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UHD (4k) Blu-ray Discussion Thread

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Oooh, yes.

 

Looking through titles they actually have home video rights to does actually increase my level of interest as i forgot Lionsgate had acquired movies like Apocalypse Now and The Conversation. I wonder how long the format needs to exist before they decide everyone has to buy Terminator 2 again? :)  They do specify their "top 100" though, so one has to wonder what titles they are actually referring to (four of those will obviously be Hunger Games movies, and another fifty of them probably those damn Saw movies).

 

If any of the titles Beeks talks about include films from the Miramax catalogue that Lionsgate acquired then that also changes my level of anticipation, not least because a lot of those Miramax titles really need new transfers. I was actually thinking just last night that another benefit of UHD even existing is the potential to rectify questionable transfers released in the earlier days of Blu-ray (Batman Begins, Dark Knight....let's face it a lot of Warner stuff etc).

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I discovered something new about UHD Blu today.... and it is ever so slightly worrying.

 

The AACS 2.0 Copy Protection demands that all players adhere to allowing for online disc activation, and yes, you'd be right in thinking it's similar to the original Xbox One debacle. It is NOT mandatory for any UHD software to require what the paperwork refers to as online checks for a "valid certificate," but the possibility for software to have this kind of DRM is absolutely there in the AACS Copy Protection should a studio feel the want to hit the draconian panic button.

 

In the manual for their UHD player, Samsung define this "feature" as: "When the product uses BD-LIVE to send the disc data and a request to the server to certify the disc, the server uses the transmitted data to check if the disc is valid and sends the certificate back to the product."   

 

 

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Honestly I'd be amazed if it ever gets used as the numbers for people who have existing Blu-ray players connected to the internet must be absolutely minuscule, and BD-Live on Blu-rays (once used for special features) I believe has been abandoned by every studio out there, with most content servers now shut down, so studios certainly will have data on how many players in the past were connected to the internet. 

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I almost caved today. Saw House of Cards and The Martian on a 4K set up at Best Buy today. Must stay strong ;)

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Fury Road is on the way from Amazon. I'll pick up The Martian: Extended Cut when that hits in a couple of weeks. 

 

I need to find a good site that has up to date 4K material from Netflix/Amazon/etc.

 

 -Dean-

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I liked it, but I watched it (at least) 5 times on HBO (HD) channels, so I can't see myself buying that.

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If go some reason you do want it, Daniel, the regular Blu of Kingsmen is in a 2 for £10 deal at Tesco.

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I quite enjoyed about twenty minutes of it, then it got really juvenile and quite nasty. I really didn't like Kick Ass though so I wasn't shocked that Kingsman didn't appeal by the end.

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For you Atmos obsessives.... Fox decided to right a wrong with The Martian (squint and look at the UHD audio specs). :)

 

 

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That's very nice that the UHD disc has both cuts AND you get both discs of the Blu-ray release in there too. If this shows up on Amazon UK for £20 I am all over it. Independence Day is the same incidentally, both cuts on the UHD disc and the two discs of the Blu-ray set included as well. That potentially makes ID4 the first UHD disc with seamless branching, unless they have squished two encodes onto one disc (SURELY not?). ID4 has DTS-X.

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Read a few comments on some UK forums that the compression on the Independence Day UHD is diabolical to the point of making an unsightly macroblocked mess of the grain. One user who watched it on Panasonic's UHD player (which can show you the bitrate) says it drops to 8mbps at times in busy scenes. That's extremely alarming and might suggest Fox have indeed shoved two complete encodes onto one 66GB disc, however the same user said he sees the same macroblocking in the same scenes on both cuts of the movie, which would surely suggest seamless branching was in fact used. That leaves me a little worried about The Martian now. Hopefully if more attentive reviewers pick up on it Fox might address it.

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It's a worry. Supposedly the authoring tools for seamless branching were not yet ready for primetime on UHD Blu, similarly to how it took some time for the feature to emerge for the authoring of DVD and Blu-ray back in their first years of release too, but it is thought this has since been rectified. In this instance, the claim is the macroblocking is there in all the same places on ID4 regardless of whether you're watching the theatrical or extended cut, and if they were separate encodes it would surely be rare for the compression artifacts to match so precisely as they apparently do here.... and yet if this isn't a case of two complete individual encodes of the movie squished onto one 66GB disc then why are the bitrates apparently so low? The new Blu Ray by comparison apparently comes off a lot better, 

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Last night I watched my Fury Road UHD disc. The movie looks spectacular. I did not have the issue with the fire that some people seem to have. I didn't think it looked all cartoony. Not sure if the latest firmware on the UHD player would cause that to be toned down? Regardless, the film is just as incredible as my previous viewings. Seeing it in UHD just makes it even better. :)

 

 -Dean-

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I don't think the firmware would change anything, no (at least I've not heard anyone say anything about it looking different after an update). In the UK we've the Samsung and Panasonic's player on sale so there's a touch more variety of devices to test on here. Calibration of the display might render differences though, certainly, and that's going to differ from display to display, especially since professionals seem to be finding it hard to pin down how to consistently calibrate for HDR since it introduces so many variables, and there might even be discrepancies depending how an HDR grade was monitored (Fox, for example, apparently use nothing more than a consumer grade Samsung HDR TV which is kind of crazy as there's every chance it could mean Fox titles look optimal on Samsung TVs). 

 

A  big thing people are going to have to get used to with HDR is that 1) it requires a completely separate grade by a colourist (ideally supervised by a film's director of photography), and 2) very few cinemas are actually capable of showing HDR without upgrading their digital projectors yet again, so it's going to be very difficult to try to think back to what we remember seeing theatrically because what we're now being given at home is going to be inherently different. The most encouraging things I have read about the UHD disc of fury Road are actually that it does away with banding and compression artifacts visible on the Blu-ray.

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So apparently Independence Day does indeed, thankfully, use seamless branching. Someone was able to check the disc in a compatible BD drive for PC that can read the third layer. The theatrical cut apparently comes in at 47.9GB an extended cut 50.6GB on a 66GB disc. That's still pretty small but not as bad as it might have been had two full encodes been squished on there. It's still a pity the macroblocking is there though, and one has to question whether it is there in the source master or whether it is result of the compression on the UHD release (the 20th anniversary Blu-ray several feel looks better may do so due to different requirements of compression and filtering as the grain is not quite as excessive in the BD image vs the UHD disc. Sony seem to have no trouble carefully compressing very grainy titles shot on film, so it's a pity whomever Fox is turning to for authoring may not have mastered the HEVC encoding with quite as much skill).

 

Apparently The Martian retains some of the same macroblocking evident on the previous theatrical cut only disc, but improves on the previous release's image in other areas. 

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I have been unable to find any reviews for The Martian UHD. I did read a few for Ghostbusters though and I will be picking that up for sure.

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About 10mins of extra footage, commentaries and extensive making of and NASA documentaries. Both cuts are availble via seamless beanching. The UHD disc also has Dolby Atmos.

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For funnsies, I put the Fury Road Blu Ray in to see how it looked upconverted. It looks real nice. Then I put the UHD disc back in. HDR all day long for me. :)

 

 -Dean-

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This is a surprise... Ghosbusters in non-shit artwork shocker (for the UK).

 

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Did any of you guys in the US pick these discs up yet? Early word is very good (so long as you don't detest grain). 

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Need to  buy a new UHD kit to upgrade our 4K TV for HDR.  $400.  Ugh.  Oh well.  But... should I upgrade the TV first or get the player first?  Can't get both right away.

 

BTW, got a free digital copy of ID4 from FandangoNow (formally MOGO) and it looks nice.  Hard to believe the UHD version can look better enough to invest in buying it, especially since I don't run DTS: X.

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