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Photo to Movie Blog

DVD vs. Blu-ray vs. 1080p video

Posted January 11th, 2011 by Chris

We still get a lot of questions and many users have confusion over what video formats to use when presenting an HD slide show — either on an HDTV or on the web. So we thought that this month we would summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the various formats, when to use them, and try to answer a few other questions along the way.

The full reference article can still be found here:


HDTV – DVD vs. Blu-ray

For presenting your videos on an HDTV, you have a few choices.

The easiest choice, but with the least desirable video quality is to burn your slide show to a DVD and play the DVD on your HDTV.

DVD’s have an intrinsic resolution of 720×480 pixels (NTSC) and 720×540 pixels (PAL). Those pixels are either displayed in a 4:3 (standard) aspect ratio or a 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio. This is typically called 480p video.

As you can see, 480p is a whole lot less than 1080p. So DVD’s played on your HDTV will appear with about 1/2 of the available resolution. For many situations, this is acceptable. For instance, if your viewers are typically sitting back further than the optimal viewing distance, then the lower resolution may be unnoticeable.

However, for truly HD video, you have two options:

1) Burn to Blu-ray and play the Blu-ray on your HDTV.

2) Burn to a HD video file and play the video file using a computer or an online service such as YouTube.

The problem with Blu-ray is that it is not widely available in everyone’s home. So if you have a Blu-ray player connected to your TV and a Blu-ray disc recorder connected to your computer, this may be an acceptable solution. However, Blu-ray players (and recorders) are not as widespread as DVD players. So if you want to distribute your video, you will need to assess whether your recipients have a Blu-ray player available.

If you have a media center connected to your HDTV that is running on a computer, you might also choose to render your slideshow to a 1080p video file and then upload or otherwise play that video file from the media center. See the section below for specifics.

Similarly, you might be able to upload your video to YouTube (at the highest 1080p quality settings) and play it directly from YouTube.

Web – 1080p Video

Using Photo to Movie, the easiest way to publish high quality videos is to use Photo to Movie’s intrinsic support for uploading to YouTube. Using this technique, you can create your slide show (make sure it is using the widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio) and upload it directly to YouTube as 1080p video.

Make your slide, click the Make Movie button, choose the YouTube format option at the top of the Make Movie dialog, choose the High Definition video format, enter your username and password and Photo to Movie will do the rest.

If you have other requirements that aren’t met by YouTube, then you can use the QuickTime (Mac and Windows) or Windows Media (Windows only) video formats and adjust the rendering for your specific requirements.

We published a few articles that have in depth information about publishing for the web.

The November 2009 newsletter also has some addition information about web publishing:

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