Is Apple TV 3 really 1080p?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by rabidz7, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. rabidz7 macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2012
    The apple tv is designed to be 1080p but I have heard that no movies are available in 1080p. For example, promethius was 1080p but played in 720p, making 1080p useless. Is this true? What ways are there to get 1080p movies?
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    I have the ATV3 and I bought Promethius as well. Its listed on iTunes as 1080p.

  3. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    1. The ATV3 outputs true 1080p. I've tested this with rescharts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with its output.

    2. iTunes' HD movies are continuously updated from 720p to 1080p. (The quality (or the frequent lack thereof) is another question - see a recent thread for some examples.)

    3. I, myself, do all my Blu-ray rips myself instead of purchasing iTunes stuff. They're of much higher quality than iTunes videos, can have all the original extras / audio / subtitle tracks, have no copy protection and are generally priced the same (on Amazon) as movies in iTunes Store.
  4. TyroneShoes2 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    There are programs that will tell you. I use MediaInfo and G-Spot (yes that is really its unfortunate name) on a PC at work; not sure if there are Mac versions, of them, but there are likely functional equivalents. Just drag the clip over the app icon and a window with all the data will appear.

    But really, is 1080p better? It might have higher potential resolution, but only for things that have that level of resolution to human vision in reality, which most things don't. And if you are sitting 12 ft away from a 42" screen, it really doesn't matter at all. Only 1080p60 has real advantages, but those are small and 1080p60 isn't available and probably won't be for a very long time. 1080p24, the format consumer download video uses, has disadvantages that might zero out any potential advantages over 720p.

    720p60 and 1080i30 have nearly identical perceived resolution regardless of what the base pixel map numbers imply, which is why no one has ever been able to distinguish a 720p60 clip from a 1080i30 clip in a double-blind test. That one format is not obviously better than the other answers why some TV networks might have somewhat arbitrarily chosen one format, and other networks have chosen the other. IOW, 1080 is not inherently better than 720.

    The improved temporal resolution of 720p60 over 1080i30 is apparently enough to level that playing field, as interlace error severely reduces temporal resolution on 1080i30, and there is twice the flicker (half as many frames per second which doubles the flicker artifact level) there not to mention the addition of 3:2 pulldown judder as well. 720p60 suffers from neither of those resolution-reducing artifacts. For static shots, 1080i30 might be superior, but not for motion, and TV is not radio with pictures; things are in motion almost all of the time.

    But for iTunes, 720 is 720p30, not 60, so the flicker rate (same as frame rate) is the same as 1080i30. But the flicker rate of 1080p24 is even lower (making motion artifacts more noticeable), at 24 fps. This implies that an action film might even suffer at 1080p24 in comparison to 1080i30, 720p60, or even 720p30.

    Bottom line, the potential resolution (and I say potential because it does not always live up to its potential) of 1080p24 is slightly better than 720p30, but resolution is not the entire story; the increased motion artifacts on 1080p24 mostly offset any advantages, making them nearly the same. So, if you can get a 1080p24 copy of something, get it, but don't worry that you might be missing something if you can only get it as 720p30 or 720p60, because the difference is really pretty minimal, probably not even noticeable.
  5. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    For the Mac, use MediaInfo -it's free from and $1 from the AppStore ( )

    I'd say all this depends on the viewer. I consider the difference huge.

    It does have a resolution advantage - see my remark above.

    Nevertheless, when it comes to commonly available downloads, all movies are shot at 24p. It's only Hobbit of which the pre-movie was shot at 48p. This means if the ATV were able to play back 1080p60 (it doesn't really have the CPU / GPU power to do so - I've tested this very thoroughly) there would be only little material to be played back, mostly TV (non-movie) stuff.
  6. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    So much of this is wrong I don't even know where to start. Any tv show or movie shot at 24p (most everything) is available as a 1080p24 or 720p24 download on itunes. The only things that are 720p30 on itunes are shows shot with a 1080i camera.

    Most of the 720p encodes look better than the 1080p because apple limited the bitrate to ~5000 on the 1080p and ~4000 on the 720p. Because of this the 1080p encodes lack detail and are "smooth" looking compared to the 720p which retains detail and grain better. It really doesn't have anything to do with fps as they are both shot and released at 24p.
  7. andymodem macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Except that it dosn't output 24fps. :(

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