HTPC Blu Ray vs Stand-alone - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
Don't believe everything you hear. The people who say PCM sounds different from "bitstreaming" are probably the same people who say that FLAC sounds different from PCM. It's impossible for it to sound different, considering encoded formats must be decoded to PCM before you can convert them into sound at all.
They should be the same, but there's no telling what's going on in the bitstream to PCM conversion. The player could be downsampling, normalizing, Windows mixer, Windows digital volume control, could all mess things up. You're right, they should be the same, and they probably can sound the same, but there is no guarantee, and it most certainly is possible for PCM from a PC to sound different from PCM from a Blu-ray player because the PC can do many things to the audio before it leaves the box.

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post #32 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
They should be the same, but there's no telling what's going on in the bitstream to PCM conversion. The player could be downsampling, normalizing, Windows mixer, Windows digital volume control, could all mess things up. You're right, they should be the same, and they probably can sound the same, but there is no guarantee, and it most certainly is possible for PCM from a PC to sound different from PCM from a Blu-ray player because the PC can do many things to the audio before it leaves the box.
I was wondering this same thing. When using Reclock you have to use PCM and did not know how much a difference my HTPC would make over my receiver.
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post #33 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 09:28 AM
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It seems to me that the source device can manipulate the PCM signal it sends out, so that (along with volume level, which imho is the most common misconception for sounding better/worse) could contribute to a different sound than bitstream or to another device sending PCM. As for bitstream, I would bet that no one would be able to hear the difference between 2 source devices sending bitstream to the same receiver in any kind of double blind test. I have been wrong before and will be countless times again, but just.....no.
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post #34 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by trans_lux View Post
I know many feel digital is digital
There is no emotion involved in stating facts.

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Originally Posted by trans_lux View Post
there are real measurable issues that can arise in the digital domain;Jitter/phase modulation
Feel free to post the results of the double-blind listening tests you conducted to demonstrate that you did measure an audible difference between the two.

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They should be the same, but there's no telling what's going on in the bitstream to PCM conversion.
Yes there is. The decoding process for compressed audio is conducted in a standard way; that's the whole point of having a compression standard. Decoders would otherwise not work at all.

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The player could be downsampling, normalizing, Windows mixer, Windows digital volume control, could all mess things up.
If your software is performing undesired operations, it's your responsibility to configure it properly or to use software which operates the way you want.
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post #35 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
Yes there is. The decoding process for compressed audio is conducted in a standard way; that's the whole point of having a compression standard. Decoders would otherwise not work at all.
Yes, there's no difference in the actual decoding, but you're incorrectly equating the output of the decoder with the output of the PC, they are not one in the same.

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If your software is performing undesired operations, it's your responsibility to configure it properly or to use software which operates the way you want.
This is exactly the point I was trying to make, there's a lot of room for "undesired operations" to happen in a PC, and "undesired operation" is in fact the standard mode of operation for PC audio. You cannot simply say that PCM output (of the PC) equals the PCM output of another device (Oppo) because their decoders decode the lossless audio the same, both devices have additional features that can change the audio between the point it leaves the DTS-HD MA or TrueHD decoder and the point a PCM signal leaves the device on an HDMI cable.

Also regarding there being a "standard way", it's not as simple as you seem to think. In the Anthem D2V thread there's some interesting information. Anthem ran into "trouble" for strictly adhering to DTS specs (to pass DTS qual testing) and as a result producing output that was different than other players/AVRs due to the way DTS encodes information about channel locations. I don't remember the exact details, but it had to do with some DTS tracks being authored in such a way that strict adherence to the DTS decoding spec (or maybe adherence to a more advanced profile) resulted in surround information being steered to the fronts which produced different (though technically correct) output from other devices.

And with Dolby TrueHD there's Dialog Normalization metadata encoded that is required to be applied to the decoded output.

So with both DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD there's a lot more going on, per their specs, than just bitstream to PCM and there's room for error or perhaps even some interpretation in the processing that is supposed to happen after the decoding, and those errors/differences have happened.

But really that's beside the point, the point was even assuming the decoders are working like they should, you can't just say PCM=PCM from two devices unless you qualify it by saying that you have ensured that all of the settings for post processing on both of those devices are disabled/bypassed. And that is definitely not the default case for an HTPC, by default there's a lot of stuff going on that could affect the sound (probably shouldn't audibly affect it, but could none the less).

About the only way I could see bitstreaming resulting in different sound is of one device was bitstreaming the full lossless track, and the other just the legacy lossy core, which is a real possibility.

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post #36 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 07:17 PM
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HTPC Blu Ray vs Stand-alone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
There is no emotion involved in stating facts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post
Feel free to post the results of the double-blind listening tests you conducted to demonstrate that you did measure an audible difference between the two.
Why is it that every time someone posts a personal observation or opinion here there is always someone that jumps all over you with the whole "my beliefs are facts and yours are not!" then its followed with "prove it!" next will likely be "this is a science forum!'"
I'm always up for a spirited debate but there needs to be some levity.
After all I thought that hobbies are supposed to be fun!

I know this is really going to throw you for a loop but I believe that humans have the ability to perceive information well beyond any test equipment available today or in the future. We know so little about how are senses work. IMHO perception is too big of a mystery to cram into the proverbial box.

Our realities are solely based on our perceptions.
I believe what I hear and see. How can this be wrong?

BTW there are endless studies by yes real scientists that have proven several types of digital distortion-primarily Jitter, Quantization Errors and Aliasing-not only can be measured but heard. Hit up the Google for more information on these topics.


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post #37 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 07:42 PM
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So do we all agree that there is a possibility that sending PCM from two different devices might result in some differences when sent to the same receiver but that bitstream is bitsream and anyone that hears a difference is ...well..."hearing things?" (if you know what I mean?)
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post #38 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 08:56 PM
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Glad glad someone else made this thread. I use a PS3 for my bluray playback. Was thinking about getting a bluray drive for my new PC build I'm doing. Was thinking I could just have Windows auto launch a blueray with whatever software i needed to watch movies. Seems like PowerDVD comes up a lot. I don't wanna take a downgrade for sure and was hoping id get an upgrade. Can PCs do the 3D blurays? Anyone got a simple cheapish blue tooth remote that works with PowerDVD? Should I be using Power DVD?
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post #39 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 09:22 PM
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Glad glad someone else made this thread. I use a PS3 for my bluray playback. Was thinking about getting a bluray drive for my new PC build I'm doing. Was thinking I could just have Windows auto launch a blueray with whatever software i needed to watch movies. Seems like PowerDVD comes up a lot. I don't wanna take a downgrade for sure and was hoping id get an upgrade. Can PCs do the 3D blurays? Anyone got a simple cheapish blue tooth remote that works with PowerDVD? Should I be using Power DVD?
I use powerdvd and have been satisfied with it. I find picture quality playing my ripped movie only iso files to be no different from my Panasonic and pioneer standalone units playing the original disks, and I do consider myself a picture quality snob. Despite what has been argued here, it is my belief (which is hard for me to say because I lean more towards saying it is a scientific fact) that bitstreaming the audio to a compatible receiver will provide identical listening versus a standalone player, as long as you do confirm that you are bitstreaming the appropriate hd audio, whether that be true hd or dts ma. You do need to make sure that your video card (or processor ie i7,i5,i3 w/ integrated graphics) is capable of bitstreaming as well. Powerdvd does play 3d and does so quite well as soon as you get it set up correctly. Again, make sure your graphics card is capable of 3d. As for remotes, I have a cheap windows ir remote with a usb ir dongle that works well with powerdvd, but I find myself using an android app (I think ios has it too) called unified remote that allows me to use my tablets/phones as a remote. It works through wifi so it can be used throughout the house.
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post #40 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 10:01 PM
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I use powerdvd and have been satisfied with it. I find picture quality playing my ripped movie only iso files to be no different from my Panasonic and pioneer standalone units playing the original disks, and I do consider myself a picture quality snob. Despite what has been argued here, it is my belief (which is hard for me to say because I lean more towards saying it is a scientific fact) that bitstreaming the audio to a compatible receiver will provide identical listening versus a standalone player, as long as you do confirm that you are bitstreaming the appropriate hd audio, whether that be true hd or dts ma. You do need to make sure that your video card (or processor ie i7,i5,i3 w/ integrated graphics) is capable of bitstreaming as well. Powerdvd does play 3d and does so quite well as soon as you get it set up correctly. Again, make sure your graphics card is capable of 3d. As for remotes, I have a cheap windows ir remote with a usb ir dongle that works well with powerdvd, but I find myself using an android app (I think ios has it too) called unified remote that allows me to use my tablets/phones as a remote. It works through wifi so it can be used throughout the house.
Yeah my PC is i7 4770k with 290x. Might get a 780ti at some point. I'm more worried about setting up the video settings. I'm already bitstreaming for when my PC when I play games on my Plasma. What i'm worried about is setting stuff like RGB or 4.2.2 settings. I don;t understand how that works.
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post #41 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 11:33 PM
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The color space stuff is pretty easy. Certain sets respond better to RGB others to ycbcr444. My Panasonic gt50 is great with RGB, my g10 looks washed out unless I set it to ycbcr444. I don't think you will need to upgrade your graphics for the sake of HTPC use. I believe the integrated i7 graphics can more than handle 1080p and bitstreaming. Gaming would be the only reason to upgrade that setup imho.
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post #42 of 58 Old 07-11-2014, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by chadsdsmith View Post
The color space stuff is pretty easy. Certain sets respond better to RGB others to ycbcr444. My Panasonic gt50 is great with RGB, my g10 looks washed out unless I set it to ycbcr444. I don't think you will need to upgrade your graphics for the sake of HTPC use. I believe the integrated i7 graphics can more than handle 1080p and bitstreaming. Gaming would be the only reason to upgrade that setup imho.
Well it is a gaming machine, just figured I could use one machine for two things. I never liked putting wear and tear on my PS3 by playing movies on it. Plus i'm at 7 HDMI devices as it is (PC, Cable box, PS4. Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and WiiU) and the receiver I want to buy has 7 hdmi inputs. Really wanna not use a switch after my current upgrade splurge.
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post #43 of 58 Old 07-12-2014, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by chadsdsmith View Post
The color space stuff is pretty easy. Certain sets respond better to RGB others to ycbcr444. My Panasonic gt50 is great with RGB, my g10 looks washed out unless I set it to ycbcr444. I don't think you will need to upgrade your graphics for the sake of HTPC use. I believe the integrated i7 graphics can more than handle 1080p and bitstreaming. Gaming would be the only reason to upgrade that setup imho.
I wouldn't recommend using RGB. I'd stick with Y’CbCr for video playback

Great article on color space http://www.spearsandmunsil.com/portf...color-space-2/
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post #44 of 58 Old 07-12-2014, 10:15 AM
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I wouldn't recommend using RGB. I'd stick with Y’CbCr for video playback

Great article on color space http://www.spearsandmunsil.com/portf...color-space-2/
There is a point towards the middle of that article where it states that some sets are better with one versus the other, its just a matter of how a given tv makes the conversion. That is kind of what I was getting at. In many cases it won't make much difference which one you choose, but in the case of my g10 it is very clear that RGB is not the solution. It is completely washed out. ycbcr fixes it.
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post #45 of 58 Old 07-12-2014, 11:50 AM
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I am looking to get a new Blu Ray player. I currently have a 6 year old Panasonic that takes forever to load. I currently have a HTPC running a Radeon 5670 and i3-530. I am leaning towards an internal player for my HTPC but was wondering what others thought.
The Oppo 103 is great for playing discs and even for streaming from downloaded MKV TV shows.


If however you rip movies, streaming to a PC can be SIGNIFICANTLY better than using an OPPO. If there are any subtitles, e.g. action movie and person speaks in Russian or German etc. - no subtitle.


If you have many MKV files to choose from Plex and other menu subsystems are much better than what Oppo can do.


If you want to search for a movie to stream - significantly better on a PC.


If you even want to search youtube or Netflix - much better on a PC.


Oppo IMHO is the absolute fantastic bang for the buck extremely good disc player - however they really haven't embraced streaming yet although their streaming is better than the Sony IMHO.

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post #46 of 58 Old 07-12-2014, 02:03 PM
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HTPC Blu Ray vs Stand-alone

You can't beat the OPPO 103 or 105. It looks and sounds better, involves not effort to set-up and is rock solid. It does a great job with multiple audio tracks and ok with subtitles.

It's also the only way to natively output the resolution of the content. I watch stuff that's all over the map letting my Lumagen do the scaling.

And if you "upgrade" the OPPO you can play any ISO, BDMV, including frame packed 3D with full menu support. Plays DVD-A but so far no luck with SACD ISO.

You certainly don't get the amazing interfaces or the the tons of plugins that you do with XBMC.

And please don't get me wrong I love tinkering with hardware and software. I go all the way back to modding the original Xbox and building pc's with RealMagic and ATI All in Wonder cards.

I have XBMC running on multiple winpc's, the amazing Openelec/XBMC on a couple Zotac Zbox's- my current goto for friends and family. have been spending a lot of time with the fabulous little Raspberry Pi.

Also have 1/2 a dozen or so streaming boxes.

In the end when I want to really enjoy something on my big rig or now my med system I use an OPPO.

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post #47 of 58 Old 07-12-2014, 03:17 PM
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There is a point towards the middle of that article where it states that some sets are better with one versus the other, its just a matter of how a given tv makes the conversion. That is kind of what I was getting at. In many cases it won't make much difference which one you choose, but in the case of my g10 it is very clear that RGB is not the solution. It is completely washed out. ycbcr fixes it.

Every displays certainly is different.
Usually black and white level differences can be compensated and made equal.
I would say I have not seen a display that supports YUV look better with RGB using the S&M patterns.
Be curious to see what what you think using the pattens.
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post #48 of 58 Old 07-13-2014, 08:18 AM
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Stand alone Blu-Ray player will be cheaper and far more reliable than a BD-ROM + BD software based system.

That said, I have been running BD-ROM + BD Software based system for years.

Even to play legally purchased or rented BDs consistently you will need use extra-legal means.

You will need to be running AnyDVD HD in the background (which breaks the encryption) + BD-Playback software like TMT or PDVD or Corel WinDVD. The free player MPC-HC (which Shark 007 codecs) is great but does not work on some BDs . For me it has been-Oblivion, Event Horizon, Total Recall, Ender's Game etc....In which case you will need a paid BD-playback software as back up. When you add up the costs of cheaper BD-ROM + AnyDVD + cheapest BD playback software you are going to spend more than a stand alone BD player.

If you do not have AnyDVD HD running in the background you will get HDCP error and then there is a whole thread dedicated on AVS on how you work around it and I found AnyDVD HD better for my sanity and needs.

As other have noted if you are backing up (Ripping movies) then the PC based solution is worthwhile, otherwise it is not.
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post #49 of 58 Old 07-13-2014, 04:08 PM
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Stand alone Blu-Ray player will be cheaper and far more reliable than a BD-ROM + BD software based system.

That said, I have been running BD-ROM + BD Software based system for years.

Even to play legally purchased or rented BDs consistently you will need use extra-legal means.

You will need to be running AnyDVD HD in the background (which breaks the encryption) + BD-Playback software like TMT or PDVD or Corel WinDVD. The free player MPC-HC (which Shark 007 codecs) is great but does not work on some BDs . For me it has been-Oblivion, Event Horizon, Total Recall, Ender's Game etc....In which case you will need a paid BD-playback software as back up. When you add up the costs of cheaper BD-ROM + AnyDVD + cheapest BD playback software you are going to spend more than a stand alone BD player.

If you do not have AnyDVD HD running in the background you will get HDCP error and then there is a whole thread dedicated on AVS on how you work around it and I found AnyDVD HD better for my sanity and needs.

As other have noted if you are backing up (Ripping movies) then the PC based solution is worthwhile, otherwise it is not.
+1 I would say if you only intend to play back blu ray disks, then using an HTPC is likely more cumbersome than a standalone player. If you are like me(and many others on these boards) you may want to start storing all of your movies on hard drives and play them back that way, which is where an HTPC is very convenient.
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post #50 of 58 Old 07-14-2014, 10:10 AM
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FWIW, I would expect an OPPO player model update relatively soon. It might be worth holding out for HEVC 4K support.

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post #51 of 58 Old 07-14-2014, 11:05 AM
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I wouldn't release anything now if I were them. The 4K Blu-ray specs aren't finalized yet.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #52 of 58 Old 07-15-2014, 02:02 PM
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For those who currently own Oppo, if you guys think Oppo is the way better comparing to HTPC in AQ & PQ of Bluray movies, please prove how, or you just guess?
I appreciate it.
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post #53 of 58 Old 07-15-2014, 08:02 PM
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I wouldn't release anything now if I were them. The 4K Blu-ray specs aren't finalized yet.
Well, they could be playing 4K Netflix and other HEVC encoded material. It exists. They've always been on the forefront of features. It makes sense to add it.

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post #54 of 58 Old 07-15-2014, 08:07 PM
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For those who currently own Oppo, if you guys think Oppo is the way better comparing to HTPC in AQ & PQ of Bluray movies, please prove how, or you just guess?
I appreciate it.
Why not buy one and try it yourself? I think they have a risk free 30 day trial period. You lose the shipping but I doubt you'll return it.

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post #55 of 58 Old 07-16-2014, 04:43 AM
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Well, they could be playing 4K Netflix and other HEVC encoded material. It exists. They've always been on the forefront of features. It makes sense to add it.

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They've been on the forefront of Blu-ray and DVD features, but they haven't exactly been at the forefront of streaming service support, and their support is still rather lacking compared to Roku for example (probably why they will bundle a Roku with it).

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #56 of 58 Old 07-16-2014, 04:46 AM
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They've been on the forefront of Blu-ray and DVD features, but they haven't exactly been at the forefront of streaming service support, and their support is still rather lacking compared to Roku for example (probably why they will bundle a Roku with it).
I meant more the hardware aspect. We know it's going to need an HEVC decoder. I think they get more buyers if they include one. There are a lot of 4K TVs out there with no support for it.

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post #57 of 58 Old 07-16-2014, 04:57 AM
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HEVC is only a small part of what's going to be required for 4K content going forward. There's wider gamuts, higher bit depths, high dynamic range, high frame rates, HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2. From what I've been reading (mostly in the 4K BD thread in the projector forum) the advanced profile for HEVC to support those higher features hasn't been approved yet, so there can't be any hardware for it. Also there's apparently no hardware availability for 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2.

Oppo makes disc players, and high end ones at that, as such I would think they would not want to rush out a handicapped solution that's incapable of supporting the next gen formats.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #58 of 58 Old 07-16-2014, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
HEVC is only a small part of what's going to be required for 4K content going forward. There's wider gamuts, higher bit depths, high dynamic range, high frame rates, HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2. From what I've been reading (mostly in the 4K BD thread in the projector forum) the advanced profile for HEVC to support those higher features hasn't been approved yet, so there can't be any hardware for it. Also there's apparently no hardware availability for 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2.

Oppo makes disc players, and high end ones at that, as such I would think they would not want to rush out a handicapped solution that's incapable of supporting the next gen formats.
Naturally, I'm following the same threads. There -are- however decoders now (albeit not for future undecided specs). They're in TVs and other brand new electronics and they can be used on actual content. I recycle my Oppos every couple of years. The new players don't need to do everything now (I never mentioned 4K Blu-ray), they just need to provide the functionality that right now requires you to buy a new TV like streaming 4K Netflix and network playback of HEVC.

I can't play the files I have right now on my 103. HEVC would fix that.

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