Apple TV: HD versus SD

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jb60606, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    Is it just me or is there barely a difference between HD and SD on ATV?

    I'm not saying HD looks bad on the ATV. If anything, SD looks quite exceptional.

    I'm viewing it on a 46" Sony LCD @ 720P over HDMI.
  2. pdutta2000 macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    I was actually thinking the exact same thing. I plan on doing a comparison this weekend. I want to see a DVD rip (using Handbrake) vs HD Conversion (MKV to MOV using Visual Hub) vs actual DVD. I'm going to use The Matrix and Casino Royale as my 2 test cases. I'm using my :apple:tv on a 61" LED Samsung DLP and the SD movies look awesome. WAY better than the DVD.
  3. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    It may be because it's compressed and 720p. I can easily tell the difference between any of that and a Blu-ray Disc, video and sound. But I have played a lot of SD stuff, even stuff that I used a semi-low bitrate on to save space, and it looked pretty good.
  4. CST macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Yeah, there shouldn't even be a comparison. Even really compressed HD stuff will only look bad (blocky) during fast motion stuff.
  5. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    HD looks spectacular compared to SD on my Apple TV. If only I had more content that was HD.
  6. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Watching on a Sony 42" 1080p, I really see little reason to rent HD movies having compared the two. I rented The Darjeeling Limited in HD and am not convinced that I would have noticed the degradation of SD if I had watched it in that. When studying the picture, the difference is clear, but when involved in the story, functionally I find no difference aside from price.
  7. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    Anyone compare ATV HD to cable PPV HD movies?
  8. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000


    May 30, 2004
    Madison, WI
    My handbrake encoded movies look excellent on the ATV and those are only SD. In fact, The Italian Job ripped looks just as good as the Blu-Ray version. The only noticable difference is that you see much more of the film grain in the Blu-Ray version
  9. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    again, this post was more about SD completely exceeding my expectations.

    I expect sub par HD on ATV, but the SD was a very pleasant surprise. I'd need an extra large TV to warrant the extra buck and 6GB download for HD.
  10. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    I actually stopped renting Apple TV "HD" a long time ago for the same reasons. The videos are too compressed to have a true, high-quality HD picture.

    Not that I'm disappointed, though! The Apple TV is the coolest thing since sliced bread!
  11. Donz0r macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2006
  12. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Its all about the source and encode. For example, you can do an HD (720P) encode of an OTA HD source via eyetv hybrid with HandBrake with some nice advanced settings that are absolutely awesome to be honest. The result basically looks as good as the original HD over the air broadcast for the most part, while still maintaining the original AC3 DD.

    Picture resolution is only part of the HD equation.
  13. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    after looking at this, to me Apple TV full HD is pretty damn good. But hey, im a guy who watches movies because i want to see the movie, not for how i can happen to make out 24 stray hairs on someones head.

    For me HD is kind of a lame duck.
  14. megfilmworks macrumors 68020


    Jul 1, 2007
    Sherman Oaks
    I watch one ATV I have on a 9 foot wide projection screen (1080p) and you can easily tell the difference between Apple HD and SD (as well as the difference between 1080i and 1080p non compressed sources from disc and computer)
    It is not nearly as obvious on my bedroom 1080p 42 inch flat screen.

    Many films have less than adequate transfers and the difference between any SD or HD transfer of these is hard to notice.
    Modern animation is probably the best of the best for full non compressed 1080p from Bluray.
    But they look great in SD as well (or Apple compressed HD).
  15. nosaj070 macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2007
    I can tell the difference between HD and SD on it when watching on my 1080p LCD, but typically the reason why I spend the extra money on a rental is for the 5.1 sound as the picture difference is not that obvious to me.

    One thing worth trying, as soon as Take 2 came out I set the Apple TV to 1080p thinking that would be best, but in my case I was wrong. *long winded answer* Due to the annoying issues with HDMI and the appletv (flashing screens, delayed screens, etc) I switched to component and limited myself to 720p and I have found that everything looks substantially better (especially SD, but HD looks better too) because my TV does a much better job scaling than the appletv does.

    I'm just posting my realizations, hopefully this could help some of you out as well.
  16. CST macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2008
    That was a good comparison. The only two things you'll never get from those is motion, and sound. The bluray would jump way ahead in both. Screen shots can only tell you how it looks at that time. Obviously helpful in showing which couldn't handle a ton of motion (Cable).
  17. Donz0r macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2006
    Yeah, Cable HD rentals are horrible with fast motion, this is actually one of the main reasons I purchased ATV, I watched Transformers HD for free on demand Cinemax, absolutely horrible blockiness during fast scenes (the best parts!). Unwatchable by my standards. We'll see how the ATV handles HD content, i just got mine yesterday and I'm gonna watch 10,000 BC tomorrow :D
  18. digmo macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    I rented my first HD film and really was disappointed. I couldn't see much difference, the only thing was it was actually full screen with no black bars at the top and bottom.

    Nothing to write home about though

  19. megfilmworks macrumors 68020


    Jul 1, 2007
    Sherman Oaks
    If you can't reproduce 5.1 audio and you don't have a great HD set then it won't matter what you rent or download. If you do have good equipment then the differences are obvious.
  20. CST macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2008
    I agree, there is no comparison. Although this is about Apple TV, they do a really good job with SD. HD, not so much.
  21. Dobbs2 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    Either you have never seen a 1080p film on a a 1080p TV or you have extremely poor eyesight. It should still have the widescreen format
    or your TV is stretching the picture.
  22. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Not all movies are 16:9 format. Some are letter box. Apple's HD movies are 720p and are becoming notorious for not matching up to the Blu-Ray equivalent.
  23. idyll macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Man I can barely tell there's a difference too... Not the case with my Xbox 360 HD vs SD - the difference in that case is really noticeable. What's the deal?
  24. Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Yes I'm new to ATV, and my first rental was a HD movie - which looked fantastic, and played without a hitch. My second movie rental was SD and I was just as pleased with the quality.

    Overall the movie rental thing is so much better than I expected, and I will rent my movies through ATV, rather than support my bastard cable company.
  25. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    My first rental was 'The Soleman Brothers' (FYI: rubbish) which was listed as SD. Took a while for it to be able to be played, and the quality was HD. Not sure if it was a listing error, but I've watched my fair share of SD and HD films, and this was definitely HD. Sharpness and detail was brilliant.

    Strange one.

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