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post #1 of 24 Old 11-08-2017, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Westworld Season One Ultra HD Review



Ralph Potts reviews this HBO drama series, based on the film written by Michael Crichton, where guests can live without limits in a world where every human appetite can be indulged.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89



Details:

Studio and Year: Warner - 2017
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 619 minutes
Genre: TV Drama

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): ] English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English SDH, , French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Ben Barnes, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Luke Hemsworth, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Shannon Woodward, Jimmi Simpson, Simon Quarterman, Rodrigo Santoro
Directed by: Various
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Written by: Various
Region Code: A


Release Date: November 7, 2017


"What happens in a world free of rules, limits and consequences?"


My Take:


Westworld isn't your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park -- which is looked after by robotic "hosts" -- allows its visitors to live out their fantasies through artificial consciousness. No matter how illicit the fantasy may be, there are no consequences for the park's guests, allowing for any wish to be indulged.

Based on the 1973 film written/directed by Michael Crichton, Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and a reimagined past, the series explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be experienced. Filled with inner monologues, shaped by the roles that memories play, offset by subtext surrounding the hosts, as the past present and future collide, the 10 episodes of season one play out in layer peeling fashion.

The storyline features narratives that involve not only the hosts, and the guests, but those pulling the strings. The plot peeks behind the curtain to reveal that in as much as those running the park think that they are in control, the truth is, they aren’t, and there is more to what lies beneath the artificial hosts than meets the eye. I watched the entire season, finding it to be conceptually interesting, as it examines the psyche of human indulgence, juxtaposed to the ramifications of playing god, by tinkering with the implanted “souls” of the hosts. There are elements of mystery that play out over the course of the season that are complimentary to the plot, while adding a necessary element that conjoins events throughout, as they build toward the finale.

The cast is filled with talent, each adding an enriching element, whether they be a regular, or a guest star, that underscores the shows thematic impact. I look forward toward next season.

Westworld Season One: The Maze as reviewed here is available in a Limited Edition Tin, that comes with a 20 page premium collectible booklet, that serves as the “Corporate Guidebook for new employees at Westworld”. The Limited-Edition tin is attractive, featuring raised lettering and a sturdy snap when closing.



10 ONE-HOUR EPISODES
1. The Original
2. Chestnut
3. The Stray
4. Dissonance Theory
5. Contrapasso
6. The Adversary
7. Trompe L’Oeil
8. Trace Decay
9. The Well-Tempered Clavier
10. The Bicameral Mind


Replay Value: 3.5 Stars


Parental Guide:

The show contains mature thematic material, nudity, sexual content, and violence.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:






Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness:
  • Entertainment factor:



Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Westworld Season One comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 40 Mbps, and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6Mbps.


For its presentation in Ultra HD Westworld Season One was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K.

Westworld is a sci-fi drama that adheres to relatively cooler chromatic schemes, with the exception of sequences that call for richer color to provide thematic emphasis, which doesn't make for especially eye- catching levels of color, but this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. With a noticeable increase in detail the image appears sharper when compared to the 1080p version. The plethora of close up camera shots reveal plenty of subtle refinement and textures within the image. Primary colors like blue and red are pleasingly rich while whites appear bright and punchy.

The added dimension in the grays, blacks, and shadows gives the image excellent depth. The exterior sequences with their sun splashed, sepia aesthetic and razor sharpness looked terrific. The film has a variety of sequences that take advantage of high dynamic range. The contrast between the shadow details, bright lights and glistening metal objects gives the image lots of visual pop.

The 1080p rendering of Westworld Season One is excellent so the difference between the two isn't night and day, but overall, I was very pleased with this presentation.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I recently added the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel to my review system. This was to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Westworld Season One, I found the HDR rendering to essentially be the same. As I alluded to earlier, this show’s elements aren’t lent to overtly levels of vivid color or vibrant highlights, however the subtleties that are present lie in the warm accents and reproduction of earth tones. Switching back and forth between the DV and HDR-10 renderings yielded minute differences that are probably more subjective and not enough to warrant a rating difference. If pushed to make a decision on which presentation I preferred I would give the nod to DV.


In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety, which was a pleasant surprise. Its use of audio objects placed above is comprised of a mix of atmospherics, panning fills and discrete sounds. This is done to good effect when implemented and creates an enriching level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Nearfield sound placement is noteworthy, providing an involving listening experience that emboldens the "being there" effect when applied.

During the various sequences that take place in the large venues, the track brims with environmental cues and discrete sound effects. The music is mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements without drawing attention away from the thematic details of what is transpiring onscreen. While this mix doesn’t make constant use of attention grabbing audio object placement, I found myself completely involved when it mattered and found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that absolutely complimented the source material.



Blu-ray Video:


Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural: X Rating * (non-rated element):


Westworld Season One comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.4 Mbps.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. The various wide-angle shots of the shooting locations look terrific. Other than some innate softening, I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Westworld Season One looks great on Blu-ray.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound keeps pace with the video and is quite good. Dynamics are robust and highs are crisp without being strident or edgy. Dialogue is rendered with defining tonal expression and room penetrating depth through the center channel. The front soundstage is diffused with excellent separation and clearly articulated detail. The presentation makes ample use of the entire surround platform. At times it opens up quite nicely to create an involving surround mix containing a mix of directional and ambient sounds. Bass response doesn’t reach subterranean levels however it appropriately supports the source elements and provides an appreciably tight, and punchy low end.


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1-3: Westworld Season One Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 4-6: Westworld Season One Blu-ray
    • Inside Look with Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy – Season One (New Featurette)
    • Imagining the Main Title (New Featurette)
    • The Key to The Chords (New Featurette)
    • Gag reel (New)
    • Welcome to Westworld
    • Crafting the Narrative
    • An Invitation to The Set
    • Welcome to Westworld: About the Series
    • Reality of A.I.: Westworld
    • “The Big Moment” Featurettes
  • Limited Edition Tin and Collectible Booklet



Final Thoughts:

Based on the 1973 film written/directed by Michael Crichton, Westworld Season One is an engaging TV drama that features well shaped characters, compelling drama, and a thought provoking spin. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertaining in this Limited Edition Ultra HD Combo Pack that features excellent overall video quality, involving lossless sound, including a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive mix (Ultra HD version only), and a fan friendly assortment of extras that a worth exploring. Westworld Season One proved to be quite good, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead.


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Last edited by Ralph Potts; 11-08-2017 at 09:21 AM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 11-08-2017, 08:55 AM
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Ralph, thanks for your review. I'm am kind of curious though. Why no DV vs HDR10 comparison on this one ?
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post #3 of 24 Old 11-08-2017, 09:26 AM
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Ralph, thanks for your review. I'm am kind of curious though. Why no DV vs HDR10 comparison on this one ?
I think you can forgive Ralph for not knowing this has DV. It's not on the packaging anywhere, and not in any of the press materials. DV would have been a complete surprise on this if it weren't for people spotting DV mentioned on international covers. Ralph's main display is a projector and I imagine he only checks DV discs on the TCL when he's aware it has DV. Now that he knows, he'll probably take a look and amend his review.
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post #4 of 24 Old 11-08-2017, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rockaway1836 View Post
Ralph, thanks for your review. I'm am kind of curious though. Why no DV vs HDR10 comparison on this one ?
Greetings,

Thanks for catching that. I wrote the review on both templates, and inadvertently posted the standard one.


Regards,
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post #5 of 24 Old 11-08-2017, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by puddy77 View Post
I think you can forgive Ralph for not knowing this has DV. It's not on the packaging anywhere, and not in any of the press materials. DV would have been a complete surprise on this if it weren't for people spotting DV mentioned on international covers. Ralph's main display is a projector and I imagine he only checks DV discs on the TCL when he's aware it has DV. Now that he knows, he'll probably take a look and amend his review.
Greetings,

Thanks puddy77. Initially I wasn't aware of it and began the review on the standard template. It wasn't until later, while double checking something using the TCL that I saw it also had DV.


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post #6 of 24 Old 11-08-2017, 11:07 AM
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Thanks for the review Ralph.

I picked this up yesterday, and was very underwhelmed in picture quality. I'm glad to see your HDR score is lower than some other reviewers, and matches what I saw. It isn't bad, it just looks kind of soft without much pop. The color spectrum is the one area I thought it excelled in.
I have a DV capable setup, and it seemed the weakest of all the titles I've viewed so far.

It's still worth picking up though, as it is a great ride.
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post #7 of 24 Old 11-08-2017, 11:47 AM
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I picked this up yesterday, and was very underwhelmed in picture quality...

It's still worth picking up though, as it is a great ride.
I really enjoyed Season 1. I watched on HBO and I was hoping the UHD PQ would be a bigger improvement.
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As far as I'm able to find out, season 1 was shot using various 35mm film stock, which is more than capable of being digitised to 4K. However, the TV episodes were digitised to 2K.

So has the UHD disc version undergone a new film to 4K digital transfer or was it 'upscaled' from the 2K ?

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post #9 of 24 Old 11-09-2017, 08:51 AM
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I wonder if there will be a season 2?

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post #10 of 24 Old 11-09-2017, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by SeeMoreDigital View Post
As far as I'm able to find out, season 1 was shot using various 35mm film stock, which is more than capable of being digitised to 4K. However, the TV episodes were digitised to 2K.

So has the UHD disc version undergone a new film to 4K digital transfer or was it 'upscaled' from the 2K ?
First post in this thread, the review, says 2k upscale.
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First post in this thread, the review, says 2k upscale.
Was that their yesterday?

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I wonder if there will be a season 2?
Yes, sometime in 2018

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Thanks for the review Ralph.

I picked this up yesterday, and was very underwhelmed in picture quality. I'm glad to see your HDR score is lower than some other reviewers, and matches what I saw. It isn't bad, it just looks kind of soft without much pop. The color spectrum is the one area I thought it excelled in.
I have a DV capable setup, and it seemed the weakest of all the titles I've viewed so far.

It's still worth picking up though, as it is a great ride.
Wow! What kind of setup do you have? I find the WESTWORLD UHD disc to be outstanding video wise in DV and being the best out there (next to Spiderman Homecoming). The image is is so "life-like" that it looks 3D in most scenes. I have over 120 UHD discs and this is the one that blows me away with its beauty! HBO's version was flat and lifeless by comparison. Its like seeing it with new eyes on this UHD set. Highly recommended. And don't get me on the awesome Dolby Atmos audio...
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Is this series worth getting into?


When it came to Spartacus, Rome and Game of Thrones, and could just not get enough, lots of action and a good story.


Ray
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post #15 of 24 Old 11-12-2017, 04:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Is this series worth getting into?


When it came to Spartacus, Rome and Game of Thrones, and could just not get enough, lots of action and a good story.


Ray
Greetings,

It's different from those series in tone Ray, but I like it. Try watching a few episodes and go from there.


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Definite upgrade from the original broadcast on HBO cable. The 4k/hdr PQ plus the upgraded sound adds a lot more dimension to the overall experience. Dialog is so much clearer, upfront and present plus the atmos and surround effects add to the upgraded experience. Amazon has special Prime pricing today for those of you on the fence.
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Wow! What kind of setup do you have? I find the WESTWORLD UHD disc to be outstanding video wise in DV and being the best out there (next to Spiderman Homecoming). The image is is so "life-like" that it looks 3D in most scenes. I have over 120 UHD discs and this is the one that blows me away with its beauty! HBO's version was flat and lifeless by comparison. Its like seeing it with new eyes on this UHD set. Highly recommended. And don't get me on the awesome Dolby Atmos audio...
I have a dedicated room that is totally black, including the ceiling. The display is a P-75, and I sit about 5 feet back. The UHD player is an Oppo 203.
Both display and player are DV capable. The picture isn't bad, it just lacks the pop of all the other DV titles I own. It is definitely an upgrade from the
broadcast quality, and I'm not disappointed that I purchased it. Was just expecting more.
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Using my C7 in DV mode really looks very nice. Good shadow detail, colors natural and not faded, very crisp and clear.
Using my K950, DA sounds very nice, clear and good mix.

I have only completed disc 1.

ss
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Though, you would not know it if you didn't have Front Wide speaker locations, the Dolby Atmos track presents itself a little differently than others in the past I've come across.

The main musical score in Westworld is shifted primarily to the Front Wides, overheads, and surrounds in an aggressive manner. It does not come out of the front three speakers, relegating them to dialog, SFX, and the player piano scenes that often indicate another re-booted day in the lives of the Hosts.

RED's Atmos mix is also unique in that the main score instruments are spread out to the Front Wide Left, Left, Center, Right, and Front Wide Right locations.

Front Wides normally have score bleed as well as spot object movement, but not full bore music cues emanating from them.

Pretty cool!

Listen up, studios! Dolby Atmos Lite™ print-outs must stop!!
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post #20 of 24 Old 11-20-2017, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post
Though, you would not know it if you didn't have Front Wide speaker locations, the Dolby Atmos track presents itself a little differently than others in the past I've come across.

The main musical score in Westworld is shifted primarily to the Front Wides, overheads, and surrounds in an aggressive manner. It does not come out of the front three speakers, relegating them to dialog, SFX, and the player piano scenes that often indicate another re-booted day in the lives of the Hosts.

RED's Atmos mix is also unique in that the main score instruments are spread out to the Front Wide Left, Left, Center, Right, and Front Wide Right locations.

Front Wides normally have score bleed as well as spot object movement, but not full bore music cues emanating from them.

Pretty cool!



Thanks Dan!

Regards,
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I've been watching this on my Sony XB700, which requires a manual selection of Dolby Vision, otherwise reverts to HDR10 by default. How do you know when a disc, such as WW, has DV? The projector and Marantz show 12 bit color depth. Is this the indicator since HDR10 is only 10 bit?
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post #22 of 24 Old 08-16-2018, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyFive54950 View Post
I've been watching this on my Sony XB700, which requires a manual selection of Dolby Vision, otherwise reverts to HDR10 by default. How do you know when a disc, such as WW, has DV? The projector and Marantz show 12 bit color depth. Is this the indicator since HDR10 is only 10 bit?

Some players upconvert 10 bit, non Dolby Vision discs to 12 bit incorrectly if Deep Color (if that's an option) is turned on in the player.
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post #23 of 24 Old 08-16-2018, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyFive54950 View Post
I've been watching this on my Sony XB700, which requires a manual selection of Dolby Vision, otherwise reverts to HDR10 by default. How do you know when a disc, such as WW, has DV? The projector and Marantz show 12 bit color depth. Is this the indicator since HDR10 is only 10 bit?

the DV logo would be on the back of the package.


anyways, from my experience, leaving DV on for all movies, even for just HDR10 ones, the video is still great (assuming you have good settings setup on your projector for DV)
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post #24 of 24 Old 08-16-2018, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by NorthJersey View Post
the DV logo would be on the back of the package.


anyways, from my experience, leaving DV on for all movies, even for just HDR10 ones, the video is still great (assuming you have good settings setup on your projector for DV)

I looked at the back of the package and don't see the DV logo?
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