iTunes 1080p vs handbrake ATV3 preset quality

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by cardsdoc, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Has anyone done a direct comparison between an itunes 1080p movie and a blu-ray encode using handbrake/ATV3 preset? I know itunes often has lower bitrates and smaller files but is encoded from a higher quality source and maybe a better encoder (not really sure about that though).
     
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #2
    This is not the answer you will want but it really depends on the movie offering. I have seen both played through on ATV3 with some movies going to iTunes and some going to Handbrake. Of the latter, my guess is that some correction could be done (per a movie) to tweak the output.
     
  3. cardsdoc thread starter macrumors 6502

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  4. Menel Suspended

    Menel

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    #4
    BluRay is 22mbps - 40mbps depending on the studio and length of film, and how many extras.

    AppleTV3 can only handle 25mbps, so my guess is Handbrake encodes down to the 20-25mbps level.

    iTunes 1080P is 4-5mbps, to allow streaming to the widest audience.

    Those are some huge differences in encoding level... A better encoder gets you a little differences, but not a 400% improvement.

    Some people don't like the clarity and color of the iTunes highly compressed video. For most, myself included, its sufficient, good enough. Actually I have mine set to pull down the 720P variants. Better bitrate/pixel, and smaller file sizes.
     
  5. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Handbrake (x264) is a better encoder than what apple uses on itunes. I'd imagine the blu-ray encode would look better if you used something like crf 18.
     
  6. cardsdoc thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Is it known what encoder Apple uses? When sitting on my couch I always thought itunes 1080p looked fine but now when I get up close and compare to my blue ray rips there does seem to be much more artifacting with itunes movies. I have star trek into darkness on blu-ray and an itunes digital copy so I never ripped it. I will now and do a better A/B compare. I also perused through the bitrates on my movies. My itunes movies never seem to go much above 5mb/s. With handbrake ATV3 preset some movies are similar but clearly the bitrate goes way up when needed with some movies as it should with a constant quality algorithm. My blu-ray rip/encode of Sound of Music averages over 13mb/s (it has a lot of film grain). I think i'll be sticking with blu-rays and doing my own encoding for now expect maybe for animated movies for the kids.
     
  7. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a

    GreatDrok

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    #7
    I've played around with 1080p encodes with Handbrake since I have an ATV3 plugged into a 40" 1080p TV. Honestly, I couldn't tell the difference from any distance more than a few metres. The bitrate for these encodes are typically around 8Mbps and file sizes are similar to the iTunes 1080p downloads. I've also stopped doing it because the encodes take much longer, and the picture quality isn't noticeably better on my TV to make it worthwhile. My projector is only 720p and the encodes look good enough on there but when I upgrade it (most likely to UHD) I will go back and re-encode as CPU and disc will be cheaper and make it worthwhile. For now, unless you're on a really big TV or sit really close to your TV there's just no point in 1080p. A 5Mbps 720p encode looks easily as nice as an 8Mbps 1080p.
     
  8. dynaflash macrumors 68020

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    #8
    No, but am sure its not x264 which is what HB uses and has won the h.264 encoder tests for several years. I do know to be sure that several years ago Apple did not do the encoding themselves but rather the studios did within specs sent to them by Apple. I can not say this is still the case and really at this point have no idea however I have no reason to think it has changed. As noted above none of the source content for the Apple Itunes encodes is a commercial blu ray but rather from digital studio masters in general (MUCH higher bitrate than a bluray). With higher quality sources you can get better quality with more compression (ie. lower file size) in your output file.

    Whether the encodes on the iTunes store achieve that is up to your own comparisons. Personally I can do better with HB from a decent bluray (all are not created equal compression wise as well) at a decent file size.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  9. GarrettL1979 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 15, 2012
    #9
    Interesting discussion! I've been curious about the same for a while now.
     
  10. cardsdoc thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I did an quick A/B compare of itunes vs handbrake ATV3 of star trek into darkness. It turns out this is one of the better itunes encodes I've seen despite being about 60% of the handbrake bitrate. There is slightly less compression artifacts with handbrake but it's subtle and that's standing 2 feet from the screen (60" calibrated samsung plasma). I'm sure there are other movies with a much bigger difference. I guess it's going to highly vary by movie as others have indicated.
     
  11. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I've never seen an itunes movie look as good as an x264 encode from blu-ray at the same bitrate. I also have a 60" Samsung plasma. x264 handles film grain and detail so much better than whatever apple is using.
     
  12. sodapop1 Suspended

    sodapop1

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    Sep 7, 2014
    #12
    IMO, iTunes 1080p encoded movies look much better than other digital formats like UV and AIV, and a few of my iTunes movies look really awesome but Handbrake encoded movies beat iTunes hands down and are so much closer to Blu-ray quality.
     

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