Quality of iTunes SD TV content?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by randian, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. randian macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 15, 2014
    #1
    I'm thinking of acquiring some TV shows on iTunes that are only available in SD, like Roswell and Xena: Warrior Princess. I was wondering how the video and audio quality holds up compared to that of the DVD releases. If you haven't seen these shows specifically your general experience is still appreciated.
     
  2. Longkeg macrumors regular

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    #2
    DVD resolution and SD digital files are are generally the same: 720 X 480 pixels although that "480" may be adjusted downward to accommodate wider screen formats. Roswell was 1999 (loved it) and Xena was 1995. Back then most people still had SD CRT TVs. Although the shows might have been shot in HD they almost certainly didn't air in HD. As these were popular shows, DVDs of each season would have been released shortly after each season concluded. So the question is did they ever release HD versions on Blue Ray. Apparently not.

    Back to your question... a properly encoded SD digital file, and Apple is very good at encoding, should be very close to to the DVD playback. You may lose some audio quality but unless you have a super duper home theater system I doubt you'd notice it.
     
  3. benjitek macrumors 6502a

    benjitek

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    #3
    Play some YouTube videos at the resolutions you're curious about.
     
  4. randian thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I'm no sure that's representative. No guarantee the author is using anything like Apple's encode process. A good deinterlacer is especially important when transcoding a DVD source. Also, it's unclear what master Apple used for these older shows. Transcoded DVD? Lazy, and lots of potential for motion artifacts.

    Mainly I'm interested in how clear and artifact-free (jaggies, motion, combing) the iTunes versions are.
     
  5. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #5
    I'd recommend to buy a single episode for a dollar to check the quality before buying whole seasons. Most newer shows in SD that I have are good (comparable to good DVDs), but I recently downloaded an episode of Babylon 5 and it was really crappy (in particular lots of aliasing), worse than the already mediocre DVDs. As a result, I went through the work of ripping all 5 seasons from my DVDs ...
     
  6. BJMRamage macrumors 68020

    BJMRamage

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    #6
    what about a preview? can you watch the Preview for a show for an episode(s)?

    then you can make your own decision. sure the snippets are only 30seconds but a few clips of different episodes or seasons should be helpful.
     
  7. randian thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Pretty much what I ended up doing. The quality was surprisingly good for SD.
     
  8. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #8
    From my experience they are not always representative of the actual encode of the full episodes (but usually they are worse).
     
  9. randian thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    For reasons which escape me Xena season 1 isn't available on iTunes, only seasons 2-6 are.
     
  10. Longkeg macrumors regular

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    #10
    I'm not certain but I'd bet a dollar that it's all about money and contracts. Interestingly, Amazon doesn't seem to offer a streaming option at all. They will sell you all seasons on DVD though.

    In 1995 when the actors/producers signed contracts and entered into their various deals that determined their share of the rerun and DVD payments, no one had any idea that streaming or digital were on the horizon. To offer digital copies somebody has to go back to all parties and renegotiate. Chances are somebody who appeared in season 1, for whatever reason, either wouldn't or couldn't agree to a new deal. The DVD rights were negotiated back in the 90s so DVDs are available but season 1 on digital isn't.
     
  11. randian thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Vudu has season 1, but not 5 or 6. You're right, something is screwy with the show's rights. I would have thought that contracts preventing this would have been standard 30 years ago. Surely studios cannot tolerate lone holdouts interfering with their business.

    Then again, you still see shows that don't have original music (Roswell) in their video release when you'd think that negotiating affordable rights for the inevitable video release up front would be the smart and standard thing to do ever since video rights became a standard thing (which is long before Roswell).
     
  12. Longkeg macrumors regular

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    #12
    25 years ago they would have negotiated for first run, rerun, VHS and DVD. They simply couldn't conceive of any other revenue streams. Then along came iTunes and a new revenue stream was born. The lawyers soon caught up to the technology and these rights are now a routine part of a contract. As for those older shows with pre-iTunes contracts: Do you think the studios would be able to pay the teams of lawyers it would take to straighten out the rights issues with the profits from a couple of seasons of Xena Warrior Princess?
     

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