March 3, 2011

iPad 2 for 1080p

The big question, is the iPad 2 for 1080p content?

Apple’s iPad 2 was launched yesterday. The earlier rumors of iPad 2 with 2048x1536 display were put to rest; the iPad 2 has a 1024x768 display (The 2048x1536 display may come in iPad 3 in 2012).

A 1080p HD video plays at 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second. Most camcorders and TV’s support this full HD resolution now, which gives better visual quality than the 720p HD video.

Since the iPad 2 display is 1024x768, it can only display movies at 720p natively. Higher resolution (e.g. 1080p) or lower resolution (e.g. 480p) movies will still play fine, however they will be scaled-down (for 1080p) or scaled-up (for 480p) to fill up the screen. So, No! iPad 2 cannot display full 1080p content at native resolutions.

Note: iPad 2’s back camera records HD video at 720p, while the front camera records at 640x480 resolution.

IPad 2 can also drive an external display such as TV, computer monitor or projector, most of which are capable of displaying higher resolutions (1080p) than the iPad 2. In this case, the iPad 2’s 720p movies are scaled-up to fill the 1080p display.

AirPlay provides the most flexibility as it is wireless. The iPad can be anywhere in the room and its content is wirelessly streamed to the TV. With AirPlay, the iPad 2 connects to Apple TV via WiFi and the Apple TV is connected to the TV with a HDMI cable.

Video Mirroring requires a HDMI cable between the iPad 2 and TV. The movie is displayed simultaneously on the iPad 2 and the TV and will be displayed at the lower resolution of the two devices (720p for iPad 2). The HDMI cable somewhat limits where the iPad can be in relation to the TV.

From Apple’s website
Watch slideshows and movies on the big screen in up to 720p by connecting your iPad, iPhone 4, or iPod touch (4th generation) to an HDTV or HDMI-compatible display.

Mirroring supported only by iPad 2.
Video out supports up to 1080p for iPad 2 and up to 720p for iPad, iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation). Movies play at up to 720p