iTunes 1080p a Joke

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by HurtinMinorKey, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. HurtinMinorKey macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2012
    I have an average of 5.2Mbps for the "1080" videos in my library. That's really not enough for crisp 1080p @ 24fps, there is a ton of noise (i assume this is to mask compression), and the blacks are totally crushed. My TV gets a better picture over the air (digital tuner) and it's only claiming 720p (I think 19Mbps max for over the air digital tv signal).

    Anyone who wants to know what 1080p can look like needs to hook up a blu-ray (25-35Mbps).

    I know it's probably a restriction from the content providers, but Apple should own uo to this.

  2. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    That's another reason why I don't buy e-movies
  3. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
  4. LV426 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2013
    It all depends, of course.

    Blu-Ray bitrates are currently a lot higher than iTunes HD which leaves a lot of headroom to play with. Movies that contain a lot of film noise will be much more faithfully reproduced on Blu-Ray, because a lot of Blu-Ray's bandwidth will be used in playing back noise detail. But for movies that don't feature much noise (a lot of modern productions), the content can be well encoded at much lower bitrates than you need in Blu-Ray.

    Blu-Ray audio is without doubt superior to iTunes.

    Will this always remain the case? I don't know. I can see a time when people will complain that Bly-Ray is rubbish on their new fangled 4K displays. By then, maybe home internet connectivity will be largely fibre-optic and iTunes streaming will be 100Mbps. Could happen. And when it does, maybe my HD iTunes movies will stream along at this enhanced rate. Who knows. Maybe iTunes Match for low-fidelity movies will be an option when that happens.
  5. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    As with everything in life, there's a compromise to make. You can't stream cinema quality movies, the technology just isn't there yet. If quality is the most important thing to you, avoid digital/streaming and go to the cinema or buy a blu ray.

    Personally I'm very content with 720p 5mbps streaming, it's still far superior to DVD and with file sizes of 2-5gb per movie, it doesn't kill your bandwidth or local storage.
  6. TallGuyGT macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2011
    It really depends on what's important to the purchaser.

    Quality is important to you, so you go Blu-Ray
    Convenience is important to me, so I go iTunes

    I rent much more than I purchase, and find iTunes to be good quality at a streamable rate. It's much better than TWC PPC and OD.

    Since iTunes movies are in iCloud, Apple could always up the bitrate in the future as average internet speeds increase.
  7. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    FEW people have internet connections that can support 35mbps streams without hitching. I know mainstream comcast and UVerse can't. My Dad could on his fiber link. But Chattanooga fiber link is a rarity.

    Apple can only support so many streams of that size before their datacenters choke. That's a lot of bandwidth.

    5.2mbps though? That's doable to a much larger number of users. ~20mbps Cable broad band links can keep up and buffer ahead, as well as some of the high end DSL 6mbps links.

    Until US broadband massively upgrades. Don't expect better out of streaming.
  8. HurtinMinorKey thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2012
    The points about steaming and average household bandwidth are well taken, but streaming aside, I still can't buy an iTunes movie (for download) at a higher bitrate(better quality).
  9. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Correct. And if this is critical to you. ITunes isn't the answer.

    iTunes = convenient, with sacrifice of quality.

    It's the same with Music. CDs contain uncompressed audio, iTunes sells lossy compressed 256kbps AAC.

    CD/Blu-Ray = Uncompromised quality. But you have to wait on amazon delivery or drive to BestBuy.

    There's nothing for Apple to own upto. This is all known.
  10. HurtinMinorKey thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2012
    So you think it's fair to call it 1080p HD even though it contains less picture information than the 720p over-the-air broadcast from PBS?

    I don't. But I guess since 1080p isn't really a quality standard, Apple isn't technically being deceptive.
  11. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    1080p means 1920x1080 @24 or 30 Hz (bit depth of 8 bit per channel) using Rec .709. So if a picture meets these requirements then it IS 1080p. ;)

    There is no minimum bit rate and certainly not any subjective determination as to what can be called 1080p.
  12. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    It doesn't contain less data per say. It still has 1080 vertical lines vs 720. The video stream is just more compressed, more artifact, and noise distortion. It's a technicality.

    Yes, I'd rather watch a 720p stream @12mbps (rough broadcast rate), than a 5mbps 1080p internet stream.
  13. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    Shaker Hts, OH
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see how we can directly compare bitrates of broadcast vs itunes download. Broadcast is MPEG-2 which is much less efficient and will need a much higher bitrate for the same quality of an h.264 encode. Most blu ray is h.264 so comparing bitrates to itunes is appropriate.
  14. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Maybe. I just assumed the broadcast HD had to be h.264 due to bandwidth requirements.

    *shrug* My quick google-fu isn't clear. :/
  15. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    the quality is better if you download to Mac/PC first and then stream it from there

    if you stream from the cloud its always going to be slower and they will lower the quality
  16. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    Shaker Hts, OH
    In the US OTA HD is only MPEG 2. I think max bitrate is 19. Most cable co compress and transmit lower bitrate mpeg2. I think most satellite channels are converted to h.264 nowadays. Due to this OTA HD provides a better picture than cable/satellite.
  17. HurtinMinorKey, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014

    HurtinMinorKey thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2012

    That's what I was saying: it is not a quality standard.

    I compare them with my eyes. I watch Dowton Abbey with my wife on PBS (1080i), and then compare it to the iTunes (1080). But I agree, different codecs have different strengths and weaknesses, so it is hard to compare quality across them.

    Codecs aside, I feel like that the picture on iTunes should still be better than what we get for 5mbps h.264. It's almost as if they do a bad job of encoding intentionally.

    I have personally compressed a 10bit Prores (~100mbps) to 5mbps h264 using Adobe Premiere many times, and I still feel like the resolution (not the quality of content :D) is much better than what i see on iTunes. Hell, just go to vimeo and download some random HD clips and compare them to iTunes HD.

    Thanks for all the feedback.
  18. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Over here, broadcast HD TV is around 5 Mb/s H.264. An Internet connection slower than 10 Mb/s is treated as a fault (unless you're in a rural area). Content from iTunes looks better than TV, probably because it's not encoded in real-time like TV is.

    I still prefer Blu-ray; it's better quality, it's usually the correct aspect ratio (iTunes and other streaming services love to chop the edges off) and it's more convenient than keeping track of files.
  19. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
  20. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    I'm the same way. I love the convenience of iTunes, and watch it when I see it on iTunes that moment. If I watch a movie and my daughter wants to watch the same movie in her room on her Apple TV, it's not an issue. Ripping Blu-Rays and compressing them just take too long also. I tried a few and it's very time consuming.
  21. tentales macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2010
    Consider 4K UHD !

    iTunes 1080p is not a joke if you watch it on your iDevice or less than 50" screen.
    The larger the screen the more you'll notice the artifacts. I project to a 120" screen and Bluray is just good enough.

    Bluray will remain King for a few more years, that's assuming 4K UHD will take off in 2014. If you think e-Movies are heavily compressed now at 1080p to make them streamable over current internet speeds and data caps, imagine what 4x the resolution will impose on the network infrastructure.

    Furthermore, 4K is just an intermediate step to 8K UHD. Even H.265 which doubles the compression efficiency over H.264 won't be able to compete with physical media capacities in the short term.

    When 80% of subscribers have Gigabit speed internet to their home *and* content providers offer higher bitrates & UHD resolution movies, then physical media will decline.

    However, just like vinyl is still around, Bluray will have a solid user base in future.
  22. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    1080p? Pssshhhhh! Check out the quality on the music videos :rolleyes:

    And there is no competition for that.
  23. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    I'm with you. My entire video library is content which I own on other media and have control over when I make it available for in-home streaming.
  24. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    The current hierarchy of picture quality for consumer Digital video is (best to worst):

    1. Reference quality Blu-ray encodes (1080p, 1080i, 720p)
    2. Over the air broadcast HD (720p and 1080i)
    3. Vudu HDX 1080p streaming (varies by title encode and bit rate)
    4. Netflix 1080p SuperHD streaming
    5. iTunes 1080p streaming (varies by title encode and bit rate)
    6. Netflix HD streaming/Cable/Satellite HD
    7. Superbit DVD/Laserdisc SD
    8. DVD SD
    9. Over the air broadcast SD (480i)
    10. Streaming SD (480i)

    I didn't include UHD/4K/2160p because it's not mature yet, and not widely available in terms of sets on which to watch it, and content delivery. When it does become a viable choice, it will push the above-listed choices down in terms of relative quality.
  25. Irishman, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014

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