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HD Content: Coming to an iPhone Near You?

Last week Rene reported on the upcoming iTunes 8 release and how HD content may be included. According to a source over at Gizmodo, the iPhone handles full 1080p screen resolution "just fine".

My guess is that if this does indeed turn out to be true, we will more than likely start seeing video clips in 720p right on the iPhone. I say 720p simply because that happens to be Apple TV's native HD resolution. In my opinion, 1080p is a little too much. Actually it is complete overkill for such a small screen.

While this may sound great, there is a flip side to this coin. Processing power would be huge, which may have a negative effect on battery life. Also, if you think syncing apps takes a while now, just wait until you have to sync HD content.

We can only hope, if this is the route Apple is going to take, they have it perfected before we become their beta testers again.

Anyone remember the 2.0 firmware?

  • The iPhone can't handle 1080p content "just fine", because 1080p requires a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and the iPhone has 480 x 320. It can't do 720p either, which is 1280 x 720. In fact, it can't even do 480p. All it can do for any of those formats is play a downscaled version, and the 480p, 720p and 1080p versions will be indistinguishable once downscaled.
  • Take it up with Gizmodo... :)
  • looks like a lot of hype for something the iPhone screen cannot even handle. People just go crazy with anything HD related.
  • While I agree with you, Gizmodo source says they've seen a iPhone play the video perfectly. Make of it what you will. Either way, it's too much.
    "Logically speaking, it shouldn't be a huge surprise. But a friend in the industry told us that they've seen H.264 1080P video playing on the iPhone, quite a few times, with no problems at all. Of course, the resolution is absurd overkill for the system's screen, but what's this mean in light of the purported iTunes 8 HD? Potentially a lot."
  • It doesn't mean anything. If apple wants to offer HD content for the iPhone, it makes sense to "pre-shrink" the video before ever putting it on the phone.
    Sure the iPhone can play back HD content, but in practice actually doing so is silly. It makes more sense to re-size the video before putting it on the device. Syncing HD content would be a waste of time and space, since a resized version would look exactly the same.
  • I think Gizmodo doesn't have much credibility. I've personally experimented with pushing the playback capabilities of the iPhone, and while I've gotten it to handle video at a higher bitrate than its advertised as supporting, its nothing near HD.
    HD is both a resolution, and a statement about quality. As others have pointed out the iPhone has a lower than SD resolution display, and its video output (with apple's cable) is limited to an SD NTSC or PAL signal.
    I suspect that someone saw an iPhone playing high quality video to an HD display that was upscaling it and figured the iPhone was putting out HD.
  • striatic, what should 1920x1080p footage be rescaled to for ideal use on the iphone?
  • 320p for on device, but remember the iPhone has video out cables, including component out, so 480p even 720p files aren't necessarily a waste of space if your intent is a tiny portable HD player...
  • Thanks Rene. My videos are for viewing on iphone only. 320p..are you meaning 480 x320?..this aspect ratio seems to still maintain 16x9 format when viewed on quicktime
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