This is the absolutely best user-based review of the various high definition digital movie formats out there.
Apple TV 2.0 vs. Blu-Ray, DVD & HD Cable: The Comparison
Very fair, very balanced.
More importantly, this is the first review I’ve seen that doesn’t focus on the technical specifications and argue theoretically about which format should be better. Instead, this article provides actual example frames and examples from a viewer perspective in a very realistic setting.
Gorgeous screen captures and zoomed/cropped images highlight the text along the way.
Definitely a must-read. But, in case you find it too long, here is my take-aways:
- Blu-Ray wins, but only matters if you actually have a 1080P set.
- AppleTV HD is surprisingly good, despite being 720p.
- Comcast HD seems to be the loser here, although color is better.
- All 3 are noticeably better than upconverted DVD (once again, on a 1080P set)
The article ends up arguing that Netflix may have the best model here… but I’m not 100% sure. I’m currently in a movie buying freeze right now as I debate what form my HD library will eventually take. It’s hard for me to consider a format that I can’t use freely on multiple devices (Blu-Ray), but it’s also hard for me to consider a rental option where I don’t have the movie at my disposal. A Blu-Ray disc that comes with a DRM-protected iTunes MP4 would work for me, since I’d happy pay the $20 per disc to have a physical copy and the freedom to have a file that I can use on any device.
Too bad no one is providing that… yet.