HD downloads aren't high-def

HD downloads aren’t high-def

This is a companion piece to yesterday’s post. I thought this topic was important enough to continue the discussion.

While I more frequently disagree with George Ou of the ZDNet blog, last year he posted on “Why HD movie downloads are a big lie.” I suggest you read the blog as it explains in detail why a 720p video downloaded off Xbox360 or iTunes is no better quality than 480i DVDs.

The main reason this is true is because the 1280×720 picture is compressed to under 1.5GB and has an average bit rate of 1.3 mbps. In comparison, DVDs are 640×480 interlaced compressed to about 6GB with a bit rate closer to 8 mbps. If you believe in science, you can see that DVD video has more detail.

And somehow this is the alternative to Blu-ray? We’re going to go back to VHS quality simply because it’s 50% more convenient? No thank you, sir. Why would you spend so much on the best quality TV you can afford and feed it garbage? It’s like saying 2.5″ low-res screens are the future because they’re on every iPod now. No longer do we have 4:3 screens with 480i resolution, we have 16:9 screens with 320×270 resolution. Yay!

Please don’t give up on high-quality optical media.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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One Comment on “HD downloads aren't high-def”

  1. The only real HD download is the downloading of the real thing, a 20 to 50 gig of the carbon copy of all the HD-DVD or Blu-Ray video and audio files. Two problems:
    1. Studio will never let you without proper DRM protection.
    2. Super fast broadband is not available in North America. Only in countries in Asia, like Singapore and South Korea can down load HD movies.
    Yes, we still need disks.

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