Videos are going to be physically smaller on 17 inch MBP, help?!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by keysersoze311, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. keysersoze311 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #1
    Hi guys,

    Here is my dilemma. I currently own a black 13 inch macbook, from the previous generation, and am considering upgrading to the new 17 inch macbook pro. I'm mainly attracted to the extra screen size and the battery life.

    On my current laptop, I watch a lot of music videos etc, and if I were to switch to the 17 inch mbp, I would transfer the videos over.

    But the problem is, the 17 inch macbook pro has more pixels per square inch than my current macbook. Which means, if I were to play a music video at its native resolution, the video would be physically smaller on the 17 inch mbp, and the video would be physically larger on the 13 macbook.

    Here's my question really, using some arbitrary figures.

    If a music video is 9 inches x 6 inches on my macbook 13 inch, let's pretend the same video is only 6 inches x 4 inches on the 17 inch mbp - it would smaller because the pixels are more concentrated on the 17 inch mbp.

    So, if I were to then stretch the video on the 17 mbp, so it was also 9 inches x 6 inches, would the video look as good as it does on the 13 inch macbook?

    I would have to stretch the video to make it as big as it is on the 13 inch mbp, and the video would no longer be playing at its native resolution.

    I would imagine theoretically the image would be superior on the 13 inch macbook pro, because the 9 inch x 6 inch video is being played at its native resolution.

    If I get a 17 inch macbook pro, I don't want to watch my music videos at a smaller physical size than I currently do (on my 13 inch mbp), and I also don't want to lose any picture quality.

    If anything, I want to stretch the videos so they're bigger than they are on my current macbook 13. I want to take advantage of the extra screen size.

    So, does the very high density of pixels mean that low resolution videos look rubbish if you blow them up?

    If so, I wish apple made a 17 inch macbook pro with a lower resolution display. If I'm playing (relatively low resolution) DVDs/music videos in fullscreen, would they look better on a 17 inch mbp, if it had a lower res display? Say 1200x720, or whatever?

    Or would it not make any difference?

    Would the low res videos look the same in fullscreen on a 17 mbp with 1920x1080, and exactly the same on a hypothetical 17 mbp with 1200x720? Perhaps they'd even look better on the higher res screen? I really don't know...

    Because I'm not going to be watching many full HD 1080p videos on my laptop, I'll be watching music vids from itunes, and DVDs. No blu ray drive included, and no full HD filmd/tv shows available (not in the UK, anyway).

    Sorry this has been so long winded, but any advice is much appreciated.

    Basically I'm just wondering if my vids will look rubbish if I play them at anything close to fullscreen.

    My main reason for buying the 17 mbp is so I can watch my movies etc at a larger size, not a smaller size!

    Thanks
     
  2. ColinEC macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    #2
    I believe the videos would still measure exactly the same regardless of the increased screen size.

    On my 20" iMac's screen compared to a 13" MacBook screen, YouTube videos (for example) look exactly the same.

    If a video is 9x6 on my MacBook, it'd still be 9x6 on my iMac.
     
  3. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #3
    Please sir, think of this logically. Just because the video is being scaled doesn't mean that it's going to lower quality. If anything it will look a little crisper on your 17 inch display.

    You're not taking into account the different pixel densities specific to the 17 inch Macbook Pro. The 17 incher is speacial because it has a higher pixel density than the other Mac screens.
     
  4. keysersoze311 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 7, 2009
    #4
    Thanks for clearing that up and answering my question.

    But I don't see what "logic" has to do with it. I simply didn't know - I assumed scaling would impair picture quality, that's all. I'm sure I had read that somewhere, I just wanted clarification.

    Thank you.
     
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #5
    No, the OP is right. Video sizes are based on the number of linear pixels, not physical lengths like inches or cm.



    I wouldn't worry about it too much. With the larger screen, you'll naturally sit further back, and remember, there's really no such thing as "resolution" anyway. It depends on distance from the screen. Advertising billboards would have a pixel density of something like 1 pixel per inch, and you'd never be able to tell unless you were really really close to it. Even the most expensive 100" HDTVs will look like crap unless you sit far away, since they're all 1920 x 1080 pixels regardless of their size.

    Anyway, the pixel density of the 13.3" MB and 15.4" MBP are essentially the same, at around 113 ppi. That means a 9" x 6" video on your MB will also appear as a 9" x 6" on a 15" MBP. The physical size of the screen doesn't affect the video size because the pixel density is the same. If you want to know how much extra desktop space you'd get if you owned a 15" MBP instead of a 13" MB, just use a ruler and imagine having an extra 1.8" in horizontal length on your MB's screen.

    However, the 17" MBP has a pixel density of around 133 ppi, which is around 20% greater than pixel density of a MB or 15" MBP. On the 17" MBP, the video would be approximately 7.5" x 5", which isn't so bad.

    People always forget that resolution is more about linear pixel density, not just the total number of pixels. Sure, the 17" MBP has 2.3x the number of pixels of a 13" MB, but that doesn't mean the image you see will be 2.3x smaller in terms of dimensions. ;)


    Anyway, IMO, the videos would look better on a 17" MBP if shown at native resolution because smaller images always look better (they hide flaws), and also because of the higher pixel density. Same with the overall image you get while not watching video. :) However, if you view something at full screen, and you move back by a few inches to compensate for the larger screen, it'll look more pixellated. People naturally don't do that, so I think you'll move back.
     
  6. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

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    #6
    scaling doesn't affect a video per se... however, the larger the video the more pixelation you can see, this is inherit with scaling. But, if you were to watch the video on a theater sized screen with the resolution of your Macbook it will just look awful. The video would be played at full resolution, but the pixels would be bigger. So if you think about it, it's really just dependent on how large you make the video, the resolution has nothing to do with it really.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    I don't know which resolution you're referring to (i.e., screen, or video file), but they both have an effect on the quality you see.


    If the OP insists on watching video at full screen size, AND he's sitting the same distance from the screen as he does when using an MB (say around 2 feet), then yes, he'll see more pixellation. However, if he purposely sits 3 feet away from the screen, or he does so naturally simply due to the size of the 17" MBP, it'll probably look to be of the same quality.

    Photographers have the same problem, and in photography, there's a really simple equation to determine what ppi you need to not affect image quality, at least from the viewer's perspective. ;) Same would apply here, except video is different.
     
  8. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

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    #8
    Yes, but the image will be the same quality at full resolution on the 13 inch screen (let's say that makes it 7x9 inches) as 7x9 inches on a 17 inch screen, even though the image is scaled. The only "loss" in quality would be due to the comparison of what an image at the native resolution on the 17 inch screen is.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    So you're saying that a video shown at native resolution/size on a 13" MB, which will be 7"x9" in size on that screen for example, will be of the same quality on a 17" MBP's screen when shown at 7" x 9" in size, even though the resolution of the video needs to be scaled up (i.e., interpolated) to make this possible?? :confused:


    How?
     
  10. shoppy macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Here you go. I can end this by showing you the same clip on a 13" 15" and 17" unibody macbooks. It really depends on the settings used in the initial encoding. I will post photos in a few minutes, will go and grab the camera and my other machines.

    I have ripped a dvd of kung fu panda into avi and checked it on my 3 laptops and paused them all at 1min 21sec. However my camera battery has died so will have to wait for a bit longer. Ripped to 720x480.
     
  11. shoppy macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Here are some photos as promised, hope it helps.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. jmark macrumors member

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    Jan 5, 2006
    #12
    Assuming you calibrate the screen correctly, I think the overall improvement in screen quality will more than compensate for any degradation from video scaling.

    Also you may well find the smaller-sized (native resolution) videos on the 17" to be perfectly watchable anyway.

    I also transitioned from a 13" black MacBook to the 17" unibody. The overall display quality of the 17" is very noticeably improved. Especially if you ever move your head when viewing anything.
     

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