In an ongoing series testing the new presets found in the latest version of handbrake, 0.95, let’s compare the iPad preset with the Apple TV 2 preset. I ripped Part Four the the HBO series The Pacific. At a little over 51 minutes, the two files have very different sizes, which relates to the resolution of each reset.
The iPad preset file weighs in at 471 MB, while the Apple TV 2 preset files only hits 396.1 MB. The iPad is larger, 848×480, as opposed to the Apple TV 2 Preset which is 720×400. I’m not sure why the Apple TV 2 preset is set to that size, when it can play files as large, and larger than the 848×400.
There doesn’t seem to be any real difference in quality or compression from preset to preset. Both versions load and play on my iPad, iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch (4th gen). They both look great on the smaller screen. The real test comes on the larger screen, watching via AirPlay. I tried both versions playing on my Apple TV 2 with Airplay. Generally they looked great. I was watching on a 30″ HDTV.
The smaller Apple TV preset file had just slightly more artifacts in darker scenes with light and shadow. Both had the artifacts, but the iPad preset version wasn’t quite as noticeable. If you have the space, the larger file size may be a worthy trade off.