Biggest Con to Apple HD Movie Rentals: Color

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by tafb, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2007
    Picked up an ATV a couple of days ago. I love it so far...streaming music and photos from my computer to my TV and stereo is fantastic. I tried renting an HD movie last night (Pirates III). The wifi connection took FOREVER to download the movie. In fact, ATV said I could start watching the movie (around 5-6% downloaded), but the movie would catch up with the download and stop playing. I finally gave up on the wifi connection, plugged in an ethernet cable, and the download was much quicker (the movie then downloaded quicker than it was playing). I thought the resoultion of the picture was excellent, with much less artifacting than an HD movie download from the cable box. The dolby 5.1 sound was excellent too (again, in comparison to an HD download from a cable box that does not offer 5.1 sound). BUT...the colors in the movie were distractingly bad at times. At certain points in the movie, everyone had a green color cast to them. At other points, white objects had a yellow cast to them. At other points, the colors just seemed drab or lifeless. I thought that the problem might be my TV settings or my connection, but then a few scenes would come on where the colors were fantastic (bright blues, good skin tones, white whites). When I viewed my photos via ATV, the colors were accurate, so I don't think its my TV or the connection...I think the color issue arises from the way Apple is encoding the movie. I subsequently came across Appleinsider's HD/SD picture comparison and saw the exact same color issue that I had in Pirates III with the pictures of the white government building from Die Hard here:

    See how the blue sky doesn't look blue (but rather a green/teal color) in the Apple HD picture? That is the same kind of off-color pictures I saw while watching Pirates III. Instead of being engrossed by the movie, I kept thinking, why does everyone look green? In my view, the color problem is the most significant draw back to renting Apple HD movies. I would think that Apple can easily sort that out in the encoding process(?)
  2. macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    If the quality was not up to standard, just send them feedback and request a refund. That's what I'd do and what I usually do at Blockbuster when a movie is skipping, etc. because the disc is bad (which would be the equivalent here).
  3. macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Well, comparing anything to a great HD DVD or Blu-ray disc you are going to be dissappointed, especially if you're talking a highly compressed digital download.

    You are better off getting a Blu-ray player (or HD DVD on closeout ;))
  4. macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    check your signal to noise ratio for your wifi. sounds like you have a lot of interference if you're that slow. either reduce the electronic interference around the atv (hard to do near home theater) or move the

    signal strength is not a good indicator of signal to noise ratio or bandwidth.

    green....weird....sure your center channel shielded? i've watched 5 rented movies, 2 non-HD, and 3 HD, and i haven't seen one issue with colour.
  5. macrumors 68020


    Jul 1, 2007
    Sherman Oaks
    No color issues here.
  6. macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I think some people are just more sensitive to color "issues." I have the benefit of color-blindness :)

    Have you tried a different cable and/or different type of connection. I don't think comparing a still photo to a movie is a good baseline. Does your TV offer color calibration? Have you used it?
  7. macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2007
    Everything in Pirates III is green tinted. I'll bet it's not your :apple:, try another movie.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    What kind of connection are you using for getting the video signal to your TV? If you're using the component outputs, I would suggest trying a different cable. Your observations remind me of issues I've seen in the past which have turned out to be bad cabling.
  9. macrumors 601


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    I agree with this. In a component (YCrCb) video system, the green cable actually carries not green color information, but the luminance (brightness) information. The green component is calculated from a combination of the other two cables. So issues with mismatched or damaged (or just cheap) cables can easily result in color shifts, particularly in greens (and whites not appearing white). So if you are using component cables definitely use HDMI if you can, or try new cables if you cannot. Also, never use a yellow/red/white cable set for component video. A quick test might be to try hooking up composite video (does ATV have this?) and look for the green shift.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    Actually, using the red/white/yellow cables can work, if they're good quality. I used some pretty good ones for years without any issues (with DVD; don't know if HD video would be more likely to have problems). Nevertheless, it's not recommended (your chances of having problems will be greatly increased).

    By the way, I did eventually switch to the red/green/blue cables, but not for quality issues. I just got tired of trying to remember which one hooked to what color at each end.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Oct 25, 2003
    Minor issues too

    I rented Blades of Glory HD. and I too noticed times where the color looked just plain dull. As well as some yellowing whites. I am hooked up by HDMI and HD from Dish kills this. I will try another movie or 3 before making any final judgements, however. I still LOVE my ATV.
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2007
    Thanks for the responses and suggestions. I don't have any problem with my setup, cables, or TV calibration (I fixed the wifi issue with the ethernet cable). The colors in the other videos that I have (e.g., videos that I have encoded from DVDs to play on my ipod) look fine, and the colors in my photos viewed on ATV look correct. I think the color problem is with Apple's HD encoding process (at least with respect to the Pirates III movie). I looked at the preview of Pirates III on cable, and the colors looked much better than they did on tones, blues, and whites are definitely off on the Apple HD version of Pirates III. I have not rented any other Apple HD movies yet, so maybe the color issue is limited to that movie only. However, in the Appleinsider comparison of the building in the Die Hard/Live Free movie, the "blue" sky suffers from the same color issue that I saw in Pirates III (with the blue sky looking more teal/green than blue).

    The colors in the SD Apple rentals/purchases look fine to me.
  13. macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2007
    Each studio encodes their own movies, not apple. So quality can/will vary. I would be willing to bet that enough complaints on a movies quality with get a new encode submitted.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern California
    I rented Blades of Glory in HD last night and the color seemed off at first. I was using a monster cable HDMI cable that I was given when I got the aTV. So I changed that out with a spare that I had from a direcTV HD box install and the color was perfect after that. So in my case the color was an issue because of the cable.

    However, every TV is different and every HT setup is different so I would say attempt some color correction on your TV or a cable change if possible before registering a complaint with Apple. I am certain there will be situations where a call/e-mail to Apple will be necessary but lets not jump the gun every time.
  15. macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    I agree, I suggested that thinking that I would have checked the connection, TV settings, etc. first. But yeah, first check everything then write Apple is good advice.
  16. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2007
    Ok, you convinced me to try switching the cables. I am currently hooked up via monster component cables (the 2 hdmi inputs on my tv are full), but I will try switching the component cables out to see if it makes any difference. Everything else on ATV looks good, so I have my doubts.

    In the meantime, am I the only person who has noticed the color problem on (at least) Pirates III? Has anyone else who rented the Apple HD movie noticed the color issue? or am I just going nuts waiting for the new Macbook Pros to come out?

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