How do SD movies look when streamed to Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by SteelBlueTJ, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. SteelBlueTJ macrumors 6502

    Apr 2, 2012
    I want to buy a couple movies in iTunes on my iMac but I am curious if I should spend the extra money and get the HD versions or stick with the SD? I am leaning more towards the SD since they are cheaper and have a smaller file size. Can you really notice a difference when viewing your content on Apple TV 2/3?
  2. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    It depends on your kit. I have a large 1080 TV and ATV3 and would say yes definitely.
  3. SteelBlueTJ thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 2, 2012
    Well I have a 50" 1080p TV and Apple TV2. I purchased TV episodes of The Office in SD and they look great when streamed to my TV. I honestly can't tell they are SD. I was wondering if purchased movies would be the same.
  4. Otago Lad macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    New Zealand
    I agree - even between SD and HD from the iTunes store I can tell a big difference let alone the difference between SD DVD's (or DVD rips) and Full HD Blurays (or Bluray rips) which is so noticeable as to be quite jarring.
  5. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    SD of any format looks terrible on a large HDTV.
  6. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    If SD looks ok too you then stick with it. I walk into the living room all the time to see my gf watching a channel in SD that we have in HD. She doesn't care, however it bugs me.
  7. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    back when HD was still relatively new, i couldnt stand when my family would still watch the SD channels, after countless times showing them
  8. gsander macrumors newbie

    Apr 17, 2008
    SD on ATV

    I also have no issues with SD on a 48" LED TV. I only have a few I've bought through iTunes but I have ripped many of my SD DVD's with Handbrake/MakeMKV so that I can watch them via my ATV.
  9. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    It's no so much the resolution, but the bitrate that will make it look "crappy", because of the artifacts. Lower resolution just looks soft.

    We have an 82" TV and I have plenty of DVD ripped 480p movies in our library, but I rip them at 3500Kbps. They look fine.

    However I recently bought a Southpark episode (for us) and a Yo Gabba Gabba! episode (for the kids) off of iTunes and they were both in SD, and the Yo Gabba Gabba! episode in particular looks bad. Lots of blockiness. We have some episodes that I ripped from DVD's and they do not exhibit this quality.

    Smaller TV will look better though.
  10. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    Some things to consider here:

    1. Size of TV.
    2. Viewing distance.
    3. Eyesight.

    If you sit 15' away from a 50" TV, SD will probably look almost as good as HD, unless you have great eyesight.

    If you sit 10' away from a 60" TV, HD will look noticeably better than SD, unless you have mediocre eyesight.
  11. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    I'd say it depends on the content. There is a definite difference, not as dramatic on your Apple TV 2 at 720p vs the ATV 3 at 1080p. Movies with an emphasis on visuals are definitely a better experience in HD, but a basic rom-com or kid's movie is perfectly enjoyable either way.

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