Yesterday, Apple announced its updated third-generation Apple TV, at a media event in California. The highlighted feature of the new Apple TV, along with its updated UI, is the ability to play 1080p videos. Netflix announced hours later that it will support 1080p streaming to Apple’s new device.

But the question comes: is 1080p video really worth it — over 720p? 

ArsTechnica has conducted a comparison to see how 720p videos look next to 1080p videos. When watching the Big Bang Theory, the publication found that in some cases you can see a difference while at other times there doesn’t seem to be any.

1080p videos have a 1920×1080 resolution, meaning there are 2.25 times as many pixels as 720p videos, which have a resolution of 1280×720. So aren’t 1080p videos enormous in size?

Actually no. ArsTechnica found that in most cases the 1080p version of the video is only megabytes larger than the 720p version. For example, Hugo is 3.99GB in 720p and 4.84GB in 1080p.  When it comes down to it, downloading the 1080p version of the video might be the best choice. In my mind, I thought 1080p video was going to be gigabytes larger.

Apple makes available both the 720p and 1080p versions of TV shows and movies available for download. In iTunes, you can select whether you’d like the 720p or 1080p versions of your download. Ars suggests if you have the 720p version it’s not worth re-downloading, but when getting new content it might be worth the upgraded quality.

We can’t wait to check out the new Apple TV on March 16th to see what 1080p videos look like on the big screen. It’s nice to know that 1080p videos won’t be taking up as much storage space on your Apple TV as we thought.

Are you purchasing the new Apple TV, at $99?

  • How much storage does the new Apple TV have?

  • Luke Row

    I didn’t think the ATV even had any storage?

  • 1st gen apple tv did but didn’t know 2nd/3rd g had it? I would probably get one if it did.

  • Anonymous

    the apple tv doesn’t have storage. it only streams content. I’m not sure i follow this article.

  • The 2nd Gen AppleTV had 8GB of storage, this is mainly used to hold the OS and also buffer the video that is being streamed to it. If it is jailbroken then it is also used to install apps such as ATV Flash, Plex etc.. You can not store any media on the internal memory in its factory form. As for the AppleTV 3, I would assume it will have 8GB again as this is still more then enough to buffer 1080p content.

  • Anonymous

    Apple TV will always be utterly pointless without either a built in hard drive to store movies on and/or a usb to allow connection of your own hard drives … WTF do people want to pay money for to watch a film and not even get to keep it? The whole streaming idea is an utter waste imo and very annoying Apple don’t even give you an option to connect a hard drive but then this is Apple and there controlling ways, fuck that.

    • BatesOut, while the first half of your comment is just about right, the second one isn’t. At least not for everyone.
      You see, I had a weekend project not long ago for building an HTPC. the final price was around 200 Eur. I also have a dedicated file server at home. That’s where I store all my content. The Apple TV fits perfectly in this picture for half the price. The only condition is to have the device jailbroken in order to install XBMC onto it. The advantages over the standard HTPC are: small footprint, extremely low power consumption, much more elegant solution and CHEAP (I never thought I’d say this about an Apple product).

    • Anonymous

      That’s one of the reasons I got a Roku. One of the many. The $99 xs has a usb port. You can pop in a thumb drive with your ripped dvd’s or a external passport like drive. Works great. There is a reason Apple will not offer a usb. They want to keep us tied to itunes. I have never purchased an itunes movie. EVER! It’s not aboput cost for tyhem. The RoKu was also $99 and offers over 400 channels including hulu plus, crackle, snapfilms, and many other free movies sites as well as of course Netflix and Amazon movie streaming.

      It’s all about control.

  • Anonymous

    BatesOut i stream my films that are on my external HD to my Apple TV and it works flawlessly.
    I use the Air Video Server program on my mac an the Air Video App on my iPhone. No need to convert it does that while it plays the movie on my Television. The app works also as an remote control.

  • So when you download it..is it downloaded in 720 or Actually 1080? cause when i look @ the Movie Content on iTunes..it’ll say 720,1080.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t even notice much difference in the Howard picture. But then again, Apple TV has always been a “meh” for me.