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AlbertA

The UHD players thread

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We might as well start a dedicated thread as bits of info on players as scattered around various threads.

 

LG UBK90

I picked this up at BestBuy for $230. I got interested in this player mainly for its out of the box Dolby Vision support.

 

  • It has 2 HDMI outputs, one dedicated to audio. I only use one however as my Denon S730H handles everything I throw at it so far.
  • The UI is minimal, bare bones but it's snappy and doesn't get in the way.
  • Settings are very minimal as well
    • You have to set the Display Output Frequency to 24Hz, which seems to act as the "auto" setting (I say auto because I played some bluray test clips authored at 30Hz and player switches to 30Hz in that case).
  • I have it hooked to the internet via its ethernet port. There was a firmware update (you have to manually do the check I believe, no auto prompting), which I applied.
  • Compared to the Xbox One S/X this loads discs much quicker.
  • It's a pretty quiet player - I didn't hear any mechanical noise.
  • It has HDMI CEC/Link, which is nice as I only have to turn the UHD player on and the LG OLED and receiver both turn on and switch to the correct inputs - No need for a Harmony remote :)
  • It seems to stay pretty cool
  • It handled all the Dolby vision UHD discs I threw at it  (Saving Private Ryan, Spiderman, The Last Jedi, Blade Runner 2049 - Dolby vision was passed through the Denon S730H to the LG OLED B7 with no issues.
  • It passed all bitstream audio undecoded to the receiver as well with no issues.
  • It handled basically all I threw at it without a hitch: DVD+R AVS HD Bluray test patterns, All HDR10 UHD Discs, Old Blu-rays
    • It upscales Blu Rays to 4K and I don't think there's a setting to disable that (Maybe if you change the display output resolution?).
    • That's fine with me - I didn't see any issues in the few ones I threw in.
  • USB Playback
    • I have a USB stick full of demos from http://4kmedia.org/
    • It played them all without any issues, including Dolby Vision content. The UI is similar to the one in the LG OLED TV, just a bare bones file viewer thingy.
  • Youtube
    • I don't have a need for this but I was curious on what it would handle.
    • It seems capable of 4K HDR10 support but it's buffering it's not the best - I got various hiccups in the playback.
    • I tried HLG Youtube videos just for kicks, they are detected as HDR10 at the display side - I guess it's not possible to signal HLG through HDMI? I know the TV supports is as the built in youtube player in the OLED plays HLG videos just fine.
  • Playback controls
    • It has a nice frame by frame advance mode when you keep pressing the pause button. good for pixel peeping :)

 

Overall, I'm quite happy with the player so far. I watched Bram Stoker's Dracula on it yesterday - no issues whatsoever.

The only criticism so far is the info about a disc is very bare bones - I could use a "stats for nerds" button. 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, AlbertA said:

The only criticism so far is the info about a disc is very bare bones - I could use a "stats for nerds" button. 

 

I think Oppo are the only ones who have ever really done that, and I must confess I do enjoy checking that data out from time to time. I'm surprised Panasonic never have as they're quite respectful of the tech nerds.

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The latest beta firmware for Oppo's players is really intriguing, not just because it supposedly will fix weak black levels on some DV discs feeding out to my LG (see my related post in the TV thread), but it seems to have some very interesting DV releated features:

 

Quote

Release Notes:
This release is for the OPPO UDP-20x 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Player.
Comparing to the current Official release version UDP20X-56-0224, the major changes included in this version are:

  • Added the Dolby Vision “Player-led processing” mode for compatibility with recent Sony Dolby Vision TVs and firmware updates.
  • Added the “Dolby Vision” mode under the HDR Setting menu, which allows the player to convert the output to Dolby Vision when possible.
  • Added the “Dolby Vision Processing” setting under the HDR Setting menu. This setting allows customers to choose whether Dolby Vision processing is handled mainly by the TV or the UDP-20x player.
  • Added MQA support via the USB DAC In for the UDP-205 players. (More info can be found in the “USB Audio DAC Firmware” section on the UDP-205 support page.)
  • Added the “Up-Sample DAC Input” setting under the Audio Processing menu for the UDP-205.
  • General fixes and disc compatibility improvements based on recent and upcoming UHD Blu-ray releases as well as user-submitted samples.

 

So effectively you can hand over DV processing entirely to the player, rather than the display which is presumably how both Oppo and Sony's x700 have found a way around the bug in displays, but the second bullet point there ("allows the player to convert the output to dolby vision when possible") is most curious. That seems to imply there is now a DV software solution to apply its own tone mapping algorithm to HDR-10 discs. This beta is already available to US customers and, from some comments I have read, it does indeed seem to be the case (one fellow on Blu-ray.com even commented how much better one shot from Blade Runner 2049, that always stood out to me with some nasty radial banding on my E6, looks much better now with this output as DV option enabled on his C6. They've also commented on seeing more highlight detail in other HDR-10 discs).

 

Apparently the Oppo now also has an SDR to Dolby Vision conversion option for regular SDR discs as well.

 

I tend not to dabble with the beta firmwares, even though Oppo's are known to be very stable, but this is very tempting to dive into early (the final build should hit within a month though). It'd be good to see HDTV Test do a video on this.

 

 

Sony's X700 also appears to implement a similar forced DV output (unlike Oppo you cannot toggle through other options, however). 

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Posted this in the LG thread, but it's worth adding here. Oppo's latest firmware is a real treat. Presumably the Dolby Vision software reads the tone curve metadata of HDR-10 discs to apply this new internal tone mapping algorithm, but how it reads SDR HD I am not sure. Here's the thing though, there are significant improvements to blocking and banding with this switched on, both with HDR-10 discs and 1080 SDR discs.

 

For HDR-10, a regular torture test on my LG has often been the scene in La La Land where Emma Stone first walks into the bar, the light narrows down on her in this shot creating a gradient of light that my LG E6 always went to pieces over, causing ugly macroblocking and banding (it is NOT the disc. It's LG's processing). Applying the DV conversion on the Oppo, while it does not eradicate the problems entirely, severely diminishes them. Likewise, chapter 2 on the UK 1080 Blu-ray of Frank, opens with a Domhnall Gleeson walking backstage at a pub and again, the transition from light to dark always caused the LG to throw a fit (again, I know for a fact its not the disc having run it on other displays). Here again the DV conversion delivers a measurable improvement. I can only imagine that in both cases there's something clever going on with Dolby's 12bit upconversion. 

 

I also watched bits of Jackson's King Kong and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, both of which seemed excessively bright and blown out in certain secenes when running in straight HDR-10, but having the Oppo do a Dolby Vision conversion again introduces some improvements in the tone mapping vs what the TV is capable of. 

 

I plan to watch Blade Runner 2049 tomorrow as there are a few shots on the Sony version of that disc that the LG never liked.

 

It will be very interesting to see if HDTV Test do a video on this firmware as it'd be good to see an in depth exploration of it from trained eyes. To my eyes, thus far, I am not noticing any detrimental effects to applying it to HDR-10 or SDR HD content however.  It's worth noting that you can't switch between just applying it to HDR-10 or SDR HD it's either both or you go back to normal viewing of letting the display process DV, HDR-10 and SDR HD natively.

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