Apple TV 1080i?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by kingshrubb, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. macrumors regular

    kingshrubb

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    #1
    Hey, I would like to purchase an Apple TV for my family for Christmas but I am waiting for Apple to update the TV from 720p to 1080p. What are the chances of Apple doing an update such as this before the Holidays? I am not able to find the Apple TV on MacRumor's Buyer's Guide. Thank you =)
     
  2. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #2
    Apple TV will do 720p but not 1080p. It does not have the muscle.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #3
    I think the OP is asking when Apple might update the AppleTV to do 1080, not whether or not it can currently do it.

    Your guess is as good as anyone's. If I had to wager, I'd say it will still be a while before they move to 1080, given that the iTunes HD offerings are still 720 (someone correct me if I'm wrong). Maybe when the bandwidth infrastructure can better handle large-scale 1080 downloads, then the AppleTV will get an update.

    Just my $0.02. I'll probably be proven wrong next Tuesday :D
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    Electro Funk

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Location:
    The Opium Garden
    #4
    the human eye can not tell the difference between 720P and 1080I for the most part.

    now 1080p is a whole nother story.

    but take it from someone who owns a 720p set (43inch), a 1080i set (46 inch) and a 1080p set (73 inch)

    in fact, for fast action sports, 720P looks better than 1080i as there is no macro blocking with 720p. (progressive scan vs interlaced) ~ do not let this stop you from purchasing an apple TV!

    and most good 1080p sets will upconvert 720P to 1080P internally. wont look as good as something recorded in 1080 progressive. but still looks amazingly good.

    although blu ray looks absolutely incredible on my 1080p set. :)
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA, USA
    #5
    ditto...

    I agree with the previous post. Not much difference between 720p and 1080i. Heck, even the standard def movies look good on my 720p TV.
     
  6. macrumors 601

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #6
    I keep seeing this offered up over and over- especially in defense of :apple:TV "as is." But, very simply, this is not true. If that first "the" was switched to "some" and an "s" put on the backend of "eye," then that would probably be true.

    I can clearly see a difference between 1080i and 720p. In real world comparisons, it's as easy as comparing sports on CBS (1080i) vs. sports on ABC (720p). It is obviously different- not impossible to see, not slightly better, obvious.

    While it is true that iTunes :apple:TV media is at 720p or lower, it is only a matter of Apple deciding to offer 1080i or 1080p media options, and the studios agreeing to let them. Because they don't offer 1080 media now shouldn't be justification for not having an :apple:TV 1080 model now. Using that logic, they shouldn't have offered an :apple:TV at all, since iTunes used to have only SD (some might say "sub-SD" resolution) media only.

    Yes even broadband connections might involve significantly longer download times vs. 720p files. Yes, the buyer of 1080i/p downloads will need a lot more storage space for the same movie (hard drives are cheap). Yes, 720p can have an advantage relative to macroblocking when the camera is making rapid movements (though I've found this tends to be blown out of proportion when used in defense of 720p; I've seen a lot of 1080i sports with rapid camera movements and not much- if any- macroblocking- 1080i done right can hold its own just fine).

    I for one am frustrated that Apple is not offering a 1080i/p :apple:TV. It makes the :apple:TV the weak link in the entire chain. What chain? It is within reach of consumers to own 1080 HD camcorders these days (< $1000). If they've bought a computer in the last few years, they probably have the horsepower to convert that video to 1080 Quicktime/H.264- even the free iMovie can do that. If they've bought a digital camera in the last 7-8 years, they've probably got a decent- perhaps large- library of precious photos at resolutions well above 1080p. If they've bought an HDTV in the last few years, it probably has the ability to display 1080i, and many these days offer 1080p (gimmick or not). So even if the studios or Apple would not initially offer 1080i/p content, there is still a ready source of 1080i/p content for consumers.

    Only :apple:TV- because of an arbitrary decision by Apple that 720p is "good enough" for us- stands as obstacle between being able to show 1080i/p media on our 1080i/p TVs. It's not a cost thing either, because you can buy 1080 playback hardware in blue laser DVD, HD camcorders, etc. for very little cost.

    Back to point though. I have a fair amount of home video shot on the Sony HDR-SR12's HD camcorders hard drive. It can output component so I link it directly to the HDTV and the images are incredible. Compared to those same images converted to 720p for :apple:TV, it is night & day. To my eyes it is more noticeable than comparing a 720p movie to a DVD quality version of the same movie.

    Apple is missing an opportunity to sell more :apple:TVs by NOT offering one with the hardware to play back content at "true HD" (again gimmick or not) resolutions. For those that join the HD market these days, they are pitched on 1080p being "true HD." When Apple is selling something that maxes out at 720, even a Joe Sixpack can recognize that shortcoming.
     
  7. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    #7
    720p signal on 1080 LCD TV

    Hi ElectroFunk,

    I have an "old" Sharp Aquos 26" 1366x720 so 720p would be the native resolution.

    I am very very happy with my apple tv (component connecion, this AQUOS doesn't even have HDMI :) ).
    Both SD and HD shows, movies, trailers look perfect, better than from my pioneer DVD.

    Now I have the chance to get one Toshiba 37" which has an 1920x1080 panel.

    Because you have so many different TV please tell me how will the SD content display on this new panel.

    I have been very happy with 720p so far, but as you can see it was end-to-end 720p.

    How will it upscale to 1080? It just seems I cannot get 1366x720 LCD TVs these days.

    Thanks
     
  8. macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #8
    Just my 2 cents.

    Apple will eventually have to upgrade the aTV to support 1080i and 1080p material. Well, either that or discontinue the aTV altogether.

    Here's why ...

    1. Marketing. Everything these days is 1080p. TVs, movies, camcorders. Apple will have to keep up with the Jones.

    2. More and more content is 1080p these days. Blu-Ray, viral videos, etc. Pretty soon, YouTube will be 1080p (note - I didn't say that 1080p automatically means good quality).

    3. People have content other than iTS that are at (or exceeds) 1080p. 10+MP photos and 1080p home videos are becoming the norm. Apple needs to update the aTV to cater to these users. And Apple's current kludgy implementation of converting 1080i video to 960x540p doesn't hack it. HDD space is cheap and time is money. Who wants to spend time downressing videos when HDDs are 15 cents/GB.

    I'm guessing the next aTV update will have 1080p support. It's just a matter of when. I'd say MW2009 at the earliest, but more likely it'll be some Press Event during the summer.

    ft
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    devman

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    AU
    #9
    http://blog.hometheatermag.com/geoffreymorrison/090806more1080p/
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    #10
    Hi,

    thanks for your answer but please redifine my question.

    Can somebody give me a subjective opinion about usind SD content from an Apple TV and a >32" 1080 capable LCD TV?

    I am perfectly happy with my 26" Aquos and 720p but scrolling through menus, reviews, itunes is just to small for me to see from my couch.

    And here in Germany 90% of the LCD TVs I can buy (32" or more) are full hdd so the will upscale 1080. I couldn't find any 32" LCD with 1366x720.
     
  11. macrumors 601

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #11
    Appreciate the article, but eyes do not lie. The article includes info about how far to set from the set, etc to support an argument the 720p is good enough.

    Yes, 720p can be good enough when you are looking at a 720p native set.

    Yes, it can be good enough if you set far enough from the set that you can't see the difference. Then again, SD can be good enough if you set far enough from the set too. Furthermore, I've even noticed when watching crappy & jaggy YouTube videos (poor encodings) that if I step back far enough from the screen, the video will look better.

    I make no argument on the ability for human eyes to resolve ultra fine detail from various distances. But the quote (often used) was: "the human eye can not tell the difference between 720P and 1080I" with no "distance from set qualifications. My human eyes can easily see the difference on my set sitting however far from the TV that I sit.

    The basic argument was in support that 720p is "good enough" for most people. My argument is that Apple should not be making that kind of call for us when, in fact, the hardware to be able to output 1080i or 1080p cannot be that much more than the hardware that is capped at 720p. If I can buy a $200 blue ray player, it is possible to put 1080i/p output hardware in a nice little box for <$200.

    The original question was about when Apple might offer a 1080i/p :apple:TV- something that I too would certainly like to buy (even though I own the current version). The asker is not alone in wanting something that has the ability to output what the TV he owns can actually display. His question was not about whether his eyes could see the difference, and that doesn't make it right to dismiss the desire because Apple, or the author of this article, decides that 720p is good enough.

    Lastly, (especially) since :apple:TV is also about showing still images (photos), I'll leave it to the pixel numbers:
    720p: 922,000 pixels
    1080i: 1,037,000 pixels
    1080p: 2,074,000 pixels
    Of course, more goes into HD than just the number of pixels, but clearly as you step up from 720p, there is more tangible information that can be shown. Arbitrarily deciding that 720p is good enough because "apple says so" or because one article says so does not actually make the statement true, especially given that "good enough" is, in itself, an eye of the beholder thing.

    The weakest link in my video hardware chain is :apple:TV, because it can only export 720p (fairly heavily compressed) video.
     
  12. macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #12
    raz,

    There are way too many variables involved to give a definitive answer. However, I do have my opinions.

    1. I would expect, in theory, a 1080p TV to outperform a 720p TV at upscaling SD content, as long as the TVs are the same size. The other specs should be similar as well (e.g. contrast ratio, brightness, etc). This is due to my thinking that more pixels should be better when upscaling content.

    2. If a 26" 720p TV is too small for you, a 32" TV should be better, provided you set it at 720p. A 32" 1080p TV has a denser pixel count than a 26" 720p TV. The downside is that you'd be double scaling the content and potentially making it look worse. Your SD material on the aTV would be output as 720p (1st upscale) and then would be upscaled to 1080p by the TV.

    I'm guess you could set the aTV to putput at 480p/525p and have the TV do all of the upscaling, but then you'd be compromising on the 720p content that you might have.

    ft
     
  13. macrumors 601

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #13
    No one should be able to give a great opinion because the end result is eye of the beholder. What I can offer is that if you like DVD quality video on your particular HDTV, :apple:TV can do a great job approximating that level of quality. And 720p content on :apple:TV should look even better than DVD quality- even on that screen size.

    You other feedback (distance from the couch) makes fine video detail arguments almost irrelevant as the size of screen and distance from the couch won't make it possible to notice the finest details. Those are the kinds of details where the ability or inability for the human eye to resolve fine details starts making a lot more sense.

    Relative to other comments I've posted, I am looking at a 65" HD screen, so video detail is very important. But even there, :apple:TV with converted DVD movies looks very good. The faults I find with :apple:TV is that I can hook the consumer HD camcorder directly to the TV and see HD video that blows me away. Convert the same video to :apple:TV 720p and, while it still looks good, it is clearly not as good as 1080 HD video. Thus, like the original poster, I would be very interested in a 1080 capable (which is far from "upconvert" capable) :apple:TV.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #14


    That is an overly simplistic point of view:


    1) Most people don't sit close enough to their TV to see any benefit from 1080p over 720p. In general, unless you're building a home theatre, or sit abnormally close to your TV during normal use... you will NEVER see a difference between 720p and 1080p. The human eye simply can't resolve the difference between the two at normal viewing distances.

    For example, if you have a 50" set, and you're sitting more than 7-8 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 taking a wallet-size photo with a 12mp camera and hoping to see a resolution difference between that and a 4mp camera. Ain't going to happen. This chart might give you a better idea of what I'm talking about:

    [​IMG]

    Bottom line... 90% of customers probably won't see any benefit whatsoever from 1080p. Analyze the chart and make your own assessment. However, depending on how close you sit, how big your screen is, etc. you might.

    If you're in the market for a set, I recommend you go to the store yourself and find two tv sets which are identical models except for resolution. Start at about 25' back, and walk forward until you think you can see a resolution difference. And then, when you think you start seeing a difference, glance at the price tags on the set. 720p sets are usually around 50-65% of the price of their identical 1080p counterparts. That's almost twice as much for a TV that looks virtually IDENTICAL! Personally, I did this... and couldn't see a difference (on a 50" set) until around 5-6' or so.

    Do yourself a favor... before you buy a set, consider first how far you will sit from that set. It's just as important as screen size and resolution.


    2) Resolution is only ONE of many reasons why one station might look better than the other. The reason you're seeing a difference is probably not that you're sitting so close that resolution is playing a part. It's not impossible, but at normal viewing distances, I find that hard to believe. It could be as simple as different recording studios, or as obvious as dramatic differences in bit-rate (most likely the case). The point is, that you're not comparing apples to apples. If you get a Blu-Ray disk, play it on a 720 set and a 1080 set... well, just look at #1.


    3) Under normal viewing circumstances, 720p broadcast signals usually look a whole lot better than 1080 signals because they will carry relatively higher bit rates and won't have an interlaced signal.


    4) If you're buying a HDTV set, here are what I consider to be the most important features for image quality. Just remember, resolution is FAR FROM the only thing you should consider.

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


    Color Accuracy and Resolution are debatable. Depending on your setup, how close you sit to the screen, how large that screen is, you could certainly switch the order. Also, the chart is different for everyone... for example, if you're one of the very small percentage of homeowners building a home theatre, and you want to get the full cinematic experience with close seating and a huge screen, 1080p is definitely worth it for you.


    ---
    That being said, and really back-on-topic, I completely agree that Apple should offer 1080p versions in their store, assuming it does not negatively affect the simplicity of the store for the majority of users. People should have a choice, and home theatre owners should have the option to get higher-quality versions to match their setup.
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #15
    I think there is a lot of oversimplifying going on.

    The original statement was that people couldn't see the difference. Both devman's link and fivepoint's post demonstrate the opposite.

    Anyone with normal eyesight should be able to tell the difference between 1920x1080 ('i' or 'p', it's all the same resolution) and 1280x720. Sure, if you are *far enough away* you won't be able to see the difference. That's not really a surprise.

    Maybe "most people" at "normal viewing distance" can't see the difference, but that's contrived. People can see the difference if they don't fit that case.

    A.
    (who watches a 32" 1080p Sharp Aquos at 48" :)
     
  16. macrumors 601

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #16
    Again, I do see a difference. Yes, I've seen that chart before, but just because someone makes a chart doesn't make it true for everyone. Yes, lots of factors go into picture quality- resolution numbers being just one of them- but whether I compare over the air (CBS vs. ABC/Fox) or Sony HD camcorder to TV vs. exact same HD video to the exact same TV down converted to :apple:TV 720p, I do see the difference. It is not a barely different thing either, it is obvious.

    If nobody else could see the difference, there is no need for 1080 resolution in the HDTV standards. But 1080i exists as the upper end of the standard, not as a gimmick but as a discernible alternative.

    I give that it is possible to produce some beautiful "wow" images in 720p that might fool a person arguing for 1080, but that can go the other way too. At the end of the day, this doesn't change the likelihood that it is possible for Apple to build an :apple:TV that could output 1080i/p for about the same cost as the current version. And if they did, then those of us that can see the difference- or just think we can see the difference- could pass through HD that would match what modern sets could actually render.

    Then, I could move nearer or farther away from the set to give my human eye the opportunity to see something closer to what was captured, rather than only getting to see the detail that remains after stuff captured in 1080 was downrezzed to 720p (just because Apple decided 720p was good enough).

    Apple lets us capture music in lossless in iTunes. We can play it back in lossless too. So why not let us do the same with our video? Why shall we accept that 720p is "good enough"? Because Apple decided so doesn't automatically make it so.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #17
    What Cnet had to say about 1080p vs 720p:
    http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6810011-1.html

    "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."


    If you want to actually "see" the difference, the article below is a good one. The author suggests you look at the images normally, and then roll your desk chair back about 2-3 ft. to get an understanding of how viewing distance comes into play.
    http://www.thebestplasmatv.com/guides/720p-vs-1080p/
     
  18. macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #18
    Well duh. ;)

    Seriouisly, the main variable in the 1080p/720p debate is viewing distance. Based on the chart you posted and my seating distance of 7 feet, I would start seeing the benefits of 1080p with a 40" TV. IMO, a 40" TV is too small. I have a 46" TV and even that's too small. I would have like to have gone with a 52" TV, but due to the way my wall are laid out in my family room, I had to make do with a 46".

    I'm guessing that many TV junkies sit at a distance that enables them to enjoy 1080p for their chosen TV size.

    One other thing to consider ... if a PC/Mac is hooked up to the TV, the benefits of 1080p is obvious. The computing experience on a 1920x1080 TV is so much better than 1366x768 ... as long as you have relatively decent eyesight.

    ft
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #19
    That's why I suggested everyone check the chart, and go to the store to make their own conclusion. As a real-world example, I wanted to get a 50" tv for my new living room, and knew I would sit about 10-12ft from the screen. (I would consider this to be a fairly normal viewing distance) Because of this, and the fact that the human eye can't see even the most minute difference between 720p and 1080p on a 50" screen until about 7-8ft... the choice was easy. I got the 720p, and spent almost HALF as much as I would have with the exact same set in 1080p.

    Read what the expert at Cnet said:
    "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."
     
  20. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #20
    I don't know all about this and that, but one thing's for sure - 1080p content is noticeably better than the same content at 720p on my system. But then again, my screen is 120" wide and I sit about 12 feet away from it. :)
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #21
    I would think there is more to it than just what your eye can see.

    I have a 1080p lcd 52". It is upconverting anything that come into it. There is a loss of quality during this process.

    At this point, I have not seen the true potential of my set.

    Anthony
     
  22. macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #22
    i love reading these types of threads cuz i know sooner or later fivepoint is going to jump in and throw that chart and some reviews in a post to prove his point. Im not saying its wrong by any means but its like clock-work how he jumps in on the 1080 vs 720 discussion.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #23
    I'd only have to post it once if people would just use the forum's "search" feature. ;)
     
  24. macrumors 601

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #24
    Of course he feels that way, with the Panasonic HDTV that he has. It is a 720p set and anyone who buys anything wants to think they made a great decision (and perhaps he did per his own tastes). However, if he would bring a 1080i/1080p set into his home and watch them side by side, I wonder if he would feel the same about 720p = 1080 through human eyes.

    Fivepoint has the advantage that the max native output capability of :apple:TV as is just happens to equal the max display capability of his set. Thus, unlike me and others with 1080 HDTVs, his :apple:TV is NOT the weak link in his setup.

    If I took the Sony HD camcorder over the his house and hooked it up to his set, it would have to downscale the video to 720p, but that video would look as good as it can at 720p. With the :apple:TV version of that same video, it would probably look almost as good :)apple:TV also constrains video with heavy compression vs. what the camera can capture).

    But, if I could also take in a 1080 set, I bet his human eyes could see a difference, in spite of what some chart says, and in spite of a few articles that take the 720p side of the debate. I know my eyes can see a dramatic difference between 1080 playback and :apple:TV 720p playback- be that home video shot with the Sony HD camcorder, or over-the-air video (much less compressed HD via antenna) such as CBS vs. ABC (including fast action sports).
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #25
    For the record, it's not a feeling. It's science. It's math. It's a fact, backed up by scores and scores of HDTV experts. I've done the research, I know.



    :rolleyes: Nothing like expecting the worst in people.

    Actually it was quite to the contrary... I could have easily afforded either one. I went to many stores, did much research, and made the best possible decision for me. I used the data above which I gathered from various sources and through avsforums.com to make my decision.

    I find it particularly sad that you felt it necessary to attack me in this way, although it does go a long way to clarifying your maturity. Perhaps you bought a 1080 set and don't like feeling like you were screwed? I wouldn't have said that... but I guess an "eye for an eye."

    I also wonder if you think that the experts at avsforums, cnet, pcmagazine, etc. all have the same bias because THEY own 720 sets... ;)

    hmmm... It's a big conspiracy! :eek:
     

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