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.