Apple TV into 1080p TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by trule, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. trule macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007

    Wondering how the output of Apple TV at 720 is handled by an 1080p TV. Is the image scaled to the size of the screen by the TV?

    I read the specs of some top range TV's and they seem to do a 720 to 1080 conversion/upscale, unfortunately I will be looking an an entry level TV (sony KDL 40W2000) and this functionality is not available.

    What should I expect, a letterbox image using only part of the screen, or a scaled image?

  2. JohnR macrumors member


    Sep 4, 2007
    Louisville, Kentucky
    The AppleTV can display 1080i, from what I can gather.

    In the Settings, you choose the TV resolution. 480, 720, 1080i. My TV is 1080p. When I watch a show from the AppleTV, I can click a button and it tells me what resolution I'm watching. It shows 1080i for those shows.
  3. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Yes, the Apple TV can output 1080i. It's always better to do the upscaling at the source (rather than outputting 720, and letting the TV do the work).

    btw: there are some HD sources at ITS. Some video podcasts are HD (NASA has at least one). They look great.
  4. Chatterbox macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2007
    AppleTV Does NOT output 1080 (i or p)

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but while AppleTV will send a signal to a 1080i/p or 720P/30fps HDTV, that signal will not be true high def. The processor and video card of the relatively cheap AppleTV are not up to even 30 frames per second of 720p. It maxes out at 720p/24 fps, and it cannot output any frame rate at 1080. (See the AppleTV tech spec below.)

    That said, my AppleTV is connected to a Sanyo Z2 1280x720 widescreen high def projector, and it is truly a thing of beauty to watch even interpolated 960x540 on an 8 foot screen. I have a number of high def MPEG shorts (mostly Pixar films) and they are far sharper and more color-accurate than any DVD. AppleTV is infinitely better for audio, photo slideshows, and movies than any CD/DVD player, but it is not yet a true HD source.

    That said, most all high def flat panel TVs top out at 720p anyway.

    ==== from ====
    Video formats supported
    H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
    iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels
    MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  5. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    It does output 1080i. Even though it doesn't handle more than 720 as a source, it still has to scale it when outputting to 1080. Generally, it's still better to do the scaling at the source, rather than in the TV, but it probably depends on the particular type and resolution (mine is 1366x768, so my experience might be different).

    720 is still considered HD. I've seen the term "true" used by some when they're broadcasting 1080i, but I'm not so sure that's any "official" designation. Many sat channels, FOX & ABC, seem to be proudly advertising HD when broadcasting 720.

    Anyway, bottom line is it still outputs a great picture. The 1280 x 720 HD podcasts (NASA's Hidden Universe as an example) look as good as anything I'm getting off DTV (except possibly a few of the best 1080 programming, which is very dependent on cameras used).

    edit: Again, this is just my experience, on a 50" Panasonic Plasma. I remember when I first did the setup, I was fiddling with the output of the Apple TV (between 720 & 1080), and deciding 1080i was a tad better (we're talking very minor differences). I probably just had the menu text up at the time, so it hardly qualifies as thorough test.
  6. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    1080i and 720p, as used by all the networks (OTA and cable) for their HD feeds, are both official ATSC high definition standards.
  7. trule thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
    Thanks for the replies.

    Has anyone plugged their Apple TV into an 1080 TV? Can they share their experience with, for example, playing a ripped DVD?

    Upscaling TVs (720 to 1080) are fairly expensive, would be nice if the Apple TV could really handle that so that you don't get any additional letter boxing - which is what I would assume happens if the Apple TV does not upscale.
  8. trule thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
    I took a closer look at the sony 1080 seems that the lower models do upscaling from SD to HD 1080p (that includes DVD) however they do not upscale 720 or 1080i to 1080p.

    The higher end models do this up conversion, at a 50% cost increase.

    OK, I will wait for an updated Apple TV and then see what to do...I could be waiting for a long time :) in 12 months time the high end upscaling will be entry level so its not too bad.

    You would think that the HD mess with resolutions and disk formats was done on purpose to shift more units :eek:
  9. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    My TV supports up to 1080i, but can only display 768 pixels. If you input less than that, it will scale it. I believe any TV with a maximum supported format of 1080i will do the same (either over HDMI or component).

    But, I think you missed this: Apple TV will provide a 1080i signal, even though it doesn't handle 1080 source files. This is how I have mine configured, over component to the Panasonic plasma.

    The TV itself is not capable of displaying full 1080, because it only has 768 pixels. But, 1080 input from 1080 source still looks better than 720 source.

    You might be confusing supported inputs verses the ability to actually display 1080 pixels. Those, I agree, are expensive.

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