HD vs SD TV Shows

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by GraphicsGeek, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    Hey guys, sorry if this has been posted but Ive been searching and cant come up with anything in these forums. I also apologize if this is in the wrong section.

    Anyway, I got an AppleTV last week and have been loving it. Its also helped me turn over a new leaf with the way I download my movies and TV shows. I used "other means" in the past but now I want to go back and redownload all of the really good movies and tv shows on iTunes that I have and get rid of everything else. How big of a difference is there between the HD and SD shows? The price difference is pretty significant but Im not sure if its worth it. I dont even know if I would watch the TV shows more than once to be honest. When movies come to the iTunes store, I would definitely consider getting the HD versions but Im not sure about TV shows. A while ago I bought The Office, Season 1 and I didnt think it looked that bad at all on my 42" 720p LCD HDTV. So what are you guys doing? Are you downloading the HD shows to watch on your HDTV or are the SD shows good enough for you?
  2. emt1 macrumors 65816

    Jan 30, 2008
    Why don't you download one of the free HD episodes and see for yourself?
  3. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Check them out for yourself—but I have to confess that I purchased House Season 2 in HD and didn't realize I was watching the SD versions until five episodes into the series.

    I have a 720p 32" HDTV and it's roughly 8 feet away from my chair.

    Looking back it wasn't worth the extra $20/30 for HD ($39.99 SD from iTunes or $28.99 on DVD from Amazon).
  4. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    I think the HD is VERY worth it, and the difference is VERY noticeable. Again, as said, download one and try it out.

    Damn storage space though!
  5. Galley macrumors 65816


    Mar 24, 2008
    Don't forget that if you purchase an HD TV show, you get the SD version for free that you can watch on an iPod. :)
  6. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    Which takes up even more hard drive space! :)

    I accidentally purchased the HD version of House season 4 and I can't tell too much difference between the HD and SD versions. The HD season was almost $20 more. I don't think I'll be buying HD TV shows any more. You can buy 2 seasons in HD or 3 in SD for about the same cost. And the hard drive space is almost 4 times that of the SD one. So you'll have to take purchasing more storage into account also.
  7. mark34 macrumors 6502a

    May 18, 2006
    The HD for TV shows seems less robust (likely more compressed) than the rental HD movies, however I remain steadfast in that the difference between SD and HD TV Shows is huge. Anything in SD on AppleTV is unwatchable as far as I am concerned, except for maybe some sort of short thing or just wanting to watch the end of a show you missed or something. On a smaller, low quality TV, the difference will be less noticeable, of course.

    I would say that AppleTV HD Rental movies are better than cable HD pay per view, however I think network/satellite/cable HD TV shows are a little better than the AppleTV HD TV shows. That having been said, the HD TV shows are very very watchable. I noticed in Battlestar Galactica that space seems a little washed out, however In Plain Sight seemed better, though less challenging to present of course.

    I don't yet have a strong opinion on the audio side. Most TV shows aren't mixed that well anyway.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Many people can't see the difference. Where I think it matters most is in sports.
  9. mark34 macrumors 6502a

    May 18, 2006
    That first sentence, if accurate, just amazes me. Unless people are watching small (sub 40") tv's or non-HD or very early HD TV's, I cannot imagine that the difference between AppleTV SD and HD is not discernible.

    Your second statement leads me to believe that you are talking more broadly about SD versus HD (including 1080p, 1080i, not just Apple's compression levels for 720p) since as far as I know AppleTV does not have any sports HD.
    That makes the first statement that much more amazing.

    I believe you may be right though. However, I bet the majority of those people who say they cannot tell the difference have only seen HD on set-ups that are faulty... using s-video, or dual composite/HDMI hook-up set to the wrong input, etc etc.

    It is confusing and I don't blame consumers... but it makes me cry when I visit family or friends and I realize they think they have been watching HD for months when really they haven't.

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