True 2k Video for the New iPad’s Retina Display

RED Epic Footage

A lot of people have been saying that even though the new iPad’s retina display has a 2k (2048) display it is limited to playing 1080 (1920) video. We happen to have a ton of 4k and 5k video laying around so we decided to test this out for ourselves.

Our first test using the H.264 codec was not playable at all on the iPad. The iPad would try to play the file and then it would just close out. Next we tried the M-PEG 4 codec and the 2048 clip played great! After some tweaking we found the iPad could play 2048 footage up to about 32 Mbit/s with a 16×9 aspect ratio. We are experimenting adding more vertical resolution and have been successful with an 16×11.5 (2048×1463) clip.

Just last night a buddy of mine, Bill Barnes, figured out a work around to get H.264 working on the iPad using the Handbrake program. You can read about the details here:



We learned very early on that iTunes was not the way to get high quality video on the iPad. We were able to get very high bitrate 1080 footage on the original iPad using apps like Goodreader, DropBox and AirSharing. Here are the apps that we have confirmed can play 2048 video:

1). Goodreader is our favorite app because you can just go to “Web Downloads” – “Enter URL” and paste a link right in. The video downloads and plays right there. Super convenient.

2). DropBox requires you to download the file on your desktop/laptop into your DropBox folder than load the video from the app on your iPad. Works fine, but requires a few more steps.

3). AirSharing also requires you to download the file on your desktop/laptop and then open a web page that allows you to upload the video to the iPad.


  1. 12 November 12, 1:49am

    Great footage, thank you for sharing!

    Quick note on playing the footage: I find it far easier to just open iTunes and drag the files into the “Movies” window, than use the default “Videos” iPad app.

  2. 12 November 12, 9:57am

    Haven’t checked in awhile but iTunes didn’t used to let you transfer anything over 1920×1080 this way.

  3. Patrick
    28 July 13, 7:08pm

    You can also open the links with VLC player for iOS.

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