RMBP - HD videos not HD? Sharpness lacking

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ArchieNL, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. ArchieNL macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    I recently bought a Retina Macbook Pro and noted that the pictures are amazingly sharp! However, the video playback is really disappointing. The iPad produces better HD playback than the new retina screen.

    I tried:
    - Download HD content from iTunes (720p)
    - Downloaded HD content from the internet (1080p)
    - Youtube HD content (both 720, 1080)

    All lack to switch to HD mode or am i expecting something which is not there yet? The Genius in the apple store couldn't figure it out. The RMBP in the store have the same, so mine is not faulty.

    When i play the movie on my TV through HDMI, it works like a charm.
    Now the movies on my screen look like a DVD-screener.

    Both iTunes and VLC I tried, am i missing an option somewhere?

  2. johnboy586 macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2007
    The resolution of the MBPr is 2880-by-1800, so 1080p videos would need to be upscaled which means they'd lack sharpness.

    They look better on a TV as there being viewed at a native resolution.
  3. ArchieNL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    Thanks, maybe to clarify, they hardly resemble any HD movies since non of the lines etc are sharp. I know that IOs upgrades the movies for iPad use but i would expect a HD-Youtube trailer to look the same and even better on the retina MBP.

    The HD-part is not there. There is a slight increase in quality between 360p and 1080p. Not what i would expect.
  4. TickleMeElmo macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2012
    At best it would look the same, it will NEVER look better. 1080p content will always look best on a displays with 1080 pixels.

    Since 1920 is not a divisor of 2880 each 1 pixel of a 1080p film will have to be interpolated to 1.5 pixels of the 2880x1800 display.

    Moreover, all content on Youtube is terribly compressed, it's not high bitrate by any metric.
  5. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
  6. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Which resolution are you using. Did you switch to 1920X1200?
  7. ArchieNL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    Yes i've tried both checking out the videos at 4k and setting the resolution to 1920. No difference.

    Funny thing is that the MBP in the apple store had the same 'issue' and the Genius said; you should not expect the quality to be as good as a native full HD TV.

    OK, i agree that my expectations might be too high, but the quality is just not good. My HD-ready (720p) TV shows better quality on the movies than my MBP, this technically should not be possible.
  8. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    Use the VLC nightly (downloadable here - select the newest zip x86_64 file at the top of the list) as that version is Retina optimized.

    1080p videos look pretty clear to my eyes using VLC 2.0.2 but obviously 'looking clear' is very much subjective.
  9. ArchieNL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    I've tried this, but no difference again. HD movies still look like the first generation DiVX on the Retina. Let's wait till Mountain Lion and hope for improvement?

    Just frustrating the movies on the IPad are better quality than on my Retina MBP.
  10. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    That's strange. I'm running ML so that might be the reason, but I don't recall any reports of ML improving video playback quality.

    Maybe you're just an extremely discerning consumer :p
  11. Panini macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    Have you tried fitting it into a 1920x1080 section of your screen? (which should take up ~1/4 of it)

    It should look crisp then, since as far as the video is concerned, it is running on 1920x1080 (native res) display.
  12. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Sounds like some sort of software issue. 1080p content should not look too different on the rMBP than on native 1080p screen - true, there is upscaling, but with pixels so small it hardly matters. I guess maybe the video upscaling algorithms are messed up in Lion? Or maybe the software you used uses pixel-doubling instead of correct HiDPI scaling? I can imagine the following happening with non HiDPI-aware software: software threats a 512x512 HiDPI windows (which in fact is 1024x1024 pixels) as 'real' 512x512, downscales the video to 512x512 and is then pixel-doubled by the OS to match the actual resolution. This can be the case with youtube flash videos actually - is Flash HiDPI aware yet?
  13. ArchieNL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    Thanks for the replies so far. New VLC has no effect so getting back to Apple store tomorrow to check it out. My 720p TV has better quality currently than the Retina screen.

    Also I probably need to wait for more updates to come :)
  14. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    Like someone above said, what does 1080p look like in a resized window at 1920x1080? If its fine then presumably there are scaling issues.

    Also, how close are you sitting? Because even blue ray films don't look nice if you get right close to the screen.
  15. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    To be fair you probably sit 10 feet away from your 720p TV, and much closer to your MBP screen.
  16. alphaone macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2003
    My blu ray rips (1080P) all look fantastic on this screen. (Using VLC 2.0.2)

    I also tried playing Truth in 24 II (720p) in itunes and it didn't look all that great, but that's a 720p file with a ton of compression so I wouldn't expect all that much.
  17. ArchieNL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    Can you post a screenshot of this?
    Also when you play http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t56ooXC9VmY can you make a screenshot fullscreen on 1080p setting?

    I would really like to compare it to my screen since more messages are coming in that it looks fine but mine does not.
  18. VFC macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2012
    SE PA.
  19. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    It's not as clear as I expected it to be, but Original does make a difference as you can clearly tell. I had to upload the images to Dropbox because image hosting services would resize the image...

    1080p http://db.tt/cDstYUys
    Original (4K) http://db.tt/SHg8TzYe

    And here's a little test I did. Here's the video details:


    Screenshot: http://db.tt/bIL67fpl

    (VLC 2.0.2 on ML DP4)

    Of course a video isn't going to look as clear on the Retina Pro as on the iPad 3 when you're looking that closely- it has a lower DPI. It's only a 'retina display' when you're sitting at around 2 feet from the display for the Pro and around 1-1.5 feet for the iPhone/iPad.
  20. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    How sharp something will look depends on the resolution of the media, the pixel density of the display, and how far away you are from the screen.

    A 720p 32" TV look great from ten feet away. If you stand one foot away from it suddenly it's a sea of pixels.
  21. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    The only way you would achieve full sharpness is if you drove the display at 2880x1800 and played full-screen 4k video. 1080p will never be able to be "full sharpness" or "extremely crisp" on the retina display. Perhaps if you play in a Window while driving the display at 2880x1800 native res, but not while you are using a video app that employs pixel doubling for simulating 1440x900, 1680x1050, or 1920x1200. You would need to use a 3rd party app to drive the display at 2880x1800, and video the 1080p in a window, or view 4k video fullscreen.
  22. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    A retina-optimized player should be able to play 1080p in a window at native resolution without switching to non-scaled 2880x1800. The default "Best for Retina" setting is 2880x1800, just with HiDPI mode enabled.
  23. Retirer macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2012
    I don't think you understand what Retina means. A retina branded product merely means that you cannot see pixels at normal viewing distance.

    The iPhone 4/4s have retina screens and they have a 320+ dpi because you will be holding it up to your face to look at it.
    The iPad 3 has a retina screen and it has. 260-ish dpi because you will be pretty close to the screen still.
    The Retina MBP has a retina screen and it has a 220-ish dpi because you won't be holding it close to your eye.

    The higher the dpi, the more power consumed, I.e. less battery life and it would get a lot hotter than it already. I honestly cannot tell the difference between my girlfriend's IPad 3 and my rMBP when looking at any stock apps or even Safari/Chrome.

    That aside, you are comparing screens of 3 COMPLETELY different devices. Nothing will ever replace the functionality of an Ultrabook. The IPad 3's functionality doesn't even come close to the usefulness of the rMBP or even the 4s for that matter.

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