EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 11, 2015
809
1,667
Most of my computer time is spent surfing the information highway and watching YouTube videos. I know text will look much better on the 4K iMac, but what about 720p and 1080p YouTube videos?

Does the 4K iMac have good upscaling, or would I be better off saving a few hundreds bucks and getting a 2k iMac. Video quality for 1080p content is the most important factor for me.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,935
8,076
I'm admittedly not an expert here.

But I believe that youtube processes/compresses 1080p video, to the point where a 2k or 4k display on an iMac won't make a difference in "what you see".

Personal experience:
I have a 2018 Mini, and I use a Viewsonic 27" 1080p (native resolution) display.

If I watch a youtube video in 1080, it... well... looks "ok".
But...
If the same video is available in 4k and 1440p (neither of which my monitor can display, it's 1080p, right?), then I select 1440p resolution (from youtube), the video actually LOOKS BETTER. Crisper and sharper.

Perhaps with youtube "sending" at 1440p, it delivers a signal "at the user end" that is closer to the quality one would see at 1080p (with youtube's processing/compression).

So... in my estimation... the display isn't "the factor" here -- it's youtube's compression.

Hope I explained that adequately.

Now... having said all that... if it was me... I'd get the 4k iMac.
You won't regret spending the money.
Or better yet ... a 5k 27" iMac!

One other thing:
Do not, do not, DO NOT buy ANY iMac UNLESS it has an SSD inside.
This is CRITICAL.
Spend the extra money here... you will NEVER regret it.
 
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EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 11, 2015
809
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I appreciate the contribution, but your reply has nothing to do with what I asked.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,935
8,076
Glock wrote:
"I think what Fishrrman was saying is 1080p will look crisper on a 4 or 5K,but it’s still 1080 or 720."

What I said -- or was trying to say -- is that the quality of YouTube's "1080p" videos is "something less than" true 1080p. (due to their compression algorithms or something else)

I don't think 1080p from YouTube will look any better on a 4k or 5k iMac than it will on a "straight" 1080p display, because the sharpness/data just isn't there (in the source signal) to begin with.

Example:
I have a Viewsonic 1080p display attached to a 2018 Mini.
I put on a YouTube video that is "4k" (but also has the option to display in 1440p and 1080p).
I accept the standard YouTube "1080p" resolution as my default (because that's what I have), and the video looks ok, BUT...
If I now go to the YouTube "gear" icon and "up the [transmitted] resolution to 1440p", the video suddenly "gets sharper" -- even though I can't change the resolution on my display.

I changed nothing "at my end".
It's the quality of the transmitted signal from YouTube that has changed.

So my thinking is:
If the 1080p signal (from YouTube) is somewhat "less than complete" to begin with, trying to "upscale it" on a 4k (or 5k) monitor won't work, because the video data just "isn't there" in the first place.
Nothing "to scale up".

Did I get my point across?
 
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mmomega

macrumors demi-god
Dec 30, 2009
3,800
1,982
DFW, TX
Most of my computer time is spent surfing the information highway and watching YouTube videos. I know text will look much better on the 4K iMac, but what about 720p and 1080p YouTube videos?

Does the 4K iMac have good upscaling, or would I be better off saving a few hundreds bucks and getting a 2k iMac. Video quality for 1080p content is the most important factor for me.
Are you speaking of going fullscreen or just having the video open in a window while you continue to do research?
That is my experience with a majority of videos that I watch, I have them in a non-full-screen window while doing something else.
For that, for me, I have a 5K and a 4K monitor on the same system and for me the videos still look very nice but I will say that after using 1440p monitors for 10 years daily and going to 5K monitors for the last several years you can definitely see when a video is lower than 1080p. For me 1080 still is completely enjoyable and fine to watch. 4K is great, 720p leaves me wanting more the moment it begins.
Example is I have youtube on autoplay and for whatever reason it does not automatically adjust the quality to 1080p, it is completely noticeable even on a 1/4 of the screen window.
I'll quickly double check the quality setting. Also I will only use chrome for youtube viewing just because safari still doesn't do 4K videos for whatever reason. It may be a google/chrome/youtube thing to push more to chrome.
 
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Glockworkorange

Suspended
Feb 10, 2015
2,511
4,181
Chicago, Illinois
Glock wrote:
"I think what Fishrrman was saying is 1080p will look crisper on a 4 or 5K,but it’s still 1080 or 720."

What I said -- or was trying to say -- is that the quality of YouTube's "1080p" videos is "something less than" true 1080p. (due to their compression algorithms or something else)

I don't think 1080p from YouTube will look any better on a 4k or 5k iMac than it will on a "straight" 1080p display, because the sharpness/data just isn't there (in the source signal) to begin with.

Example:
I have a Viewsonic 1080p display attached to a 2018 Mini.
I put on a YouTube video that is "4k" (but also has the option to display in 1440p and 1080p).
I accept the standard YouTube "1080p" resolution as my default (because that's what I have), and the video looks ok, BUT...
If I now go to the YouTube "gear" icon and "up the [transmitted] resolution to 1440p", the video suddenly "gets sharper" -- even though I can't change the resolution on my display.

I changed nothing "at my end".
It's the quality of the transmitted signal from YouTube that has changed.

So my thinking is:
If the 1080p signal (from YouTube) is somewhat "less than complete" to begin with, trying to "upscale it" on a 4k (or 5k) monitor won't work, because the video data just "isn't there" in the first place.
Nothing "to scale up".

Did I get my point across?
Yes, I got it now.
 
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