Streaming video

Here in Valhalla we are considering the virtues of Apple TV. How does the video and audio compare with Blu-Ray? And are the UK terrestrial catch-up channels (beyond iPlayer) supported?



I listen, therefore I am. I am, therefore I listen.

Original Post

Lower maximum bit rate than BluRay for video.  Audio is limited to AAC (iirc) certainly no DTS-HD Master Audio or DD True HD. I don't think ITV or C4 catch up is available.

Amazon TV may be better option unless you require specific Apple support (eg iTunes, Apple Music, etc).

Thanks Eloise. AV system is analogue only (pace HDMI for video) but it's the whole bit rate thing that worries me. I like the idea of an app based system and cheaper film costs and the versatility of being able to share between devices,but I want maximum quality, naturellement.

Oh, this is confusing!  We have an Apple TV feeding streaming TV from our imac to our panasonic TV.  And it seemas like a wonderful little box of tricks.  

However, we have also just invested the princely sum of £35 in an Amazon fire TV stick, in order to see what all the fuss is about.  And it's also really rather good.  So much so that we ate now considering cancelling the Netflix subscription and reverting back to Amazon Prime.  

The Amazon Prime service used to be really wonderful when it was, then Amazon absolutely ruined the user interface, making it unfathomable. So we stopped trying to fathom it and switched to Netflix.  Netflix has been great for the first year or so, streamed over the very clunky Virgin Tivo box, then something strange happened.  Despite having 8,000,000,001 films to choose from, we couldn't find anything new to watch.  Very strange. So now we are back with Amazon Prime, only with the fire TV stick interface and it's a much better service.

There, errant ramble over.  Now, when it comes to image quality, out humble Panasonic blu ray wins hands down. The other services are more DVD sort of quality, which is still fine for us but not spectacular like blu ray.

Then again, we are also about to buy one of those 4k HDR jobbies and despite having mortal human vision, we can still readily detect the improvement of 4k over an HD picture from across the room (over 12 feet away).

So, fro all of this, what does appear to be the answer.  For us, it is a combination of Amazon Fire TV Stick with Amazon Prime streaming service over broadband internet for most things, then a 4k TV, one of the brand new 4k blu ray disc players and some expensive discs for the occasional very special film.

Hope this helps, if only a little. FT

I use an AppleTV to stream Netflix to a projector - works well. Also can use as an interface for downloaded films on a NAS. It has numerous other svices but none are of interest as they all seem to be subscription. I understand there are several similar boxes available geared to different service, though I forget the names. One I saw in use a year or so ago was a Chinese family watching Hong Kong TV channels in Britain - the box looked virtually identical to the AppleTV.

I'd happily upgrade the projector to 4k: my screan is 12ft wide - nominally 160"- and my viewing distance is 11ft, so I can see the HD pixels, though only just as it is on the limit of sharp focus that size that distance away (as opposed to being almost too small to resolve).  However, I'm not prepared to entertain the ridiculous cost of 4k projectors, and my existing one is only about 2 years old anyway. Hopefully by the tome it reaches end of life projectors will have dropped to a mere fraction of present price and films in that definition will be commonplace. 

In 2012 Ars Technica compared an iTunes movie download with its Blu-ray equivalent. The Blu-ray won out, but it was close, closer than they first imagined, when considering the relative file sizes.

It's also worth keeping in mind that if you have your own DVD or Blu-ray rips you are free to encode the files with very high bit rates for playback in something like Plex. I've found 8 Mbps gets me a file that is indistinguishable from it's Blu-ray source which is likely closer to 20 Mbps.

You have good options with audio. Yes it's lossy but you've got up to 640 Kbps in Dolby Digital. The 4th gen Apple TV supports Dolby Digital Plus which maxes out at 6 Mbps. It's not the 18 Mbps of Dolby TrueHD but pretty respectable. You are not going to get these rates on most downloads, but again, when encoding your own rips, you have a good deal of flexibility if you don't mind pushing the file size up a bit.

Oh FT, yo've gone and blown it now. I had put Amazon Prime on the back burner and now you tell me it's rather good. Pooh!

I love the quality of BluRay video and audio  even on our relatively modest (£200) Pioneer blu ray player. I don't mind oayig a bit extra for the quality and owning the media, but I would like the flexibility of the Apple TV.

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