Upscaling Apple TV 4 on 4K - Quality?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by macsplusmacs, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. macsplusmacs macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014

    Originally we were looking for a larger 1080p TV for our Apple TV which we use to consume 99.999% of our content:

    Direct TV now
    Itunes movies
    iTunes TV shows
    Film struck
    Youtube etc.

    But then I read random threads where people said with a good upscaler in your TV that you could use an Apple TV 4 and the quality (WOULD NOT BE 4K) but might actually a little sharper then 1080p.

    My question:

    Does anyone here use an Apple TV with this Sony which I have read has a fantastic upscaler:

    Sony 65" 850D 4K HDR

    Our goal is actually not necessary sharper Apple TV content (but would be nice) our main goal is for the Apple TV 4 content and interface not to look blocky and chunky. And if we go with this TV that we can hang onto it for a few years on.

    I'm afraid to pull the plug on this tv. get it delivered, setup and when we finally turn it on find out that the 1080p nature of the Apple TV makes everything look pixelated on this TV.

  2. HobeSoundDarryl, Dec 26, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    1080p (or 1080i) source shouldn't be able to look "a little sharper" on a 4K TV. What's happening there is the TV is inventing (by best guessing) pixels to fill up the picture. If it could magically guess perfectly (as if a quality 4K camera shot the exact frames being viewed), then yes, it would look sharper than 1080p. But it can't do that. Instead, it should display the 1080p about as good as it can possibly be viewed.

    On the other extreme, it won't look pixelated either. 1080p is pretty dense video imagery. Scaling it up to 4K by inventing some pixels in between will still look very good. Think about watching DVDs on your HDTV. While those videos are definitely not HD, they also don't look pixelated even though the TV is significantly upscaling them.

    Where you are going to notice most is when you watch 4K content for a while and then switch to something that is 1080p or 1080i or 720p. That is likely to have the same "fuzzy" effect that watching HD for a while and then switching to something in SD. In short: your eyes will notice the difference (but it won't be a dramatic difference).

    Best suggestion: put some 1080p video on a USB stick and head for your local Best Buy. Demo with that video and see what you think from about the distance you'll sit away from that set.
  3. macsplusmacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    thank you. what a great idea!

    And yes. I plan on staying away from 4K content for exactly that reason. I'm very into the iTunes eco system for my content and once that switches over I will buy a new Apple TV. and with this tv instead of a 1080p at least the tv will be ready.
  4. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    May I make one more suggestion since you seem to be a quality (of picture) minded person? I suggest rethinking that stance of "staying away from 4K" particularly in terms of how you might shoot your own video with- say- your iPhone. Shooting anything you can in 4K creates a master copy ready for that future :apple:TV5 "now with 4K." You can always render a 1080p version of the same file to enjoy for now.

    I say this because Apple has basically equipped everyone with the opportunity to capture video at 4K, edit it & render it out in 4K and even store it as a 4K video in iTunes. In short, all the pieces are in place for 4K via an all-Apple chain except only this one link in the chain.

    A lot of stuff people shoot with their phones may not be super important to them. But some stuff can't be reshot in the future when Apple finally gets around to rolling out the "5." Rather than allowing Apple's lack of that "5" decide for you, you can always shoot in 4K and downscale to 1080p for a render. Then, when Apple finally catches up with all of the rest of their hardware & software by making this one remaining thing capable of 4K, you jettison the 1080p renders and drop in the 4K master files. Then, you'll have a bunch of stuff to watch that maxes out your TV's visual capability instead of having to start from that point.
  5. macsplusmacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    Good points.

    I find myself not shooting much video beyond the cat doing something crazy in our house (we don't have kids and we are not outdoor people that hike etc.). I -thought- I would take much more video then I seem too. Even bought the 256gig iPhone 7S.

    I think between my day job and life, and so much good tv shows on (Westworld, game of thrones, The expanse etc. Filmstruck films) I find myself flipping just to the content others have created.

    I think if we had kids it would be a different matter though! all kids videos all the time would prob. be what we would do. That would definitely get us to watch more 4K content.
  6. danox574 macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2010
    The 850D is among the stronger 1080p->4K upscale in it's price range. That being said, make sure your 1080p video stick has the type of content you usually watch - news, dreary horror films, kids shows, etc. The performance of this varies on type of content. Make sure your 1080p video is matching your content compression if possible. That being said, watching Netflix is video that's full of compression artifacts when streamed in 1080p and the upscalers are not kind to it - if you use uncompressed 1080p video (like a Blu-Ray) and copy that uncompressed to the stick, you aren't being fair for the comparison.

    Also, determine your watching distance and check your results from that distance. You will likely dislike them all if you are too close.

    I have several devices in my theater that will upscale - Yamaha RX-A3060 receiver, I just went from an Oppo BDP-105 to a BDP-203, and a Sony TV (940D), a 4K Roku (Premier or ultimate or something, I forget the name) and I think the Sony is really doing the best job.

    And, I hate to say it because you didn't ask, consider trying a $100-$150 4K capable Roku. I have the AppleTV as well but I did want the 4K content from Amazon, Netflix, etc. and wasn't willing to wait, and found the device to be absolutely delightful. I was pleasantly surprised and the AppleTV is mostly retired because of it.
  7. macsplusmacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014
    actually I'll prob. just expand on HobeSoundDarryl's idea and bring in my Apple TV. with all I would need from them is a password to their wifi. LOL.

    that being said, for our budget and if as you say the 850D is among the better ones I will prob. settle on this due to the HDR and reviews of it and picture quality.

    speaking to your other point, this model seems to be a full fledged android tv so I can jump into that side if I really want to watch some 4K content. and another plus is that they have the amazon prime video app built in. kinda cool since we watch that from time to time and amazon have not shipped it for Apple TV yet. (but I imagine they are close now that apple dropped the cut they take for 3rd party video providers like HBO, amazon etc.)

    will defiantly measure our distance though. we will be moving a couch around later today so I can do an accurate measurement.

    thank you!
  8. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    i was exclusively using my aTV4 (plex, hbo, showtime, netflix) and occasionally the smart features of my old tv (amazon)
    i don't have a cable box

    just upgraded to a LG 4K OLED. (from 50" plasma to 55" OLED)
    using the apps on the tv for netflix and amazon,
    plex is probably 80% on tv, 20% on the aTV, but shifting more to the TV (just depends on what i was doing before, and i'm starting to shift my library to h265 which the tv handles natively)
    aTV for HBO and showtime.

    the image from the aTV is great. not blocky or chunky at all. (menus included)
    1080 content is great, looks better than my old TV (mostly uncompressed blu-ray rips)
    720 looks great too.
    even have some old SD shows in my library that still look pretty good.
    and the netflix, amazon, and youtube content in 4K is pretty amazing.
  9. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    I think it looks pretty good. I have a 50 inch 4K LG in the bedroom and everything looks really sharp. I even stream 4K videos through Plex and a home server and they look noticeably better. I thought the ATV4 wouldn't be able to handle this, but it streams no problem. I'd go with a 4K TV either way, the content will come over time, along with a new 4K ATV, of course.
  10. macsplusmacs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2014

    Apple TV gen 4 hooked up to Vizio M 65" and things look great!

    thank you all who gave me input and device.

    Could not be happier.
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I was going to reply to let you know depending on the old TV it could look even better.

    I was AirPlaying my Mac to my 46" Samsung 1080p LCD (2009 model) and test looked pretty bad. You could use it but it wasnt pleasant. Now I have a new 65" Samsung Series 9 and text is very sharp.

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