4k HDR BD vs 4k HDR streaming - which is right for me? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-08-2018, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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4k HDR BD vs 4k HDR streaming - which is right for me?

Hi all!

I just upgraded my HT with a 4K projector and now am trying to understand the source material controversy: mainly, how big of an improvement is a UHD HDR BD going to provide me over 4k streaming w/ services such as Netflix and Amazon?

Trying to determine if I should upgrade my internet speeds to stream 4k or go through the hassle of renting 4k UHD HDR BD online?

Keep in mind my screen is approx 140" 2.35 AR and I have an Oppo UHD BD player. If I could rent 4k BD from a local store it would be a no brainer; I would rent the BD over streaming every time. But since I can't rent 4k BD locally and am not interested in dropping $30 to buy every 4kBD movie I want to watch it becomes more of a difficult decision.

I was told that 4k streaming is providing FAR less quality than an actual 4k BD disc.

Can someone shed some light on this for me?
What do the numbers look like and does in the real world will I be able to see/hear a significant dif from BD to streaming?

Thanks in advance for any help

Last edited by ddigler; 01-08-2018 at 06:14 AM.
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post #2 of 31 Old 01-08-2018, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddigler View Post
Hi all!
I just upgraded my HT with a 4K projector and now am trying to understand the source material controversy: mainly, how big of an improvement is a UHD HDR BD going to provide me over 4k streaming w/ services such as Netflix and Amazon?
Trying to determine if I should upgrade my internet speeds to stream 4k or go through the hassle of renting 4k UHD HDR BD online?
Keep in mind my screen is approx 140" 2.35 AR and I have an Oppo UHD BD player. If I could rent 4k BD from a local store it would be a no brainer; I would rent the BD over streaming every time. But since I can't rent 4k BD locally and am not interested in dropping $30 to buy every 4kBD movie I want to watch it becomes more of a difficult decision.
I was told that 4k streaming is providing FAR less quality than an actual 4k BD disc.
Can someone shed some light on this for me?
What do the numbers look like and does in the real world will I be able to see/hear a significant dif from BD to streaming?
Thanks in advance for any help
In all honesty, if you bought a 4K projector, a 140" 2.35 screen, and an Oppo UHD player, you would be a fool to not use UHD Blu-ray. You owe it to yourself to buy at least one UHD Blu-ray just to see for yourself. Some of the best UHD Blu-ray discs available are: Dunkirk, Interstellar, Planet Earth II, The Fifth Element, Logan... there are plenty to choose from if you check out Ralph Potts' reviews here on AVS.

An ideal 4K stream will - at best - be almost as good as a 1080p Blu-ray. Sometimes you'll get more detail, other times you will get compression artifacts that degrade the quality. The advantage for streaming is that you can get HDR at any streaming resolution (not only 4K). In that way, some streaming content will outclass 1080p Blu-ray by virtue of having a wider color gamut and greater dynamic range. That said, no streaming content will surpass a UHD Blu-ray, period. Won't come close, really.

More important than disc vs streaming is understanding that not all 4K content is created equal. Most film-based movies are getting proper 4K scans and offer tremendous detail improvements over their 1080p counterparts. Some newer digital movies are native 4K and look sharp as a tack. Many movies offered in 4K are in fact 2K content upscaled to 4K with an HDR regrading. That is to say, better than the 1080p Blu-ray, but not always worth the price. Keep your expectations in line with reality and you should be fine. https://realorfake4k.com/

Also, you probably don't need to upgrade your Internet. Netflix, etc. claim you need 25Mbps, but that is so that other simultaneous Internet activities in your home aren't affected. The reality is that you can get UHD HDR streaming with 10-15Mbps, but you might experience buffering or drops in quality if someone else in your home starts downloading games on Steam or watching other streams.
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post #3 of 31 Old 01-08-2018, 07:55 AM
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Lossless audio
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post #4 of 31 Old 01-08-2018, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
In all honesty, if you bought a 4K projector, a 140" 2.35 screen, and an Oppo UHD player, you would be a fool to not use UHD Blu-ray. You owe it to yourself to buy at least one UHD Blu-ray just to see for yourself. Some of the best UHD Blu-ray discs available are: Dunkirk, Interstellar, Planet Earth II, The Fifth Element, Logan... there are plenty to choose from if you check out Ralph Potts' reviews here on AVS.
Excellent advice. In fact, I did buy some UHD Blu Rays (prob 20 so far haha) and its getting too damn expensive. But, I completely agree. Wonderwoman and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are absolutely incredible. As is Dunkirk.

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An ideal 4K stream will - at best - be almost as good as a 1080p Blu-ray. Sometimes you'll get more detail, other times you will get compression artifacts that degrade the quality. The advantage for streaming is that you can get HDR at any streaming resolution (not only 4K). In that way, some streaming content will outclass 1080p Blu-ray by virtue of having a wider color gamut and greater dynamic range. That said, no streaming content will surpass a UHD Blu-ray, period. Won't come close, really.
Exactly what I was assuming but thanks for clearing it up!

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Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
More important than disc vs streaming is understanding that not all 4K content is created equal. Most film-based movies are getting proper 4K scans and offer tremendous detail improvements over their 1080p counterparts. Some newer digital movies are native 4K and look sharp as a tack. Many movies offered in 4K are in fact 2K content upscaled to 4K with an HDR regrading. That is to say, better than the 1080p Blu-ray, but not always worth the price. Keep your expectations in line with reality and you should be fine. https://realorfake4k.com/

Also, you probably don't need to upgrade your Internet. Netflix, etc. claim you need 25Mbps, but that is so that other simultaneous Internet activities in your home aren't affected. The reality is that you can get UHD HDR streaming with 10-15Mbps, but you might experience buffering or drops in quality if someone else in your home starts downloading games on Steam or watching other streams.
Thanks for clearing this up!

What about renting though - I don't want to buy 100 UHD BD this year. Any online services avail that can ship (rent) new release UHD BD?
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post #5 of 31 Old 01-08-2018, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ddigler View Post
What about renting though - I don't want to buy 100 UHD BD this year. Any online services avail that can ship (rent) new release UHD BD?
I have nothing to offer in that regard. Until RedBox starts renting UHD, I'll just keep doing what I do: put a lot of trust in @Ralph Potts and blu-ray.com reviews and buy the movies I like when the price is right.
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post #6 of 31 Old 01-08-2018, 06:54 PM
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I buy discs for things I think will be (or should be) video or audio immersive experiences (Action/SciFi/superhero etc..), or if the title gets enough rave reviews or recommendations*like baby driver, which sounds phenomenal*.

I'm not generally a big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise but Fast8s soundtrack really took my by surprise. The Cuban Mile Race scene specifically sounds amazing with the DTS:X really breathing through my 7.3.4 system.

Fast 8 is a good example of an amazingly different experience audio wise between the 4k stream and the disc. So is Deepwater Horizon, you really don't know how much detail there is until you've watched the movie several times in IMAX/full UHD BD and then watch the 4k stream and it's just not quite as crisp. It's the compression, it's unavoidable.



I buy streams for animated/family fun 4k, they still look and sound good enough to not annoy me but maybe I'm not that heavily invtested in as a movie fan.
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post #7 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddigler View Post
Trying to determine if I should upgrade my internet speeds to stream 4k or go through the hassle of renting 4k UHD HDR BD online?
The "maximum" internet speed for netflix 4k HDR is below 20 mbps (15.xy, I believe)... so you may not (probably don't) need higher ISP speeds. What you can do, to improve the experience/stream, if you haven't already, is run a hard wire from your router to your streamer, to make sure you get to that "max" (sub-20) speed and sit there, steady, with a rock-solid connection and no glitches.

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Originally Posted by ddigler View Post

Keep in mind my screen is approx 140" 2.35 AR and I have an Oppo UHD BD player.

I was told that 4k streaming is providing FAR less quality than an actual 4k BD disc.
Soooo keep in mind that my experience/perspective is based on a "far smaller" 75" Sony 940E... but I wouldn't call is "FAR" less quality. But the uncompressed 4k UHD blu ray definitely DOES look better. Law-of-dimishing-returns is certainly in full affect... only you can decide that for yourself. It sounds like you have some pretty expensive gear that you've probably taken a lot of time to set up/configure... to me, that's the basis for the decision. You've probably put yourself in a position to reap that extra little bit of benefit from the disc, so why would you stop short now and feed that great big expensive set inferior (if only by a little bit) source material?



Quote:
Originally Posted by ddigler View Post
What do the numbers look like and does in the real world will I be able to see/hear a significant dif from BD to streaming?

Thanks in advance for any help

As far as video goes, as I said above, Netflix (for example) maxes out at below 20 mbps. They use newer/better compression formats than ever before, and their servers really are great... BUT... "old" 1080p SDR blu rays AVERAGE higher bit rates than that, and often spike to well over 32 mbps during intense scenes. My 4K UHD OPPO UDP-203 player often runs around 40-60 mbps, but I have seen it spike to triple digits (it probably hits triple digits 5 times within the first 5 minutes of Sing!, for example).

As far as audio goes:
Quote:
Originally Posted by spencer777 View Post
Lossless audio
^^^
What he said.
The difference between the Lossless Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD-MA track that comes with the blu ray disc is (IMO) more significant than the difference in PQ between my 4K UHD Planet Earth II disc and the 4K HDR Netflix stream of it. I have some still shots/pics of both. I'll try to post them later tonight (I'm not at home right now and don't have access to them).
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post #8 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ddigler View Post

What about renting though - I don't want to buy 100 UHD BD this year. Any online services avail that can ship (rent) new release UHD BD?
http://www.store-3d-blurayrental.com/

-Bill
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 06:42 AM
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I bought a few 4k Blurays last year, personally I can't justify the price difference. I stick to 1080p. Also not many films are filled in 4k. As far as streaming a upscaled bluray is still better than streaming IMO
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Quick start on/off....

Just tested it. With OFF I still see 4K/2160 coming out of the Apple TV 4K to my display. Must be upscaling like is happening currently for VUDU 4K sources.

For me the movie doesn’t start any slower either.
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post #11 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 07:06 AM
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You can listen to opinions all day long. Luckily, the cost to test it in your room with your eyes is relatively small.

I have a 8 foot wide screen and a calibrated HDR projector.

I watch UHD disks and UHD streaming.

On the audio side, the winner is physical media. Sometimes it's not noticeable, sometimes it is obvious, but streaming never wins in this category.

On the video side, things get more complicated. Some of the Apple TV 4k streams are very good, and even in an a/b comparison, you will have trouble telling the difference. Other streams, especially from some sources that don't use as high a bit rate (or if your internet speeds are not reliable) begin to show artifacts (usually banding) at times, or are not as crisp, etc.

So the reliable route is physical media, but I would encourage you to compare for yourself and decide. You may find that the cost, convenience, and selection of streaming counterbalances the times when it is not as good as physical media. Or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddigler View Post
Hi all!

I just upgraded my HT with a 4K projector and now am trying to understand the source material controversy: mainly, how big of an improvement is a UHD HDR BD going to provide me over 4k streaming w/ services such as Netflix and Amazon?

Trying to determine if I should upgrade my internet speeds to stream 4k or go through the hassle of renting 4k UHD HDR BD online?

Keep in mind my screen is approx 140" 2.35 AR and I have an Oppo UHD BD player. If I could rent 4k BD from a local store it would be a no brainer; I would rent the BD over streaming every time. But since I can't rent 4k BD locally and am not interested in dropping $30 to buy every 4kBD movie I want to watch it becomes more of a difficult decision.

I was told that 4k streaming is providing FAR less quality than an actual 4k BD disc.

Can someone shed some light on this for me?
What do the numbers look like and does in the real world will I be able to see/hear a significant dif from BD to streaming?

Thanks in advance for any help
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I am not replacing but any new ones I buy are 4K.
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post #13 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
As far as audio goes:

^^^
What he said.
The difference between the Lossless Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD-MA track that comes with the blu ray disc is (IMO) more significant than the difference in PQ between my 4K UHD Planet Earth II disc and the 4K HDR Netflix stream of it. I have some still shots/pics of both. I'll try to post them later tonight (I'm not at home right now and don't have access to them).
So much great info thanks Kinger!

All the talk of PQ and hadn't given enough thought to the audio. Very interesting to understand the streamed audio takes a large hit over the BD. All the more reason to use discs whenever possible!
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post #14 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks McClain! Whats your experience been with this place? New UHD BD in stock most of time? Quick shipping and all that?

Thoughts?
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post #15 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ddigler View Post
Thanks McClain! Whats your experience been with this place? New UHD BD in stock most of time? Quick shipping and all that?

Thoughts?
There is a thread: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/196-3d...ental-com.html

I'm pleased with the selection and service, but I'm mostly a "catalog" renter, older titles rather than newer ones. Like any rental place, their dilemma is that everyone wants new titles on day 1 and not everyone can be made happy. If they bought a disc for every renter 99% would be sitting on the shelf a month later.

So: keep a big want list and rent titles as they become available.

-Bill
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post #16 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spencer777 View Post
Also not many films are filled in 4k. As far as streaming a upscaled bluray is still better than streaming IMO
Thanks for the input!

So you are saying 1080p BD (upscaled to 4k) looks nicer than streamed 4k in your opinion?
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post #17 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
There is a thread: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/196-3d...ental-com.html

I'm pleased with the selection and service, but I'm mostly a "catalog" renter, older titles rather than newer ones. Like any rental place, their dilemma is that everyone wants new titles on day 1 and not everyone can be made happy. If they bought a disc for every renter 99% would be sitting on the shelf a month later.

So: keep a big want list and rent titles as they become available.

-Bill
I'll give it a shot thanks!
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post #18 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddigler View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by spencer777 View Post
Also not many films are filled in 4k. As far as streaming a upscaled bluray is still better than streaming IMO
Thanks for the input!

So you are saying 1080p BD (upscaled to 4k) looks nicer than streamed 4k in your opinion?
Yeah, blacks seem darker better contrast and detail.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencer777 View Post
I bought a few 4k Blurays last year, personally I can't justify the price difference. I stick to 1080p. Also not many films are filled in 4k. As far as streaming a upscaled bluray is still better than streaming IMO
HDR though with a 4K blu ray disc....if you have a TV that can truly reach over 1000 nits..is a beautiful thing

Before HDR..I didn't really see a rush to buy a 4K TV

Warren
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post #20 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for the input!

So you are saying 1080p BD (upscaled to 4k) looks nicer than streamed 4k in your opinion?
Just FWIW (which may not be much), but I don't find the answer to this question to be as black-and-white as others seem to. Sometimes? Sure. There's some poorly mastered 4K HDR content available for streaming, and higher-bit-rate blu ray absolutely exceeds this. But when done right, HDR content simply (by definition) has some inherent advantages over SDR content. It's not a level playing field. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison.

The proper comparison, IMO, is to compare 4k HDR streaming vs. 4K HDR physical media... and it's just impossible, purely from a picture (and audio) quality perspective, for lower-bit-rate streaming to "win" in that comparison. If the rules are the same for the content (mastered to the same resolution, bit-depth, color space, brightness, etc), the higher bit rate is always (not sometimes) going to win. The question is purely that of "is the quality of the stream *close enough*, such that when you factor in the convenience and cost vs physical media, it's the way to go". And FWIW, IMO the "best of both worlds" approach, just as it was/is with 1080p SDR content, will be (when it's more widely supported) to rip your content losslessly (full quality) and then have point-and-click (convenient) access to it, with as much or as little eye candy/coverart/synopsis support as you choose, via whatever frontend you personally like (Plex/Kodi/Emby/simple network file sharing/etc)...
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post #21 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by turnne1 View Post
HDR though with a 4K blu ray disc....if you have a TV that can truly reach over 1000 nits..is a beautiful thing

Before HDR..I didn't really see a rush to buy a 4K TV

Warren
Such a great point here Turn. I am running a PJ and so I'm nowhere near the 1000 nits. As I understand it HDR on PJ is still a hack job...

However the larger screen I have (140" 2.35) may make a better case for the higher res of 4k.

I bought the 4k PJ and have been enjoying it but I'm still not convinced it was a great purchase over my old 1080p PJ..... It looks awesome but the last one did too!
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post #22 of 31 Old 01-09-2018, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan_h View Post
You can listen to opinions all day long. Luckily, the cost to test it in your room with your eyes is relatively small.

I have a 8 foot wide screen and a calibrated HDR projector.

I watch UHD disks and UHD streaming.

On the audio side, the winner is physical media. Sometimes it's not noticeable, sometimes it is obvious, but streaming never wins in this category.

On the video side, things get more complicated. Some of the Apple TV 4k streams are very good, and even in an a/b comparison, you will have trouble telling the difference. Other streams, especially from some sources that don't use as high a bit rate (or if your internet speeds are not reliable) begin to show artifacts (usually banding) at times, or are not as crisp, etc.

So the reliable route is physical media, but I would encourage you to compare for yourself and decide. You may find that the cost, convenience, and selection of streaming counterbalances the times when it is not as good as physical media. Or not.
Well stated agree with all points. Thanks for the advice Nathan.
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post #23 of 31 Old 01-11-2018, 06:43 PM
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I have a 7.2.4 Atmos setup in my theater and I like to utilize it for the majority of my movie watching. If certain companies didn't start leaving the Atmos soundtrack off the BD I'd probably wait another year or so before upgrading my projector.
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post #24 of 31 Old 01-12-2018, 07:13 AM
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The thing about UHD discs is it's often cheaper than streaming. Amazon was selling John Wick for $10 last week. Amazon currently has a 3 for $50 deal (i.e., $16.70 per disc) sale going on. I typically buy sub-$20, which means waiting a few weeks after the release date.

As much as I thought I'd prefer renting, I'm not missing the Netflix rental annoyances like the long waits, gimped soundtracks and scratched discs.

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Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
The proper comparison, IMO, is to compare 4k HDR streaming vs. 4K HDR physical media... and it's just impossible, purely from a picture (and audio) quality perspective, for lower-bit-rate streaming to "win" in that comparison.
Amen.

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post #25 of 31 Old 01-13-2018, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Taxcheat View Post
As much as I thought I'd prefer renting, I'm not missing the Netflix rental annoyances like the long waits, gimped soundtracks and scratched discs.

Amen.
Netflix has definitely slowed down their turnaround time on discs... and I agree, I do seem to be getting scratched/damaged discs from them more often. The most recent one I just got from was so blatanty cracked that it tells me they have virtually no Quality Control on discs before they mail 'em back out.

Other than Lionsgate, I don't really notice much (any?) problems with nerfed audio tracks, though... but maybe that's what you were referring to...
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post #26 of 31 Old 01-13-2018, 09:01 AM
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I can't agree with 1080p Blueray being on par with 4K streaming for PQ, especially with HDR content.

I've refused to watch Rogue One so far because it hasn't been released in 4K, streaming or BR, that I know of.
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post #27 of 31 Old 01-13-2018, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michail71 View Post
I can't agree with 1080p Blueray being on par with 4K streaming for PQ, especially with HDR content.

I've refused to watch Rogue One so far because it hasn't been released in 4K, streaming or BR, that I know of.
Sure it has, in BR... but being a Disney product you may never see in on UHD...

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-One-Sto...ords=rogue+one

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-One-Sto...ords=rogue+one

https://www.amazon.com/Rogue-One-Sto...ords=rogue+one

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post #28 of 31 Old 01-15-2018, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
And FWIW, IMO the "best of both worlds" approach, just as it was/is with 1080p SDR content, will be (when it's more widely supported) to rip your content losslessly (full quality) and then have point-and-click (convenient) access to it
The old Blu Ray days are back again. In case you didn't see it, MakeMKV introduced some kinda hashed key system in v1.10.9 that expanded support from a few discs to just about everything (US sourced, at least). Time to buy more WD reds.

So basically, if you can stand popping a disc in, walking away and waiting 30m to 2 hours before watching, you have all the convenience of streaming without sacrificing any quality. And without those stupid FBI warnings.

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post #29 of 31 Old 01-16-2018, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post
Sure it has, in BR... but being a Disney product you may never see in on UHD...
Thanks, I meant 4K BR though. Perhaps they will release one by year's end, which is what people were saying last year.
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post #30 of 31 Old 03-15-2018, 07:01 PM
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wanted to bump this thread because I have a LG C7 4K OLED but don't have a 4K receiver or UHD Blu-ray player as of yet...recently found out about Vudu and FandangoNOW which both offer 4K + HDR movies...in this thread I saw a few posts mention that even the best 4K streaming can at best match the quality of a 1080p Blu-ray...but what about taking HDR into the equation?...my LG Supports Dolby Vision...so will for example Dunkirk or Last Jedi viewed in 4K + Dolby Vision on Vudu look noticeably better then a 1080p version of those same movies?
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