Apple TV 3 Upscale 576p MP4 to 720p/1080p

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Imaginethe, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
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    UK
    #1
    I have been looking around for an answer to this but can't see anything that clearly answers my question.

    My ps3 when it plays a dvd, automatically upscales from 576p to720pp/1080i on my tv, so the DVD looks sharp, if not a little sharper than it would with with a standard dvd player. However it does not do this with Mp4 files at 576p, whilst the file fills the screen it is just expanded, and so loses that crisp edge.

    Does an Apple TV upscale these to 720p/1080i/1080p etc the same as a blu-ray player would with a dvd. Or is a limitiation of the file type/encoding quality? On my computer screen in the correct window size (576 pixels high) it is dvd quality.

    I would happily buy an Apple Tv if it upscales.
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #2
    Your TV itself will upscale (or possibly downscale) any input to it that doesn't match its resolution. Thats why when your PS3 doesn't do it, you still get a picture filling the screen. Its not 'expanded', its being upscaled by your TV instead of your PS3.

    TBH unless your using a dedicated video processor, upscaling external to the display is a bit of hit and miss.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Video upscaling is something else then making you picture fit the screen.
    The PS3 is indeed capable of doing an actual video upscale to 1080p, similar as a dedicated video processor.

    ----------

    No, the ATV is not equipped to perform a video upscale. You PS3 is also not able to upscale a 720p game. I am not sure, but possibly it only contains a simple upscale processor. As I wanted everything in 1080p on my TV, I bought a home cinema amp (Onkyo) which has a dedicated video upscaling chip/processor, anything on the screen is in 1080p now; even the 720p PS3 games (they look at lot better). I think also other brands than Onkyo fill provide you with this functionality.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    To put it simply, the ATV outputs all video at the resolution you've set in the settings. My ATV3 is set to 1080p which matches my Full HD TV. All movies are output at 1080p to the TV whether or not they're SD or HD. The ATV even adds the black bars to the sides of 4:3 material and outputs a widescreen picture including the black bars to the TV.

    I won't argue whether or not it actually does any complex upscaling, but at the very least it zooms (scales) non-1080p video to fit the screen. My TV does absolutely nothing to the picture other than display it.

    This would actually present a problem to those who would like to use a high quality dedicated scaler. But I seriously doubt that those who do would use an ATV. It can't even output 24p so that cuts out the purists.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
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    #5
    Not really. Upscaling only means that the output is a higher specification than the input. This could be ia simple stretch, or addition filters could be added to help clean up the image. Higher quality upscalers try to add detail to an image that is not in the source. This can lead to artifacts when bad assumptions are made. These assumptions can vary based on the source material, so the PS3 will apply fliters to only certain types of video.

    All this means is that your TV's builtin scaler is low quality. YMMV depending upon the Make/Model of your TV.
    BTW - PS3 upscaling is done via the CPU. There is no dedicated chip.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Nope, it is my Onkyo doing this job and it has a dedicated chip to do so. Next to this my TV is Samsung 7000 series, not particular a cheap one. The upscale done by my Onkyo is not just a stretch as any cheap TV-set could already do for more than 10 years, as I said these are two completely different things (at least if your looking for true upscaling). Most TV do not allow for simple screen stretching on a digital source like HDMI.
     
  7. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #7
    It's all the same thing. If your TV does a terrible job, that is what it is. Many TV's have high quality chips to do this as well.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Yeap, and all cars are the same too as they all have four wheels........
    Please read a bit around on the websites of Onkyo, Harman Kardon and others and see that there are big differences between video upscaling chipsets that also seems to make differences in prices. Next to this my TV is the second most expensive Samsung TV available in Europe last year and it does not do video upscaling.

    Anyways, we are off-topic, the question was "does the ATV do up-scalling" and the answer in no. :D
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I wouldn't say that. As I already explained in my previous post, ATV scales all video to the selected resolution. If my ATV is set to 1080p and plays back a 480p movie, it outputs at 1080p. Period. End of story.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Dude, if you set your ATV input resolution to 1080p while your input is 480p it will do nothing (no connection), you can only size your screen (keeping the resolution constant) having you input resolution match you input device. Again, the TAV is capable of doing true video upscaling.
     
  11. MacinJosh, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I don't even understand what you just said. I'll try a simple example. My ATV is set to output 1080p and I want to play back a 480p from my iTunes library.

    If the ATV *didn't* scale the picture, the ATV would play the 480p movie and output it in its native 480p resolution. As you leave the ATV menu to start playing the movie, the TV would have to adjust to a resolution change. The TV info would show that the TV is displaying 480p instead of 1080p.

    If the ATV *did* scale the picture, the ATV would play the 480p movie while scaling it to 1080p and outputting it to the TV. The TV has no idea what's going on and happily keeps displaying. This is what the ATV does.

    I just did the opposite btw. I set my ATV to 480p and played back a 1080p movie. As soon as I changed the setting to 480p, my TV switched to 480p. As soon as I played the 1080p movie, my TV remained at 480p and the 1080p movie was played back at 480p proving that the ATV scales the picture.

    I hope we can lay this to rest now.

    EDIT: Clearly your definition of upscaling is invalid as has been pointed out already. Apple's dictionary defines scaling as: represent in proportional dimensions; reduce or increase in size according to a common scale: (as adj. scaled) : scaled plans of the house. By this definition the ATV scales. Whether or not it does complex image processing like a Faroudja chip is another debate. The OP would have to clarify what he meant.
     
  12. macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Whether or not it does complex image processing like a Faroudja chip is another debate. The OP would have to clarify what he meant.[/QUOTE]

    This is the difference I was trying to explain, the difference between "stretching" and "complex image processing". I obviously wasn't doing a good job on this.

    But yes, I stand corrected, it does do a 1080p output. ;)
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Ok, then we are in agreement :)
     
  14. macrumors 68030

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    #14
    You are getting yourself all wrapped around the axle with discussions of quality and an obsession regarding where in the digital chain the scaling takes place. It simply doesn't matter, it's still being scaled.

    Again, if your Samsung does a poor job then that sucks. My Pioneer Elite does a pretty nice job scaling. I'll add that to my list of reasons to never buy a Samsung TV.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

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    #15
    You are still not getting it, see the agreement between MacinJosh and me in above post. There are simply 2 kinds of upscaling:
    1. simple stretching of the screen, no enhancement of the picture
    2. treu up-scaling with enhancement.

    You pioneer only does option 1.
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #16
    This debate has been all about the definition of upscaling, which while interesting, does not answer OPs question.
    As for the feature that OP is asking for; no, the AppleTV will not enhance the image when a 567p video is upscaled to 1080p like the PS3 does for DVDs. It will just be a basic stretched image.
    If you have a HTPC, you could use a player like XBMC which does include filters that will enhance upscaled and or interlaced images from most (all?) sources.
     
  17. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #17
    No, I get it. I just think you're wrong.

    By your definition a Mustang isn't a sports car because a Ferrari is faster.

    It does NOT matter where scaling occurs. Yes, some scalers are more sophisticated than others but it doesn't matter if it's on a source device, a receiver, or a display. The source is either scaled or it won't utilize the entire screen, period. There is no magic involved with scaling, as the objective is simply to create some data points that don't exist in the source without creating unnecessary artifacts. The more sophisticated algorithms for this will require additional processing hardware, and they'll often introduce latency.

    From an online review of a random Pioneer Elite display "The Pioneer Elite's picture handling is the most versatile we've seen on a plasma display yet. It may seem ironic that you pay top-dollar for the best quality TV so you can better enjoy poor-quality video signals, but that's the strange reality of the plasma TV market today. Color handling, dark matter detailing, de-interlacing, and scaling are all top-notch on the Pioneer Elite 1130HD. Its picture is nothing short of astounding."

    I still utilize a DVD player that includes the Silicon Optix REON chip for scaling and deinterlacing for one of my displays that can't perform quality scaling on its own. The results are quite impressive for some sources with this display, but if I attach this to my Pioneer display it's a wash. I'm just as well off to deactivate the onboard scaler and allow the TV to perform the task.

    To tie this back to the original question, yes the Apple TV will scale to the display's native resolution. An off-shoot of this question would be can you deactivate the onboard scaling if you happen to have a superior scaler elsewhere in your setup? For someone like myself or JGRE that would prefer to allow the content to be scaled by the display or receiver, this would be helpful. I can't say that I've tinkered with mine to answer this.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    It would seem that there is no option for that. One selects a static resolution to output and that's it. It still does a decent job at scaling (stretching) to my eye though.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
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    UK
    #19
    Thanks for all the responses. Yes I meant if it does complex image processing rather than stretching the image.

    I have worked out that Apple Tv at this time is not for me. After playing with one, it's mediocre UI, with lack of features (especially in the Uk) isn't enough to not use ps3 media server and connect that way. (Even with Sony's terrible clunky UI).

    The moment I was no longer trying to create the file so it would work on an Apple Tv, I started playing with the encoding settings, and have increased the quality now so it is almost unnoticeable that it is not the dvd. Enough for me to carry on my project. It has left for files about 3gb for a 2 hour film, but I don't mind that. This is about convenience and having an integrated home media system.

    So when Apple make it so I feel the need to upgrade I shall do so (apps, upgraded ui) At the moment my ps3 is offering what I need.

    And for those discussing tv quality, mine is a low/mid level Samsung Tv 32 inch from 2008, so it's ability to scale will be severely limited. I will upgrade at some point, but whilst this works I will keep it. ;)
     
  20. macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Dude, see the response of the OP under #19......end of story :D
     
  21. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    #21
    If your set is 1080p then it is 1080p period. Just set Apple TV 3 to auto and it will send the proper signal to whatever it is connected to. All sources being output to the tv will be sent in the tv native format AND displayed in the native format.

    So if you watch a SD source via atv connected to a 1080p tv natively, you will see the SD with black bars on either side on a 16:9 set because the SD is 4:3 format. All video on a 1080p set is always 1080p unless it is scaled down which is not a good idea if you want to take advantage of HD content. Most SD material on 1080p is an abomination UNLESS your setup has an excellent Video scaler. The ATV3 when set to auto scales or if you will outputs to what the tv expects natively. Unless you deliberately change the ATV to scale to another format.
     

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