iTunes HD vs Bluray rips?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Bokes, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. Bokes macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2008
    I have recently been ripping some blurays to file format for Apple TV.
    (I sell them used and make more room the shelf)

    I am curious how the quality of the self-ripped film compares to the iTunes HD version.

    I currently rip using the disc's original bit rate.
    I end up with a file size of aprox. 13gig with a bit rate of 15.45Mbit/s.

    I notice that iTunes lists their file size as much smaller than 13gigs.
    Does this matter much?
    What kind of bit rate can you expect from the HD iTunes version?

    For best quality: iTunes or self rip?
  2. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2007
    Shaker Hts, OH
    If you are leaving the rip intact and just repackaging to MP4 (and not re-encoding) then video quality is identical to the original disc and higher quality than iTunes HD. The bitrate does really matter. You will loose the HD audio formats though and are limited to standard dolby digital. iTunes HD quality is highly variable so some blu rays will be markedly better, some will be harder to tell. Of note many blu rays will hit bitrates that ATV can not handle so you may run into stuttering playback unless you do re-encode. That being said even a re-encode with handbrake/ATV3 preset is on average better that iTunes HD files with a similar size range. That's what most people here do.
  3. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    itunes 720p- 4 Mbps
    itunes 1080p- 4 Mbps (movies), 5 Mbps (tv shows)

    Blu-ray rips done properly are far better quality than the itunes versions, even at the same bitrate.
  4. JackieInCo Suspended

    Jul 18, 2013
    To most people, I don't think there is that big of a noticeable difference. I have about 220 Blu-ray ripped movies and over 200 iTunes bought HD movies.

    I was watching the Shining yesterday that I bought in iTunes. It's pretty impressive. I then watched the BR rip I have and I can't tell the difference. I think there may have been a few sciences especially at the beginning during the mountain drive on the BR rip where it looked a bit grainy.
  5. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    The biggest difference is that most of the grain and detail is wiped away from the itunes release due to lack of bitrate and weak encoder they use (not x264). If you watch on a small screen or from far seating distances the less noticeable it will be. On a 60" from 8' the difference is night and day.

    Of course most people don't care, and convenience trumps quality. But for videophiles, nothing tops blu-ray.
  6. Bokes thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2008
    I thought maybe Apple had stepped up the quality. It appears they have not.
    It's a shame most folks consider this acceptable.
    4Mbps is really low.
  7. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    I'm really hoping the next apple tv has H.265 and they up the bitrate a bit, otherwise quality will continue to be average.
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Depending on how you are ripping the blurays, experiment a little. I've found massive gains or more accurately reductions in file sizes with negligible results in quality. So much so I re-ripped my entire bluray collection and saved just over 500gb of HD space. Even playing both videos on screen with my face a few inches away I can only see a SLIGHT difference. Sitting across the room at normal viewing distance I can't tell which is which.

    That said my rips are still noticeably better then Apples iTunes HD stuff.

    Point being there is a difference between acceptable and indistinguishable albeit subjective.
  9. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Well, most folks still consider SD-quality of DVD-s acceptable. So they still keep buying DVD-s instead of investing into BluRay tech.
  10. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    As you appear to be trying to stay on the right side of the law by ripping Blu-rays rather than just downloading: Did you know you should retain ownership of the original?

    As to the rest of your question, you should have better quality from the converted Blu-ray than iTunes in most cases. But not all Blu-rays are created equal, so sometimes you will not notice the difference.
  11. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012

    Yep, it's a bit of an art getting the quality settings right when ripping. I found that my TV (Samsung F8000) doesn't cope well with streaming very large files, even though the bandwidth is there.
  12. From A Buick 8 macrumors 68040

    From A Buick 8

    Sep 16, 2010
    Ky Close to CinCinnati
    ^ This
    I have a huge collection of Ripped DVD movies, never jumped on the Bluray bandwagon. Now I have started to buy the movies I actually do watch over and over, through iTunes. So far I have been very happy with the quality.
  13. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    FWIW, I had a copy of a movie that was ripped from Blu-Ray to an 8GB mkv. I saw the movie go on sale in iTunes and said 'what the heck" and bought it. I was pleasantly surprised at how much better the iTunes version was.

    There are lots of variables - in this particular case the print that the Blu-Ray was made from must have been pretty bad. The iTunes copy had been nicely cleaned up and restored. If I had a complaint, there were a few places in the iTunes copy where some light areas looked a little blown out compared to the Blu-Ray. Overall I was impressed with what they did with their ~4GB.

  14. JackieInCo Suspended

    Jul 18, 2013
    I bought my first Blu-ray player several months ago but only to watch my complete X-files and many other DVDs I bought years ago on. I've actually bought a few HD movies on iTunes since then. It's just so convenient.
  15. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    What movie was it? What you might have been seeing as film grain on the blu-ray got wiped away on the itunes version. This is not being "cleaned up" it's a removal of detail due to low bitrate.
  16. Alrescha, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014

    Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Please stop. I am not an idiot.

    The lesson to be learned is just because it was Blu-Ray does not automatically mean that is is good. Just because it came from iTunes does not automatically mean that it is bad.

  17. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    Given the same master source the blu-ray will always be better because it's higher bitrate. Why don't you name the movie that you claim is better on itunes so we can compare the corresponding blu-ray release?

    A studio isn't going to take the time and money to remaster a source and only release it on itunes and not blu-ray.
  18. HobeSoundDarryl, Dec 13, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Correct but vice versa too.

    AND with BD, you actually own the copy of the movie. You can loan it to someone else, give it away, will it to someone when you die and then those others will fully own the movie and can do what they want with it. Try that with an iTunes copy.

    AND with BD, you get to decide the quality if you rip it into iTunes rather than someone at a Studio or Apple deciding a one-quality-fits-all rip is "good enough" for all. The whole AV industry revolves around more than just cheapest or most convenient. Much of it is full of people who are chasing better quality of speakers, receivers, players and so on. The old joke of the college kid's apartment stocked with a 3rd hand sofa, milk crates for end tables, mattresses on the floor, etc... and $18K worth of AV equipment tends to be a joke that actually applies. Yet here, a lot of us will let one company decide a "good enough" quality for all and then try to rationalize it as "as good" as any alternative. My Sony is better than your Panasonic or this Speaker set is better than that one. But iTunes "good enough" is indeed as good as anything else? As with other AV stuff, if it's "good enough" for you, that's all that counts. But don't expect your "good enough" to be everyone else's.

    AND with BD, you'll likely have access to much higher quality audio even if :apple:TV "as is" can't do anything with it (yet). Dolby Digital is a 1991 standard but that's as good as a stock :apple:TV can do. Eventually, we hope Apple will decide to get toe-to-toe with BD on modern audio standards. If so, maybe :apple:TV 5 or 6 will unlock the audio upgrade.

    AND with BD, you don't have to worry about the yanked availability. With iTunes media, should a Studio decide to yank a video that you have forgotten to download and store locally, your copy of the movie will simply be gone. Search for the multitude of threads where iTunes movie buyers learn this the hard way. Then, go buy a fat hard drive or two and start downloading the media you've left parked in iCloud if this applies to you. Or get your "my movies are gone" thread content ready when movies you think you own are yanked right out of your iCloud locker.

    AND with BD, you have a hard backup if the hard drive where you store your media dies and you don't have a backup (shame on you), or if both drives die. You can always fall back to the ultimate backup and restore your media collection.

    AND with BD, you can usually find a lower price for most movies. If not new discs in bargain bins, there's also a whole used market where BD can get down to just a few dollars (and yet they play their content as pristine as any new disc). Where's that used market (pricing) for iTunes media? Where's that swap market for iTunes media?

    BD is probably the last of the mediums for "owning" a copy of a movie. iTunes is ushering in a concept of "lifetime lease*" with the Studios retaining the right to yank any media from iCloud at any time (so it's not necessarily "lifetime" unless you download a copy to a local drive). iTunes definitely wins on the convenience front but just about every other benefit one can have by going the BD route favors the latter.
  19. Alrescha, Dec 13, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014

    Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    ...lots of completely irrelevant stuff to which I foolishly replied.

    My only point was that you can have a Blu-Ray of your favorite movie and it could be a far worse print or transfer than what you can buy from iTunes. "Blu-Ray" alone is no guarantee of better quality. That crappy Blu-Ray transfer could very well be the one sitting in the bargain bin waiting for you to buy it, since the studio has now issued a better one.

  20. JackieInCo, Dec 13, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014

    JackieInCo Suspended

    Jul 18, 2013
    It's all about convenience. I would rather have everything in the cloud then have 100s of discs laying around. The quality of iTunes HD movies and TV shows is excellent and I never buy a movie over $9.99 cheaper than a lot of BR movies from what I have seen.

    And best of all, they are all right there to watch immediately on my Apple TV.
  21. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Let's work backwards - What will you play back your file on with respect to a screen?

    If you are playing back on an iMac or iPad then either option will work very well. I say this in that iTunes is inferior to pretty much all blue ray releases. Whomever stated that iTunes release was better than the Blue Ray really has to be quoted an extremely rare exception (assuming the person was being honest).

    This is what I have discovered from lots of experience:

    For iPad or even iMac, iTunes is excellent. Chances are you wont be able for HD iTunes to differentiate from a Blue Ray rip. So how can this be? Simple - the screens themselves are limiting factor in often detail and certainly size.

    For a quality large screen TV, the Blue Ray rip is superior. There are low end TV screens that make it difficult to distinguish between the Blue Ray rip video and that of iTunes. Again, lower end TVs are limited in quality output.

    If I had to compare this to another media, consider using high end headphones and listening to an MP3 at 128 bitrate as opposed to either an iTunes AAC download or an uncompressed copy from a CD. The MP3 will sound worse than the AAC and at times the AAC will sound worse than the CD music converted to lossless AAC.

    In short, if you have mediocre screen for playback, iTunes should be fine. If you have a decent large screen TV, then Blue Ray is superior. This includes detail, shadow detail, less "crushed" blacks and more. I should mention also the playback device may hold some of the challenges as a better blue ray player can add much more image quality than a low end blue ray player. Interestingly enough, some streaming services approach and at times surpass iTunes (such as Vudu and Amazon).

    Last - as pointed out not all iTunes or Blue Ray releases are created equal. This has been one of my frustrations as there is no absolute standard on quality. As well, some films are inherently more grainy than others and this creates issues when digitally mastering.

    Just more peanuts from the gallery.
  22. Cool Pup, Dec 14, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014

    Cool Pup macrumors 6502a

    Cool Pup

    Jun 18, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    I think they're mostly comparable, but a well-produced Blu-ray will always be superior to an iTunes download. I'd always side on the less-compressed video of the Blu-ray disc and a direct rip (but sometimes some movies are as large as 40GB if you encode the whole thing and maintain the same bitrate).

    The best option in terms of quality is (still) the Blu-ray in disc format, although with most these days coming with a free digital copy in many ways, it's just a better buy to purchase the disc regardless these days. It might not always be this way, but at least you get both options at an affordable rate that will go on discount much quicker than the digital releases will.

    I have some iTunes HD downloads and a few times the video appears a little muddier than I'd like it to on my Apple TV as compared to a Blu-ray disc version, but really, it's not a huge deal and won't be for a lot of people unless you're really attuned to the standards of higher quality. I'd say the same thing about ripping CD files directly into FLAC versus a 256kbps AAC iTunes song, it's better but not for people who don't care as much.
  23. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    Sound wise, the Apple TV only supports Dolby Digital 5.1. But it can go up to 640kb/s. I do not know what bitrate iTunes uses for it's Dolby Digital. 448kb/s is the original DVD bitrate of Dolby Digital, but Bluray up'ed that to 640. Not sure which one iTunes uses for it's movies.
  24. FarzamRMA, Dec 22, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014

    FarzamRMA macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2014
    That is true, here in Denmark, iTunes wants aprox. 25-30$ for one movie, but going out to a 2nd hand movie store you can get that movie for about 5-10$. I do that, then I rip the movies, and just sell them again ;)
  25. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I buy all of my stuff now from iTunes. Aside from the higher-quality audio codecs, I can't tell a difference from Blu-ray videos more than 99 percent of the time. I'm using a 46-inch Samsung 1080p 120Hz LED-LCD TV that's maybe three or four years old, so it's definitely not a clunker. I also haven't noticed any issues on my dad's 55-inch TV of the same specs when streaming movies on his Apple TV.

    I'm guessing if I looked hard enough I could see the difference since I have seen photos comparing iTunes, Netflix and BD quality in the past. But it's really negligible and not worth having to buy and store discs. My bedroom still has way too many DVDs and BDs that I haven't stored.

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