1080p video smackdown: iTunes vs. Blu-ray

Ars was recently able to conclude that the newly launched iTunes movies encoded in 1080p do, in fact, look better than the same content encoded in 720p, despite the modest increase in file size. That’s good news for iTunes customers. But the real question is: how do iTunes 1080p downloads compare to the reigning king of home video image quality—Blu-ray Disc (BRD)?  This is what we set out to test.

Due to hardware and DRM limitations, we were forced to take photos of the screen instead of using screenshots. The screen was the same in both cases: a Dell U2312HM monitor with 1920×1080 resolution, with a MacBook Air connected through the DisplayPort port, and a Panasonic DMP-BD65 Blu-ray player connected using an HDMI-to-DVI cable.

I used the movie 30 Days of Night for the test. According to the Internet Movie Database, this 2007 movie was filmed in the common Super 35 (film) format and then transferred to a 2k digital intermediate; in other words, it was edited in the digital domain.

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