macbook and HD/blu-ray playback

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by SAIRUS, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. SAIRUS macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2008
    I'm thinking of getting a macbook, and while I may upgrade the ram to 4 gigs, I was wondering how HD playback handles on the device? I'll be dual booting into windows 7 for the blu-ray playback, but just wondering how smooth the playback is with quicktime trailers and iTunes downloads?

    Otherwise the macbook is gonna be used for the casual stuff, iPhone app development and eventually relegated to a possible home theater PC or my on the go netbook (well I have the PS3 for the main theater with Onkyo Receiver, the mac would just be a bedroom thingy).
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    The MacBook can handle 720p compressed footage.

    And have a look around this forums via MRoogle to find many threads about the questions you have, as those are asked a lot.
  3. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    The play back is very good, and much better than any pc laptop that comes with intel integrated graphics. I think it's even better than most laptops with discrete graphics. For quicktime trailers and iTunes downloads, which are not very intensive, it's not better than pc, but it certainly is good.

    You can't play blu-ray movies as the optical drive can only read dvds. But you really wouldn't want to as the resolution is only about 720p.

  4. SAIRUS thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2008
    Yeah I have an external blu-ray drive, so no problem there. I'm gonna wait a little bit to see how the upgraded Pros look. Never hurts to have some extra power when you need it. Right now 480p off the iPhone is doing it for my small HDTV in the bedroom, but upgrades are always on the horizon.
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    To play blu-ray direct from the disk, you need to use windows under bootcamp.

    Under OSx, you need a ripper.
  6. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Wow. I can see not much has changed in the time I've been gone. I reply to my other posts later. This one deserves my attention now.

    First, most PCs under the $1,000 mark (notebook PCs that is) ship with dedicated graphics of some sort, or they're AMD based and have faster integrated graphics than the 9400M. The 9400M is an integrated GPU after all.

    Second, Windows is better for video playback, especially Windows 7. You get full bitstream decoding of every video codec your hardware supports. So while OS X is pegged at 50% CPU use for a 720p H.264 5Mbps clip, Windows is cruising along at around 15% CPU use (in a reduced power state) playing a blu-ray disc (1080p, up to 45Mbps H.264 or VC-1).

    And yes, blu-ray disc is much higher resolution than 720p. 1080p is more than double the resolution of 720p. 1080p is 6 times the resolution of DVD, as well as up to 10x the average bitrate using a much more advanced video codec (most blu-ray discs use VC-1 or H.264, some older and early releases use around 20Mbps MPEG-2).

    The difference between blu-ray disc and DVD is still apparent on the small 16x10 MacBook screen at 1280x800. Something down sampled from 2 million pixels will always look better than something upscaled 2.5 times from 300k pixels.

    But you really do lose out on the other half of the picture with blu-ray on a MacBook. Since Macs have no HDMI output, you're stuck with the old lossy audio codecs on blu-ray discs. No DTS MA HD or Dolby True HD, only Dolby Digital Plus and DTS.
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    It will be fine for most Blu-ray discs, and you don't need Windows. Just install Make MKV, insert your disc in your Blu-ray drive and start Make MKV's server, then open the m2ts file in VLC. VLC is the weak link since it's not the most efficient playback app. However, a plug-in for Plex is in the works so you should soon be able to play Blu-ray discs with the most efficient software available. You will only get Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 audio from it, but my experience is there's not much difference compared to True-HD or DTS-HD audio.
  8. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Lol most of your post is downright wrong. If you look at most notebooks in best buy under $1000, few come with anything other than intel integrated graphics. Second 1080p is not more than than double the resolution of 720p, it's only 50% more pixels, not 200%. And you don't lose out on sound quality just because macs don't have hdmi. Even pc notebooks that have hdmi usually have terrible integrated sound output that's not capable of surround sound in the first place.

  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    1080p max is 2.1 million pixels. 720p max is 921,600 pixels, more than 2x fewer.

    The biggest problem I have is that there is no port that carries both video and audio on Macs. Apple is really being a pain in the ass for not enabling audio over DisplayPort.
  10. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    1080p is 2.1 million, not 2.8. And resolution is defined by pixels in length and width, not area. The macbook can actually output at 2560 by 1600 pixels, which is higher resolution than 1080p.

    HDMI wouldn't give better sound quality than using the analog audio port. Laptops don't have great sound quality even with hdmi.

  11. JacaByte macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2009
    You guys, seriously? Can't you use math and get it over with?

    1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 (individual pixels)*

    1280 x 720 = 921,600

    (2,073,600 / 921,600) * 100% = 225%

    1080p HD videos have 225% more pixels than 720p video. End. Of. Freaking story.

    *(Individual pixels, not square pixels, because we have both rows and columns with pixels in them. Each row contains 1920 pixels, and there are 1080 rows. Running the math does not come up with square pixels because pixels aren't a unit of length to begin with.)
  12. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    You really couldn't be more wrong.

    If you look at their other selections, theres actually a couple dozen with integrated graphics that are NOT Intel.

    But even Intel's 4500M HD is capable of bitstream decoding for blu-ray video. That doesn't mean the video quality would be as good as the integrated 9400M, but it can at least play it.

    1280x720 = 921,600 pixels. 1920x1080 = 2,073,600. 2,073,600 divided by 921,600 = 2.25.

    And its not just pixel count, but bitrate and encoder quality too. A 720p H.264 video at about 6Mbps encoded with x264 looks dramatically better than the usual 4.5Mbps Apple H.264 encoded iTunes "HD" video. To the point of being a night and day difference.

    Thats wrong for two reasons. One being that Macs and PCs have the same integrated audio chips these days. My aluminum MacBook and my year older HP notebook have the EXACT same sound chip.

    Second, audio doesn't necessarily get processed. You generally bitstream it from the PC over HDMI to a surround sound receiver, where it is then processed.

    With the optical output, you're stuck with lossy Dolby Digital and DTS. With HDMI you get lossless audio. The difference on a good system is, literally, night and day.

    One last thing, even though the audio processor might be the same in the Mac and the PC, that doesn't mean they will produce the same audio. Analog audio depends on the DAC, amplification stage, and several other components in the system. An audio chip thats like the one in Macs and most PCs is more of a chip that tells the CPU how to decode audio. Look up "AC'97 audio" if you want to know more. But the audio processor in a PC is largely irrelevant when dealing with blu-ray and DVD, because you're sending the audio out, in bitstream form, to another processor. If you want the PC to actually decode it then you need Windows for DVD (since Windows DVD players decode the LFE stream, DVD Player in OS X does not), and you need a high end sound card that wouldn't work with any Mac for blu-ray playback.

    Anyway, I have stuff to do. I'm out of here ;)
  13. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada

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