picture and sound quality of Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Harp77, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. Harp77 macrumors member


    Jul 2, 2013
    Toronto, ONT
    I am very picky when it comes to my movies and tv shows - always have to be in HD and digital sound.

    Does Apple TV produce the same quality as BlueRay, both sight and sound?
  2. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Ok I am just going to leave the first sentence alone, however to answer your second one, no it does not produce the same quality as Bluray, both visually and audibly, the atv videos are compressed, whereas the Bluray is uncompressed. Will you be able to tell the difference, well some can and some cannot.
  3. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Not exactly the same as BR, but pretty darn close. So close in fact, that it comes down to the ability of the individual to perceive the difference. I have BR and stream from iTunes. I would have to have them side by side and frame shot comparison to be able to tell the difference.
  4. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012

    Unless the user rip all his stuff uncompressed to his iTunes library.

    Anything else that comes through the Internet whether ATV, Roku u will get compressed stuff.

    OP, all these boxes are about convenience. If you are purist who won't put up with anything else but the best and have a butler to change the BR for you, then BR *is* it.
  5. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    Its personal preference! I've used Bluray movies and downloaded movies and I haven't notice a difference and anyone that comes to my house thinks its a blueray movie when its a downloaded movie in HD
  6. blujacket macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2013
    Wow. There is no comparison between the two. Blu-ray is vastly superior. I love my Apple Tv, but the compression artifacts are easily seen.
  7. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Don't mean to be picky, but actually BluRay uses exactly the same image compression, that aTV does - the MPEG-4 Part 10 aka AVC. They just can afford 8-10 times more bandwidth (ie bitrate), than aTV.
    There are numerous side-by-side picture quality comparisons between BluRay and streaming services published online.
    The same goes for audio - aTV only supports DD5.1 (aka AC3).
    You need to keep in mind, that aTV is geared toward streaming over public internet, thus keeps bitrates relatively low. Esp when compared to BluRay, which by definition can afford up to 60Mbps.
  8. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    By you.

    As I said, I see no compression artifacts and many others don't either. It all depends on your viewing situation, viewing equipment and most of all...your personal visual acuity. There appear to be 3 camps of people: 1) see know difference, 2) see a slight difference but not enough to take away from the viewing experience, or 3) see a lot of difference and find it unacceptable viewing.

    As for compression...all formats compress compared to the original source. BR is a compression. The real point is, at what level of compression do "you" notice the compression artifacts and find them unacceptable? The only way of answering that question is under the individual's viewing conditions.
  9. mrmarts macrumors 65816

    Feb 6, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    When i owned a Apple TV I had it hooked up to Sony 55" HX 850 in my bedroom, I played HD movies which I had purchased on itunes like King Kong and looked nothing but speculator, I own many blu rays and cannot tell a difference when i am in bed, watching the Tally on the wall. However i did notice that faces blur when the camera changes to a different character in scenes but nothing major.

    Also I did not try the Apple TV in the main room where I have a HD amplifier, but based on previous discussion on these threads iTunes content are missing valuable codecs for sound enthusiasts like DTS, and Dolby Master HD and only support 5ch.

    If sound is your department maybe you should look away. But for a bedroom where you only use the TV as your primary sound it will work wonders . In my opinion I will be buying a Apple TV again for the convenience of not getting out bed late at night to change discs of your favourite TV show, not worried about damaging discs in the dark and the fact that iTunes content can be played on anything iPhone, iPad etc.

    Also airplay on iPad does wonders when you are playing games it kinda reminds of a WII U. There is plenty to like about Apple TV which many have overlooked.
  10. matt2053 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2012
    I notice differences in two areas only:

    1) Very dark scenes almost always have banding or blocking on the iTunes version. This is noticeable and sometimes annoying for me. But it's a tradeoff I am willing to make to have all digital media collection in the cloud.

    2) There is no HD audio with the iTunes version. I barely noticed this at first, and now I'm completely used to it.

    For pretty much all the rest of the viewing experience, I can tell no difference.
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    It comes as less than Blu-Ray quality obviously due to the video/audio compression in order to be downloadable. Remember, Blu-Ray quality makes a movie 10Gb to 20GB in size. An iTunes HD (1080p) movie is at most 7GB in size.
  12. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    Blu-ray VS itunes 1080 download/

    keep in mind this is only for items purchased from iTunes, the aTV is capable of playing higher quality files.
    I believe with a bit of re-muxing you can get the aTV (the 3 at least) to play uncompressed blu-ray.

    more like 20 to 40 GB.
    (i have a few that are actually 40, not rounding that number)
  13. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    But it does not address the main flaw of the ATV: it's inability to output exact movie framerates.
  14. yliu macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2009
    Blu ray is far better, but you might not see/hear the difference until you get a decent home theater system.
  15. HobeSoundDarryl, Aug 19, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Wow, a lot of varied information in here, so let's cut to the chase...

    BD is superior in both video & sound. Video because it's max standard has the muscle to play a level of (non) compression beyond what :apple:TV3 can play. Less compression (and there are NO "uncompressed" movie or TV show BDs- they're all employing compression) = less pixel detail getting thrown out and then reinvented by the system when it has to put the picture back together again and send it to your TV screen.

    Less audio quality because the best surround sound the :apple:TV3 can muster is the 1992 standard- Dolby Digital (much progress has been made on newer, much better standards since way back then).

    There's also 2 kinds of answers flying in this thread with regards to :apple:TV video files: iTunes video is not necessarily as good as :apple:TV3 can play. Instead, iTunes seems to be someone choosing a "good enough" quality while also attempting to balance total file size (probably for some smoother streaming objective). A little over-compression and the file size can be smaller, smoothing out the stream for people with slower internet connection and/or reducing the delay before it starts playing.

    The other option is to buy the BD and rip your own video from it. It's a fairly big job to get it exactly right but then you can target maximum quality playback for :apple:TV limits rather than targeting smooth streaming. So instead of a file size at- say- 2GB-8GB, you might end up with a rip at 8GB-20GB. What's that get you? Much more picture detail stored in the bigger file.

    :apple:TVs specs still cap out well below what the native BD specs max, and there's always a generational loss in the rip. But, if you go that way, you can make your own choices about quality and end up with something in which it can be very hard to notice a difference (BD vs. :apple:TV) visually (you can't do much about sound- DD must be "good enough" or it's a bust).

    And then there is the fact that :apple:TV is making everything 30fps, where BD will respect the film's original shoot of 24fps. This again involves the computer "inventing" the equivalent of the 6 frames per second to "adjust" it to the 30fps that :apple:TV wants to output. Native is native so one needs to decide for themselves- with their own eyes- if this is a choice-maker or breaker.

    So OP, there you have it. If you are a video and/or audio purist, your only choice is BD or better. :apple:TV is a downgrade but it depends on where you draw the line if you can "settle" for that downgrade in exchange for the other benefits that come with :apple:TV. And if you roll your own- that is, if you're willing to make your own files rather than buy iTunes- you can make them good enough that it's pretty hard to see the difference. Personally, I wish Apple would quit the "hobby" and get serious about the little box, making it at least hardware toe-to-toe with BD players and licensing the audio options to "catch up" with modern sound formats.
  16. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I will only look at TIFF files for pictures!!! JPEG is compressed and therefore inferior. And you all should stop using JPEG files also.

    I take that back...I will only look at RAW files because TIFF's do not contain the original information and are therefore degraded. Who would ever want to look at a degraded picture!!! :eek:

    I am getting so tired of this repetitive BR vs "whatever" discussion. Aren't you?
  17. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    True but most peoples' HDTV (at least in NTSC world) won't play the true frame rates anyways.

    Even most 120hz HDTVs only accept 60HZ input. How can that match 29.97 or 23.98 anyway?

    It's like saying the iPod nano can't play 192khz FLAC files when 99% of the buyers have low bit rate mp3 and AAC files.

    It's a silly argument.

    The AppleTV is about convience.

    Do you value cheap, convenience, and "good enough" quality over spending 5x for "perfect" quality?

    Like everything in life, there are trade offs.
  18. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    :apple:TV vs. BD technology does not result in a 5X more dilemma. There's plenty of BD players that cost less than :apple:TV. Furthermore, it's often possible to find BD movies for less than they cost in iTunes and they can be rented for lower prices than 1080p HD videos can be rented in iTunes. Buying a BD means you actually own the movie (not lifetime lease) giving you the ready ability to fully sell & deliver it to someone else (try that with the iTunes movie purchase). And so on. Whether buying or renting, BD's will deliver the superior picture quality & sound.

    OP is not asking about very real benefits of :apple:TV like convenience. He's questioning the tradeoff in picture & sound quality of one vs. the other. Personally, I'm quite happy with :apple:TV myself in such a debate and I could make a very passionate argument for why someone would go with :apple:TV over BD, but that argument cannot be objectively made on those 2 variables in isolation. If OP wants best picture & sound, there's only one choice. If OP wants to factor in a bunch of other niceties, then :apple:TV has a LOT going for it.
  19. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    I hope the days for compact-disk-based media are counted :)
    (I know, CD-s and DVD-s are still around).
    But the sole convenience of storing huge movie library unnoticed and cheaply on HDD-s vs having shelves full of BD cases, is worth it.
    For me at least.
    I find myself buying BD disks only with Full-HD 3D movies, as there really is no alternative around yet.
  20. Apple Fan 21, Aug 21, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013

    Apple Fan 21 macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    I do also. I think If Apple makes the 4th Gen :apple:TV capable of BD quality video, offered HD SS (DTS HD MA, DD True HD) and offer pick and choose cable channels then :apple: would conquer cable. The tech is there and affordable. Internet connections are getting faster and faster to be able to support a 60 GB BD quality movie down load w/ HD SS. If you have fiber the bandwidth is already there. Add WiFi AC and it would be a clear winner
  21. andymodem macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    This. The one thing that greatly annoys me about the ATV. If it output 24P, it would be the perfect media player IMO.
  22. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    How does it affect your movie experience? Playback speed/screen time? Or is it something else?
    PS here in Europe, we watch all Hollywood movies at 25fps (on TV and DVD at least), so they play all some 5% faster (screen time shorter). If you didn't knew this, you probably couldn't tell the difference.
  23. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    You will see judder, especially on pan's and on the credits. It's kind of un-even hopping. In Europe the 4% speedup thing is also a thing of the past. Blu-Ray made the original speed available here too. And both 24 and 25 fps judder on 60Hz screens.
  24. andymodem macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Just what blanka said below you. My Blu Ray player outputs 24p, and my plasma TV is 72hz so it plays each frame 3 times and it is a noticeable difference between the two.
  25. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    At the moment, no. Especially on the sound front. Movies offered from iTunes, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Youtube, etc all offer heavily compressed video and far from lossless HD audio.

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