Ultra HD Blu ray

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Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by GeorgeC » February 8th, 2015, 11:54 pm

http://thedigitalbits.com/columns/my-tw ... 10615_1530


Ultra HD Blu ray (4K; four times the resolution of current Blu ray discs; four times or better the resolution of most HD TV broadcasts.)

New home video format... There's been rumblings about this for the better part of at least two years. News about it on home video sites has been building up in the last year. Might be out by the end of the year; most likely will not be streeting most major metro areas until 2016 earliest.

I think it won't make it... This is the new laserdisc. Might be a few people who want it BUT a lot of people didn't upgrade from DVD to Blu ray and Blu ray support is dwindling among the companies that would be backing a new format if this were 10 years ago. It's not... The world is a very different place than the peak of DVD over 10 years ago...

(3D is basically a high-end option now. There were a couple of sub-$1000 HD sets a few years back that did support 3D but nothing below $2000 now supports 3D. Which sets do you suppose sell better? The $2500+ sets or the sub-$2000 sets?)

I can't believe they're even bothering with 4K TV sets. Where is the 4K content???!?!!? As it is, not everything on cable transmits at 1080p! There's a lot of 720p content and even online not everything's 1080p, either! I kind of think the electronics companies are getting ahead of themselves and that the general public is tired of being led by the nose by these companies.

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by Ben » February 9th, 2015, 6:08 am

Actually, and to my surprise too, 4K is steamrolling along and has already made a much bigger penetration than 3D ever did. Apparently, most new (big) sets that are being sold are 4K ready ones...panel costs have come down and manufacturers, knowing they have a bit of convincing to do to get people to buy new sets again, have worked to make the economics work in their favor.

Do you really need it on an average living room TV? No, of course not, but there will always be high end users that like to "go large"! My pessimism towards it is that, as you say, with the larger studios' support of BD already waning (in their licensing of titled to smaller distributors) then how much 4K stuff are we going to see?

Probably quite a bit from WB, who have been 4K mastering for the best part of a decade or more, and naturally you'll get most of the new releases come along, but I agree it'll be like LaserDisc where it ends up really being a select amount of older material (as we have seen with BD) and only the truly classic, bigger catalog titles.

Darn it...after VHS (and even Super 8 on some titles!), LaserDisc, DVD and BD, I'm going to be starting my Disney library all over again, aren't I!? ;)

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by James » February 9th, 2015, 8:49 am

I don't get 4K either. Yes, I want it. But I don't think the average consumer cares. If putting 3D in most TV sets as a default option awhile back didn't drive that format what hope is there for making them go out of their way to choose an optional format? Remembering back in the early/mid 2000s, I don't think HD would have taken off without the government mandating the move to digital.

That said, if we are going to have 4K as an option going forward Ultra HD Blu-ray is almost a must. There's barely any content and download just isn't viable for most people (even early adopters) right now. Also, the kind of people that buy 4K because it's 4K are the also the kind of people who aren't going to want the (size) compressed 4K most download options are going to be putting out there.

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by GeorgeC » February 9th, 2015, 8:20 pm

I honestly wish I were more optimistic about this but I've seen stuff happening in the last 10 years and have talked to people who were in some aspect of the home video market... They're generally down on the long-term trends. People are just not buying as much to own and smaller companies have had to make massive adjustments to survive the transition. Granted, it's been at small cons where I've heard most of these things but there are some things you just cannot miss when you go to stores!

I have a big interest in anime but it's harder to find and buy a lot of stuff in stores now. Ironically, the licensing for anime has probably never been better than it is now -- a lot of old stuff is getting re-released at good prices as well as things from the past that never been available on video in the US -- but you have to buy most of it online now. A lot of the newer stuff that's exclusively online is far more expensive, too. The few chain stores that are left carrying DVDs and Blu rays have much smaller sections for everything, period. The variety available to buy is far less than it was a decade ago and they rotate a lot of titles out of store quicker than they used to.

It's ironic that they're talking about Ultra HD when some of the smaller companies are only just now trying to break into Blu ray! (Shout Factory and Discotek/Eastern Star being among these.) When you have major companies like Disney dropping the ball on Blu ray you have to wonder how committed they'll be to a new format! The best presentations a bunch of Disney films ever had was on laserdisc in those deluxe box sets... Even the lesser films like Pocahontas (where very few people wanted the in-depth material) had much better extras. To an extent, they carried over the extra material attitude into the DVD era with these films. In the Blu ray era, it's not been unusual for Disney not to put any extras... The last year or two has seen a lot of Disney films come onto Blu ray for the first time with no remarkable extras whatsoever! Even the newer films like Lilo & Stitch had much more material packed on the earlier DVD releases.

All this new electronic stuff means nothing if the quality content isn't there. That's why I gave up on cable TV. Too much reality TV and the quality level dropped from maybe 15-25% to I figure 10% good content on a good day. I figured that I watched maybe a half-dozen channels religiously at one times and upwards of 10-15 in a week. It dwindled down to less than half that in the last year or so that I had cable TV. I pretty much gave up on Cartoon Network and Disney Channel... They are stripping TV shows and movies far too much now... It's the same thing over and over again, day-in, day-out. I refuse to pay for only 10% good content. That's why I never liked Blockbuster. They tried to push the same stuff on everybody and the variety dwindled. I rarely found much of anything that I wanted to rent from those stores. The last really good video rental store I frequented was over 15 years in the past when I lived in Chicago. They had tons of different titles and it was one of the few places in town that had a lot of animation available -- both American and Japanese plus whatever European animated films happened to make it onto video in the US. That place is long-gone now. It had far more variety than the chain home video rental stores ever did... and it was a lot better than Red Box, too! Red Box is only marginally better than Blockbuster IMHO.

To some extent, the digital age really hasn't been kind to older films -- let alone classic animation, period -- and the variety has actually shrunk from what I've seen. I've said this before but I think there was actually more variety available on TV before 100+ cable channels became common. I certainly thought a lot of the independent TV stations had more variety and better programming before they got gobbled up by megacorporations. It was more likely for families to have multiple generations that saw a lot of the same old TV shows and older films. Won't be too long before a lot of those shows and movies become obscure trivia questions with the way I see media evolving.

I certainly don't think I Love Lucy was made to last for 60+ years but it was such a quality show that it held up well over time... It was shown on many independent TV stations for years before it became isolated to Nick at Nite TV Land and other exclusive cable channels. Right now, people will remember the newer shows for ten seconds if the fates allow it and they're forgotten within the next five years. It's amazing how much more disposable entertainment really has become...
Last edited by GeorgeC on February 10th, 2015, 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by Ben » February 10th, 2015, 6:43 am

Yep!

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by GeorgeC » February 10th, 2015, 2:14 pm

But seriously if the content and consumers aren't there, 4K will wither quickly... I doubt most major electronics company will back a digital TV format that doesn't sell well enough. Too much money at stake. It was amazing that LD lasted as long as it did but I doubt there is a Pioneer (principal developer and manufacturer of many LD's) that will brave a new product format if it doesn't sell well enough out of the gate. I just don't think they're that brave or patient now unless they have a mentality that 'they cannot fail...' (Sony's sort of been like that through its money troubles and the last two generations of Playstation consoles. They've pushed ahead with the game console division even though they've had massive losses in at least a near-decade.)

I honestly didn't feel the pressing need to buy into Blu ray even though I got my PS3 within a year of the BD format launch... I waited two years for the dust to settle after DVD was launched and I never regretted that decision to wait after hearing all the horror stories about poor quality, incompatible DVD players and poorly mastered discs. Decent-quality DVD's didn't start showing up much until 1999/2000 which was about the time the DVD format hit mass-acceptance. DVD didn't do that well the first year, year-and-a-half on the market from what I've read.

I still occasionally buy DVD when a movie or TV show isn't available on Blu ray. Most of what I buy on DVD is very old stuff so it wouldn't really benefit from a Blu ray upgrade, either. A number of the Japanese classic anime re-releases have been upscales from SD master tapes. They've upscaled video for a number of domestic US anime releases and there's always been howls about that because the upscales are generally not handled well and are even worse when they're mastered from old-cel style animation. Digitally-produced animation generally upscales smoother than animation shot on 16mm and 35mm film. Apparently, digitally-upscaled film grain combined with the filters to 'smooth out' the lines in the animation doesn't make for a pleasant viewing experience. (Yeah, I didn't think it would!) You have to go back and master directly from the old film stock if you want the best results on BD if the animation wasn't digitally-produced to begin with.

That's the good thing about the 4K releases... They're going back and scanning directly from (hopefully) the best quality film stock of classic movies and TV series in the US (at least). I know they did 2K scanning of films before for earlier BD releases... I don't honestly know that BD benefits much from the 4K process but I have seen differences in the playback of BD discs even on an old SD TV set. With the minimal extra bandwidth that gets squeezed out even then, there is is a noticeable bump-up in the quality of the colors and better high-speed image replay. (Heck, one of the things I saw that was immediately better with DVD was how it handled the 'hotter colors' like red's and pink's... A well-produced DVD handled hot colors better than any VHS tape or LD I've played.) You do benefit from a minor image upgrade... Really depends on the viewer on whether they think that bump-up is worth the extra cash. A lot of people didn't think so after BD was released...

There were fewer launch horror stories with the Blu ray debut but nonetheless there were definitely BD players to avoid and some discs that have histories of issues. It seems like even now, you're better off having a PS3 or PS4 for the upgrade options. (BD is a Sony format and Sony has interests in keeping its machines compatible with the discs...) A lot of the other electronics companies do not do a great job keeping their BD player firmwares up to date and that can cause compatibility issues with some of the later BD movie releases.

I dunno... I never fully hopped on board with HD. I'd probably wait at least 3 years this time before tipping my toe into the 4K format and that would be even more dependent on cost and content availability this time around. I don't know that in the meantime I'd bother with a 4K set to be honest. Why do that if there's very little content available for it? The electronics companies expected sports to drive 3D HDTV sales but it didn't happen. Even then, the 3D format wasn't full-HD and many, many things are still NOT full-HD (1080p) to this day.

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by Randall » February 10th, 2015, 10:08 pm

I purchased my HDTV a few years before I had any HD content to play on it, but that TV lasted me for a few years after I got into HD DVD and BD, so no regrets there. I needed a new TV back then, so I bought one that would do me for a while. Yes, I spent a load on it at the time, but I got good use out of it for a long while, and I was HD-ready when the time came.

After that TV died 2 years ago, I decided to forego the hundreds-of-dollars repair bill, and simply get a basic HDTV (i.e. not a smart TV or 3DTV), along with a great 3D projector. Another bundle spent, but no regrets. My projector is awesome, and I plan to use it for many years.

And UltraHD? Man, after going from VHS to LD, DVD, HD DVD, and BD... I am so done. I have no interest in further upgrades. I have spent more than enough money and time curating and updating my collections.

I don't doubt that some material will look better in UltraHD, even on my 8 foot screen (Ben's screen is bigger), but I am quite satisfied. I already get a very good experience relative to what I get in a cheaper local theatre, and I think my 3D at home often comes off better than what I see even at our deluxe theatre in town. I suppose an upgrade here at home is inevitable, but I am no hurry. I'll wait, hopefully many years, until my projector dies. And even then, I can't see upgrading my BDs to UHD discs.

I agree with many of the points made here already--- UHD disc support seems questionable, and even with studio support this seems destined to be a niche-within-a-niche market. Many consumers out there still don't see why they should upgrade to BD, and I don't see those folks jumping onto the UHD bandwagon. This may be more of a streaming format in the end, but one wonders how far the infrastructure is away from really suppporting that.

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by GeorgeC » February 11th, 2015, 12:55 am

I think the bandwidth issue of the Net is one of the big constraints of hi-def streaming...

It's ridiculous that North America trails behind many other territories in Net link speeds. I've read that Japan and South Korea have far higher Net upload and download speeds. People in most parts of the world really don't own personal computers... Most people I think are connecting to the Net through smart phones.

Honestly, I frequent story sites and there are times that the Net chugs along like an elderly person with a walker! How is it going to handle the higher data stream of Ultra HD video if it chokes on sites that are mainly text now?!?!? I've had YouTube choke along at slower-than-a-snail's pace when I've tried to watch videos there, too, and they're not all Full HD, either.

I'm still enough of a crazy person that I did buy a few BD's with 3D discs in them... Had thoughts of buying a Vizio model that had 3D years back but I doubt I'll get it any time soon. Again, 3D BD is not full-HD... It's roughly half HD resolution from what I've read.

Ah well, that's not so bad, really... The original Toy Story was rendered at a line resolution that was less than 720p (barely above DVD resolution if I remember correctly) and nobody cared back in 1995!
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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by Ben » February 11th, 2015, 6:00 am

As I did with LaserDisc, I will probably start to collect a few UHD (I hope that's not the abbreviation...I keep thinking of dried milk!) titles and wait for the players to be secure and fall in price before I jump.

I did the same with HD, and where Rand jumped in with HD-DVD I waited it out, although I did pick up one or two BD titles as I felt support was going that way and, if it went the other I'd only splashed out on a couple of discs that wouldn't be around by the time the "war" had ended, but luckily Warners made their choice pretty quickly and things didn't drag out too long.

So I did dodge the HD-DVD bullet (even if it did look like the better format), and will wait and see what UHD brings. With a 12'-plus screen size, I'm actually pretty impressed with what upscaled regular DVD looks like already, and true 1080p looks better than our local theatre, so it'll be a touch and go thing.

But with having to upgrade when I kit the whole room out (our cinema room is just plasterboard walls and no ceiling at the moment), then I'll probably go with a 4K projector (actually, for work, I know that has to be the case anyway, so that's a done deal), so then I may as well get a player, which will be cheap enough by then too. As for discs, I'll try and be a bit better behaved in what I pick up (um...) but it would be cool to see what it looks like.

And then, when Rand next visits and he sees it, it won't belong before I get an email along the lines of "okay, so I took the 4K plunge. Well, you know, the price was cheap and I saw a good deal, and my projector did kind of, sort of, not really need an upgrade..." ;)

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by EricJ » February 11th, 2015, 5:03 pm

Basically UltraHD is literally "What if they gave a format war and nobody came?"
The companies don't really understand why MP3's replaced CD's, or why Blu-ray replaced DVD or why DVD replaced VHS, so, since they "weren't going to be fooled again", there's the constant mindset that whatever new 4K format takes hold is going to "replace" whatever came before it.
Especially for the 3D haters, who didn't know what 4K was, but whatever the heck it was, it was clearly going to sweep away that icky old 3D like a new broom, so welcome our new overlords! (And later found out that half of the new Ultra sets were 3D compatible.)

The problem is, the home-theater audience aren't lab rats, and you can't make these things happen, as the digital-streaming companies are finding out believing that Ultraviolet is going to "replace" hard disk.
DVD solved very specific problems about VHS (oh, remember? :) ), Blu-ray came along just as the FCC were turning sets digital, 3D solved the problem of watching Avatar "flat", digital rentals (not purchase) are making it very tough for the rental market right now, and MP3 turned the music business into song-based rather than album-based.
There's no real problem that 4K solves except for indulgent home-theater nuts who want it, which is the same charge that was leveled back in the late 90's when we were giggling at the first DVD adopters.

But those adopters had a united front, while the 4K companies and the digital-download companies literally don't know whether they're talking about movies on 4K disks or 4K streaming, and are too busy at the cross-purposes of being each other's "replacement" to get on each other's side.

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by Ben » February 11th, 2015, 5:57 pm

No apostrophe needed on MP3s or CDs...seriously, this is a huge bugbear.

But as someone who will be a 4K adopter, I agree it's not something I really think we need or that I even want to deal with. In many ways the producers of content should have their better, higher quality masters (the very point of them being able to master their content to a pristine level) whereas with 4K disc we'll all basically have that level of quality...good on one hand for enjoying true master level quality, but not on the other, where the boundaries of a "master" and their "dupes" are wiped away and there's nothing particularly special about a master anymore.

We're kind of like that now with HD, where people can make their own broadcast cuts and fan edits, but 4K opens the floodgates to real reversions on a content producer's level.

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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by GeorgeC » May 12th, 2015, 9:30 pm

They announced the specs for UD Blu ray and the licensing for the players begins this summer...

http://thedigitalbits.com/columns/my-tw ... 51215_1130

Problem is this => "The problem with Ultra HD Blu-ray is one of messaging. And right now, the major Hollywood studios are sending out a really terrible message. By scaling back their Blu-ray releases, dumbing them down, and turning them into cookie-cutter products, the major Hollywood studios are effectively alienating and abandoning the avid film enthusiast and Blu-ray collector market. There are LOTS of diehard Blu-ray fans – people that are the very best customers for Blu-ray releases – and the studios are shunning them right now in a way that they never have before. That’s a problem, because those are the very people that are going to make or break the Ultra HD Blu-ray format. The vast majority of home video customers are more than happy with DVD, digital streaming and – to some extent – Blu-ray. They’re not interested in 4K Ultra Blu-ray. So who would be interested? Only the most avid consumers of Blu-ray – the very people the studios are alienating. And right now, many of those people are asking themselves: “Why would I want to buy a 4K physical media format when it looks like Hollywood is already backing away from their commitment to existing Blu-ray physical media?” We know this for a fact here at The Digital Bits, because we talk to those consumers every single day."


When one of the most enthusiastic fan sites for movie-on-disc is telling you there's a problem with perception, the companies SHOULD be paying attention.

ESPECIALLY the Disneys and Fox's which are already scaling back their home video releases and cutting themselves in the throat to save a few bucks. This attitude did NOT exist during the laserdisc era when there were far fewer copies of titles sold on 12" disc than VHS or later DVD.

I have skipped a LOT of Blu ray discs from Disney because they're simply not that good from issues with the lack of extras to poorly done HD mastering. The 20th Century Fox announcement that they're not doing more seasons of The Simpsons or releasing The X-Files on Blu ray is another demonstration that they don't get it.

I seem to recall the music industry did things like this with poor albums where there was maybe ONE good track to high CD prices where the soundtrack was actually more expensive to buy than the movie was a year later!

They're colossally bungling this...
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Re: Ultra HD Blu ray

Post by Ben » May 23rd, 2015, 6:35 am

Well, with all the talk of HDR and Dolby Vision and the like, I'm not sure it's all needed - I just saw a visually amazing film where the heat burned off the screen no the sound wrapped so far around you it was ear crunching - and all in a good way!

I'm talking abut Mad Max: Fury Road, an intense and insane but exhilaratingly visceral movie that was as brilliant as it was bonkers. More than anything, the sound and image are electrifying, sharp as anything, and just beautiful to behold.

Even sitting in the theater I thought I'd just seen the reason to jump on the BD4K wagon...if they can reproduced this experience in that format for the home then it will be worth it. Amazing.

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