Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV Other Hardware
Having searched the web, I could not find any reference to playing 1080p videos on the 2nd generation Apple TV (fully updated with the latest firmware). The Wikipedia entry, for example, states that it is 720p only. But my experiments show that 1080p movies can play just fine. The problem comes when downloading 1080p movies from the iTunes store. This hint shows how to quickly play such downloads.

Prior to purchasing a 1080p movie from the iTunes store I ran many experiments with self-created videos (Blu-Ray rips) to ensure that such HD files could be played.

So I completed my experiments by purchasing a 1080p movie (Vertigo to be exact). iTunes downloads two versions when making such purchases: the HD version and a SD one. Both are stored in the same iTunes folder and iTunes itself shows an HD:SD badge. The problem here is that the 2nd generation Apple TV only shows the SD version and therefore only plays the SD version.

To play the HD version, locate the files in the Finder, then delete the movie from iTunes, opting to keep the files. Then add back just the HD version and the 2nd generation Apple TV shows it as HD and plays as HD. There was a very small pause at the start of the film as I was watching, but I have a fast network, so the download to the Apple TV was soon a few minutes ahead of the play position.

I think I will actually go back to purchasing the 720p versions as my eyes are not quite what they were and I cannot really tell the difference. This was just an experiment to prove a point.

[kirkmc adds: I don't have a 2nd generation Apple TV to test this…

Update: It turns out that the Apple TV 2 can only output 720p, so it must be downscaling the 1080p videos. However, according to the poster, it is playing these videos, so you can have only 1080p videos in your iTunes library and play them through this device, apparently, instead of it defaulting to SD versions. But I still can't test this to see what's really going on.]
    •    
  • Currently 1.78 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (9 votes cast)
 
[15,490 views]  

Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV | 12 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: thechrisroberts on Oct 23, '12 07:48:38AM

"I think I will actually go back to purchasing the 720p versions"

Note that when you purchase HD content, you have access to three versions: SD, 720p, and 1080p. The one that automatically downloads (along with sd, as you noted) is based on the quality preference under your store settings, but you still have access to the other version. Just switch your quality preference, go to the Store, go to Purchased, and download the movie/show again; this time it will download the hd version you've specified.

I have an Apple TV 2nd gen hooked up to a 720p tv but I watch 1080p on my computer, so I typically download both 1080p and 720p but delete the sd version.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: CaptainIndignant on Oct 23, '12 08:03:48AM

Are you sure that's what's happening, and not that it's pulling the 720p version from Apple? Can you try this while severing your Internet connection, to be sure it is indeed streaming off your iTunes library?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: Unsoluble on Oct 23, '12 08:58:15AM

Nowhere in this experiment is the output actually verified as being 1080p.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: mdwittenberg on Oct 23, '12 09:41:24AM

I agree. My guess is that the stream is simply down-converted for play on the Apple TV and is not actually being displayed as 1080p.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: Jonathan David on Oct 23, '12 11:21:36AM

The author of this post says he can't tell the difference. Then does it really matter? I too am slowly decaying and am old enough to remember the extremely small black and white TV. Have they out produced products?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: kaih on Oct 23, '12 02:30:20PM
Note that the 2nd Gen Apple TV is taking the 1080p video, but it's downconverting it to 720p for output. It is not capable of outputting 1080p video, only 720p.
---
k:.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: virgahyatt on Oct 23, '12 04:40:07PM

The second generation apple tv can decode 1080p but it only outputs up to 720p. Even once jailbroken it won't.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: kirkmc on Oct 24, '12 12:08:18AM

Yes, I've since checked the specs. So is it downscaling the 1080p videos?

---
Mac OS X Hints editor - Macworld senior contributor
http://www.mcelhearn.com



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: bjsvec on Oct 23, '12 09:12:46PM

All, you do know there are two version of ATV2, right? The first was 720p and the latest hardware refresh is 1080p. Some are calling it ATV3 in forums, etc.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: Unsoluble on Oct 23, '12 11:27:22PM

The "2nd generation Apple TV" as referenced in this hint is exactly as its name implies; it's only the 3rd-gen ATV that supports 1080p out, and nobody refers to that one as an ATV2 (or at least, they shouldn't).



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: zarmanto on Oct 24, '12 05:45:51PM
I have an ATV2, and the TV it's hooked up to will tell me the resolution of any given signal with the push of a button; I can already say from past experience that my ATV2 only outputs 720p, (it simply upscales lower resolution videos in the same manner as any Mac) but none-the-less, I went ahead and ran a brief test as follows: I downloaded the 1080p trailer for Iron Man 3 from Apple's Trailer site, exported it out of QuickTime, and imported it into iTunes on my iMac. In this manner, I have a video which is no longer linked in any way to a 720p version on the website or in the iTunes Store.

When I went to the living room downstairs to view the results, the ATV2 played the video with no difficulty, and the TV stated that the output from the ATV2 was indeed still rendering at 720p.

(This test can be pretty readily recreated by anyone who has an ATV2... plus, downloading a trailer is quicker then downloading a full length movie, and it doesn't cost anything.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Play 1080p videos on 2nd generation Apple TV
Authored by: nigelgoodman on Oct 25, '12 10:01:31AM

Interesting comments, my mistake for not thinking about how the ATV2 was 'outputting' the video.

My main point however still remains, the ATV2 is capable of playing 1080p videos (albeit outputting to 720p) in spite of what is suggested by the specs.



[ Reply to This | # ]