720p vs 1080p

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by getbigg21, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. getbigg21 Guest

    Jun 5, 2005
    I have a 42 Inch TV and I am wondering if you can really tell the difference between 720p and 1080p while watching movies. Reason I am asking is b/c I currently have a Mac Mini HTPC on the 42 inch, but I also have a 32 inch in the bedroom. I have been thinking about converting my content to the apple tv setting so I can get it for the bedroom and be able to watch it in there. If I convert my content I will be deleting the current content I have, so I will only have 720p mp4 files. Let me know what you think.
  2. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    I think you’ll be happy. On a 42”, it won’t be that noticeable.

    If you were truly a purist you wouldn’t have re-encoded your content anyway as any transcoding always slightly deteriorates the picture. :D

    By the way, I don’t know what mojo is built into the Apple TV’s scaler, but it upscales content (even to 1080p) rather well. Better than my PS3 and stand-alone upscaling DVD player.
  3. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Just test it with one favorite bit of 1080p content and decide for yourself. If you seek opinions, there are going to be plenty who can argue both sides. I easily see the difference between 720p and 1080p on a larger screen size. Easy. But I don't have your eyes, nor your particular set, nor your particular minimum quality standards. It should be very easy to create one- or a few- sample clip(s) and make the call yourself.
  4. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Regular movies will look great in 720p. I would still like to see the content such as Planet Earth in 1080p, as the difference in quality is evident (but not massive). For your bedroom use though, 720p should be perfect.
  5. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Personally, I think in the case of 720p and 1080p the actual file bit rate matters more than anything.

    5 Mbps is quite limited compared to an average of 24 Mbps for Blu-ray discs or 19 Mbps for over-the-air broadcast.

    For sure, try it for yourself.
  6. ayzee macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2008
    It's quite a tricky one. I'm in the same dilemma as I'm preparing to buy my apple tv. The best option is to have two copies of your favourite movies, 720 & 1080. At the same time you want to future proof your content in the highest possible quality. I look at some of my ripped DVDs and think ugh! Whereas 2years ago I thought they looked the bees knees!
  7. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    YOur eye can't make out the difference between 1080p and 720p on a 42" screen from 8' or greater away.

    So don't get hung up on the resolution.
  8. FoxDavis macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    Puyallup, WA.
    It's true,

    A friend of mine has a 50" Pioneer plasma @ 720p, I have a 50" Hitachi plasma (their top of the line) and that is a full 1080p. You can't see any difference that would shock you from not getting a 720p model. But if you can, get the best..... you only live once! :)
  9. rdsii64 macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    If you are watching content from your service provider or a standard def dvd then what you say holds true. There is currently no service provider that provides any content that either a 1080i or a 720p set can't display at full resolution.
    If my understanding is correct a 1080p set only gives you the ability to view blu-ray titles at full resolution. no blu-ray player = no reason to spend money for a 1080p set when you already have a functioning 720p or 1080i set.
  10. joudbren macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Have to agree with this one. Our ATV is connected to 52" Toshiba LCD and we're about 11' away or so and the HD video quality is fabulous to our eyes. Personally I couldn't care less about about 1080i or 1080p especially if it means I'll have to wait longer to download even bigger movies! :p

    ATV HD movies look as good or better than the best I've seen in HDTV broadcasts so I'm happy. On a 42" screen, I would bet you'd be hard pressed to see any difference if you're viewing any normal distance from the screen. Cheers!

  11. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    You can definitely tell a difference between 720p and 1080p on a 1080p tv. I dont know what its like on a native 720p tv but on my 37" 1080p tv 720p is noticeably more fuzzy, if switching resolutions on the PS3 its actually pretty dramatic thanks to all the text. I prefer watching shows in 1080i (NBC) over 720p(Fox) as well, its clearer and more lifelike. 720p doesnt look bad but its easy to compare the 2.
  12. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Fox looks crappier than NBC on my 720p TV. IT's the signal not the resolution.
  13. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    I have a 42" and 720 vs 1080 is essentially the same from a normal viewing distance.

    BUT: Our local ABC puts out two HD channels on their signal, so they steal bandwidth (and therefore image quality) from their main channel so the ABC HD offerings here in Houston do leave something to be desired at 720p. But in general, no discernable difference.

    ASIDE: I can't imagine even wanting or getting a TV larger than this, but I'm sure we'll be putting up 100+" screens on our walls soon enough. :rolleyes:
  14. dreary macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2009
    i have a 42 inch 720p television in my kitchen, and a 42 inch 1080p in my bedroom but i can't tell the difference.
  15. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    MAN...a 42" in the KITCHEN?!?!? :eek:
  16. jajohns8 macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2008
    Did some research on this topic myself over in avsforums and, from what I could tell, at 42" or smaller screensize, from around 8 ft or so, there is no difference.
  17. polotska macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    Just chiming in to agree with those above—at typical viewing distances, you will discern no difference between a 720P and 1080P 42" display.
  18. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    It is physically impossible for you to see the full 1080p resolution on an HDTV unless you are viewing the TV from a distance that is not much more than 3X the height of the TV image itself. For example, on my 46 inch HDTV that "optimum" viewing distance is 6 feet. On my 32 inch HDTV this distance is only 4 feet. Furthermore, this limit for 1080p content is for high contrast viewing in a darkened room with no contrast-reducing reflections on the surface of the TV. In any case, note that these "optimum," full-resolution values allow for a range of greater viewing distances where you would be getting some benefit from the 1080p resolution.

    In any case, note that I'm talking only about resolution, not the color, contrast, and encoding differences that might exist between different sources. Bitrates can be a controlling factor and in most cases I'd rather view a mildly-compressed 720p source rather than a highly-compressed but higher-resolution alternative.
  19. PrinceAvalon macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Hicksville, US of A Baby!!!!!!
    Yeah bitrate plays an important role too...

    I saw a video scaled @ 320x240 with a bitrate of 8-9Mbps the DVD standard for NTSC scaling not sure of PALS' and it looked smooth when fullscreen and surprised me it looked better than some of my DVDs that were clearly not encoded as well as say a blockbuster like Lord of the Rings.

    So yes, bitrate does have a big factor and effects smoothness and frame rate loss due to how it was encoded and finalized... more so than just a high resolution.

    But; at least to me anyways, the difference between 1080 and 720 content is VERY noticeable and evident. Having said that, do I dislike 720 content and spazz out and whine it's not good enough, heck no....

    The content and what is being displayed matters as well. For example my anime I have for blu-ray that's 720 only I don't see too huge a difference between it and 1080 scaled anime. Or even the 3d block animations such as Toy Story... sure the image is 2d due to limitations on the displays but when rendered and made on computers they are 3d models.... That is not too noticeable as far as 720 v 1080 due to how they appear when being displayed and the coloring systems they use and way the image is captured and processed by the human eye. I'd say it more or less matters only with live action so to speak... but no 720 is NOT bad in any ways....

    Don't go by what the guy at the store or we all say. If your eyes are NOT trained and you CANNOT tell... save the money and buy 720 cause if you can't tell it's no benefit and not needed nor worth it.
  20. ckurt25 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I had read on CNET or somewhere that the human eye has a difficult time telling the difference between 1080p and 720p on a 50" screen if you're more than 6' feet away. So yeah, in normal viewing conditions, 720p is fine. Unless of course you don't have human eyes :p
  21. itouch rulz macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2008
    Your wall will be a screen soon enough.
  22. yancey47 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2008
    I went TV shopping a couple years ago and I could see the difference. On a 42 inch set from about 8 feet away, 720p was great and 1080p was a little better. I still bought a 720p TV however because to me, it wasn't enough of a difference to warrant another 400 dollars. To others, I'm sure it is. It's all a matter of preference. Two years later, no regrets, and iTunes HD content still looks awesome.
  23. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    It's a complicated question that can't be defined by lines. Other factors include the TV itself. Some TVs are just OK and not really worth it. Same with the source content. If it's compressed to hell who cares. You probably be better off with 720p as it has smaller picture for the bitrate.

    With all that said, IMO, if you took say a 40750B on a 25 Mb/s Blu-ray... I'd say you'd notice, particularly from 8 feet or so on.
  24. design-is macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    London / U.K.

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