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Old Jan 15, 2014, 08:16 PM   #1
HurtinMinorKey
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iTunes 1080p a Joke

I have an average of 5.2Mbps for the "1080" videos in my library. That's really not enough for crisp 1080p @ 24fps, there is a ton of noise (i assume this is to mask compression), and the blacks are totally crushed. My TV gets a better picture over the air (digital tuner) and it's only claiming 720p (I think 19Mbps max for over the air digital tv signal).

Anyone who wants to know what 1080p can look like needs to hook up a blu-ray (25-35Mbps).

I know it's probably a restriction from the content providers, but Apple should own uo to this.

/endrant
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 09:33 PM   #2
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That's another reason why I don't buy e-movies
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Old Jan 15, 2014, 09:37 PM   #3
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Blu Ray is still king.

But for what it is itunes HD movies are very good check out this article's comparison: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/03...-ray-shootout/
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 06:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HurtinMinorKey View Post
I have an average of 5.2Mbps for the "1080" videos in my library. That's really not enough for crisp 1080p @ 24fps, there is a ton of noise (i assume this is to mask compression), and the blacks are totally crushed. My TV gets a better picture over the air (digital tuner) and it's only claiming 720p (I think 19Mbps max for over the air digital tv signal).

Anyone who wants to know what 1080p can look like needs to hook up a blu-ray (25-35Mbps).

I know it's probably a restriction from the content providers, but Apple should own uo to this.

/endrant
It all depends, of course.

Blu-Ray bitrates are currently a lot higher than iTunes HD which leaves a lot of headroom to play with. Movies that contain a lot of film noise will be much more faithfully reproduced on Blu-Ray, because a lot of Blu-Ray's bandwidth will be used in playing back noise detail. But for movies that don't feature much noise (a lot of modern productions), the content can be well encoded at much lower bitrates than you need in Blu-Ray.

Blu-Ray audio is without doubt superior to iTunes.

Will this always remain the case? I don't know. I can see a time when people will complain that Bly-Ray is rubbish on their new fangled 4K displays. By then, maybe home internet connectivity will be largely fibre-optic and iTunes streaming will be 100Mbps. Could happen. And when it does, maybe my HD iTunes movies will stream along at this enhanced rate. Who knows. Maybe iTunes Match for low-fidelity movies will be an option when that happens.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 06:58 AM   #5
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As with everything in life, there's a compromise to make. You can't stream cinema quality movies, the technology just isn't there yet. If quality is the most important thing to you, avoid digital/streaming and go to the cinema or buy a blu ray.

Personally I'm very content with 720p 5mbps streaming, it's still far superior to DVD and with file sizes of 2-5gb per movie, it doesn't kill your bandwidth or local storage.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 08:37 AM   #6
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It really depends on what's important to the purchaser.

Quality is important to you, so you go Blu-Ray
Convenience is important to me, so I go iTunes

I rent much more than I purchase, and find iTunes to be good quality at a streamable rate. It's much better than TWC PPC and OD.

Since iTunes movies are in iCloud, Apple could always up the bitrate in the future as average internet speeds increase.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 08:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by HurtinMinorKey View Post
I have an average of 5.2Mbps for the "1080" videos in my library. That's really not enough for crisp 1080p @ 24fps, there is a ton of noise (i assume this is to mask compression), and the blacks are totally crushed. My TV gets a better picture over the air (digital tuner) and it's only claiming 720p (I think 19Mbps max for over the air digital tv signal).

Anyone who wants to know what 1080p can look like needs to hook up a blu-ray (25-35Mbps).

I know it's probably a restriction from the content providers, but Apple should own uo to this.

/endrant
FEW people have internet connections that can support 35mbps streams without hitching. I know mainstream comcast and UVerse can't. My Dad could on his fiber link. But Chattanooga fiber link is a rarity.

Apple can only support so many streams of that size before their datacenters choke. That's a lot of bandwidth.

5.2mbps though? That's doable to a much larger number of users. ~20mbps Cable broad band links can keep up and buffer ahead, as well as some of the high end DSL 6mbps links.

Until US broadband massively upgrades. Don't expect better out of streaming.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 08:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Menel View Post
FEW people have internet connections that can support 35mbps streams without hitching.
The points about steaming and average household bandwidth are well taken, but streaming aside, I still can't buy an iTunes movie (for download) at a higher bitrate(better quality).
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 09:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by HurtinMinorKey View Post
The points about steaming and average household bandwidth are well taken, but streaming aside, I still can't buy an iTunes movie (for download) at a higher bitrate(better quality).
Correct. And if this is critical to you. ITunes isn't the answer.

iTunes = convenient, with sacrifice of quality.

It's the same with Music. CDs contain uncompressed audio, iTunes sells lossy compressed 256kbps AAC.

CD/Blu-Ray = Uncompromised quality. But you have to wait on amazon delivery or drive to BestBuy.

There's nothing for Apple to own upto. This is all known.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 11:28 AM   #10
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There's nothing for Apple to own upto. This is all known.
So you think it's fair to call it 1080p HD even though it contains less picture information than the 720p over-the-air broadcast from PBS?

I don't. But I guess since 1080p isn't really a quality standard, Apple isn't technically being deceptive.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 11:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by HurtinMinorKey View Post
So you think it's fair to call it 1080p HD even though it contains less picture information than the 720p over-the-air broadcast from PBS?

I don't. But I guess since 1080p isn't really a quality standard, Apple isn't technically being deceptive.
1080p means 1920x1080 @24 or 30 Hz (bit depth of 8 bit per channel) using Rec .709. So if a picture meets these requirements then it IS 1080p.

There is no minimum bit rate and certainly not any subjective determination as to what can be called 1080p.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 11:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by HurtinMinorKey View Post
So you think it's fair to call it 1080p HD even though it contains less picture information than the 720p over-the-air broadcast from PBS?

I don't. But I guess since 1080p isn't really a quality standard, Apple isn't technically being deceptive.
It doesn't contain less data per say. It still has 1080 vertical lines vs 720. The video stream is just more compressed, more artifact, and noise distortion. It's a technicality.

Yes, I'd rather watch a 720p stream @12mbps (rough broadcast rate), than a 5mbps 1080p internet stream.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 12:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Menel View Post
It doesn't contain less data per say. It still has 1080 vertical lines vs 720. The video stream is just more compressed, more artifact, and noise distortion. It's a technicality.

Yes, I'd rather watch a 720p stream @12mbps (rough broadcast rate), than a 5mbps 1080p internet stream.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see how we can directly compare bitrates of broadcast vs itunes download. Broadcast is MPEG-2 which is much less efficient and will need a much higher bitrate for the same quality of an h.264 encode. Most blu ray is h.264 so comparing bitrates to itunes is appropriate.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 12:27 PM   #14
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see how we can directly compare bitrates of broadcast vs itunes download. Broadcast is MPEG-2 which is much less efficient and will need a much higher bitrate for the same quality of an h.264 encode. Most blu ray is h.264 so comparing bitrates to itunes is appropriate.
Maybe. I just assumed the broadcast HD had to be h.264 due to bandwidth requirements.

*shrug* My quick google-fu isn't clear. :/
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 12:49 PM   #15
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the quality is better if you download to Mac/PC first and then stream it from there

if you stream from the cloud its always going to be slower and they will lower the quality
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 12:50 PM   #16
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Maybe. I just assumed the broadcast HD had to be h.264 due to bandwidth requirements.

*shrug* My quick google-fu isn't clear. :/
In the US OTA HD is only MPEG 2. I think max bitrate is 19. Most cable co compress and transmit lower bitrate mpeg2. I think most satellite channels are converted to h.264 nowadays. Due to this OTA HD provides a better picture than cable/satellite.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 12:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Julien View Post
1080p means 1920x1080 @24 or 30 Hz (bit depth of 8 bit per channel) using Rec .709. So if a picture meets these requirements then it IS 1080p.

There is no minimum bit rate and certainly not any subjective determination as to what can be called 1080p.

That's what I was saying: it is not a quality standard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cardsdoc View Post
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see how we can directly compare bitrates of broadcast vs itunes download. Broadcast is MPEG-2 which is much less efficient and will need a much higher bitrate for the same quality of an h.264 encode. Most blu ray is h.264 so comparing bitrates to itunes is appropriate.
I compare them with my eyes. I watch Dowton Abbey with my wife on PBS (1080i), and then compare it to the iTunes (1080). But I agree, different codecs have different strengths and weaknesses, so it is hard to compare quality across them.

Codecs aside, I feel like that the picture on iTunes should still be better than what we get for 5mbps h.264. It's almost as if they do a bad job of encoding intentionally.

I have personally compressed a 10bit Prores (~100mbps) to 5mbps h264 using Adobe Premiere many times, and I still feel like the resolution (not the quality of content ) is much better than what i see on iTunes. Hell, just go to vimeo and download some random HD clips and compare them to iTunes HD.

Thanks for all the feedback.

Last edited by HurtinMinorKey; Jan 16, 2014 at 01:52 PM.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 12:56 PM   #18
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Over here, broadcast HD TV is around 5 Mb/s H.264. An Internet connection slower than 10 Mb/s is treated as a fault (unless you're in a rural area). Content from iTunes looks better than TV, probably because it's not encoded in real-time like TV is.

I still prefer Blu-ray; it's better quality, it's usually the correct aspect ratio (iTunes and other streaming services love to chop the edges off) and it's more convenient than keeping track of files.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 01:53 PM   #19
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The points about steaming and average household bandwidth are well taken, but streaming aside, I still can't buy an iTunes movie (for download) at a higher bitrate(better quality).
Vudu.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 08:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TallGuyGT View Post
It really depends on what's important to the purchaser.

Quality is important to you, so you go Blu-Ray
Convenience is important to me, so I go iTunes

I rent much more than I purchase, and find iTunes to be good quality at a streamable rate. It's much better than TWC PPC and OD.

Since iTunes movies are in iCloud, Apple could always up the bitrate in the future as average internet speeds increase.
I'm the same way. I love the convenience of iTunes, and watch it when I see it on iTunes that moment. If I watch a movie and my daughter wants to watch the same movie in her room on her Apple TV, it's not an issue. Ripping Blu-Rays and compressing them just take too long also. I tried a few and it's very time consuming.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 09:48 PM   #21
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Consider 4K UHD !

iTunes 1080p is not a joke if you watch it on your iDevice or less than 50" screen.
The larger the screen the more you'll notice the artifacts. I project to a 120" screen and Bluray is just good enough.

Bluray will remain King for a few more years, that's assuming 4K UHD will take off in 2014. If you think e-Movies are heavily compressed now at 1080p to make them streamable over current internet speeds and data caps, imagine what 4x the resolution will impose on the network infrastructure.

Furthermore, 4K is just an intermediate step to 8K UHD. Even H.265 which doubles the compression efficiency over H.264 won't be able to compete with physical media capacities in the short term.

When 80% of subscribers have Gigabit speed internet to their home *and* content providers offer higher bitrates & UHD resolution movies, then physical media will decline.

However, just like vinyl is still around, Bluray will have a solid user base in future.
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Old Jan 17, 2014, 01:58 AM   #22
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1080p? Pssshhhhh! Check out the quality on the music videos

And there is no competition for that.
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Old Jan 19, 2014, 10:26 AM   #23
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That's another reason why I don't buy e-movies
I'm with you. My entire video library is content which I own on other media and have control over when I make it available for in-home streaming.
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Old Jan 19, 2014, 10:43 AM   #24
Irishman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HurtinMinorKey View Post
I have an average of 5.2Mbps for the "1080" videos in my library. That's really not enough for crisp 1080p @ 24fps, there is a ton of noise (i assume this is to mask compression), and the blacks are totally crushed. My TV gets a better picture over the air (digital tuner) and it's only claiming 720p (I think 19Mbps max for over the air digital tv signal).

Anyone who wants to know what 1080p can look like needs to hook up a blu-ray (25-35Mbps).

I know it's probably a restriction from the content providers, but Apple should own uo to this.

/endrant
The current hierarchy of picture quality for consumer Digital video is (best to worst):

1. Reference quality Blu-ray encodes (1080p, 1080i, 720p)
2. Over the air broadcast HD (720p and 1080i)
3. Vudu HDX 1080p streaming (varies by title encode and bit rate)
4. Netflix 1080p SuperHD streaming
5. iTunes 1080p streaming (varies by title encode and bit rate)
6. Netflix HD streaming/Cable/Satellite HD
7. Superbit DVD/Laserdisc SD
8. DVD SD
9. Over the air broadcast SD (480i)
10. Streaming SD (480i)

I didn't include UHD/4K/2160p because it's not mature yet, and not widely available in terms of sets on which to watch it, and content delivery. When it does become a viable choice, it will push the above-listed choices down in terms of relative quality.
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Old Jan 19, 2014, 10:53 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by 2010mini View Post
Blu Ray is still king.

But for what it is itunes HD movies are very good check out this article's comparison: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/03...-ray-shootout/
Here are a few title-specific comparisons done by the team at AVS Forum.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1458077/a-...du-and-blu-ray

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1469412/dj...es-vs-vudu-hdx

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1459687/ar...udu-vs-blu-ray

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1474847/st...-vs-dvd-vs-vhs

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1466831/li...zon-vs-blu-ray

Last edited by Irishman; Jan 19, 2014 at 10:54 AM. Reason: Found another comparison!
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