Should I switch from Xbox XBMC to AppleTV?
March 5, 2009 9:36 PM   Subscribe

I have a 32" / 81cm enhanced definition widescreen CRT TV. I have an Xbox running XBMC connected via component to watch standard (ie not 720p) TV and DVD rips, letting the Xbox upscale to 720p. Will upgrading to an AppleTV and playing 720p rips dramatically improve the picture, or will I probably not notice any difference on such a small screen?

Bonus questions - can the AppleTV actually play typical 720p TV / Blu-ray rips? Will my 802.11g wireless network be fast enough to stream 720p rips?
posted by obiwanwasabi to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the TV actually supports 720p, it'll make a difference if you sit close enough to the screen.

Here's a chart:

FWIW, I find it to be somewhat pessimistic, but I have good eyesight.

If the TV is just plain 480p, the difference will be marginal if the TV and DVD rips are of good quality. For a little while before I got my HDTV, I had an HD box from the cable company and there was improvement using the HD channels over the SD channels, but that's mainly because the SD channels are over-compressed, not because of any inherent resolution advantage.
posted by wierdo at 10:05 PM on March 5, 2009

EDtv is 480p, so no.

Will my 802.11g wireless network be fast enough to stream 720p rips?

I stream HD content to my 360 over 802.11g. It's a bit fragile, but usually works just fine.
posted by mkultra at 7:37 AM on March 6, 2009

The only advantage I see is being able to play videos with newer compression codecs like MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 flawlessly. If a video is MKV and mpeg4 I find they skip unless I turn off all the mpeg4 post processing by editing mplayer.conf and even then it can choke on fast motion scenes.
posted by robofunk at 8:57 AM on March 6, 2009

Well, here's what I've found out since March:

BDrips and BRrips - regular xvids ripped from Blu-ray or other high-def sources, resolution 720 x ~300 - play perfectly well on the original Xbox, and look fantastic.

You can actually play H264 stuff on the Xbox with no dramas at all - all the way up to 1280 wide. All you need to do is run it through something like Xvid4psp with certain settings, and your once-unplayable high def stuff is magically watchable, even streamed over an 802.11b/g LAN.

So, no need for an AppleTV. *hugs Xbox*
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2009

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