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post #1 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Alien: 40th Anniversary Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



In space no one can hear you scream. The terrifying sci-fi adventure, ALIEN, celebrates 40 years with an all-new 4K Ultra HD™ master. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review.



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

Film:

Extras:

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

93



Details:

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1979
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 116/15 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English DTS-HD 4.1 (Theatrical version), DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartright, Tom Skeritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, John Hurt, Ian Holm
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: Dan O’Bannon
Region Code: A

Release Date: April 23, 2019


"In Space No One Can Hear You Scream"


Synopsis:

“The terror begins when the crew of the spaceship Nostromo investigates a transmission from a desolate planet and makes a horrifying discovery - a life-form that breeds within a human host. Now the crew must fight not only for its own survival, but for the survival of all.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


My Take:

I reviewed Alien when it was released on Blu-ray in 2010 as part of the Alien Anthology set. This review will include my comments from that review. The rating for the film, bonus material and soundtrack are identical to that release. A new rating for the Ultra HD video can be found below.

The following is taken from the first page in the Alien Anthology keep case; When Alien was unleashed in theaters in 1979, the world as introduced to one of the most terrifying monsters in motion picture history and one of the most popular movie franchises of all time. Equal parts horror, sci-fi and psychological thriller, the Alien movies raised all three genres to a bold new level.

I think that is a fairly true statement that correctly reflects my feelings on [/i]Alien[/i]. I will never forget the first time I saw Alien. I was 15 years old and went to see it at the movies after a friend raved about it. Not since seeing Jaws had I felt such gut-wrenching fear although with Alien it was magnified by the visceral depiction, high level suspense and (at the time) amazing special effects. In my opinion the boogeyman had been given a new face. Of all the Alien films the chest bursting scene in the original is still the one that I find has the most effect.

I guess that is a testament to John Hurts terrific performance but also because of the setting in which it occurs. The script is strong and the characters are well developed which helps to draw the audience into the film’s conglomeration of fear which is built upon a homogeneous element that would prove to be one of the best big screen monsters ever. Alien successfully traversed genre boundary lines, making for a truly thrilling sci-fi/horror experience that would go on to spawn a series of sequels that would make actress Sigourney Weaver a household name. I am thrilled that it has come to Ultra HD Blu-ray. Read on to see the results.


Replay Value:


Parental Guide:

The rating is for sci-fi violence/gore and language.


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.**


Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



UHD Presentation: 100
(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:



Alien comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound.

In 2018 20th Century Fox fully, under the supervision of Ridley Scott and Pam Dery, restored Alien (both the theatrical and Director’s cut) from the original 35mm negative, and Its presentation in Ultra HD is derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate. It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Alien has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

This is a rather dark film that strives to recreate the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s vision. The restored video quality in Ultra High Definition is something to behold. Alien is not an overtly bright film, although there are bright elements. The terrific cinematography benefits from the enhanced resolution and emboldened contrast. The opening sequences aboard the Nostromo look stunning, providing a glimpse of what lies in store.

Copious amounts of detail can be seen, both in wide-angle and close-up perspectives, imparting a discernible increase in depth/dimension. Shot on 35mm film, using anamorphic lenses, film grain and some innate softening are present. Neither are compromising, even during special effects shots, or those laden with minutia, such as falling water, smoky, light filled backgrounds or drab interiors lit only by incandescent bulbs.

The use of HDR is spot on, driving the story’s use of moody visual cues that can be offset by gleams of brilliant light. The arcing sparks on the control panels during the shuttle landing of Dallas’ flame thrower stands out in stark contrast to the gradational blacks, grays and sepia, that make up the interior of the ship. Primary colors are beautifully rendered. Things such as the multi-colored bandana worn by Parker or Lambert’s ice blue eyes, sparkle. The film’s plethora of shadow laden environs offer increased resolve in terms of interstitial details that promote depth of field. Blacks are inky without compromise to fidelity.

The finale featuring the final three brings all of the presentation’s best elements together and looks terrific. I found that this Ultra HD presentation took this film visuals to the next level, allowing its attributes to be fully realized in a way that it hadn’t been before.

There are several lossless audio options included here. I utilized the 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track during my evaluation. Alien retains a front oriented presentation with low level ambience bled to the rear channels. This isn’t a bad thing as the mix conveys the film’s originally recorded elements without an ostentatious and unnatural display. The soundstage across the front of the room is wide and exhibits discernible channel separation. The rendering of dialogue and the clarity of the sounds/effects is quite good. The clarity of the dangling chains and dripping water in the large utility room during Brett’s search is notable. Dynamic range is limited by the age of the soundtrack however my subwoofer occasionally rumbled in response to the ships engines/thrusters.



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
Blu-ray Video:




Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Alien Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Alien Blu-ray
    • 1979 Theatrical Version
    • 2003 Director’s Cut
    • 2003 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott and the Cast & Crew
    • 1999 Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott (1979 Theatrical Version Only)
    • Final Theatrical Isolated Score – Dolby Digital 5.1 (1979 Theatrical Version Only)
    • Composer’s Original Isolated Score – Dolby Digital 5.1 (1979 Theatrical Version Only)
    • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Copy



Final Thoughts:

Alien is considered by many to be a classic and groundbreaking genre film. Some fans favor Director Ridley Scott’s Cut and some prefer the Theatrical version, regardless there is no denying its significance and place in American Cinema. This Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, which includes the original 35th Anniversary Blu-ray release, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, sees the film looking its best. Included are previously released supplements. Alien on Ultra HD Blu-ray is simply a must have for fans that are set up for Ultra HD Blu-ray. Enjoy!







Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


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post #2 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 02:01 PM
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I agree this is a great transfer, but wtf are they thinking not upgrading the audio. Im ok with not doing atmos but come on, they could have done the same upgrade as the Harry Potter discs received. Still a great purchase, but could have been stellar.
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post #3 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 02:24 PM
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Another great review, Ralph!

My copy arrived today and I cannot wait to watch it this weekend!
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post #4 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorilla Killa View Post
I agree this is a great transfer, but wtf are they thinking not upgrading the audio. Im ok with not doing atmos but come on, they could have done the same upgrade as the Harry Potter discs received. Still a great purchase, but could have been stellar.
according to several sources, Ridley was offered the chance to do an Atmos upgrade, but declined as he felt his original mixe's was more than adequate for his vision
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post #5 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 04:20 PM
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UHD Presentation: 100! Got mine from Amazon today and am really pumped to watch it now.

Thanks for all you do Ralph!
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post #6 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 04:37 PM
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Great review Ralph, from the little bits I was able to see the other day I totally agree with your assessments.
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post #7 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 04:42 PM
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Nice review! FYI it's on a BD-100 disc, not 66.
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Good one Ralph, I pre-ordered, should be here tomorrow from Amazon. One of my all time favorites, still remember seeing it on release in 1979. Couldn't get anyone to go with me, the word was out quickly on this film back then, lol. "Aliens" was a different kind of action film and enjoyable, but the first one is real deal for those who like their sci-fi horrified. I watch it at least once a year.
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post #9 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 06:01 PM
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I wish more film transfers looked as good as this or Blade Runner. I remember reading the dinner scene no one knew what was going to happen except a few people. It's been quite awhile since I've seen, but the look on Dallas' face looks quite genuine
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post #10 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph Usually I wait for prices to drop on catalog titles but this one is down already, will probably cave and order,,the next 48 hours be will telling.
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The only downside to this release so far is that the 1080p Blu-ray is identical to the Anthology released in 2010 - both the Theatrical and Director's Cut. So, don't buy it if you're expecting an upgrade to the 1080p version.

The 4K version, on the other hand, is FIRE (as the kids say).
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post #12 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 07:39 PM
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Just finished it. Fantastic results and at $15 on Amazon and BB I consider it a steal.

I'm really amazed at what they managed to do with the picture on this film.
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post #13 of 75 Old 04-23-2019, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Riddle View Post
Another great review, Ralph!

My copy arrived today and I cannot wait to watch it this weekend!

Same here. Couldn’t resist the pre-order price, and now seeing that perfect score for PQ, the weekend can’t come fast enough!
Dale.
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post #14 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 04:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bytor View Post
Nice review! FYI it's on a BD-100 disc, not 66.
Greetings,

Thanks for catching that. I made note of it but neglected to make the change in my template before posting. All set now...


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post #15 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 05:47 AM
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Was the HDR? HDR10+?
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post #16 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 06:57 AM
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Ralph, was this movie released two years ago already? I am not sure. Thx
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post #17 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 07:11 AM
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Ralph,
I have mine on order and have not seen it yet myself. Great to see catalogue getting the royal treatment as it should be IMO. Just looking at the screen shots it looks like a fantastic transfer. Did you notice the teal/green application compared to previous versions of the film. I'm particularly aware of it seeing rather dramatically in Midnight Cowboy but also to a lesser degree in Forest Gump just as examples where it looks like they have tried to "update" the look.

Looking at the screen shots at least the color blue no longer exists and looks now an aqua color while gray uniforms have a greenish tint which wasn't the case going back to the LD even. Flesh tones are greenish looking like you might see under fluorescent lighting rather than pink.


Did you see this during your review ?

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post #18 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 07:11 AM
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Uhd arrived from Amazon. Watched it last night. SPECTACULAR.
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post #19 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 07:26 AM
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Great review Ralph. This is still the scariest film I have ever seen. Saw it in the theater during its first run. Made me want to hide under the seat!
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post #20 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 07:42 AM
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Great review as always Ralph!


The picture on this is gorgeous. One thing I've noticed since going back to projection with a 4K laser DLP setup is that grain is much less noticeable than on a UHD flat panel. Both this release, and the original Blade Runner have much more pronounced grain on what used to be my dedicated theatre 75" LED display, than my new projector. Do you find the same to be true with your JVC compared to the TCL as well?


Between the PJ, new Marantz receiver, KEF speakers, and Sound Shakers in the theatre seats, I'm like a kid in a candy store.


Keep those reviews coming.


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post #21 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 07:58 AM
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I have a question on this and please don't slam me too hard on it as I am fairly new to 4k streaming:

If one was to compare this 4K UHD to a stream of 4K UHD from an Apple 4k TV that is connected to an Internet with gig speeds, is there a difference?

I ask because the Alien set is available on iTunes for $30 for all films, 3 of them in 4k.

Thoughts?
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post #22 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thadius65 View Post
I have a question on this and please don't slam me too hard on it as I am fairly new to 4k streaming:
If one was to compare this 4K UHD to a stream of 4K UHD from an Apple 4k TV that is connected to an Internet with gig speeds, is there a difference?
I ask because the Alien set is available on iTunes for $30 for all films, 3 of them in 4k.
Thoughts?
A good rule of thumb is that good 4K streaming has about as much detail as a 1080p Blu-ray, BUT most 4K streaming also has wide color gamut (WCG) and high dyamic range (HDR), so the overall quality of the image is still superior (IMO). When comparing 4K streaming to a 4K disc, it's no contest, the disc is superior. There are two large, objective differences between streaming and disc media: video bitrate and audio bitrate. As you reduce the bitrate of content to make it streamable (most 4K HDR streams with Atmos are under 20Mbps), you actually lose detail due to this compression, making it much more like a 1080p Blu-ray in terms of sharpness/lack of noise. A typical 4K disc has bitrates multiples beyond that, which retain more detail across the board, which is especially important with large displays/projection or if you sit close to your display.

$10/4K Alien movie is a slick deal, but one other thing to consider is that the 4K disc comes with a 4K digital code for $15. Best of both worlds, I think. Of course, Aliens and Alien 3 aren't available on 4K disc yet...

EDIT: Wait, is this the deal you're looking at?
https://slickdeals.net/f/13035001-al...a-apple-itunes
Looks like on the first and last two movies are 4K, not Aliens/Alien3/AR. Still potentially a good deal ($5 per movie!), but not consistent.
Alien (1979) (4K UHD Film)
Aliens (1986) (HD Film)
Aliens 3 (1992) (HD Film)
Alien Resurrection (1997) (HD Film)
Prometheus (2012 (4K UHD Film)
Alien Covenant (2017 (4K UHD Film)
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post #23 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
A good rule of thumb is that good 4K streaming has about as much detail as a 1080p Blu-ray, BUT most 4K streaming also has wide color gamut (WCG) and high dyamic range (HDR), so the overall quality of the image is still superior (IMO). When comparing 4K streaming to a 4K disc, it's no contest, the disc is superior. There are two large, objective differences between streaming and disc media: video bitrate and audio bitrate. As you reduce the bitrate of content to make it streamable (most 4K HDR streams with Atmos are under 20Mbps), you actually lose detail due to this compression, making it much more like a 1080p Blu-ray in terms of sharpness/lack of noise. A typical 4K disc has bitrates multiples beyond that, which retain more detail across the board, which is especially important with large displays/projection or if you sit close to your display.



$10/4K Alien movie is a slick deal, but one other thing to consider is that the 4K disc comes with a 4K digital code for $15. Best of both worlds, I think. Of course, Aliens and Alien 3 aren't available on 4K disc yet...



EDIT: Wait, is this the deal you're looking at?

https://slickdeals.net/f/13035001-al...a-apple-itunes

Looks like on the first and last two movies are 4K, not Aliens/Alien3/AR. Still potentially a good deal ($5 per movie!), but not consistent.

Alien (1979) (4K UHD Film)

Aliens (1986) (HD Film)

Aliens 3 (1992) (HD Film)

Alien Resurrection (1997) (HD Film)

Prometheus (2012 (4K UHD Film)

Alien Covenant (2017 (4K UHD Film)
Yes, that deal. And thank you for the detailed explanation!!

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post #24 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 09:31 AM
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Just bought through iTune store for $7.99

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post #25 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Quote:
Originally Posted by brbecker View Post
Was the HDR? HDR10+?
HDR10 +

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post
Ralph,
I have mine on order and have not seen it yet myself. Great to see catalogue getting the royal treatment as it should be IMO. Just looking at the screen shots it looks like a fantastic transfer. Did you notice the teal/green application compared to previous versions of the film. I'm particularly aware of it seeing rather dramatically in Midnight Cowboy but also to a lesser degree in Forest Gump just as examples where it looks like they have tried to "update" the look.

Looking at the screen shots at least the color blue no longer exists and looks now an aqua color while gray uniforms have a greenish tint which wasn't the case going back to the LD even. Flesh tones are greenish looking like you might see under fluorescent lighting rather than pink.


Did you see this during your review ?

Art
I didn't have that experience Art

Quote:
Originally Posted by adpayne View Post
Great review as always Ralph!


The picture on this is gorgeous. One thing I've noticed since going back to projection with a 4K laser DLP setup is that grain is much less noticeable than on a UHD flat panel. Both this release, and the original Blade Runner have much more pronounced grain on what used to be my dedicated theatre 75" LED display, than my new projector. Do you find the same to be true with your JVC compared to the TCL as well?


Between the PJ, new Marantz receiver, KEF speakers, and Sound Shakers in the theatre seats, I'm like a kid in a candy store.


Keep those reviews coming.


Art
I would say that in general that is true Art but not to an egregious level.


Regards,
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post #26 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wormraper View Post
according to several sources, Ridley was offered the chance to do an Atmos upgrade, but declined as he felt his original mixe's was more than adequate for his vision
I can tell you the Theatrical Cut audio is worse than the 5.1, I dont have a problem with his vision, just his hearing on this one.

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post #27 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
The only downside to this release so far is that the 1080p Blu-ray is identical to the Anthology released in 2010 - both the Theatrical and Director's Cut. So, don't buy it if you're expecting an upgrade to the 1080p version.

The 4K version, on the other hand, is FIRE (as the kids say).
So it's lit , so if they didn't upgrade the regular blu-ray I'll hold off for awhile. I'll keep an eye on the 4K price, it might not drop any further than it is now.
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post #28 of 75 Old 04-24-2019, 10:21 PM
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My pre-order steelbook was picked up today... but I can't watch it for a month.


For some reason they showed store pickup only and were sold out within 250 miles of Seattle metro (??? BB) so I ordered one from BB in northern NY and had my Mom pick it up today. Shipping is too risky, I've received enough dented steelbooks in the past to not want to go that far... so I told her to hang on to it and I'll pick it up next month when I visit as part of my NY Memorial week trip.


100 UHD? Looking forward to that... but as others said... where's the Atmos?


Thanks for the review Ralph!
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post #29 of 75 Old 04-25-2019, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by tenthplanet View Post
So it's lit , so if they didn't upgrade the regular blu-ray I'll hold off for awhile. I'll keep an eye on the 4K price, it might not drop any further than it is now.
Yeah, but it is so LIT that it's now FIRE. haha

Isn't that like being so COOL that you're ICE COLD?
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post #30 of 75 Old 04-25-2019, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by thadius65 View Post
I have a question on this and please don't slam me too hard on it as I am fairly new to 4k streaming:

If one was to compare this 4K UHD to a stream of 4K UHD from an Apple 4k TV that is connected to an Internet with gig speeds, is there a difference?

I ask because the Alien set is available on iTunes for $30 for all films, 3 of them in 4k.

Thoughts?

In addition to what Nathanandrew already said, the difference in bitrate/quality also translate to internet data usage. It is more exception than norm a US ISP doesn't have a monthly data cap on internet services, 1T for gigabyte internet is fairly common (I'm speaking direct to you, comcast/xfinity). a 4K digital movie takes roughly 20G of data usage, and 1T cap seems large enough to cover for most people, and I'd agree, but for a family of decent size with multiple streaming devices, the data stream can flow pretty quickly.


this situation might not apply to you specifically, but it is A CERTAINTY with physical disc, you NEVER HAVE TO wonder "can I watch my favorite movie (that I own, btw) one more time this month without going over my monthly data cap and get slammed with over-charge fees? Do I have to put that beer back in the fridge?"
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