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Old 29 Mar 2006, 07:50 AM   #1
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Default Very disappointed with iTunes' Video Quality

I thought I would try out iTunes' video download service. So I paid 2 dollars and got Eminem's When I'm Gone video. But, I am very disappointed with it.

I got the video for free from AOL, that is 1MB smaller than iTunes but has better quality. See screenshots here:



As you can see, the video looks fine at its native resolution.

But stretch it a bit and prepare to scream:


It's not even 200% and it looks like crap.

Now let's take the AOL one. The downside is that you get the AOL logo on it, but as it's widescreen, it doesn't matter in this case. Native resolution 320x240, it looks great:


As you can see it looks basically the same.
Now let's make it 200%. While there is some pixelation, it's not horrible. And, the video goes far bigger:


Bottom line: iTunes videos are a waste of money and using freeware tools, you can download them from AOL at better quality. Note to Apple: Make the videos better quality! Or give people a choice once they pay for it - high or low quality!
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Old 29 Mar 2006, 07:54 AM   #2
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Have you placed this video on an IPod that supports video media? I would be curious if the quality is as good as it could be **for** the IPod (i.e. the hardware limitations might limit the max pixels thus poor quality on the PC when played back). Is that possible maybe?

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Old 29 Mar 2006, 08:37 AM   #3
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I have no idea, as I don't own an iPod. This may be true, but they advertise as "music to enjoy on a PC or Mac" so it can be played in QuickTime too.
I think that if you pay the 2 dollars they should say "high quality for broadband" which would be, say, 60MB or the normal one that is around 32 MB.

I don't use iTunes often because of it's DRM but lucky for me I found a way to convert iTunes files to MP3s... all I gotta do is rollback to an older iTunes and this program called JHymn will convert to an MP3. This is important because my Rio Cali cannot play AAC files.
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Old 29 Mar 2006, 08:40 AM   #4
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If they advert it as being enjoyable on a PC or Mac then you **would** think the quality would be there. Thanks for posting the info! I'd hate to waste my money.

Cam
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Old 29 Mar 2006, 08:49 AM   #5
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No problem! I usually use Wal-Mart downloads for my songs, cuz they are only 88 cents a piece, and WMAs so I can put on my Rio Cali.

But with this JHymn program, I should now be able to download songs and then encode as MP3s with no protection. The best part is that the program is perfectly free and legal!
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Old 29 Mar 2006, 12:15 PM   #6
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drfsupercenter: i do think the reason why it looks pixelated in the 2nd screenshot is because you "stretched" it literally. eg try pasting an image in paint, and then resizing it by "stretching" it horizontally. it becomes pixelated. same thing here, the pixel aspect ratio is changed, making it blocky. quicktime is a crappy player, even worse than wmp. play the apple files in wmp and increase size, should be the same as the aol

btw, did you really expect 320x240 to look good anyway? the video is 320x240 because its made for ipod, not pc or tv

Last edited by futurex; 29 Mar 2006 at 12:25 PM
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Old 29 Mar 2006, 12:22 PM   #7
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music videos are shot with really cheap cameras (interlaced) for such a high grossing industry. the highest quality youll ever see is 720x576 from sdtv/dvd like mine here


Last edited by futurex; 29 Mar 2006 at 12:28 PM
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Old 29 Mar 2006, 12:43 PM   #8
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How did you get that?

I am just saying, of the two I would rather have AOL. I know 320x240 is not that great but it is better than iTunes. I just don't like the codec iTunes uses... both the iTunes and WMV are 32MB... but the WMV is better.
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Old 29 Mar 2006, 03:37 PM   #9
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i think itunes uses H264. even though its apple H264, it still kicks wmv's ass!

Quote:
How did you get that?
there is a music video program on tv in australia. it runs from the about 12 midnight to about 11 in the morning, no ads, on both saturdays and sundays. it plays older hits for the most part, then the top 50. anon and i both capture the entire show. digital tv here is dvd res and i'm willing to bet so are the sources

Last edited by futurex; 29 Mar 2006 at 03:40 PM
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Old 30 Mar 2006, 12:29 AM   #10
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That's cool. Any chance you could upload the When I'm Gone video for me? (you can use www.sendspace.com for uploading)
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Old 30 Mar 2006, 12:49 AM   #11
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edit: got it on my hard disk now, its 280mb, much too big

plus it may or may not be piracy (better consult my lawyer first)

Last edited by futurex; 30 Mar 2006 at 01:05 AM
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Old 30 Mar 2006, 01:40 AM   #12
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But I paid for the MV in iTunes, so I "legally" have rights to it now, right? And 280MB is not too big for my connection, is it too big for yours to handle?
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Old 24 Apr 2006, 06:06 PM   #13
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Hmmmm, that looks sucky sucky........

I have always found that Quicktime based software is severely lacking in sufficient post processing. You can see that blockiness in the apple playback is because the image is not bicubically resized. The theory is that the actual stream _should_ be of equal or better quality.....

BUT

BEWARE of H264!!!

just like aac, it is an unnecessary advancement that has DRM stapled to it through itunes.....

its technically slightly better quality - I have seen h264 codec results, and the bottom line is that its only slightly better, but if thats what you're bothered about - they should offer the downloads in MPEG2 which will rinse any h264 codec download for quality.....colour richness etc...

Disk space consumption is really becoming less important, and so with that comes the need to adjust your "requirements".....

if 192kbit mp3 is acoustically transparent, then why doesnt everyone just use that? its 100% compatible, no DRM, and only slightly bigger than the headache that is the DRM enabled AACs. btw. AACs sound better because they are smoothed. this does not make them better, they just take out the texture.....I believe you get the same result with H264 style codecs, the "idea" of better quality through psychovisual smoothing of artefacts. This can be done with better post processing technology on older codecs. WMV has better postprocessing technology as demonstrated in this thread.

This is not to say H264 is not an advancement, because it clearly is - but at this resolution it will have little effect.

Any thoughts on that?
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Old 25 Apr 2006, 10:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
BEWARE of H264!!!
H264 is just a standard, nothing to be afraid of

Quote:
slightly better quality - I have seen h264 codec results, and the bottom line is that its only slightly better
everybody has a different opinion, but its generalised comments like this that make me laugh-- try actually encoding asp and avc. there is a huge difference in quality, ofcourse with a speed trade-off. if you're talking about apple avc you may have a point there-- it (relatively) sucks. see x264 results; updated almost daily with quality/speed optimizations

Quote:
if 192kbit mp3 is acoustically transparent, then why doesnt everyone just use that?
5.1 aac at low bitrates, thats why

Quote:
they should offer the downloads in MPEG2
not everybody wants to download 200mb for a 5 minute video

Quote:
MPEG2 which will rinse any h264 codec download for quality
lol

Quote:
I believe you get the same result with H264 style codecs, the "idea" of better quality through psychovisual smoothing of artefacts
its not an "idea", it IS better quality. no matter what codec, you'll get macroblocks at low bitrates and relatively high resolutions. again you'd know if you actually did any encoding. the inloop filter saves having to pp during playback and can be switched off or toned down if you don't like it

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Any thoughts on that?
yes

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Last edited by anonymez; 25 Apr 2006 at 10:26 AM
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Old 25 Apr 2006, 11:15 AM   #15
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By the way Pensive,








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