Blu-ray or 1080p Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by TheCaptain95, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. TheCaptain95 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2012
    hi all,

    i love high def movies, and want to be able to watch my favorite movies in 1080p. obviously as title suggests, which is a better choice and why, taking into consideration,
    -ease of use
    -and ease of use of itunes extra content for the likes of bonus features

    thanks guys :)
  2. HobeSoundDarryl, Sep 7, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Asking this question here should get you an enormous bias to :apple:TV3. I have both. For quality of picture, quality of sound and pricing of 1080p content, BD wins hands down.

    For ease of use, it depends on the UI of the BD players you are considering. I thought the UI for the final incarnation of :apple:TV gen 1 was excellent but since then Apple has made decisions that reduce the intuitiveness. For example, back then, my own movies would be found under "movies", my TV shows would be found under "TV shows". Now those same headers still exist but all personal content shows up under "Computers."

    iTunes Extra is a weak incarnation of something like extras on discs. Hardly anything has iTunes extras and I don't believe- someone correct me if I'm wrong here- that :apple:TV3 even works with iTunes extras at all. Personally, I think iTunes Extras is like Ping (days are numbered though it still technically exists).

    So relative to just your bullets, I'd say BD (and I own :apple:TV3... and love it). The big win for :apple:TV (besides the importance for so many that it is made by Apple) is the convenience of content availability via the iTunes store. Netflix & Hulu is generally available on BD players too so I null them out. If you are going to rip your own collection of BDs for :apple:TV3, you have even more ready access to your movies (no waiting on the downloads). For some, the airplay feature is also a big draw- especially the cable cord cutters who want ways to watch shows sourced from the internet without paying the iTunes prices for those shows (some of which aren't available in iTunes anyway).

    All that said, if you don't have any real experience with :apple:TV, it is a great device. While it still has a ways to go to get fully toe-to-toe with BD in terms of picture and (especially) sound quality, it is also an iTunes music jukebox, podcast/vodcast player, internet radio, photo collection on demand on the big screen, etc. For $85-$100, I'd buy it solely for the iTunes jukebox functionality (I remember it wasn't that long ago that I would lay out several hundred dollars for a CD jukebox player).

    1080p from BD rips or iTunes does look very nice but not quite as good as BD if you are able to see the finer details on your setup (of course, others will argue "'I' can't see the difference" (so apparently you can't either)). Surround Sound is capped at 1992's Dolby Digital standard vs. the much more modern, richer audio alternatives support by the BD standard. Again, fans will likely argue "I can't hear the difference" (so you can't hear it either).

    Jobs called BD a "bag of hurt" so here it is definitely a "terrible", "obsolete", "on it's way out", etc technology. But Apple still hasn't delivered something that is toe-to-toe on the most important variables it delivers. If that really matters, you need to move toward Mac Mini and maybe Plex or similar. Personally, I wish Apple would turn the final incarnation of the old UI into a new "front row" and make that available for the Mac Mini. I'd probably switch to that ASAP.

    And one last thing: you own a BD collection. You have a lifetime-but-"nontransferable" license to any iTunes media you buy. You could sell your BD collection later on to others and they could get full use out of it as the new owners. You can't sell your iTunes media purchases to others. You can will your BD collections to various loved ones when you die. You can't really pass on your iTunes media to others in a similar way (the concept of just giving them your iTunes account info is a very poor substitution that is very commonly argued as if it is almost as good). This may or may not matter much to you but it is the reality of things as is.

    I expect about 90% of any other feedback you get to bash BD in favor of Apple because you've posted this question here. I own lots of Apple stuff myself but I've offered you the objective feedback above.
  3. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    Assuming you're talking about watch on a TV and using an Apple TV for iTunes content:

    - Quality: blu ray, no contest

    - Pricing: without doing a comparison of a sample of movies, I'd guess price is pretty comparable

    - Ease of Use: Nothing much simpler pressing play on your Apple TV

    - iTunes extra content: Unfortunately, not currently able to view on an Apple TV (I know, makes absolutely no sense), either from the Cloud or from streaming from your own computer.

    Of course, iTunes content offers the flexibility of being able to instantly watch on any of your iDevices without the hassle of ripping/encoding a blu ray disk. A con of iTunes content is that it's only playable on Apple devices.

    I personally choose blu ray primarily due to the DRM limitation...and I don't even own a blu ray player (except for the drive attached to my computer).
  4. TheCaptain95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2012
    Thank you soo much for a well thought out and what I would consider an i depth analysis of the two. It was also non bias and is exactly what I'm looking for when asking advice.
    Thanks a million ;)
  5. HobeSoundDarryl, Sep 7, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    No problem. Again for just what you listed, the answer is pretty easy. However, :apple:TV3 does have a lot of added value. If you have a spare $85 (refurb) or $99 (new), consider adding both. I love :apple:TV3 but I look forward to a (hopefully) better :apple:TV4 or 5 with the "what's still missing?" pieces dropped in so that the "bag of hurt" has no advantages. One of the weaknesses in "2" and "3" is that Apple seems to have decided it was very important to push iTunes rentals & purchases at the expense of "grandma friendly" UI intuitiveness and intuitive access to our own visual media. Maybe when it's no longer a "hobby", the small list of shortcomings will be addressed and the "4" or "5" will truly be a "BD killer."
  6. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    I agree with HobeSoundDarryl: BD is the way to go. It delivers superior IQ, has subs, extras etc., unlike iTunes Store's overcompressed, subtitle-less videos and it's very easy to rip them with MakeMKV / convert (if you don't mind the huge size, quickly remux) them into a format directly supported by the ATV.
  7. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Well Jobs was a *little* biased wasn't he? He wanted everybody to buy into iTunes.

    Why BR or ATV? when both devices are very affordable? Unless you are are poor student with a 23" TV, have both. BR for the quality and the extra materials, ATV for the convenience.
  8. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    My tv allows me to attach a hard drive via usb and run the movies (mkv,mp4, avi, pretty much anything) right off the drive using the tv remote. I buy a blu ray, convert the movie to mkv and put it on the disk. This works best for me and the quality of the movie is the same as if I played the disk in a blu ray player. Disk space is cheap and getting cheaper all the time.
  9. greytmom macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2010
    Both. The quality of BR when you want it, and the convenience of ATV when you just want to veg.
  10. SeaFox macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    Unless you're specifically trying to veg out to iTunes content there's not a big reason to pick it over the BD player. All the same streaming services (and more) are going to be available on a better BD player. The more feature-rich remote will make selecting stuff a bit more complicated, but it will also allow more powerful control over the interface. My Sony BD player has a triple-tap entry on the numeric keypad for inputting search terms for example. Much faster than having to pick letters one at a time from an on-screen keyboard. Plus, the BD player will support playback of more computer file formats than an AppleTV.
  11. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    Blu-ray. This one is obvious really. Hopefully one day mass-market downloadable movies will match and then surpass BD, but that isn't yet, and won't be for quite a while. Simply put, unless something goes very wrong the Blu-ray disc should always look and sound better than the iTunes download does for the foreseeable future. BDs can be bad if they're poorly transferred or encoded, sure, but that happens at an earlier stage, and could happen on iTunes too - except that the studio then have to compress their file into a much smaller space than the generous 25GB or 50GB a BD offers.

    I say Blu-ray wins here too. I'm sure you can find examples where a BD title costs more than the iTunes version, but I'm also sure you can't find such a wide range of regularly discounted titles for the likes of Amazon, nor can you consider good condition second-hand discs, and nor can you sell on your itunes purchases if you decide you've gone off a film or bought it as a blind impulse buy, as HobeSoundDarryl referred to.

    I'd also argue BDs are better *value*, because of factors such as the superior quality, the ability to easily loan to friends and family who don't live in the same house as you, the aforementioned resale capability, the wider range of bonus content…

    -ease of use
    BD: Stick it in the drive press play, maybe navigate a menu if it's a disc with a menu to navigate (some just play and you can drop into the menu optionally).
    iTunes: Download, play file from whatever your set-up.

    Both quite easy really in normal usage. But try lending your download to a friend, or try using non-Apple equipment...

    Blu-ray discs do have region coding to think about - but only for a minority of titles you could buy from one of the two other regions you don't live in.

    iTunes downloads aren't region coded as such - but availability is down to the studios, and because the iTunes store runs on a per-nation basis, anything you want to buy could disappear tomorrow. Even if a Blu-ray title is deleted, copies will remain out there, and depending on your tastes, some movies might just never see a release in your home country at all. I think there are, or used to be some ways to create iTunes accounts, but , well, this is the ease of use section...

    -and ease of use of itunes extra content for the likes of bonus features
    Less of it available, more to download.


    I agree to some extent with those saying both, at least for video content in general. If it's cheap and easy to download some disposable nonsense you aren't too fussed about why wait for a disc by snail-mail or have to go shopping in a real place. But the thing I've always wondered about iTunes 'HD' is - if you are interested in quality as a primary concern, wouldn't you want the best possible? If you're interested in price and convenience as a primary concern, wouldn't a DVD or standard def download be cheaper and easier still… ?

    It's now over two years since the epic thread on this forum about Blu-ray on the mac, where nay-sayers called it dead etc, and yet the format is still going strong. The library of titles is great, most classics and favourites are on the format now (or soon will be… the first three Indiana Jones' and Lawrence of Arabia any day now, cant wait... :D).

    If you have a decent HD TV, you owe it to yourself and your TV to provide it with the best quality it can handle… If you're anything like me when it comes to loving your films, you'll be glad you did.
  12. JoeSixPack macrumors member


    Oct 4, 2008
    Short version:

    BD for action, sci-fi, fantasy, anything epic that would benefit from high-def and surround sound.

    ATV (or iPad) anything else.

  13. TheCaptain95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2012
    to everyone replied, I want to thank you all. every comment has been very helpful. especially to all the indepth answers :) thanks a million
  14. mortfe macrumors regular

    May 31, 2008
    I'm sure this has been covered before. I need a good Blu-ray player to go with my Apple TV and my Sony HDTV. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  15. SeaFox macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    I have a Sony BDP-S580 and like the remote's compact size compared to many other brands, plus it gives you dedicated Audio and Subtitle buttons (in case you're an avid foreign film/TV watcher). When I was looking for a BD player originally I got an LG because I heard they had almost as many Internet streaming services as the Sonys, but the navigating interface itself was better for them. One of the reasons I ultimately returned it was the LG required you to go through a pop-up sidebar style menu if you wanted to change sub/audio tracks and the menu was black text on white sidebar. Rather jarring in a darkened room.

    I got the 580 as that model year (2011) the 580 was the lowest model that included built-in wireless networking. The next year's model lineup was changed so even the BDP-S390 included built-in wireless. The model year has rolled over again, so I'm not sure what the differences are now, but it's a sure bet you can get a model that includes wi-fi without having to pay for 3D support like I did.
  16. dazed macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    The fact I can buy a blu ray combo pack on amazon for the same price or in many cases cheaper than an iTunes only version means I won't be buying movies from apple anytime soon.

    I use my Apple TV for mostly netflix and streaming my library and do love it for that.

    I'd say just get both :p
  17. SeaFox macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2003
    Somewhere Else
    The Netflix can be done from any blu-ray player (heck I have a dedicated "Netflix" button on my BD player's remote. Wish I could reassign it to another service, like Amazon Instant Video). The iTunes streaming is a nice feature since it would maintain the playlists the stuff I'm sure. If you just want to stream the files there are free programs that will allow you to do that.
  18. Byrnes3969 macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Blu ray

    I had an older ATV with a hard drive and ripped content to it but Apple took that option away. Hard drives must be so old fashioned. I wouldn't get another ATV until there's a reason to.

    Everything from itunes can be seen on your iphone or ipad.
  19. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Lots of good analysis in this thread. I went with ATV3 because:

    1. I have some video content already purchased from iTunes or converted via HandBrake

    2. I have personal videos I've edited together ("Home Movies") and those are easily served up also

    3. I like the ability to stop watching a movie in one room and picking up where I left off in another

    4. I like being able to grab a few movies from my collection and syncing them over to my iPad or iPhone for a trip

    5. Once I convert a new DVD or BluRay into iTunes, I can toss the original disc into storage & not take up room in my living space

    Plus I love AirPlay, it's so nice when friends are over & we're talking about something to be able to pull up a YouTube video and pop it up on the big screen.

    I got a USB BluRay reader from Amazon for about $60 and using HandBrake and MakeMKV I can convert any new movies I buy into iTunes very easily.
  20. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    If closed captions or subtitles are important to you, go for blu-ray. Virtually every blu-ray disk sold has captions and/or subtitles. iTunes movies have way fewer. Less than half of the 1080 movies available on iTunes have captions.
  21. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    Excellent replies above.

    I have both Apple TV and a BluRay player. I purchase BluRay disks and rip them into iTunes. When I want the complete experience the disk gets played. If I am lounging, the Apple TV has my entire library. Can also take the movies with me in my iDevices.
  22. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    For picture quality and sound quality, blu-ray wins without a doubt. And, depending on the disc, it wins for the quality of extras.
  23. cxc273 macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    Agreed. If you're looking for the absolute best picture quality and sound, Blu-ray wins hands-down.

    My personal philosophy and approach are a sort of two-prong attack. I prefer the Apple TV for convenience and speed. I love how quickly movies fire up on the Apple TV versus waiting for a Blu-ray to load and having to sit through all of those previews.

    The bulk of my collection is digital, though I maintain a bunch of Blu-rays for optimal sound and picture, such as the Star Wars saga, Lord of the Rings trilogy, etc.

    When DVDs originally came out, I bought a ton of discs, but realized over the years that I only watch a fraction of them at any time, so I wound up ripping them and getting rid of the discs. I'm a lot pickier about what I buy on Blu-ray, which tends to be maybe two or three discs a year.

    I used to be all about the extras too, looking for Easter eggs and such on my discs, but I really don't care much for the extras anymore, partly because I'm too busy to watch and partly because a lot of the extras are just pieces of marketing crap and sound pretty much the same.

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