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Old May 8, 2010, 05:00 PM   #1
bobgorila
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question about iPhone 3GS TV output

So, the 3GS can do some pretty hard-core video.

Not through iTunes, but if you put a file online and go via mobile safari or the iDisk app the quicktime player service will play it just fine.

How hard core? Well, I turned on a bunch of handbrake options the ATV chokes at and got 720*544 (anamorphic - effective resolution 1009*544) @2.8Mbit.

I don't have a composite cable to test it on, though, so I guess my question is... does that output properly to a HDTV? I mean, is the TV getting a full-fat 1000+ pixel wide image?

Just, it honestly wouldn't surprise me if the phone took that video, rendered it to 640*480 and then sent that to the TV. Apple love to make odd decisions like that, after all.

If it does work "properly" I'd love to use my 3GS as a mini-Apple-TV with the composite cable, the remote-control-dock thingy and an app like Air Video.
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Old May 8, 2010, 07:54 PM   #2
fpnc
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The highest resolution that the iPhone or iPad support over Apple's component cable is 480p (640x480). In any case, the iPhone 3GS can play 720p video and the iPad can play 1080p (both unofficially and not from within Apple iPod/Video apps). However, there is currently no way that you can get those resolutions out of Apple's component adapter.

Lastly, I think you are confusing the component cable with composite video. Compostie video is limited to standard definition resolution/outputs while component video can support up 1080i (and in some cases 1080p).

Last edited by fpnc; May 8, 2010 at 08:03 PM.
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Old May 9, 2010, 05:25 AM   #3
bobgorila
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You're right, I said the one when I meant the other.

So, component video goes up to 1080 as a standard, but all an iPhone will kick out over it is 640*480?

Now, is the limit really 640px wide, or will it at the very least properly display an anamorphic 850-ish by 480 image?
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Old May 10, 2010, 02:36 PM   #4
fpnc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobgorila View Post
You're right, I said the one when I meant the other.

So, component video goes up to 1080 as a standard, but all an iPhone will kick out over it is 640*480?

Now, is the limit really 640px wide, or will it at the very least properly display an anamorphic 850-ish by 480 image?
It's 480p, however, it will handle iTunes Store standard definition anamorphic content just fine (which is encoded at 640xN but has a playback aspect ratio equivalent to 853xN). For example, the iTunes Store version of the movie "Erin Brockovich" is encoded at 640x462 but the film's native aspect ratio means that its anamorphic "resolution" is 853x462 (stretched, not the encoded resolution). This is in contrast to Apple's earlier non-anamorpic offerings which would have encoded this movie at 640x346 (or thereabouts). So, the difference is only in the horizontal resolution (going from 346 in the non-anamorpic case to 462 in the newer format). I actually have one of Apple's earlier non-anamorphic standard definition movies ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest") and the quality is pretty disappointing (very soft image, the encoded resolution is 640x266).

Of course, if you played the "Erin Brockovich" movie back on a Mac/PC the iTunes Store anamorphic version would look a lot bigger (stretched to 853x462) than our hypothetical, non-anamorphic version which would remain at its encoded resolution (640x346). If the anamorphic version was played over the iPhone's component cable I'm not certain what would actually be output. I'd suspect that it would be scaled back down to 640x346 (to maintain the correct aspect ratio and to fall within the 480p TV spec). Wikipedia says that the 480p TV standard supports a "16:9 aspect ratio [as] defined at 720x480 pixels, using non-square, anamorphic sampling" and some version of that might be the best you could expect. In any case, the final aspect ratio would be correct in all of the above cases.

As an interesting aside, the iPhone 3GS is actually capable of decoding 720p content but Apple doesn't allow iTunes to sync content to the iPhone that is any higher than what the Apple Store sells as standard definition (well, that may be looking at it negatively, since Apple specifies that the iPhone can only handle standard definition, 480p content). However, if you directly transfer 720p content over to the iPhone 3GS (using an app like GoodReader or Air Sharing) it will play just fine.

Last edited by fpnc; May 10, 2010 at 03:29 PM.
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