Apple TV 2.0 vs. Blu-Ray, DVD and HD Cable

“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.

27 Comments

  1. Uhm. Yes, your mac mini can already do that stuff through itunes and Front Row. No need for an aTV box if your mini is hooked up to your TV.

    Also, I think it’s interesting that the review talks about “so long as you’re willing to pay the $229-$329 cost of entry,” but ignores the $400+ cost of entry for Blu-Ray players.

  2. There will be no HD option for your Mini, because there’s no DVI-HDCP or HDMI connection. RIAA and the studios won’t let you get their HD otherwise. Standard Def okay, HD no way. I too, have an old Mac connected to my HD tv, and would love to use FrontRow to get HD movies like the AppleTV, but I know the best I can do is get HD podcasts, and HD photos.

  3. @Alex “Uhm. Yes, your mac mini can already do that stuff through itunes and Front Row. No need for an aTV box if your mini is hooked up to your TV.”

    ————————–

    No, it can’t.

    The HD rentals are ONLY available directly from Apple TV. You can rent a movie from iTunes on your computer, but only in SD.

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