randy98mtu
Jul 23, 2009, 07:14 AM
have you made any comparisons between a DVD and a 720p downloadable iTunes HD movie?? i would be interested in knowing, apparently the HD content is terrible..

No direct, 1 for 1 comparisons. I have a less-than-full res copy of Casino Royal and it was horrible compared to the 720p download. I have a few episodes of LOST from iTunes and a few from DVD and I can definitely tell the 720p copies are sharper. The 480p is good enough, but you can definitely see more detail and the 720p is considerably sharper. It's more noticeable in some scenes than others. In darker scenes I definitely felt that the DVD rip looked poor to what I remembered in similar scenes from the 720p copies.

Again, I don't doubt that you'd notice another bump from 720p to 1080p, but to me it's less than from 480 to 720. I find that 720 is a good balance and suitable for me and my family.

mastershakess
Jul 23, 2009, 07:31 AM
Just get a PS3 and rent Blu-Rays from NetFlix (10.99 a month unlimited rentals) . . . . . call it a day.

dmm219
Jul 23, 2009, 08:45 AM
It's pretty much been proven beyond any doubt that the human eye really can't distinguish between 720p and 1080p on anything smaller than a 41in HDTV, not matter how good the TV is, unless you are basically sitting right on top of it.

I have a 37in Vizio 1080p. I see no difference between BR or an HD movie rented on Itunes...

now on a 50 incher, you'll see a big difference

uberamd
Jul 23, 2009, 08:48 AM
the world cannot handle download-able blu-ray content.. its TOO large. give it 15 years.

Especially given the bandwidth caps ISP's are forcing on customers.

jcschlic
Jul 23, 2009, 09:23 AM
I used to work at Best Buy in college (in the home theater department for two years) and Insignia televisions are by far the worst purchase someone can make in the realm of HDTVs. Just my opinion...

If it came down to a 37" crap $799 or a 37" much better $999 television, the extra $200 is so worth it.

The markup on those is so insane. I probably could have purchased Insignia and Dynex products on average with a 80% discount.

geoffreak
Jul 23, 2009, 09:41 AM
Especially given the bandwidth caps ISP's are forcing on customers.
Luckily the future ones were thrown out and the existing ones are being phased out.

the world cannot handle download-able blu-ray content.. its TOO large. give it 15 years.
We will see internet speeds that will be high enough to stream Blu-ray in the very near future (5 years at most for anyone who lives in or near a city). With DOCSIS 3.0 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS) as well has fiber optic internet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verizon_FiOS) being deployed, it won't be long before we can all enjoy "light speed" internet.

In reality, what we are waiting on is the ISPs themselves who don't have equipment to handle the massive bandwidths required for all of the customers with high speed connections. The equipment is quite expensive (believe me, I work at a company that supplies hardware to ISPs), so those that do offer it make you pay through the nose. This will change as technology gets cheaper and all ISPs will gain access to it.

What we should instead be worrying about is the 700-900 Mb/s Super Hi-Vision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hi-Vision). Now, if only we could go ahead and move to IPv6 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Protocol_version_6) before the internet can't take any more websites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Protocol_version_6#IPv4_exhaustion).

randy98mtu
Jul 23, 2009, 10:13 AM
I used to work at Best Buy in college (in the home theater department for two years) and Insignia televisions are by far the worst purchase someone can make in the realm of HDTVs. Just my opinion...

If it came down to a 37" crap $799 or a 37" much better $999 television, the extra $200 is so worth it.

The markup on those is so insane. I probably could have purchased Insignia and Dynex products on average with a 80% discount.

The picture from it is fine, but the burn in is the issue. At any rate, I'm sticking to name brands from now on. I've had great luck with Toshiba and Samsung in the past. I just looked and I could get a 1080p LCD Toshiba 40" for what I paid for my Insignia about 15 months ago ($700) At the time though, other flat panel 42"ers were going for 1100, so I took the chance on the Insignia.

rhett7660
Jul 23, 2009, 10:16 AM
Yeah, I would expect AppleTV content to be kinda iffy just because it's not very powerful hardware (or is it?), and it is all downloaded.

At this point I use my MBP for most of my movies. It sometimes struggles with high bit rate 1080p, but for the most part it is fine. Hook it up via mDP, hook up the speakers, and it is just as good as blu-ray. Just make sure your video files are high quality.

Though Blu-ray is good quality, I will not support any disk medium. We should be beyond that, and I hope blu-ray fails to gain widestream adoption. Downloadable content FTW!

Well, I don't think it is going to fail. You might want to take a look at the blu-ray numbers and players that have been sold and are selling. Is it picking up like DVD did. No, but it is picking up. Sorry, but there are not alot of people out there that want to wait hours to download a movie. There is still a percentage of people who are on dial up!

Shuttleworth
Jul 23, 2009, 10:17 AM
I've bought two HD TV series from iTunes, BBC's 'South Pacific' and 'Planet Earth', both natural history shows. Whilst Planet Earth is good, I don't think it looks a lot better than DVD quality. South Pacific on the other hand is fantastic, the wife reckons it looks like 3D! I can't see how anything could look better on my 40" Toshiba.
I guess the conversion done by Apple and also the quality of the original must play a big part in final quality, South Pacific is a couple of years newer than Blue Planet.

rhett7660
Jul 23, 2009, 10:20 AM
Luckily the future ones were thrown out and the existing ones are being phased out.


We will see internet speeds that will be high enough to stream Blu-ray in the very near future (5 years at most for anyone who lives in or near a city). With DOCSIS 3.0 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS) as well has fiber optic internet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verizon_FiOS) being deployed, it won't be long before we can all enjoy "light speed" internet.

In reality, what we are waiting on is the ISPs themselves who don't have equipment to handle the massive bandwidths required for all of the customers with high speed connections. The equipment is quite expensive (believe me, I work at a company that supplies hardware to ISPs), so those that do offer it make you pay through the nose. This will change as technology gets cheaper and all ISPs will gain access to it.

What we should instead be worrying about is the 700-900 Mb/s Super Hi-Vision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hi-Vision). Now, if only we could go ahead and move to IPv6 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Protocol_version_6) before the internet can't take any more websites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Protocol_version_6#IPv4_exhaustion).


I think just because we see doesn't mean the people the will use it. We have fios in my area. I am the only one on my block that has it. Everyone else is on cable or dsl. Yes I talk to my neighbors a lot. LOL... Downloadable movies are not on there agenda, yet they all have a dvd player or blu-ray. I don't think downloadable content is quite there yet. It is coming. But I still think a lot of people want the physical media in there hands.

Gregintosh
Jul 23, 2009, 10:36 AM
I am also a former Best Buy employee (spent 5 years in that building 3 for bby and 2 as a vendor rep), and I am quite familiar with the budget brands and the discounts on them (like the $89 Geek Squad HDMI cable that is $9 for employees though TVs that aren't over $1,000 usually have significantly less markup).

In reality, they are made in the same factories as the major brands, with a few different parts and a different name. The panels, though, are made by major brands (there are only a few that manufacture LCDs for most the world, pretty much). I think the Insignia panels are made by LG, at least that is what I heard. When thy debuted initially, they were made with eclectic collections of cheap parts, to keep costs down and were quite laughable.

Now, however, the quality rivals the bigger brands (a combination of bigger brands saving money by cheapening their products and Best Buy improving quality of their own), and even home theater employees no longer snicker in private when someone asks about them.

In the store, side by side with larger brands I did not see a difference between this TV and the others (it was standing next to an LG and a Toshiba, in the middle of a row of TVs), which is why I am pretty sure it is the signal and not the TV itself. And it's not that I didn't look closely. There were clear differences between these TVs and Proscans and RCA's which washed out at various angles and overall looked kind of dull (and were even cheaper).

I think it is probably the source that matters as well. Like I said, broadcast TV looks fine on this TV. Last night I watched Jimmy Kimmel and Conan on it in HD and it was sharp and crisp, pretty much what you would expect from HD on a show like that. The iTunes stuff I saw so far was noticeably less sharp and crisp, at least two of the things, with the Kings season preview being almost the same as broadcast TV.

I guess if Apple is going to offer just 720p HD for iTunes they should at least make it the best possible quality in the transfer stage that they can.

Overall, I still think I will end up getting a Bluray player. Hopefully in the next 5 years the downloading technology will be so good that it will no longer be necessary to skimp on quality. I guess once they roll out the 100mbps services in the US as standard broadband, 1080p will even be possible and it won't choke up the country (if they build a more robust fiber optic network).

Until then, physical media has at least those few years left. I do agree, however, that it is quite numbered and it is a dying medium.

Airforcekid
Jul 23, 2009, 10:49 AM
FYI you can change the output from 720P to 1080I or P. Or why I dont know 480I.

uberamd
Jul 23, 2009, 11:00 AM
I like how my ATV looks on my 27" 720p/1080i Olevia LCD TV. I hooked my ATV up to a new 42" Sony 1080p TV, and the quality did seem worse. Yeah its nice for streaming stuff from Apple, but the quality just wasn't lovely. Perhaps I will try playing some of my own 720p rips and see how the quality changes.

geoffreak
Jul 23, 2009, 11:15 AM
I think just because we see doesn't mean the people the will use it. We have fios in my area. I am the only one on my block that has it. Everyone else is on cable or dsl. Yes I talk to my neighbors a lot. LOL... Downloadable movies are not on there agenda, yet they all have a dvd player or blu-ray. I don't think downloadable content is quite there yet. It is coming. But I still think a lot of people want the physical media in there hands.
As I explained, cost is another factor ;)
Video streaming still hasn't reached a standardized system, so anyone that isn't tech savvy can't deal with it. It won't be long now before there becomes a standard to make it easier for these people.

whooleytoo
Jul 23, 2009, 11:29 AM
Well, I don't think it is going to fail. You might want to take a look at the blu-ray numbers and players that have been sold and are selling. Is it picking up like DVD did. No, but it is picking up. Sorry, but there are not alot of people out there that want to wait hours to download a movie. There is still a percentage of people who are on dial up!

I'd be willing to bet most people on dial-up don't have a big HD TV and Blu-ray player either! :)

Ireland's usually well behind the tech curve (in terms of infrastructure), yet I had a 7Mbps (now, 24Mbps) connection and have downloaded several HD movies off Xbox Live; only took a few minutes buffering before it started playing, certainly not hours.

By the time Bluray has anything like the same market penetration as DVDs, who knows how fast the average home internet connection will be?

WoodNUFC
Jul 23, 2009, 11:36 AM
I'd be willing to bet most people on dial-up don't have a big HD TV and Blu-ray player either! :)

Ireland's usually well behind the tech curve (in terms of infrastructure), yet I had a 7Mbps (now, 24Mbps) connection and have downloaded several HD movies off Xbox Live; only took a few minutes buffering before it started playing, certainly not hours.

By the time Bluray has anything like the same market penetration as DVDs, who knows how fast the average home internet connection will be?

I live in rural Ohio and broadband is barely available. Hughesnet is the main option since we are forgotten by all the major ISPs. My family was on dialup until a year ago when we bought a USB dongle from Alltel. That is our only viable option at the moment, and it's ridiculously expensive. I guess what I'm saying is downloadable material isn't really an issue here, because very few people have the bandwidth to make it practical.

oh and we've had a big screen for years. They aren't as rare as you make them sound. ;) haha

Scarpad
Jul 23, 2009, 12:22 PM
wel, there is your first problem.

you are watching the apple movies! they are, what.. encoded around 3,000kbps?? how anyone could class that as HD i dont know (even DVDs are higher then that!). having such low bit rates will give you much blocking etc, especially on that racing documentary you mentioned because of the faster moving pieces (as im sure you know).

i bet that if you were to convert a DVD with handbrake, using the appropriate settings, it would look better then the apple HD rips.

the only way you will be happy with the quality, is for you to download/acquire a *proper* Blu-Ray rip and convert that to the maximum quality (i think somewhere around 6,000kbps). apparently that looks very very amazing :)

Well DVD's may be at 4-6000kbps but in Mpeg 2, Apple uses 3000kbps H264 encodes and properly done look fine.

dynaflash
Jul 23, 2009, 01:13 PM
you are watching the apple movies! they are, what.. encoded around 3,000kbps?? how anyone could class that as HD i dont know (even DVDs are higher then that!). having such low bit rates will give you much blocking etc, especially on that racing documentary you mentioned because of the faster moving pieces (as im sure you know).

i bet that if you were to convert a DVD with handbrake, using the appropriate settings, it would look better then the apple HD rips.


well, it would depend on the apple hd rip, but generally I very much doubt it. Even with the best settings hb is lossy encoding from a 480p source. It will never be as good as, much less better than that. Even hb can not make something out of nothing.

Apple is encoding from studio sources that are much cleaner and higher bitrate than even blu ray. Very hard to compete with unless apple totally screws up the encode.

whooleytoo
Jul 23, 2009, 01:23 PM
I live in rural Ohio and broadband is barely available. Hughesnet is the main option since we are forgotten by all the major ISPs. My family was on dialup until a year ago when we bought a USB dongle from Alltel. That is our only viable option at the moment, and it's ridiculously expensive. I guess what I'm saying is downloadable material isn't really an issue here, because very few people have the bandwidth to make it practical.

oh and we've had a big screen for years. They aren't as rare as you make them sound. ;) haha

Fair point! :)

Different strokes for different folks I guess. Here, the choice of Blurays is quite limited (unless you buy online, which isn't much good if you just want to watch a movie that night). Even Xbox Live's meagre selection has more choice than the local video rentals here.

2 or 3 years ago, I'd have loved to have a Bluray player and movies available to buy; but now buying/renting online just seems so much more attractive an option. It just seems to me that Bluray and "the technology to succeed Bluray" are taking off at around the same time, which I find a bit odd.

Roy Hobbs
Jul 23, 2009, 01:37 PM
My guess is its the Insignia TV.....I have my AppleTV on a 65 inch 1080p DLP and it looks very good.

osohardy
Jul 23, 2009, 03:05 PM
Originally Posted by DoFoT9 View Post
wel, there is your first problem.

you are watching the apple movies! they are, what.. encoded around 3,000kbps?? how anyone could class that as HD i dont know (even DVDs are higher then that!). having such low bit rates will give you much blocking etc, especially on that racing documentary you mentioned because of the faster moving pieces (as im sure you know).

i bet that if you were to convert a DVD with handbrake, using the appropriate settings, it would look better then the apple HD rips.

the only way you will be happy with the quality, is for you to download/acquire a *proper* Blu-Ray rip and convert that to the maximum quality (i think somewhere around 6,000kbps). apparently that looks very very amazing

I've rented HD movies, bought HD TV shows from Itunes, I also rip DVD and Bluray using Handbrake to feed my ATV which feeds a 50" 720p plasma. I encode at the highest quality ATV will handle. While there is some variation in quality from the Itunes store, there is no way in hell I would confuse for a microsecond any of my DVD encodes (or disks) for Itunes HD (although anamorphic PAL rips look pretty darn good). For the most part I consider them on par or better than my OTA HD encodes and even on par with bluray rips depending. Yes the bitrates are about 4500-5000 average for the Itunes ( i have not seen one at 3000 kbps), but then again bluray rips on HB are often about the same average and DO look amazing.
I ripped The Simpsons bluray the other day at 63% quality and it averaged 1.6 mbps out of HB which made me double take cause it looks awesome. You really can get a lot out of 5mbps--more than you would think.

Keep in mind too~5-6 mbps is the allowed average on the ATV not the max..peak rates are more like 12. Have you actually looked at a bluray rip or HD rental on the ATV?

If you want the absolute best, got 60+" of screen, proper high end audio equipment, proper room acoustics/setup etc OK bluray (IMO) but I love being diskless.

DoFoT9
Jul 23, 2009, 05:39 PM
No direct, 1 for 1 comparisons. I have a less-than-full res copy of Casino Royal and it was horrible compared to the 720p download. I have a few episodes of LOST from iTunes and a few from DVD and I can definitely tell the 720p copies are sharper. The 480p is good enough, but you can definitely see more detail and the 720p is considerably sharper. It's more noticeable in some scenes than others. In darker scenes I definitely felt that the DVD rip looked poor to what I remembered in similar scenes from the 720p copies.

Again, I don't doubt that you'd notice another bump from 720p to 1080p, but to me it's less than from 480 to 720. I find that 720 is a good balance and suitable for me and my family.

oh yes well a 720p file can hold so much more data/bits/blocks then a 480p file, but whether thats actually the case with Apple rips.. it should be more then clear that the two are different.


Especially given the bandwidth caps ISP's are forcing on customers.

oh yes, the 25gb per month i get is pathetic and pretty much an insult to me.

Luckily the future ones were thrown out and the existing ones are being phased out.


We will see internet speeds that will be high enough to stream Blu-ray in the very near future (5 years at most for anyone who lives in or near a city). With DOCSIS 3.0 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS) as well has fiber optic internet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verizon_FiOS) being deployed, it won't be long before we can all enjoy "light speed" internet.

In reality, what we are waiting on is the ISPs themselves who don't have equipment to handle the massive bandwidths required for all of the customers with high speed connections. The equipment is quite expensive (believe me, I work at a company that supplies hardware to ISPs), so those that do offer it make you pay through the nose. This will change as technology gets cheaper and all ISPs will gain access to it.

What we should instead be worrying about is the 700-900 Mb/s Super Hi-Vision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hi-Vision). Now, if only we could go ahead and move to IPv6 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Protocol_version_6) before the internet can't take any more websites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Protocol_version_6#IPv4_exhaustion).

that is great and all if your in a country that can handle the bandwidth requirements. over here in australia we are far far behind technology, the bandwidth required for downloading the movie, and the allowed bandwidth 'per month'. i get 25gb for paying a rediculous amount, and the services are just pathetic.

at the moment i could stream an Apple HD rip quite easily on my ADSL2+ connection, give another 50 people on the same exchange the same task and it would slow to a crawl. at peak hours you definitely experience slow downs and long seek times..

so anyway, for australia - streaming HD content?? out of the question..

Well DVD's may be at 4-6000kbps but in Mpeg 2, Apple uses 3000kbps H264 encodes and properly done look fine.

i can encode a DVD in h.264, there would be no excuses then.. can anyone provide a screen shot between two similarly encoded movies (same bitrate HD vs same bitrate DVD??)..

well, it would depend on the apple hd rip, but generally I very much doubt it. Even with the best settings hb is lossy encoding from a 480p source. It will never be as good as, much less better than that. Even hb can not make something out of nothing.

Apple is encoding from studio sources that are much cleaner and higher bitrate than even blu ray. Very hard to compete with unless apple totally screws up the encode.

where does apple get their rips from?? would they just be from a HD-DVD/BR disc? or are they sent some variant by their contacts??

and no it will never be as good, because 720p has more 'leg-room' for quality, the higher resolution allows for more bits to be storedallowing more depth etc, but i was more referring to the point that the Apple rips are bad quality, especially when in intense scenes and whatnot.

I've rented HD movies, bought HD TV shows from Itunes, I also rip DVD and Bluray using Handbrake to feed my ATV which feeds a 50" 720p plasma. I encode at the highest quality ATV will handle. While there is some variation in quality from the Itunes store, there is no way in hell I would confuse for a microsecond any of my DVD encodes (or disks) for Itunes HD (although anamorphic PAL rips look pretty darn good). For the most part I consider them on par or better than my OTA HD encodes and even on par with bluray rips depending. Yes the bitrates are about 4500-5000 average for the Itunes ( i have not seen one at 3000 kbps), but then again bluray rips on HB are often about the same average and DO look amazing.
I ripped The Simpsons bluray the other day at 63% quality and it averaged 1.6 mbps out of HB which made me double take cause it looks awesome. You really can get a lot out of 5mbps--more than you would think.

Keep in mind too~5-6 mbps is the allowed average on the ATV not the max..peak rates are more like 12. Have you actually looked at a bluray rip or HD rental on the ATV?

If you want the absolute best, got 60+" of screen, proper high end audio equipment, proper room acoustics/setup etc OK bluray (IMO) but I love being diskless.

thanks for the comparison, that makes them sound a little bit better :p however the fact that you say they look 'on par' with your DVD OTA rips i feel is pretty bad, because its HD! it should be much much clearer then the plain old DVD.

jealous about your TV btw :p

work time now :(

nfrankli
Jul 23, 2009, 06:28 PM
Definitely dump your component cables on the AppleTV. I tried those out to see if I could get my Apple TV to display a picture quicker faster than over HDMI, but the picture quality was terrible.

I've been buying/renting HD on my AppleTV the last year and can't stand going back to DVD, the quality just doesn't compare. AppleTV HD is pretty comparable to OTA/Cable broadcasts.

dynaflash
Jul 23, 2009, 07:32 PM
where does apple get their rips from?? would they just be from a HD-DVD/BR disc? or are they sent some variant by their contacts??

and no it will never be as good, because 720p has more 'leg-room' for quality, the higher resolution allows for more bits to be storedallowing more depth etc, but i was more referring to the point that the Apple rips are bad quality, especially when in intense scenes and whatnot.


er, but you said it could be done. No, apple does not get their "rips" from blu ray lol. The studio's have much higher quality sources than that ;) .

Suffice it to say (and I can not say) that the sources that are used for iTunes encodes would bring a mac pro octo to its knees running hb.

Remember, its not just the output res and bitrate, but the source the encoder is fed. Garbage in / Garbage out.

monaklan
Jul 23, 2009, 07:36 PM
The ATV is just not very easy to use. I tried it for a while, the network was always going in and out.:(
So I returned it and got a WD Media player. It's not wireless, but it does 1080. Load up an external hard drive and your good to go!:D

Shuttleworth
Jul 23, 2009, 07:49 PM
The ATV is just not very easy to use. I tried it for a while, the network was always going in and out.:(
So I returned it and got a WD Media player. It's not wireless, but it does 1080. Load up an external hard drive and your good to go!:D
My six year old and my wife can both use it, so it can't be that difficult to operate;)
Saying it is not very easy to use because you have a network problem is not being fair really. Most people don't have it dropping out all the time.

DoFoT9
Jul 23, 2009, 11:36 PM
er, but you said it could be done. No, apple does not get their "rips" from blu ray lol. The studio's have much higher quality sources than that ;) .

Suffice it to say (and I can not say) that the sources that are used for iTunes encodes would bring a mac pro octo to its knees running hb.

Remember, its not just the output res and bitrate, but the source the encoder is fed. Garbage in / Garbage out.

thats why they appear so 'crisp' then, because the source is much higher quality. but even still, the output isnt up to par with "HD". i wouldnt pay for them.

dynaflash
Jul 24, 2009, 10:02 AM
thats why they appear so 'crisp' then, because the source is much higher quality. but even still, the output isnt up to par with "HD". i wouldnt pay for them.

Yep. Its easy to test for yourself. If you have the same movie source available on both sd dvd and say ... a blu ray rip. Encode each with HB down to 480p ( the lowest common denominator is the sd dvd) so the two resulting output files are identical res and use the exact same settings (use abr for this test to assure they are identical). The one encoded from the blu ray rip will look better than the one from the sd dvd even though the output movies have the exact same settings. Cleaner higher res source for the encoder to apply it's compression algorithms against.

osohardy
Jul 24, 2009, 11:39 AM
Originally Posted by DoFoT9
thanks for the comparison, that makes them sound a little bit better however the fact that you say they look 'on par' with your DVD OTA rips i feel is pretty bad, because its HD! it should be much much clearer then the plain old DVD.


Sorry, let me clarify by OTA HD I meant my 720p encodes of 1080i broadcasts. These aren't SD res. Eg I'll record "The Office" through EyeTV at 1080 and pass it thru HB to 720p24. The file is somewhere around 4.5mbps and looks pretty good. A few episodes I've missed and downloaded from Itunes and I think they look a bit better...they also tend to be about 4.5mbps. The point being I was pleasantly surprised when I started ripping my blurays or getting a few HD files from Itunes here and there that you can get a really nice picture on the ATV that is very much better than DVD and not so far off from the BD as you would expect.

Having said that, I definitely wish the ATV could handle more--I would like the freedom to not have to detelecine broadcasts down to 24fps, or be stuck at 540p30 for broadcasts I can't detelecine, or jump thru hoops to get 720p off my camcorder etc etc. and its taken a lot of time experimenting with Handbrake to where I can mostly set and forget with HD stuff. I would like some more breathing room.

DoFoT9
Jul 24, 2009, 10:27 PM
Yep. Its easy to test for yourself. If you have the same movie source available on both sd dvd and say ... a blu ray rip. Encode each with HB down to 480p ( the lowest common denominator is the sd dvd) so the two resulting output files are identical res and use the exact same settings (use abr for this test to assure they are identical). The one encoded from the blu ray rip will look better than the one from the sd dvd even though the output movies have the exact same settings. Cleaner higher res source for the encoder to apply it's compression algorithms against.

i never thought of it that way, i always realised that the higher copies looks much better when made the 'same quality' as a lower quality source - but never thought of it like that :) makes sense.

that is why the iTunes HD movies are apparently so good looking then, because they have come from really really REALLY good quality original sources, makes sense. :)


Sorry, let me clarify by OTA HD I meant my 720p encodes of 1080i broadcasts. These aren't SD res. Eg I'll record "The Office" through EyeTV at 1080 and pass it thru HB to 720p24. The file is somewhere around 4.5mbps and looks pretty good. A few episodes I've missed and downloaded from Itunes and I think they look a bit better...they also tend to be about 4.5mbps. The point being I was pleasantly surprised when I started ripping my blurays or getting a few HD files from Itunes here and there that you can get a really nice picture on the ATV that is very much better than DVD and not so far off from the BD as you would expect.

ok i see now. not having seen the highest possible picture on an ATV i guess i cant argue with you on these points. its good to know that the ATV is performing well though, even though there is much hate for the pathetic quality of the files (where i got my opinion from). ;) :rolleyes:

Having said that, I definitely wish the ATV could handle more--I would like the freedom to not have to detelecine broadcasts down to 24fps, or be stuck at 540p30 for broadcasts I can't detelecine, or jump thru hoops to get 720p off my camcorder etc etc. and its taken a lot of time experimenting with Handbrake to where I can mostly set and forget with HD stuff. I would like some more breathing room.

yes good point, with everything being "1080p is the best" it would be very hard to 'down-scale' everything back to 720p, the bitrate thing would be very annoying too because its easy to push 5/6mbps..

nadavvadan
Jul 25, 2009, 09:02 AM
i own a 42" plasma hd-ready (1366x760) TV. i just rip dvds or BDs to h.264 mkvs and it plays everything (unless you use more then 4 ref frames for 1920x1080, more then 5 for 1920x800) and for 720p (9 for 1280x720, 12 for 1280x544).
it costs about 90$ and if you wanna stream movies to it, you need to hack it (easy to do) and but a wifi adapter.
it can play blu-ray files fine, though it will only work if you select the files manually. oh, and your only option for 5.1 audio is optical output. and it doesn't play movies from apple's store.

monaklan
Jul 25, 2009, 11:43 AM
My six year old and my wife can both use it, so it can't be that difficult to operate;)
Saying it is not very easy to use because you have a network problem is not being fair really. Most people don't have it dropping out all the time.

I disagree. I am very tech savy. I love macs, I love apple, and I love iPods and iPhone, always have and always will, but the ATV is no good.
My network is very strong, I upgraded to N when the ATV was giving me problems, it just did not help. (I was able to use my macbook in more areas, and with a stronger signal.) I really wanted it to work, I did, but it just does not stream 80% of the time. The only thing that really worked was resetting the ATV, resetting my iMac, and waiting around for it to restart, then it would work, but that was just too much work.
I'm glad you had no problems, I wish it had been as nice to me.

Gregintosh
Jul 25, 2009, 01:36 PM
Sorry about your experiences monaklan, I have had no issues with networking on my ATV using the Airport Extreme.

I did have an issue with the AppleTV where I bought a TV show, and it would pop up saying its ready for watching -- then it would freeze. And when I restarted it, as soon as the menu loaded before I could do anything the same screen popped up ("TV show is ready for watching, press play now or menu.. etc.") and would not respond to any commands.

I had to do a factory restore and its been working fine since.

Quality

Onto quality. I just picked up the $98 bluray player at Walmart and rented Rambo. The quality is quite amazing. I am using components for this so only outputting in 1080i not p, but that will change when I get a few HDMI cables I ordered from NewEgg sometime next week.

But even with this, I can see Bluray as much higher quality than iTunes HD. It is a visual difference, but I guess it varies from title to title as well. For a true comparison I should rent an iTunes HD movie and a Bluray copy at the same time and compare back to back.

South Park in HD on iTunes however was as perfect as can be, though. Even the SD version looked fine (I bought 1 SD episode and 1 HD), but the HD was crystal clear and just mind blowing.

I definitely know its not my TVs quality (even though its an Insignia) because the picture on South Park, as well as Blu-Ray version of Rambo was as awe inspiring as can be.

Shuttleworth
Jul 26, 2009, 02:40 PM
I disagree. I am very tech savy. I love macs, I love apple, and I love iPods and iPhone, always have and always will, but the ATV is no good.
My network is very strong, I upgraded to N when the ATV was giving me problems, it just did not help. (I was able to use my macbook in more areas, and with a stronger signal.) I really wanted it to work, I did, but it just does not stream 80% of the time. The only thing that really worked was resetting the ATV, resetting my iMac, and waiting around for it to restart, then it would work, but that was just too much work.
I'm glad you had no problems, I wish it had been as nice to me.

I see what you mean, in that situation it would be a pain to have to explain to the family how to go about re-setting it.
I wish you could have it working like we do, as it is intended to work, as it really is easyto operate and a pleasure to use.

northy124
Jul 26, 2009, 03:43 PM
the world cannot handle download-able blu-ray content.. its TOO large. give it 15 years.
Yes we can, I download a couple full BD's every now and again, not hard nor that large, HDD space is cheap now :p

OP in my opinion Apple HD isn't the best which is why I have a Blu-ray and HD DVD player's as I want top notch on my Sammy :D

Shuttleworth
Jul 26, 2009, 03:58 PM
Deleted.

DoFoT9
Jul 26, 2009, 04:31 PM
Yes we can, I download a couple full BD's every now and again, not hard nor that large, HDD space is cheap now :p

OP in my opinion Apple HD isn't the best which is why I have a Blu-ray and HD DVD player's as I want top notch on my Sammy :D

well, you can maybe.. but over here in australia we have to pay for our downloads and its costly. i get 25gb per month for $100Aus, in a full house-hold that does not go very far.