“Apple calls them ‘high-definition movie rentals,’ but to people familiar with Blockbuster Video, Netflix, and HD cable box alternatives, Apple TV 2.0’s new ability to download and play back certain 720p movies is more of a “video on demand” service—with certain advantages and limitations. So how do Apple’s HD movie downloads compare with DVDs, Blu-Ray Discs, and currently available HD video on demand content? We did a direct comparison to help you see the differences,” Charles Starrett reports for iLounge.
“What impressed us about the Apple TV rental was that the video, despite needing to be sent over the Internet rather than residing comfortably on a DVD or Blu-Ray Disc, exhibited little in the way of motion blur or compression artifacts—it looked as good as could be expected from 720p, which is to say comfortably better than DVD quality, but shy of the best a Blu-Ray Disc can offer on a top TV. The Apple TV video also contained a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio track, which the HD cable version did not, and its sound didn’t suffer from obvious compression issues like the cable version did,” Starrett reports.
“Apple TV provides an option that’s in the upper middle of the pack on quality and the best on convenience, so long as you’re willing to pay the $229-$329 cost of entry,” Starrett reports.
Full article, with many comparison images — highly recommended — here.