The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 753 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #22561 of 22589 Old 05-11-2015, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
The softness in the cinematography is hard to overlook.
It certainly is heavy, but despite this, I still believe PQ would be higher than what a 4.0 Tier would represent in many many cases, which is what I wanted to convey in my post.
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post #22562 of 22589 Old 05-11-2015, 11:24 AM
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The Equalizer

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

This Blu-ray will look better to casual viewers than videophiles. The entire film has been filtered on some level. The surprising lack of high-frequency content can be seen throughout the movie. Even without the filtering, I don't think I would have gone much higher than Tier 1.0 or 1.25. It lacks the depth and dimension necessary for Tier Zero outside of a few shots in the climatic final battle.

Sony provides a very professional, clean AVC video encode in a flawless presentation. The Equalizer does have strong contrast and vivid color saturation. It also seems to have escaped Sony's expanded black levels mistake.
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post #22563 of 22589 Old 05-11-2015, 12:19 PM
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^^^^^^^^

According to Phantom's review above, Russ, Fred and I are all "casual viewers!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
The Equalizer

WOW!! There is absolutely, positively no doubt in my mind that this will easily get voted into Tier Blu! Sharpness and clarity are off the charts, especially in daytime scenes, but not limited to them. There are numerous nighttime scenes and except for a few scenes where blacks falter and the image softens the black levels are incredible with mesmerizing shadow details. One of McCall's (played by Denzel) favorite haunts at night is a restaurant where these virtues are highlighted, along with dazzling colors. The street shots outside the restaurant are simply amazing with some of the best shadow details you'll eve see. Thankfully this location is visited many times throughout the 2+ hour running time.

You know I love facial details and they never disappointed me. Depth was outstanding at times. Contrast was super strong, resulting in brilliant whites and vibrant colors. Flesh tones were spot on. I think you get the picture (and hopefully you'll literally see the picture!), this is a LOOKER that deserves, at the very least, a rent. BTW, I learned the whole movie was shot using Arri Alexa cameras and they are definitely climbing out of their usual Tier 1 spot into the coveted Tier. I'm tempted to nominate this for .5 but with the faltering blacks and softness in a few (short) shots I'm going with...

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.66)

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
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Originally Posted by rusky_g View Post
The Equalizer

A sterling disc from Sony which offers razor sharp PQ, fantastic blacks and shadow detail, rounded off with excellent dimensionality. I couldn't really find much fault.

I think 2015 will be a great year for the PQ Tiers!

Tier 0.75
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I agree with this placement.

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post #22564 of 22589 Old 05-11-2015, 12:32 PM
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Amazing how opinions can differ, all good though, interesting that we can offer different opinions! I didn't rate Lucy that high but everyone else thought it was top tier!
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post #22565 of 22589 Old 05-11-2015, 01:16 PM
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The Equalizer has a very clean look to it, I figured its rankings before mine would land fairly high. Filtering in 2015 has become far more sophisticated and easier to hide with completely digital productions. I felt this was noteworthy for how pervasive it was in the transfer.
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post #22566 of 22589 Old 05-12-2015, 06:31 AM
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When significant differences appear between max resolution estimates, suggest agreeing on certain scenes, then measuring and comparing actual or effective resolutions using Blu-ray test patterns . Displays involved would have to handle the 1920-line horizontal resolution test pattern. -- John
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post #22567 of 22589 Old 05-12-2015, 09:53 AM
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Rollerball (Arrow Video's Region B-locked UK release)

recommendation: Tier 2.75*

All things considered, this is a rather decent film transfer for the 1975 film. Arrow Video licensed this film from MGM, presumably the transfer was originally struck by the poverty-stricken American studio. Twilight Time issued the film in America, likely from an identical HD source.

The cult classic didn't receive much in the way of a photochemical restoration but everything points to a relatively new film scan from the negative. Print damage is kept to a minimum in the properly saturated video. Film densities are largely where you would expect them, the grain structure hasn't been overly processed aside from some minor sharpening. A little filtering appears to have been applied, a couple of scenes have waxier flesh than normal.

I think fans should be happy with the results. MGM doesn't spend much on restorations and this older catalog title turns out better than I expected.
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post #22568 of 22589 Old 05-12-2015, 02:49 PM
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Gone Girl

Recommendation: Tier 0 (0.1)


Wow. We are getting spoilt with the amazing live-action film transfers to Blu-ray this year.

The latest to give reference-quality visuals is David Fincher's 'Gone Girl', digitally shot with the Red Epic Dragon, with a 6K source format transferred to a 4K DI. And boy does it show.

The smallest detail is visible even in the shadows. Contrast, clarity and black levels are amazingly accurate with no sign of crush or other anomolies. Clothes, skin and world textures are sharp (check out Affleck's stubble for example).

You're not going to get much better than this folks.
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post #22569 of 22589 Old 05-12-2015, 02:57 PM
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The Great Mouse Detective

recommendation: Tier 2.25*

I love, love this film transfer. This Blu-ray officially earns the Picture Quality Tiers Seal of Approval. If you want to see a pure, film-like reproduction of theatrical cel animation, look no further than The Great Mouse Detective. Disney hasn't restored the 1986 movie per se but has performed a very faithful new scan without processing it.

The animation itself isn't overly flashy but has a saturated palette with inky black levels. Disney originally released this BD nearly three years ago, around the time it was releasing disastrous transfers like The Sword In The Stone. It is fully apparent a different team prepared The Great Mouse Detective than that abomination.

The cel animation looks rather good most of the time, this was one of the last Disney efforts that didn't start cutting corners on the process.
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post #22570 of 22589 Old 05-14-2015, 11:25 AM
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bb nf Monsters University Video: AVC | Audio: 7.1 Dolby TrueHD | AR: 1.78:1 | Disney
bb nf Rio 2 Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1 | AR: 2.40:1 | Fox
bb nf Get On Up Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA | AR: 1.85:1 | Universal
bb nf The Smurfs 2 Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA | AR: 1.85:1 | Sony
bb nf Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Video: AVC | Audio: TrueHD 7.1 | AR: 1.78:1 | DreamWorks
bb nf Toy Story 3 Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1 | AR: 1.85:1 | Disney
bb nf Avatar Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA | AR: 1.78:1 | Fox

I guess all good things must end at some point. Cinema Squid finally pulled his excellent screenshot and review database site offline after years of meritorious service to the Blu-ray community, as seen at the link. I commend his dedication to the project, its thoroughness was second to none. I only came across this info when checking the links for testing purposes. It must have happened fairly recently, the links were working just a few months ago.

http://cinemasquid.com/

That poses a challenge to the PQ Tiers, as most every disc in Tier Blu was linked to Cinema Squid's site. Given the transitory nature of most review sites, I think we will use a generic DVD-Basen link as a replacement unless someone has a better idea. Another option is linking every movie to IMDB in place of the Blu-ray reviews.

http://www.dvd-basen.dk/uk/home.php3
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post #22571 of 22589 Old 05-14-2015, 11:33 AM
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It was already down when I posted 3 days ago.
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post #22572 of 22589 Old 05-14-2015, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
bb nf Monsters University Video: AVC | Audio: 7.1 Dolby TrueHD | AR: 1.78:1 | Disney
bb nf Rio 2 Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1 | AR: 2.40:1 | Fox
bb nf Get On Up Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA | AR: 1.85:1 | Universal
bb nf The Smurfs 2 Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA | AR: 1.85:1 | Sony
bb nf Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Video: AVC | Audio: TrueHD 7.1 | AR: 1.78:1 | DreamWorks
bb nf Toy Story 3 Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1 | AR: 1.85:1 | Disney
bb nf Avatar Video: AVC | Audio: DTS-HD MA | AR: 1.78:1 | Fox

I guess all good things must end at some point. Cinema Squid finally pulled his excellent screenshot and review database site offline after years of meritorious service to the Blu-ray community, as seen at the link. I commend his dedication to the project, its thoroughness was second to none. I only came across this info when checking the links for testing purposes. It must have happened fairly recently, the links were working just a few months ago.

http://cinemasquid.com/

That poses a challenge to the PQ Tiers, as most every disc in Tier Blu was linked to Cinema Squid's site. Given the transitory nature of most review sites, I think we will use a generic DVD-Basen link as a replacement unless someone has a better idea. Another option is linking every movie to IMDB in place of the Blu-ray reviews.

http://www.dvd-basen.dk/uk/home.php3
I feel bad that I'm not sure I can offer advice.

I usually would have an opinion about something like this, but I'm not sure any of my opinions about this at the moment are good opinions, if you know what I mean.

I wanted to let you know that I think the others will be better help here than I will be and I'm hoping they will chime in.

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post #22573 of 22589 Old 05-14-2015, 11:37 AM
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A note about Age of Ultron in theaters: I found the color grading to be the orange/teal that we're all so used (tired? annoyed?) to seeing and it was disappointing. I'm now very wary about the BD, but have pre-ordered it anyway because the movie is highly enjoyable.

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post #22574 of 22589 Old 05-14-2015, 11:49 AM
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I would guess Age of Ultron ends up looking a little better than the first Avengers when it hits Blu-ray.
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post #22575 of 22589 Old 05-14-2015, 08:29 PM
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Black Rock

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

Black Rock's picture quality far exceeded my expectations. This BD came out a couple of years ago from Lionsgate, not a studio particularly known for extreme videophile standards on the format. If a substantial portion of the third act hadn't taken place outdoors in a dark forest, this disc may have landed in Tier 1.0. It has scenic location photography in a beautiful locale, filmed with maximum clarity and depth. The stately contrast isn't over-driven and pumped-up like so many other modern movies, rendered in a very neutral color timing.

The main feature runs only 79 minutes, bestowed with a spectacular high-bitrate AVC video encode. This is a technically flawless transfer from a crisply-shot movie.
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post #22576 of 22589 Old 05-16-2015, 05:18 PM
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Kingpin

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

Kingpin was released last October courtesy of Paramount. This is a solid Hi-Def presentation for the 1996 comedy. The film elements are in nigh immaculate condition with fairly pleasing color saturation. The resolution and detail recall a 2K film scan struck in the past five years. There is a modicum of filtering but the process doesn't overly damage the film-like 1080P video beyond a few specific moments. A touch of sharpening is most noticeable in the opening act. Definition and clarity are above average in all other regards.

Paramount has bestowed Kingpin with a perfect AVC video encode on a BD-50. The 117-minute main feature (an extended version) has a video encode that averages well over 30 Mbps in a perfectly transparent manner.
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post #22577 of 22589 Old 05-17-2015, 09:26 AM
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Avatar (2009)

Either I'm missing something, or the PQ of this disc is slightly worse than what people say. It's the #7 Blu-Ray on the list. The extended edition is #8 . I'm looking at a two-disc release exclusively (?) from Walmart. It was $10 for the Blu-Ray and DVD together, with no special features. When ripped to MKV, uncompressed with all audio tracks, it is 39.6 GB. Is this in line with other releases of the standard edition, or is the file size smaller? If it's smaller, I'll drop my complaint.

Here is the bitrate:



28 Mbps average
53 Mbps peak

Avatar, in static or slow-moving scenes, looks awesome. If the movie was just scenes of Na'vi talking around fires and in lush forests, it would deserve its high spot on the tier list.

But I keep noticing that in scenes of fast motion, either the bitrate, compression algorithm, or source material is faulty.

Each image links to the full-size, uncompressed version.



This looks like a blurry mess. I know it's supposed to emulate the blur that most films have, but something about it looks off. Everything to the right of the helicopter looks bit-starved, like detail is being lost to compression.



The stars in the bottom-right are just closely-packed enough to make the image tough to compress.



The leaves of the tree at the top don't blend well with the background. This is another spot I think is ruined by compression. The bush on the right-middle edge of the image lack definition. It just joins the background in a kind of mush. Look above it and you see a small plant growth off the right side of the tree trunk. That's an honest-to-god compression artifact. It barely looks like anything.

Break the above image into a 3x3 grid of rectangles, and the bottom-right rectangle looks like another area marred by poor compression.



It's clearly trying to look like film - but does it? If you freeze-frame a high-movement shot of Terminator 2, does it look like this?

Here are some shots of motion blur in Lawrence of Arabia. The blur is consistent in that film, and it's not heavily compressed. In Avatar it doesn't look as good. In Ratatouille (obviously an animated film), they handle blur differently, and better, in my opinion.

Look at the left leg of the Na'vi in the middle of the shot, closest to the camera. Look at the plant that their leg is near. It doesn't look like film blur. It looks like film blur, with compression added.

I don't know if the existing ranking reflects what I see as compression artifacts / source ugliness. If Avatar was available in a 100 GB version, or maybe a 75 GB version, my complaints might disappear. But as it is, it doesn't look like 40 GB was enough to show the world of Avatar without some compromises being made.

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post #22578 of 22589 Old 05-17-2015, 01:28 PM
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I don't know if Walmart got their own encode. Was this the extended or theatrical version of Avatar? The theatrical BD was supposed to have a special compression encode completely filling up a BD-50, while the extended edition had to cram special features and a longer running time on a BD-50. Fox has done special rental-only editions for some movies and foisted them off at Walmart in budget-priced editions. I don't know if that is the case with Avatar or not.

The current rankings reflect popular consensus of each disc's standing as judged by this thread's participants. Avatar is getting up there in age from a Blu-ray standpoint, having been near the top of Tier 0 since 2010. If you feel so strongly about it, give us your opinion of where it should fall in Tier 0 and I will keep that in mind in the upcoming Tiers update.

Sweet Smell of Success (UK Region B)

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

Arrow Films released this magnificent film transfer in the UK. The same master was apparently used for the Criterion edition as well, I have to believe the two BDs look virtually identical. Sweet Smell of Success has beautiful monochrome cinematography from Hollywood's Golden Age. This is easily one of the finest black-and-white film transfers ever seen on the Blu-ray format. It has incredible depth and perfect black levels. The shadows melt with superior delineation and detail. An unfiltered, unprocessed transfer done with best practices from a restored camera negative- this film simply can't look better at 1080P resolution.

The crisp definition and vivid shadows practically leap off the screen. This is easily one of the sharpest vintage films available on Blu-ray. The film elements are in nearly pristine condition, looking as fresh as if the film was released last year.
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post #22579 of 22589 Old 05-18-2015, 02:09 AM
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New movies arrived! Finally releasing in Europe, and providing great PQ goodness so far.

So far I’ve watched:

The Theory of Everything

A very good looking film with good details and sharpness throughout. I didn’t really like the bloomy lighting used in some shots, giving characters an almost glowing look. But that’s more a cinematography complaint instead of PQ I guess.
It features one of the best looking shots I’ve seen in some time, with the couple standing on a bridge, with black water beneath them and lights all around them. My GF immediately commented on this great looking scene, and I was similarly impressed.

Tier 0: Somewhere around middle/bottom; but definitely above Enders Game. ( which I also watched recently)

And:

Birdman

This looked really freaking stellar. A beautifully shot digital movie. Very crisp and detailed. The colors are just amazing to look at. Especially the black and blue stage scenes have some of the best inky blacks I’ve seen while preserving shadow detail. Facial details are great, and the sharpness of the image works very well in conjunction with the ‘One shot’ cinematography. A spectacular disc.

Tier 0: near Life of Pi.
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post #22580 of 22589 Old 05-19-2015, 01:12 PM
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Power: The Complete First Season

recommendation: Tier 1.25*

All these premium cable shows tend to have very good picture quality. Power is no exception, coming from the Starz channel. Eschewing a gritty aesthetic for its crime drama, Power looks and feels glossy in crisp definition.

The video has such consistency that it may deserve a higher rank. Flawless black levels, unfiltered detail, an evenly saturated color palette that doesn't overly skew flesh-tones - Power has everything we look for in top material. Outside of the pilot episode, its lesser depth and darker contrast mark it for Tier 1.
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post #22581 of 22589 Old Yesterday, 02:49 PM
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I just picked up my KURO from Fargo (it cost $700 but I'm fine with that, as long as it lasts until I can afford a LARGE OLED display ). Right now I don't have anyone to help me haul it in the house (it weighs nearly 120 lbs.) but as soon as I do I'll be getting into some serious Blu-ray viewing. I'm really excited to see American Sniper, which is getting rave reviews for both the movie and the PQ.
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post #22582 of 22589 Old Yesterday, 03:55 PM
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I must say: the anticipation for the next PQ tier update is similar to waiting for christmas. I'm excited!
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post #22583 of 22589 Old Yesterday, 06:36 PM
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Good to hear you got your Kuro back djoberg! I don't know what I'd do if my Mits DLP died since I have 0 interest in LCD/LED's as I just don't like watching movies on them. If it did die it would probably get me to justify going the projector route but I can't really do that where I live currently.

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post #22584 of 22589 Old Yesterday, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
I just picked up my KURO from Fargo (it cost $700 but I'm fine with that, as long as it lasts until I can afford a LARGE OLED display ). Right now I don't have anyone to help me haul it in the house (it weighs nearly 120 lbs.) but as soon as I do I'll be getting into some serious Blu-ray viewing. I'm really excited to see American Sniper, which is getting rave reviews for both the movie and the PQ.
Moving large displays can be a real pain. You have a lot of catching up to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJackson View Post
I must say: the anticipation for the next PQ tier update is similar to waiting for christmas. I'm excited!
So I am like Santa Claus?

Iron Man 3

recommendation: Tier 1.75

Finally got around to sitting through this Marvel movie on Blu-ray. I wasn't that shocked to find it already ranked in Tier 2.5. The video is razor-sharp but all of the older stars in it have been de-focused. That leaves smooth facial detail and fairly average resolution remaining in the 1080P presentation.

I think it looks good enough for the bottom of Tier one but these kind of action blockbusters heavily built around CGI never truly compete in the top tiers.
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post #22585 of 22589 Old Yesterday, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by |Tch0rT| View Post
Good to hear you got your Kuro back djoberg! I don't know what I'd do if my Mits DLP died since I have 0 interest in LCD/LED's as I just don't like watching movies on them. If it did die it would probably get me to justify going the projector route but I can't really do that where I live currently.
Thanks TchOrT! I hear you regarding watching movies on LCD/LEDs. I have one of each upstairs and I "rarely" watch ANYTHING on them. Of course the last two weeks I was forced to.

Again, if my KURO died tomorrow I'm not sure what I'd do. If they still made the Sharp Elite I'd get one of them, or if I could find a Panny plasma (ZT or VT Series) or the Samsung 8500 plasma I'd go that route.
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post #22586 of 22589 Old Yesterday, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Moving large displays can be a real pain. You have a lot of catching up to do.
Tell my wife that! She agreed to help me a few hours ago; we had to stop at each step so she could REST (there's 15 steps!!) and once we got to the Home Theater room she could barely lift her end high enough to place it in the TV stand (that rests upon the main stand that holds the tv and all the components). But bless her for helping me.....tomorrow I hope to start sliding Blu-rays into my Pioneer Blu-ray player!

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post #22587 of 22589 Old Today, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by |Tch0rT| View Post
Good to hear you got your Kuro back djoberg! I don't know what I'd do if my Mits DLP died since I have 0 interest in LCD/LED's as I just don't like watching movies on them. If it did die it would probably get me to justify going the projector route but I can't really do that where I live currently.
I forgot to mention that I owned a Samsung DLP for several years and I was extremely pleased with the PQ. I only sold it so I could afford to get the KURO.
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post #22588 of 22589 Old Today, 07:11 PM
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The Admiral: Roaring Currents


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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
The Admiral: Roaring Currents

recommendation: Tier 0* (.66)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents was lensed by the same cinematographer behind War of the Arrows. Filmed on the Red Epic in pristine clarity, this is one of the sharpest action epics seen on Blu-ray in some time. The 1080P video delivers outstanding contrast, incredible detail, and fantastic depth. This is demo material meant to be seen on a calibrated display or the big screen. Its black levels are inky perfection, loaded with gorgeous shadow delineation.

The main feature clocks in at 128 minutes. It is encoded in AVC at an average video bitrate of 23.94 Mbps. This is a perfectly transparent video encode that cleanly replicates everything without artifacts getting in the way. The 1080P video is presented in the film’s intended aspect ratio, 2.40:1.

I love picking apart a Blu-ray’s presentation as much as the next reviewer but this is absolutely flawless 1080P video quality. You can’t ask for much more than this technically perfect digital film transfer made with the latest camera technology. Its picture quality ranks just below the best live-action films released on Blu-ray.
I agree with every point made EXCEPT Phantom's comments regarding the black levels. I found, especially in several of the first scenes, that black levels faltered in nighttime scenes. The black bars were a very dark gray in these instances and it was enough to distract me. I should add that softness intruded at times during these scenes. Of course, the black bars were deep and inky in ALL of the daytime scenes. Due to less-than-stellar black levels in these few scenes I'm going to go with....

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.75)

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....

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post #22589 of 22589 Old Today, 08:22 PM
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Outlander Season One Volume One

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

This premium cable series has a slightly odd look to its digital video. I guess that is due to the pale color timing with hints of teal. This presentation has enough clarity for a higher spot, though I don't think maximum picture quality was the cinematographer's intention.

The AVC video encode looks fine and the video itself is pristine outside of the softer, darker war footage.
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