How Apple’s iTunes Store could deliver High Definition for Apple TV

Apple Store“When Apple’s iTunes Music Store introduced video at 320×240 resolution back in October 2005, it raised a number of questions: how would it scale up? How could they manage movies at that paltry resolution? The iPod’s video hardware is so limited, how could it even scale up to 640×480? All of the anxiety about complex solutions were laid to rest after Apple introduced the movies and a firmware upgrade that got a lot more performance out of existing hardware. I argue that similar things will happen in the transition to High-Def video for the Apple TV,” Adam T. Lindsay blogs.

Lindsay writes, “Apple’s solution was simple: all videos would be delivered at a high-quality 640×480 maximum resolution, encoded with the H.264 video codec. The firmware on the fifth generation iPod was updated, and impressively so (from 900 macroblocks in MPEG-4 to 1200 with H.264 encoding), so no dual delivery formats were needed. Simplicity is maintained.”

“With the introduction of the Apple TV, and the accompanying hand-wringing about the relatively poor quality of 640×360 pixel movies shown on HDTVs, attention is turning to how Apple plans to deliver High Definition content to the Apple TV. I don’t think the current iPods can be made to understand a high definition stream. While some may imagine a multiple format delivery scenario as predicted before the introduction of movies, I think Apple has another potential trick up its sleeve,” Lindsay writes.

Lindsay writes, “The technology is an extension to H.264, Scalable Video Coding (SVC), and it was scheduled to reach the Final Draft Amendment stage last week…”

Full article here.


  1. I’m not waiting for “when they this” and “when they that”. I am enjoying my AppleTV already, and the quality of today’s iTS videos is great.

    I don’t know what you guys are on about. You actually lose out by waiting for your “perfect” little device.

    just my opinion

  2. How do you know that TV will be upgradeable to HD? Seriously–that’s the only thing holding me up from buying one. I read the article, but is there any signal from Apple that this is really the case?

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