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Movie & TV Streaming/Digital Download Discussion Thread (iTunes, VUDU...etc)

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I redeemed the whopping TWO old codes I had lying around from discs compatible with iTunes (Star Trek Beyond and Logan).

 

I have maybe 30 or so others from UK discs that are all stupid Ultraviolet only. 

 

Have to go to Apple about my iPhone battery on Monday so may grab an ATV then, or failing that Wednesday. I’m not entirely sure how I’d hook all my stuff up yet as I’ve used all the HDMI inputs available on my TV. I can route it through my Oppo’s HDMI input which would be beneficial as I could then ise the Oppo’s processing, but the downsidenis there is only HDR10 and not DV compatibility with the player’s HDMI input. I’ll figure something out I guess.

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Damn it. More 4k titles I am seeeing on iTunes US but not UK:

 

The Holiday (4k)

Samsara (4k/HDR)

You Were Never Really Here (4k/HDR)

Looper (4k)

Loving Vincent (4k)

Mad Max (4k/HDR)

 

Likely different distributors causing differences for both regions there, save for Mad Max which is Warner in both territories. The Holiday, which is a guilty pleasure, I know is Sony in America but Universal here.

 

I see a lot of the Disney titles relegated to exclusive Club availability on Blu-ray in the US are on iTunes in HD in the UK, plus some that are not on Blu-ray anywhere like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! 😫 Infuriatingly one that isn’t HD here is Honey I Shrunk the Kids which is in HD on US iTunes. Stuff like that makes zero sense to me when the rights holders are the same in both territories.

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Been interesting to read that if you stream 1080 content on the Apple TV there’s a chance, depending on the movie/tv show, you’ll get quality up to 15mbps in bitrate vs streaming a download locally on your computer which has a much lower capped bitrate. Don’t know why I’d be surprised by that as it makes sense. I’ll definitely experiment with some HD stuff.

 

Apparently the ATV does have a bug with rare content encoded as 24fps rather than 23.98. It doesn’t handle straight 24 so you get frame drops. Apparently Studio Canal’s 4k stuff like the Fog, Rambo films are all 24hz and exhibit this issue (and I’m guessing that 4k Producers I’d like to have as well). Very rare for content not to be 23.98 but I hope it is something Apple address in future.

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15 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

Been interesting to read that if you stream 1080 content on the Apple TV there’s a chance, depending on the movie/tv show, you’ll get quality up to 15mbps in bitrate vs streaming a download locally on your computer which has a much lower capped bitrate. Don’t know why I’d be surprised by that as it makes sense. I’ll definitely experiment with some HD stuff.

 

That's a big change for them as all the 1080p iTunes stuff has always been around only 5,000 kpbs or so. Amazon and others were regularly around 15 mbps.

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Mmm. Seems overdue. It was actually a mac rumours forum comment I stumbled upon while Googling and the guy noticed it on the ATV4 last year before the 4k model came out. It’s possible they started making the shift with some HD content knowing their 4k content was going to stream with adaptive bitrates.

 

You should be able to check by bringing up the developer HUD that Vincent at HDTVTest often displays when he talks about the AppleTV as it will show you your network bandwidth and peak and average bitrates for audio and video. Again, it apparently varied from title to title whether it was adaptive or not. 

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Just seen that Gods and Monsters is on iTunes in HD. Another Great film that still lacks a Blu-ray. I assume there is no way to preview the quality of a file before you buy it on the Apple TV? That’d be useful. It’s achievable with TV shows as you get those 30-60s episode previews.

 

Those two codes I redeemed from my UHD discs of Logan and Star Trek Beyond have been an impressive insight into iTunes Extras. I’m just accessing them via the iPad until I get the ATV but everything from the discs is there, commentaries, even the Noir alternate of Logan. I noticed Big and Gone Girl have all the Blu-Ray extras too, and Big also has theatrical and extended cuts like the disc, so with those being 4K I wouldn’t have any problem parting with my Blu-Ray copies until someday when they hopefully get UHD discs. Fox seem especially good at porting all their extras from disc.

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Yes they stepped up big time on the extras last year. There are a few movies that have exclusive extras also.

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Damn these prices!

 

Sunday only offers on iTunes in UK:

 

Hidden Figures (4k/HDR) - £2.99

 

90s Movies bundle: Braveheart (4k/HDR), Moulin Rouge (HD), Edward Scissorhands (4k), JFK (HD), There’s Something About Mary (HD), The Full Monty (HD), Heat (4k/HDR), LA Confidential (HD), Speed (HD), My Cousin Vinny (HD) - £9.99!

 

That 90s bundle is INSANE, particularly since Moulin Rouge is not a 90s movie... 😀 but especially since I was looking to get Heat once I got the AppleTV and that the movie alone is £7.99. I sold my Braveheart UHD earlier in the year as I found myself no longer enjoying the movie as much as I once did to justify keeping a copy on the shelf, but I will totally take it as a download. I was eyeing buying Edward Scissorhands 4k separately for Christmas too. The others are nice bonuses as I only have LA Confidental on Blu but do genuinely enjoy all those other titles.

 

If my hope of Speed getting an anniversary 4k release in 2019 comes true I’ll be laughing if that file gets a 4k update. Already sold Moulin Rouge on Blu-ray in anticipation that Fox might do a UHD sooner rather than later given it is such lavish eye candy (and the broadway version opens next summer!), so having the HD file fills a gap in the meantime. I was even thinking randomly about There’s Something About Mary a couple of weeks ago as I had not seen it in years. I could not have dreamed of a more well timed offer to be honest. Wow. Hope the HD titles look decent.

 

All those bundle titles, save for JFK, are Fox here too so they all have their Blu-ray extras. What a deal.

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With dual region accounts you’d have to remember what you bought from what region and switch accordingly whenever you want to play it though, right?

 

I see that historically iTunes have run Holiday sales in mid Dec (around 19th/20th) so hopefully that happens again in a couple of weeks. 

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3 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

You’d have to remember what you bought from what region and switch accordingly whenever you want to play it though, right?

 

I switch between my account and my dads account all the time, as he buys a lot older war movies  and westerns.

 

 

 

 

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Yeah but your account and your dad’s are both connected to the US store, right? I’m curious to know what happens with two accounts set to different country regions on the same device. Does the entire library from one account disappear from view when you log into the other, or do only movies with different distributors disappear from one account (for example I was mistaken regarding Princess Bride. We don’t have it in 4K as MGM don’t distribute it here as I thought. The HD listing on iTunes is instead credited to Lionsgate, so I presume if I logged into a US account to buy the US version I would not then be able to see it in my U.K. account library or play it).

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It’s the same in the US even with multiple accounts. You can only be logged into one at a time. So it’s shows either my stuff, or my dads.  The Apple TV saves both account info (I actually have my brothers account on it also). Have to go into settings to switch. It’s easy,

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Gotcha. So you do have to remember what you have in the libraries for each account. Shame it’s not like a PS4 or Switch where you can have parent accounts for one PSN Store or eShop region and a child account for another region and everything still shows up and is playable in a single library. That’s why I was curious.

 

I’ll give it some thought. Digital online store region locking is pretty ludicrous this day in age. I wish everyone was free to buy content from where they please. Hopefully that will happen someday. 

 

 

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Yea what Joey said basically 😊 but, yes - to your point, if the movie you want to watch isn’t under iTunes Movies on that account you’ll need to switch accounts. But, it’s a pretty easy process on the ATV to switch accounts so no big deal. DM sent btw

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I’m wondering if we should adjust the thread title so as not to be UHD specific as my deep dive into the iTunes library has so far been an eye opening look into the number of titles available in plain old HD on the platform that have still yet to receive a Blu-Ray. Anyone who wields such powers want to take care of that?

 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Black Hole, The Black Cauldron, Gods and Monsters, Hard Eight, Wag the Dog, Looking for Richard, Solaris (sodebergh’s), Ducktales the Movie are just a few HD titles with no disc equivalent. Lots of documentaries too. For those of us in the U.K. most of the Disney titles that you can only get on Blu in America via that damn club membership are on here as well, along with a lot of Touchstone 90s movies still not on Blu like Turner and Hooch. Panic Room is there too, though I remain hopeful of a UHD disc next year. Then there’s TV stuff like every season of Cheers in HD, every season of Seinfeld, Scooby Doo Where Are You? Remastered in HD. My most surprising find yet is Roman Holiday. I have to hope/believe Criterion or one of the niche labels is going to license that from Paramount but it’s amazing to see it here. 

 

I’m going to buy the Apple TV on Wednesday but I really am curious to see how 1080p content stacks up. How do you guys find it? I really only have my bad experiences with iTunes downloads in the past to go by. Generally I find HD streaming via Amazon and Netflix to be pretty decent and until I get the Apple TV I am not sure if some anomalies I see with those services are down to my TV’s internal decoding/processing that a more powerful dedicated device might improve upon (it’s certainly not my bandwidth). As with the UHD stuff, without disc editions right now I guess I can take solace in the fact most catalogue stuff on iTunes is so cheap, and regularly reduced further on sale, that to grab something now be it HD or 4K costs so little that double dipping on a disc someday isn’t worthy worrying about. That CheapCharts app really is great for being able to see a history of prices for titles that interest you (you can create a wish list) as it’s indicator of what to hold off on buying if it’s been cheaper several times in the past.

 

I wan’t to know how studios deliver their content to platforms like Apple. I’ll try to find some research on that as I don’t know what the likes of Apple and Netflix are working from in order to then deliver what we receive. Presumably it’s on the fly transcoding of sorts, which if correct really makes me wonder why they don’t just deliver HD in h.265 as well as UHD. Maybe it’s concerns over hardware compatibility like older devices and codecs not being up to the job which is possible, but then surely the device could shout back to the server to dictate what codes to use? 

 

Again I wish we could preview films for their quality somehow to check for poor compression, heavy DNR...etc. I’ve also tried Googling for lists of any films that might have newer transfers in HD uploaded to these platforms compared to their older Blu-Ray counterparts, but sadly I’ve found no such resource (I’d be amazed if there were no examples though).

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4 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

I’m wondering if we should adjust the thread title so as not to be UHD specific as my deep dive into the iTunes library has so far been an eye opening look into the number of titles available in plain old HD on the platform that have still yet to receive a Blu-Ray. Anyone who wields such powers want to take care of that?

 

I'll change it. What should it be?

 

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Something like ‘Movie/TV Streaming and Download Discussion Thread’ I guess,  but obviously we have a Netflix thread...etc and I don’t want to confuse it with that. This one is really more about iTunes, Google, VUDU...etc, etc. Whatever stores you can buy individual films and TV shows from basically. 

 

You’ll NEVER BELIEVE which star was caught kissing who and what movies and TV shows are available to stream/download but not on Blu-ray. Click the link for more’ is probably a little too clickbaity a title, even if it is the obviously superior choice. 

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To answer my curiosity as to how movie and TV content gets delivered to Apple in the first place, their official documentation on the matter requires use of approved encoding houses and aggregates who will take a distributor's content and master it to Apple's required standards, much in the way studios use third parties for their disc mastering and authoring (indeed, houses like Deluxe who do that kind of work for Blu-ray and UHD are also approved iTunes partners).

 

From Apple:
 

Quote

 

What is the difference between aggregators and encoding houses?

Aggregators are experts in delivering films to iTunes. Apple pays the aggregator for sales, and the aggregator then pays the content owner.

 

Regardless of whether you choose to use an aggregator, all content must be encoded and delivered by an Apple-approved encoding house. The encoding house processes the content in the Apple-specific encode that is required for distribution on iTunes.

 

 

https://www.apple.com/uk/itunes/working-itunes/sell-content/movie-faq.html

 

So with that answered I obviously wanted to then find out precisely what Apple's required standards for content delivery are, and wouldn't you know it, I found their complete asset guides for SD, HD, 4K and HDR. https://help.apple.com/itc/videoaudioassetguide/#/ and https://help.apple.com/itc/filmspec/#/

 

The most relevant stuff:

 

Quote

4K Source Profile

  • Dimensions should be 3840 x 2160 (UHD) or 4096 X 2160 (DCI 4k). Any DCI 4k asset can have optional crop values (Apple strongly recommends sending crop values for DCI 4k).
  • Apple ProRes 422 HQ or 4444 or 4444 XQ
  • VBR expected at ~880 Mbps for 422 HQ, ~1320 Mbps for 4444 and ~2000 Mbps for 4444 XQ
  • Content should be encoded using ITU-R BT.709 color space. For more information see http://www.itu.int/rec/R-REC-BT.709/en
  • Content should be delivered in the original frame rate of the source

4K source must be progressive scan and can be delivered in 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, or 30 frames per second

 

If the 4K source file is not delivered matted or if there are no inactive pixels, iTunes recommends setting all crop dimension attributes to '0' (zero).

 

All video must begin and end with at least one black frame. In addition, videos that begin with or contain empty edits will be blocked; the file can contain an empty edit in its edit list only if it is the last edit. For HDR source video in Dolby® Vision format, the sidecar metadata file should cover these black frames.

 

 

Quote

Film HDR Source Profile

 

The HDR source video must meet the following minimum requirements in the subsections below.

 

For both Dolby® Vision and HDR10

  • Display dimensions and PASP must match corresponding primary video display dimensions and PASP
  • HDR source video must have progressive scan and uniform frame rate
  • HDR source video track should only contain a single edit list entry
  • Duration must match corresponding primary video duration
  • Frame count must match corresponding primary video frame count
  • HDR format (Dolby® Vision or HDR10) specified as a source attribute
  • HDR video source that contains embedded audio will be accepted, but the audio will be ignored; the audio on the SDR source will be used for Store bundling.

For Dolby® Vision

  • Single Apple ProRes 4444 or 4444 XQ 12-bit file accompanied by a single Dolby® Vision CM metadata file (version 2.0.5.1)
  • Transfer function: SMPTE ST 2084 (PQ)
  • White point and color primaries: ITU-R BT.2020 or D65 P3
  • Transform matrix: BT.2020 (for BT.2020 primaries) or BT.709 (for D65 P3 primaries)
  • The Dolby® Vision CM metadata should not contain any gaps in the shots and the frames referenced in the shots should cover all frames in the video essence

For HDR10

  • Single Apple ProRes 4444 or 4444 XQ 12-bit file
  • Transfer function: SMPTE ST 2084 (PQ)
  • White point and color primaries: ITU-R BT.2020 or D65 P3
  • Transform matrix: BT.2020 (for BT.2020 primaries) or BT.709 (for D65 P3 primaries)
  • ST 2086 and MaxCLL / MaxFALL metadata provided as additional source attributes

 

Quote

Film HD Source Profile

  • Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) or 4444 or 4444 (XQ)
  • ITU-R BT.709 color space, file tagged correctly as 709
  • VBR expected at ~220 Mbps
  • HD encoded dimensions accepted to support square pixel aspect ratios
  • HD encoded dimensions accepted to support non-square pixel aspect ratios (this allows you to send HD video in the native dimensions of your best original source, for example in HD broadcast dimensions

Native frame rate of original source:

  • 29.97 or 25 interlaced frames per second for video-sourced material.
  • 23.976, 24, or 25 frames per second for digital-progressive or film-sourced material.

Content may be delivered matted: letterbox, pillarbox, or windowbox (with proper corresponding crop values in the metadata package).

 

Content upscaled from SD will be rejected.

 

Quote

Film Audio Source Profile

 

For every film that 5.1 or 7.1 Surround audio is available in any competing format or market, it must be provided to iTunes in addition to the stereo tracks. Note: Audio track channels for 5.1 and 7.1 Surround can either be all 24 bit orall 16 bit. An audio track cannot be a combination of 16 bit and 24 bit channels.

 

7.1 Surround

  • LPCM in either Big Endian or Little Endian, 16-bit or 24-bit, at least 48kHz
  • Expected channels: L, R, C, LFE, Ls, Rs, Rls (or Lrs), Rrs

5.1 Surround

  • LPCM in either Big Endian or Little Endian, 16-bit or 24-bit, at least 48kHz
  • Expected channels: L, R, C, LFE, Ls, Rs

Stereo

  • LPCM in either Big Endian or Little Endian, 16-bit or 24-bit, at least 48kHz
  • Expected Dolby Pro Logic channels: Lt, Rt or expected stereo channels: L, R
Quote

Dolby Atmos Audio Source Profile

  • The audio mix must have been approved for home listening and monitored in a room with at least a 7.1.4 speaker layout.
  • If the Dolby Atmos master can be used for derivation of legacy audio assets (7.1ch, 5.1ch and/or stereo LtRt audio), these legacy renders must be approved as well.
  • All audio deliverables should be conformed and synced to final picture as long-play and not as separate reels.
  • Leader and sync pop should be removed from the Dolby Atmos master file.
  • The Dolby Atmos master file must be provided as a BWF ADM file.
  • All audio tracks in the file must be 24-bit LPCM audio at 48kHz.
  • There must not be more than 128 individual audio tracks.
  • Tracks 1-128 may be used for objects or beds.

Mastering information (for example, desired artistic compression profiles, downmix mix levels, etc.) should be correctly authored in the DBMD section of the BWF ADM file.

The average loudness of dialogue/speech of the Dolby Atmos master must be within the range of -31 LKFS to -10 LKFS, and should ideally be between -30 LKFS and -18 LKFS. The following measurement methodology should be used:

  • Run the loudness measurement on a 5.1 channel render of the full mix.
  • Use the measurement algorithm BS.1770 + Dialogue Intelligence (or other speech-gating algorithm) to measure the dialogue-gated loudness, integrated over the full duration of the asset, to verify it falls within the specified range indicated above.
  • Monitor the reported percentage of dialogue. If it is less than 10%, dialogue may not be the anchor element for loudness correction of this audio asset. You should instead follow the procedure in the paragraph below.

For Dolby Atmos masters where dialogue is not the anchor element (for example, music assets), the average audio loudness of the Dolby Atmos master must be within the range of -31 LKFS to -5 LKFS. The following measurement methodology should be used:

  • Run the loudness measurement on a 5.1 channel render of the full mix.
  • Use the BS.1770-4 (or BS.1770-3) measurement algorithm to measure the full-program mix (all channels over the entire length of the asset) to verify that loudness falls within the specified range indicated above.

 

 

So my suspicion was correct. What you're basically looking at here are extremely high quality a/v masters of the level used to create UHD discs and Blu-rays (dem bitrates!), but delivered as ProRes (assuming ProRes was not already the master codec of choice to begin with, which in many cases these days it probably was). So in short, that's what Apple get to play with at their end before presumably transcoding it to h.264 and h.265 at bitrates of their choosing when delivering downconversions to the consumer. They could then, at any point of their choosing, up the level of quality that we receive without having to constantly go back to the studios to request new masters/encodes if we're to assume these masters stay in their possession. 

 

Hope that was as interesting to some of you as it was to me. I know it surely was for the forum's resident media server/transcoding nerds. I'll see if I can find anything relating to precisely how apple takes those masters and downconverts them for our consumption later in the week.

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Wow, epic post for sure.

 

Also,

 

1 hour ago, Angry the Clown said:

Something like ‘Movie/TV Streaming and Download Discussion Thread’ I guess,  but obviously we have a Netflix thread...etc and I don’t want to confuse it with that. This one is really more about iTunes, Google, VUDU...etc, etc. Whatever stores you can buy individual films and TV shows from basically. 

 

You’ll NEVER BELIEVE which star was caught kissing who and what movies and TV shows are available to stream/download but not on Blu-ray. Click the link for more’ is probably a little too clickbaity a title, even if it is the obviously superior choice. 

 

Do it yourself, slacker

 

696527ad05c8989b3fab90f422f129ba-56371728b5fe8@1x.jpg

 

Let me know if you have any questions on the controls. 

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And I had to double check myself on this, but for title changes, you have to go to the first post of the thread and edit it there.

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36 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

So my suspicion was correct. What you're basically looking at here are extremely high quality a/v masters of the level used to create UHD discs and Blu-rays (dem bitrates!), but delivered as ProRes (assuming ProRes was not already the master codec of choice to begin with, which in many cases these days it probably was). So in short, that's what Apple get to play with at their end before presumably transcoding it to h.264 and h.265 at bitrates of their choosing when delivering downconversions to the consumer. They could then, at any point of their choosing, up the level of quality that we receive without having to constantly go back to the studios to request new masters/encodes if we're to assume these masters stay in their possession. 

 

Hope that was as interesting to some of you as it was to me. I know it surely was for the forum's resident media server/transcoding nerds. I'll see if I can find anything relating to precisely how apple takes those masters and downconverts them for our consumption later in the week.

 

I feel like I'd read something along the lines of this a long time ago when even 1080p was the max resolution. It was someone's explanation for why some of the low bitrate iTunes versions looked as good as they did at the time: they started with high quality masters. Their encoding was also worse at the time because x264 was eclipsing the h.264 they were using.

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Yeah so it’s supersampling in effect. As I have explained in disc threads before it’s why a 1080p Blu-Ray from a 4K scan will look better than a 1080p Blu-Ray of the same movie from a lower res source even though the end deliverable is 1080.

 

What I wish though, aside from the desire to download 4K purchases on iTunes, is that they had settings like good, better and best to allow those wanting to download to do so at levels of quality best suited their bandwidth, their download data cap (if any) and their available hard disc space. ‘Best’ 1080p download for example might end up with a 15+ GB variable bit rate file. There are so many ways I think downloading could be made better for us enthusiasts who still want the highest possible quality we can get. Hell, maybe that’s where they could introduce the absent surcharge for 4K upgrades by asking for a small fee to be able to save the file.

 

It does also suggest they could, at any point, start using h.265 for transcoding HD content. For the consumer it’s higher quality, from the provider’s side it’s more efficient and bandwidth friendly. I do seriously think that h.265 1080p would pretty much give us a 1:1 match with Blu-Ray at half the size  provided it wasn’t overly bit starved .That some people would still have devices that struggle to decode h.265 is really the only main obstacle I can think of as to why they would not do it just yet, but again you could in theory get around that for HD downloads with that good, better and best tier system, with best being h.265, and as far as streaming coes the device being streamed to be it a computer or iPad could tell the server whether it can decode it or not.

 

I wonder how hard Dolby, DTS and others might be working on making lossless encoding more efficient because I do believe that it might not be too far out of reach for movie streaming in the next five years. If physical media were to die tomorrow then these companies sill have codecs to license, and other companies would still have receivers to sell, so I have to believe clever minds are working on it. Meridian’s MLP is what became Dolby TrueHD. In recent years Meridian have pushed further with the develop of MQA which is now available from a number of high res music streaming and download services and it is VERY efficient and losslessly squishing down 24bit/192khz to the same data rate as a 16bit 44.1khz stream. The blueprint for streaming movies with lossless surround is already there.

 

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All the Die Hard sequels (save for With A Vengeance which is Disney owned in the UK) are now showing as 4k/HDR on iTunes here. Can anyone with the HD purchases confirm an upgrade? With a Vengeance would surely be on the US store with then others if this is accurate.

 

Would hopefully be the strongest indication yet of disc releases in the US next year.

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