High Definition Video Capabilities

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by theappleguy, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. theappleguy macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    Hey guys, I'm looking at buying a MacBook Air. I'm interested to know how the MacBook Air handles high definition video. I realise there has already been a thread on this, but the existing thread is rather as confusing there appeared to be issues with the Transformers clip tested by many people, the configurations of MacBook Air were not listed with the results and since then, we have also had Mac OS X 10.5.2 released so I thought it might be nice to condense everyones results in an easy to read format:

    Operating System Mac OS X 10.5.1 or 10.5.2
    Storage: HDD or SSD
    Processor: 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz
    Trailer: Preferably something with fast motion.
    Resolution: I mainly want to know about 1080p, but 1080i would also be interesting (I was told that 1080i does work, but further confirmation with the above details would be great).
    Format H.264 or something else.

    If any MacBook Air owners have the time to try a trailer or two off Apple's website, that would be much appreciated (by me and quite a few others out there). Basically, the only reason I will buy the 1.8GHz processor is if it ensures successful playback of 1080p because the 1.6GHz drops too many frames. :)
  2. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    Why 1080p as the MBA screen res is only 1280x800 surely 720p would be more than adequate otherwise your only downsizing ?

    And if your super concerned about no drop frames ever in 1080p then I suggest that the MBA really isn't for you. There have been many threads about this already and it appears to be varying results based on the various codecs.

    If you want more guarantee of success with 1080p then I'd go with the macbook pro.

    We don't need another thread in a few week time starting with 'problems with 1080p on the MBA' ;)
  3. theappleguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    That's the reason I though it would be a good idea to narrow down the exact setups in which success is likely and success is unlikely.

    I am aware that the MacBook Air isn't a high end laptop, and if I had to have perfect 1080p playback then I would go for a MacBook Pro, but if an upgrade to 1.8GHz meant that 90% of HD files played so existing videos did not have to be re-encoded and it could be plugged into my 1080p television, then it would be worth the upgrade. If there is little hope in either situation, then I'd just go for the 1.6GHz. At the moment it is hard to establish this.
  4. chickenninja macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2008
    inside my skull
    Go pro dude. if it too expensive buy a used one, but the Air will handle it im sure, i mean it has better graphics than macbooks did this time last year and they could handle high def, the only problem is that it really pushes the envelope on the machines, the fan reV up and its a very noisy experience, youll feel like your braking it . if you do use the air with high def video or output i would advise using speakers or headphones. and plug in the power
  5. ajaidev macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    720p works great... 1080p does not skips a lot

    EDIT Have tried 1080i and it also works nicellly
  6. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    The MBA is a great machine... just stop trying to turn in into a war horse. It's the same kind of question "can I play crysis on my mac book air". The answer is always going to be, you picked the wrong computer.
  7. theappleguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    Hey guys, thanks for your advice, and I don't mean to sound rude, but this is what happened in the other thread. Could we try and focus on what is possible rather than what is recommended. :) I need a MacBook Air for portability. I am simply trying to determine whether it is worth the money to upgrade the processor to 1.8GHz, which is why I am trying to establish whether the people having better success with 1080p are those with the faster processor or it there is something else involved (such as SSD, Mac OS X 10.5.2 etc). If it won't play it under any conditions, that's fine, but I would be annoyed to get the 1.6GHz model and find it just dropped enough frames to make 1080p unwatchable and the 1.8GHz would have fixed this problem.

    Thanks ajaidev. What was your setup? Which version of Mac OS X? HDD or SSD? 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz?
  8. bjdraw macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2008
    Tampa FL
    Who cares about the why?
    People have to realize that they might as well come in the thread and call you an idiot, it's the same thing as asking that question.

    That being said.
    Most of the 1080p that people have is mkv and playback on a mac is sketchy anyways. The Apple 1080p trailers I've downloaded don't play smoothly at all.

    720 h.264 from apple and mkv plays perfectly as does 1080i via EyeTV (even using VLC's blend).

    I have a 1.6/80.
  9. theappleguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    Thanks bjdraw. :)

    Was that 1080i MPEG2 or H.264?
  10. bjdraw macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2008
    Tampa FL
  11. bjdraw macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2008
    Tampa FL
    Took a two hour flight today and watched a 720p mkv movie on the flight. I'm very impressed. The movie was 98 minutes and when it was done I still had almost an hour's worth of battery left. I've done this many times on my old MBP and it had a hard time lasting 2 hours.
  12. theappleguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2005
    Thanks for all your help bjdraw. I think I'll go for the 1.8GHz model just to be on the safe side. :)
  13. lewisozz macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2008
    United Kingdom
    I just did it !!!!

    i just played a HD 1080P movie trailer and it worked fine a little jittery but other than that its great. Best apple product i have had apart from my iphone !!!!
  14. l.k Suspended

    Feb 8, 2008

    Could following help?


    "Using the latest stable build of VLC, I opened up the Preferences menu and made sure Advanced was selected. Then I headed to Inputs/Codecs > Other codecs > FFMpeg, selected “Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding” and chose “All”. This immediately improved playback exponentially and I’m now enjoying 1080p playback without a glitch."
  15. bjdraw macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2008
    Tampa FL
    You're right that does help!

    I'd add to the step "make sure Advanced was selected". When in preferences there is a check box at the bottom left that is labeled "Advanced." You'll want to make sure it's checked, or you won't see this drop down box.

  16. shoulin333 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    720P looks awesome at full screen

    and i have the base 1.6/80

    deff works fine... after having this machine for about a week, it boggles my mind when people ask "can it do this, or that" when they are asking if it is faster than an PB g4 or something...

    This machine has the same video card as a MB, and processor speed difference really doesnt make any difference of what it can do, just that the fans may come on higher in heavy tasks, or things may take a few seconds longger ( but i think this is mainly due to my 4200HDD, but i will upgrade to SSD when they come down in price)

    Overall too the machine runs much cooler and quieter than a MB.... in a MB the fan runs where you can hear it all the time, apple did this to solve overheating problems they were having with them.. but the AIR is alum so it is like one big heatsink, and stays cooler

    .... sorry for my rant, just want to let people know there is really nothing the MB can do over the MBA unless you need it as your only computer.

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