HD Rental vs. Upscaled DVD

With the much-discussed Apple TV HD Movie Rentals now available, I thought I’d conduct my own comparison to see how much better the quality was.  Here are some photos (click on the photo for a better look):

DVD

sd-full-screen.jpg

HD Rental

hd-full-screen.jpg

DVD (Close-up)

 sd-close-up.jpg

HD Rental (Close-up)

hd-close-up.jpg

 The Verdict:

The verdict is that the HD Rental is clearly superior in picture quality, the question is how much superior.  Part of the issue is that my TV is 37 inches.  Large enough to notice a difference, but not large enough to make it super significant.  The other thing is that these photos were taken from about 3 feet away (with an optical zoom used for the close-ups).  Back up to a normal viewing distance and you can still tell the difference, but its much more difficult.  Where there clearly is a difference through is between the SD Rental and a DVD rip.  The SD rentals are not nearly the quality as DVD rips are.

A few technical details…  The Apple TV output is set at 1080p outputting to a 37-inch 1080p LCD panel.  The “DVD” file was a legally ripped copy (I own the DVD) from HandBrake with a resolution of 834*352 and a bitrate of 2998 kilobits/sec.

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