stupid retina question

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Epicsack, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Epicsack macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2010
    If i want to watch a 4k video do i need an app to change the native resolution? does it stay in that simulated 1400x900 to get the retina effect or does it scale the video to the panels native resolution?
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Download: switchresx (
    It lets you adjust to any resolution you like. This is also good for the retina scroling lag.
    I dont think you will see any difference with 4k imo. If never tried this though.
  3. Wuiffi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2011
    it scales down the video to the native display resolution (2880x1800).

    hope that is answer enough :)
  4. Epicsack thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2010
    hmmm. not really the answer Im looking for. If I play a 4k video in full screen does it scale the video to native 2880 x 1800 or is it using the 1400 x 900 "retina" 4 subpixel
  5. macsForLife macrumors member


    Jul 8, 2008
    Not sure what you mean...the video fills the's not going to play the video at 1440x900 if it can play it at 2880x1800. Basically, it should be fine. The whole point of 4k isn't for bigger displays, its for more sharpness...just like the Retina display. Hence, of course, the image on a 60 inch 1080p TV and a 60 inch 4k TV will be the same size...but of course there are four times the pixels making up the image, hence the increased sharpness. Same here. So, I guess technically you could say that it is "scaling" it to 1440x900 "size"...but really it's scaling it to 15.4" in size, across a screen that is 2880x1800. If there were enough pixels for 4k, it would play it in full 4k. The number of pixels only increases the sharpness, assuming the display can handle it. For example, a 1440x900 MBP might accidentally blow the video up way bigger than the screen when trying to play, because it's drawing the pixels 1:1, until you force it to fit the screen. Almost always, a video will be drawn 1:1 unless you fit to fullscreen, thereby forcing the computer to scale it to the proper resolution.

    I really can't wait until we hit resolution independence...but then of course people will forget about pixels...and that might be a bad thing. Really interested to see where we are in 10-15 years.
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thats the same thing, as the retina sub pixel in this case is the pixel. If you have HiDPI content (such as 4K), it is rendered using all available physical pixels. So yes, drawing 4K content on retina screen will give you best possible image quality. Otherwise there wouldn't be much point to the retina display, would there?


    I think thats not a bad thing at all, even more, its a next natural step. People are too fixated on pixels and they usually forget that pixels are a dirty hack in the first place, something that was only introduced because of our limited technology to display image data. Once the resolution of the displays (and the capability f processing hardware) is high enough, pixels and all the corresponding nonsense like multi-sampling will be forgotten. What is important for image data is its spatial resolution - how much information is encoded per area unit of data. We are on our best way to move away from pixels and use natural units (such as cm) in the UI. That would make so much more sense!

    P.S. Regarding computer games - I wonder why people are still so fixated on resolutions. I mean, a non-native resolution will be blurry anyway, so why not make it more flexible? A much better option would be a performance/blurriness slider. First, it would allow the user to select exactly the IQ/fps tradeoff they are willing to take; second, it would prevent all the mess dealing with screen resolution changing within the application, as it will always run at native resolution. In fact, this is the preferred way to run OpenGL apps on OS X and Apple has been advocating this for a while.
  7. macsForLife macrumors member


    Jul 8, 2008
    I agree with you basically, I just think it's funny that eventually most people might not actually have to understand pixels in order to work with images and video. In the future, you'll just a screen...and that's it. It will just show everything....and you will be able to scale it to whatever size you need on that screen. I think Apple is definitely going to be one of the driving forces behind this finally happening.

    That's a good point about games...and I think i've heard others suggest similar things. I think it's basically because pixels are still easy to use in order to measure sharpness of the image. There aren't many games still, even on a monster gaming rig, that can run much higher than 1080p without some serious compromises being made in lighting/shadows, AA, effects, particles, etc...when we start seeing 4k gaming at or above 60 fps becoming a reality, I think that's when we will finally see resolution-independant gaming become a thing.
  8. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    When HiDPI first came out, some applications were not aware of the actual pixels involved and did render to the apparent resolution. Most quickly caught on and fixed the issue.
  9. Epicsack thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2010
    Thank you.

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