Back to discs for movies!

Ok, so I am not giving up on streaming. I still think buying movies in the Apple store is convenient. But, not all movies are available in the Apple store; especially the 4K versions.
I like many of the movies in the Criterion Collection. Examples are “Days of heaven”. “The red shoes” and “Akira Kurosawa’s dreams”. They are not available in 4K HDR in the Apple store. They are available on 4K BLU-Ray disc from Criterion.
So, I went ahead and oredered a 4K Blu-Ray player and some discs. I never thought I would be going back to physical media, but here I am :slight_smile:

7 Likes

4K discs are still fairly expensive, and I’m not confident the format will last that long since streaming has become so generally popular, but I’m very happy with the discs I’ve got (latest purchase was Dune pt2).

I’m a big fan of not being beholden to media companies and their contracts/whims about what I can watch this week but might not be able to watch next week.

What 4K player have you gone for?

Mark

1 Like

I went for the Sony X700. It is fairly priced and does Dolby Vision.

2 Likes

The compression on streaming services robs you of a lot of detail too. A regular HD 1080p Blu-Ray will generally look far superior than 4K streamed from Apple/Netflix etc. And 4K on disc with full HD audio is similarly on another level. Ultimately, the amount of data in a 4K stream is a fraction of that read off disc and it shows. Not to mention, the video processor on most players is vastly superior to all but about two streaming boxes (nVidia Shield and Kaleidoscope).

Online streaming and disc playback are not in the same ballpark. They’re not even playing the same sport.

If you have a giant NAS you can locally stream ripped discs though. You’ll need about 90GiB per 4K title ripped to MKV.

I’m with you. Keeping copies on disc is the way to go. Well over 1000 discs now.

12 Likes

I’ve had the X800 for a couple of years. Fantastic piece of kit, not only for blu-ray but SACD too.

Mark

feeling_zen nailed this topic…

HDR effect from 4Ks comes across mostly as enhanced colour depth (and the resolution bump, naturally), which the streaming compression can negate fairly strongly.

The actual enhanced brightness range from HDR10(+/Atmos etc) titles is incredible when watching disc media and fairly lame BY COMPARISON when watching the same titles via streaming.

streaming compression can vary from week to week to lower network bandwidth…
(Netflix charged me premium rates for seven years but didn’t deliver for two of them, until I complained directly…)

Having 100mbit+ down and greater than 20mbit uploads, stable (ie FibreToThePremises) network, the handshake time to ‘hit 4K and then HDR’ wasnt happening in recent years and some subscription services don’t seem to care …

diagnosing end users setups not kicking into high data mode streaming isn’t a concern for the networks, and the first steps will basically be a tonne of salespeople telling you to upgrade tour network hardware (etc).

Streaming picture quality can be inproved (eg the aforementioned kalidescape products are high end, and they make some excellent library cataloging equipment), but requires a marriage of network quality and hardware decoder quality AS WELL AS a motivation to keep the actual stream encode (once off) and daily transmission (variable based on ‘world events’) at a high quality level.

at 1/10th the data rate of the disc, of course colour and contrast are diminished… (no brainer)

Our househild quickly realised that Bluray is greater than ‘streaming 4k’, with the exception of a few well recorded HDR masterpieces that still look reference picture quality when streaming…

some TVs allow HDR (colour depth) upscaling, and many 4K sets do resolution upscaling already,… Bluray and a nice TV can really hold their own against majority of 4K HDR remasters. (few being from 4K+ HDR cameras)

To own a 4K HDR player that is better than many Bluray or even DVD transports is a hard task though…

most 4K HDR players are subpar to the exiting bluray player or dvd player being replaced, in a range of metrics and ‘build quality’…

hence, combined with socioeconomic factors, the consumer pushback on 4K ‘UHD’ discs adoption is at an all time low -DVD sales outnumber Bluray, which also outnumber UHD discs sold; which is a slip back from when bluray were THE high end segment with no further stratification and outsold DVD handily…

disc ownership isn’t dead, but the slow to market of ‘good UHD discs’ when the format was new put a stopper in many people collecting.

Now that new media is actually 4K+ sourced, and Atmos sound mixes are no longer given on Blurays, UHD will go on selling…
any A/B comparison on budget kit (not great colour and resolution upscaling) will reveal that streaming, even at its best, can’t hold up to UHD ‘masters’.

in a soundbar dominated world of HDR600 or less TVs, streaming is perfect solution to a problem of ‘not enough media’ (4K UHD HDR)…

for HDR10+ users on OLEDs and high end surround sound setups , streaming media barely justifies the tech upgrades… that allow flag compatibility to ‘get the best feeds’.

Whilst I wouldn’t use a Playstation5 as a UHD disc player (but happily stream old comedy TV series from it), a PS5 console renders games in 4K HDR (with a true black range that Xbox hasnt bother with for fifteen plus years), and has plenty of Atmos using source media (Games!)

HDR done right is impressive.

Blurays of non HDR recordings are better picture and audio than streamed UHD.
HDR upscaling is more useful that HDR sourced media (from the streaming networks).
Well done UHD discs justify their cost with incredible fidelity of audio and picture frame data, that reference quality TVs and sound systems will make great use of…

Some TV series are HDR and I do enjoy the addition, and seeing older movies given a passable HDR effect as a bonus…
HDR streaming, if free, is a bonus and is great and worth more than it costs to adopt, sure…
but is a poor imitation of HDR vs an UltraHighDefinition media disc giving the same movie…

HDR10 feels like HDR4 when streaming.

If you really want to lay bar the difference in quality of the video processing between an AppleTV/FireStick/Roku etc and a dedicated UHD Player or one of the mentioned higher quality streaming boxes, it is’t on full bells and whistles 4K content, it’s on playback of older non HD 480p content.

If you play MKV rips of DVDs back on the prior, they are barely watchable. Their processing isn’t up to the challenge of reconstructing a coherent image with so little information. Whereas a decent UHD player actually closes the gap between a standard DVD and a 1080p Blu-Ray to be within striking distance (you certainly wouldn’t ditch all your DVDs).

It’s the same phenomenon with audio. Cheap DACs like those in your phone or Walkman sound massively better with hi-res audio than they do on 16/44.1. Whereas high end DACs close the gap in quality very significantly. The cheap ones just aren’t able to do heavy lifting on reconstruction and rely on higher bit rates instead.

I used to have a Denon UBT3313-UD Blu-Ray transport and it made DVDs just simply gorgeous (and streamed from NAS too). I ditched it when we moved due to space and lack of 4K but for several years, my DVD collection on NAS was simply unwatchable on my Fire4K box.

I borrowed the Sony UHD player a while back but it’s local streaming capability was poor. But when I got an nVidia Shield Pro I got the best video source I’ve ever seen. The treatment of old 480p content is exceptional. I think nothing of watching a 4K Blu-Ray rip followed by an older DVD rip. Both look excellent.

2 Likes

There are great economic arguments for going to remote streaming.

I have stuck with my NAS mkv rips, as handled by my ancient Oppo 105, as:

the sound quality is better;
I have MANY old movies and series, including Criterion, that are not readily available.

I have not gone 4k. I acknowledge that HDR is an advantage. 4k is doubtful over a certain distance, depending on screen size.

With my aging eyes I am far from convinced.

I am fighting against the streaming income model.

I find the politics and social commentary injected into many/most modern series and films tiresome, boring and annoying. I am re-watching better, older, material.

1 Like

Yes I also find the very hamfisted injection of ideology grating. Not the content but the crass lack of skill in doing so offends my intelligence.

Don’t forget, with 4K, the primary benefit over resolution is colour space. More pixels means truer gradient hues.

1 Like

In my experience the picture quality of 4K and regular BluRay discs played on my Panasonic 9000 player is far superior to streaming from Netflix, Amazon or Foxtel (Sky).
In addition, the sound quality is so much better too with full ATMOS or HD Master Audio on the discs where as streaming is limited to Dolby 5.1 (in Australia).
Appreciate that streaming is more convenient and cheaper but picture and sound quality nowhere near as good.
Ive been collecting 4K movie discs for a couple of years now and much prefer watching the discs to streaming, just this week Ive bought the original Mad Max trilogy of films on 4K disc which have just been released in Australia.

2 Likes

Yes. I confess I love the form factor of my, now old, wide-screen Phillips TV. So, I am waiting for it to die, before I upgrade.

Did you see the interview Darko did with Steven Wilson on his channel?

Discussing Atmos audio:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BByK5QtaOng

Very interesting.

Yes in same boat. I bought a Sony 55" 4K LCD in 2014 and the picture is… what’s the word I’m looking for?.. ahh yes “rubbish”. It was amazingly cheap though.

If I replace it before it dies, Mrs. FZ will have my hide.

2 Likes

:rofl:

Interesting thread, never really thought of ripping the pile of DVDs we have. What software is used for this? I suspect it’s not as simple as ripping a CD?

Thanks for sharing the interview.
I personally hzve two problems with surround sound music.
The first is I only have a 5.1 system and not a full ATMOS system, so my AV Amp downmixes ATMOS to 5.1 so I cant get the full ATMOS experience and thats not going to chznge in my main family lounge as Im not allowed to install anymore speakers ( like probably a lot of households who dont have dedicated home theatre/ listening rooms.
The second problem I have is that when I put my original 5.1 system in 25 years ago it was optimised for movies, so the rear speakers were high end Dipoles and the position of them selected to optimise the main listening position effect of the Dipoles, which is no good to get the best out of surround music which is best to use monopole/direct radiating speakers to optimise the rear sound positioning and hence 5.1 music does not sound the best it can in my specific system and why I always much prsfer stereo for music in my msin system.
Ive listened to ATMOS on headphones, both Tidal streaming and off BluRay discs, but Ive not been too impressed with that either, once again, prefering the Hi-Res stereo vsrsions over ATMOS and I now have quite a few BluRay music discs with ATMOS to compare.
I will stick with stereo for music based on my experience so far with ATMOS music.

1 Like

Make MKV is the gold standard.

Slick and streamlined it is not but it does a superb job letting you choose which subtitles and audio tracks to include.

But for 4K, you often need to use one of a subset of drives and installed hacked firmware too.

I’ve ripped over a thousand discs this way.

Plex server will stream them as is with full audio passthrough if the device supports it.

1 Like

Cheers, thanks for that. Will investigate.

With Criterion you have set yourself on a very expensive journey. I enjoy the additional material being a bit of a film… no not buff… tart.
I have quite a few but only from e bay… I set my self a price and don’t get into wars. Watch out that you are buying area b many cheaper offers from USA are area a and will be unplayable on your new dvd player.
Amazon,HMV,bfi etc often have sales of Criterion U.K./similar releases.
Indicator and Arrow are both worth keeping an eye on.

3 Likes

This is an interesting topic. I went on the same journey a year or so ago as I decided (1) I wanted to own content, especially movies, and (2) I was intrigued to discover for myself if the disc picture quality was better than streaming. I invested in a 4K UHD disc player (Panasonic DPUB820) which seemed to win most reviews / recommendations. I started building up a collection of 4K DVDs, at considerable expense (these discs are not cheap!). Current status is that I’ve sold the player and am in the process of selling the 4K DVDs. My eyes could detect hardly any difference between a 4K disc and 4K movie purchases streamed via Apple, I did many tests of this using the same movies and concluded that for me, the discs were not really worth it. This is of course subjective and others eyes may have a very different opinion. The biggest improvement I thought was actually sound quality, but as I only use a stereo AV set up (TV connected to Naim Atom) the benefits of 5-1 / 7-1 / Atmos audio are lost on me. Happy with good old stereo. So the investment in 4K discs was really not worth it for my use case. I’ve reverted to purchasing movies via Apple, which is far more cost effective and flexible as I can watch them anywhere (these being the main benefits of streaming) and downloading them to an external drive so that I can’t lose them if they disappear from the streaming service.

The OPs use case is different. If preferred content is simply not available via streaming then I completely understand reverting to 4K discs. For me though, the benefits of streaming outweigh those of discs and I’ve happily decided to ditch discs for good. Until the next time :grinning:

By the way I would recommend the Panasonic player, it was very good indeed, especially at upscaling some of the older DVDs in my collection.