Blu-ray is currently the format of choice for those who want the best possible picture quality coupled with lossless digital audio. However, Apple has announced that its new Apple TV will now be able to stream 1080p video directly from iTunes, so can it match Blu-ray's excellent quality?
Thanks to arstechnica.com, we have our answer. By comparing a downloaded version of 30 Days of Night to the existing (and very impressive) Blu-ray, the team concluded that for the most part, iTunes' 1080p video comes very close to matching Blu-ray, but can struggle in situations where the image has been compressed to meet an acceptable file size.
You can see several examples in the site's study, but above we've replicated the one which in our opinion, best shows the difference between the two formats. In the picture, the iTunes version is on the left, and when comparing the bridge of the nose, surrounding forehead and cheeks, it's easy to see where iTunes stumbles.
Of course, most people won't be pausing a movie and comparing it with another version, but then many will have paid a fair amount of money for a television/projector and media player so they can see the best image possible - and it's still Blu-ray which delivers.
That said, Arstechnica does note that iTunes new 1080p video does improve on the old 720p files. Additionally, it's also worth remembering that iTunes downloads only offer regular 5.1 audio and not high definition, and there are no special features included.
The new Apple TV went on sale this week for $99.