New 1080p iTunes movies come close to Blu-ray quality

The movies encoded in 1080p now available in iTunes - specially aimed at new iPad owners - are comparable with the high quality video delivered by Blu-ray discs, according to Ars Technica. The tech website published a comprehensive report on the matter evaluating both formats comparatively.

When it comes to the text sharpness, no real differences were noticed, while images did appear marginally shaper on Blu-ray movies compared with 1080p iTunes fare, but only when examined very closely. The colour reproduction is almost identical in both formats, as the demo pictures reveal. The colours are vivid and realistic and it's unlikely that an untrained eye could see the difference here between a revamped iTunes movie and its Blu-ray counterpart.

However, the report concluded that the Blu-ray discs offer a better dynamic range, with deeper blacks and more searing high intensity levels. The iTunes 1080p movies tend to lose detail in low light scenes, while also exhibiting more noise.

The upshot of all the testing is that the 1080p videos on iTunes have had to be compressed more aggressively due to their online distrubution model, with the result being a slightly less detailed and noisy image when compared to the far larger, higher bit-rate Blu-ray movie.