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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Blu-Ray Player vs. iPad / Apple TV

Blu-Ray Player vs. iPad / Apple TV
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Jun 29, 2014, 09:24 AM
 
We don't watch many movies, but we do enjoy the high quality of blu ray and are debating buying one. Another option we are exploring is buying an apple TV and downloading everything from iTunes and watching it over an apple TV. Does iTunes offer downloads in the high quality that a blu ray player / blu ray disk would offer, and would that extremely high amount of data be able to transfer over a home wifi network onto an apple TV?

Another advantage to this method is that once you buy something, you can download it again for free, so we wouldn't need to store lots of disks or store all of our movies on our hard drive. Any back-falls to this plan?

Thanks
     
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Jun 29, 2014, 10:16 AM
 
We've used a central home server and Apple TVs for ages now, but this would work just as well from an Apple TV with iTunes-purchased content without the server assuming you don't want to store your own media.

Apple's iTunes from a host computer, either a home server or a personal computer on OS X or Windows is a pretty decent media manager, and the addition of a few tools for existing media will allow you to migrate anything you already own on DVD to it. There's a small learning curve to do that, but nothing nasty.

I personally prefer a wired network for an Apple TV, but our network is pretty expansive. That said, we've had no problems streaming wirelessly when a cable's been unplugged accidentally, even with multiple people streaming.

Blu-Ray disks are large, yes. Files for iTunes are much smaller, and compressed differently (I hesitate to say better). A 720p encoded two-hour movie is about 2-4GB from iTunes.

Here's some handy tools that I use:

VLC: media "can opener." More on this in a minute. (free)
VideoLAN - Official page for VLC media player, the Open Source video framework!

Handbrake - in conjunction with VLC, can "rip" and encode DVDs for iTunes. Not the easiest interface, but free.
HandBrake: Open Source Video Transcoder

MetaZ - tag editor for making videos' metadata really nice for iTunes. Also free.
MetaZ by griff

Parsley is Atomically Delicions - another tag editor, I like it for tagging television shows. Also free.
Parsley is Atomically Delicious

There are more paid tools that I use, but I really don't recommend any specifically. I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Hm. Maybe I'll put this all in an article.
     
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Jun 29, 2014, 08:18 PM
 
Blu-Ray is noticeably better than an iTunes movie. If you can deal with that, go AppleTV.
     
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Jun 30, 2014, 03:47 AM
 
This. Bluray has a much higher bitrate, which means more details even if the resolution is the same.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jun 30, 2014, 03:49 AM
 
I have to admit, I like the quality of a Blu Ray, but there is the convenience factor wit iTunes of not having to store your media locally.

Question: When using an Apple TV, can you download directly to your Apple TV from iTunes, or do you have to download it to an iPad/iPhone/Mac and transfer that via Wifi to the Apple TV and then your TV?

I know a Mac Compatable Blu Ray player is available, but I don't want to have to rip everything before I want to watch is, and storing even a few Blu Rays at the high quality is using a lot of data. Also, the Blu Ray Player I'm thinking of is external, thus clumsy.
     
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Jun 30, 2014, 09:18 AM
 
lately, a lot of bluray movies I've bought have come with a digital copy (and a non-bluray dvd)
     
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Jun 30, 2014, 10:27 AM
 
Certain movies I want to watch the best available version. Like Blade Runner. Otherwise, I suck it up because physical media is a pain in the ass.
     
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Jun 30, 2014, 10:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
I have to admit, I like the quality of a Blu Ray, but there is the convenience factor wit iTunes of not having to store your media locally.
This. Properly encoded video is really, really nice. Plus, services like Netflix can come VERY, VERY close to the BluRay, depending on the source material and available bandwidth.

I liken this to the MP3, High bit rate AAC, FLAC/ALAC discussion. At some point, you've got 80-90 percent of the quality of the original "best," and that's good enough. Video "snobs" (not calling anybody names, here!) won't ever accept iTunes or Netflix as good enough just because of the lossy compression. Audio snobs won't ever accept MP3 or HBR AAC for the same reason.

Try and find somebody with an Apple TV. Give them a few bucks to rent a movie you want to see in the best possible way, and check it out. See if it works for you.

Question: When using an Apple TV, can you download directly to your Apple TV from iTunes, or do you have to download it to an iPad/iPhone/Mac and transfer that via Wifi to the Apple TV and then your TV?
Purchases from iTunes don't have to live on a computer first.

I know a Mac Compatable Blu Ray player is available, but I don't want to have to rip everything before I want to watch is, and storing even a few Blu Rays at the high quality is using a lot of data. Also, the Blu Ray Player I'm thinking of is external, thus clumsy.
Well, there's no reason you can't have it both ways. Get an inexpensive BluRay for your television, and get the stuff you need the best possible on disk, but budget may not allow, I understand that.

Oh! Another tool I forgot about.

Beamer. Send ANY video you find on the internet to the AppleTV without transcoding first
http://www.macnn.com/articles/14/04/...streaming.box/
     
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Jul 4, 2014, 04:46 PM
 
If you want consistency then nothing beats Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray quality both Video and Audio is the bar to match. That said for most people a high quality iTunes movie or downloaded blu-ray rip is hardly noticeable quality wise for mos scenes. Some heavy action pack scenes still fail in the quality department. The consistency issue with using iTunes is the released content. Its not all created equal due to the rules and agreements in place. For example Star Trek into Darkness is a bloody massive iTunes file. I think its over 3GB. It looks fantastic on a high def TV. You really can't tell the difference between the iTunes version and the Blu-Ray version. BUT and this is the kicker, other movies come in at 1gb in size is very noticeable that the quality is no where near that of a blu-ray movie. And its not just old stuff, newer movies too. So not all content is created the same on iTunes. I have not found myself bothered by it. Most of the content has been Good enough (just below blu-ray quality, above DVD quality)

The convince factor is a strong point for AppleTV.

Always accessible connection is a failing point. You can still play a Blu-ray if the internet is down. You can mitigate this with content saved to a iPad or computer of course.

Performance internet connections are a important, the cheap low speed connections can hardly run high def video. So if you only use the internet for Email and light surfing you might have a additional expense of upgrading.

As for the ability to always download it again for free, that is the way it is currently. And Apple would love to keep it that way for ever. But at the end of the day contracts with content owners expire and rules can change. Never expect life long access to your digital media. Its a safe bet its not going to change any time soon but its not a promise. This is the case for all purchased digital media. The physical media is in your position and usable as long as the technology to play it is still sold. And since I can still find VHS players its a good bet, DVD and Blu-ray payers will continue to be manufactured in some quantity for another few decades.

Of all the online media companies out there I have the most faith in Apple being both long term and doing the right thing such as being able to re-download content. BUT things can and do change and you just never know. Considering I still have and listen to CDs purchased 20 years ago I am going to keep my faith in the physical world.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
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Jul 4, 2014, 07:50 PM
 
The problem is, I would love to go just Apple TV but Blu-Ray can be found at a much cheaper price than anything on iTunes. Not by a few bucks, but in most cases by over 30%. During the holidays over 50% less and there is nothing on sale on iTunes. So renting on Amazon or iTunes works.

The only reason I choose certain titles on iTunes is that the digital HD file with WB movies and some other studios are that Ultralight crap that really is not a digital download. If it is not an iTunes download, I buy it on iTunes.
     
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Jul 4, 2014, 08:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by cartoonspin View Post
The problem is, I would love to go just Apple TV but Blu-Ray can be found at a much cheaper price than anything on iTunes. Not by a few bucks, but in most cases by over 30%. During the holidays over 50% less and there is nothing on sale on iTunes. So renting on Amazon or iTunes works.
I always stock up when I see 25% discount on iTunes cards - is this not a thing in the US?

giftcardsonsale.com.au
     
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Jul 4, 2014, 09:26 PM
 
It depends a little on what you are viewing. For example, if you love certain Japanese anime, like Studio Ghibli movies, you can't get them on iTunes. You can get them on blu-ray. Similarly, if you love asian cinema, you will find that many movies aren't available on iTunes, but you can get them on blu-ray. If all you really watch is hollywood movies, and you don't care too much about the video quality not being quite as good, then Apple TV is fine and is certainly convenient.

Apple TV obviously has other advantages, like playing the music on your Mac easily on your TV amplifier, say, or movies you've *cough* received from other sources. You can also use airplay to put stuff on your iPad on the big screen to show friends etc.

So I say get both. An Apple TV is so cheap, and easy to add to your TV. Blu-ray players aren't that expensive either. And enjoy having access to media from everywhere.
     
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Jul 5, 2014, 05:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by EstaNightshift View Post
This. Properly encoded video is really, really nice. Plus, services like Netflix can come VERY, VERY close to the BluRay, depending on the source material and available bandwidth.

I liken this to the MP3, High bit rate AAC, FLAC/ALAC discussion. At some point, you've got 80-90 percent of the quality of the original "best," and that's good enough. Video "snobs" (not calling anybody names, here!) won't ever accept iTunes or Netflix as good enough just because of the lossy compression. Audio snobs won't ever accept MP3 or HBR AAC for the same reason.
Who's being the snob? The fact that better sounding audio is more pleasurable to someone does not make them a snob. If it doesn't do it for you, that's fine, but don't be so condescending. There's no need to criticize others for liking better fidelity (or better video quality).
     
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Jul 5, 2014, 07:42 AM
 
For me, it comes down to what size TV you're going to be watching, and what sorts of movies you're going to be watching. I have a 55" flat screen TV, and for the most part I watch Blu-Ray movies because the screen size really shows off when the resolution isn't up to par. I have a lot of DVDs still, and they are OK, only because my player up-converts them (pretty well, I have to admit).

So it's a question of what you're trying to get out of what you're watching, and for that, you need to see what the kinds of content you want to watch look like via AppleTV, preferably on the kind of TV you'll be watching. Even at the very affordable price of the current AppleTV, it's not a purchase I'd want to make before knowing I'd be satisfied with its performance.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Jul 5, 2014, 12:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by elroth View Post
Who's being the snob? The fact that better sounding audio is more pleasurable to someone does not make them a snob. If it doesn't do it for you, that's fine, but don't be so condescending. There's no need to criticize others for liking better fidelity (or better video quality).
You really thought that I meant insult by that? "Snob" was in quotes from the get-go and so was the "not calling anybody any names."

I do apologize if you took offense, but If this riles you up, beware. The Internet is a wild place.
     
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Jul 5, 2014, 04:37 PM
 
I have a Smart Samsung Blue Ray player with a Samsung Smart TV in addition to the latest generation Apple TV. I found the picture quality to be better with the Blue Ray player and you get all the bonus material.
Most of the Blue Rays I have purchased also give me a digital copy that I can load on my iMac, iPhone, etc.
A Smart Blue Ray player will also give you access to Netflix, HBO go, Amazon Prime movies, Vudu etc. Netflix is actually a better experience on the Blue Ray player as it will display which episodes of a TV series you have already watched with a progress bar displaying how much is left (the apple TV does not display progress bars on its Netflix app).

Sadly I have rarely been using my Apple TV. Is is nice to have when I want to display iPhone content on my TV, but I don't do that much. If I had to choose I would go with the Smart Blue Ray player. Since my Blue Ray player is the same brand as my TV, its nice that when I turn on the Blue Ray, the Tv comes on automatically and the remotes work together.
     
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Jul 6, 2014, 07:26 PM
 
I picked up a Pioneer Bluray/DVD burner for my new iMac. I also purchased an HD camcorder. Any recommendations on BluRay rip/burn software. I have iDVD to burn DVDs
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Jul 7, 2014, 12:25 PM
 
I don't watch that much stuff really, but when I do watch it, I like the best quality. Can a BluRay be ripped in its best quality and be put on your iPad, then transferred to your Apple TV and then to your home screen in its original best quality?

I would probably use the Apple TV more to play things that are on my iPad than download stuff over iTunes.
     
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Jul 8, 2014, 03:34 PM
 
If it is the newest AppleTV, then yes - at least for the video. Not so sure about the audio, if you can play the lossless audio formats there.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 21, 2014, 03:45 AM
 
Blu-ray disc delivers the HD quality far more better than iTunes which also explains why so many Mac users went after the method to play Blu-ray.
Apple does not make an Apple-branded BluRay player, but just about any USB BluRay Player will work on a Mac. It will plug and play. All drivers are already included with Mac OS/X.
Apple's DVD Player software does not work with BluRay, so you will need a third party app to use as a player.
Here is a good article from MacWorld which covers some good options.
Watch and rip Blu-ray movies on your Mac | Macworld
     
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Mar 1, 2015, 05:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
I picked up a Pioneer Bluray/DVD burner for my new iMac. I also purchased an HD camcorder. Any recommendations on BluRay rip/burn software. I have iDVD to burn DVDs
Blu-ray disc movie has better output for both images and sound than iTunes, especially playing with an assortment of OS X Blu-ray Player which can deliver 1080P and DTS 5.1 on Mac.

(editor's note, while you have a point about blu-ray apps, you've resurrected a zombie thread, and a link with your first post. Better PM a mod if you want to stay)
( Last edited by Mike Wuerthele; Mar 1, 2015 at 10:57 AM. )
     
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Apr 8, 2015, 11:04 PM
 
Apple's own "solution" for Blu-ray is streaming/downloading movies from iTunes which is not really better, at least for those people who value the quality of video/audio. I use the latest model of AppleTV, but still prefer to buy BluRay disks for movies (while for TV series, the visual/audio quality of iTunes content is relatively acceptable).
     
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Apr 15, 2015, 12:28 PM
 
My wife and I each have a MacBook, but I've got a desktop PC upstairs. Wouldn't a good option (for me) be to simply rip all of my Blu-rays to the PC and use Plex along with a Roku?
     
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Apr 16, 2015, 01:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
My wife and I each have a MacBook, but I've got a desktop PC upstairs. Wouldn't a good option (for me) be to simply rip all of my Blu-rays to the PC and use Plex along with a Roku?
Yes, especially because the Roku will be receiving an interface upgrade in the near future which is greatly improved. Also, if you've got the storage.
     
   
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