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post #1 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews!



The wait is finally over. Ultra HD Blu-ray has landed with the first player and discs now in the hands of enthusiasts eager to see if it fulfills its promise.

I have been among those eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ultra HD Blu-ray since its finalized specification and logo were released last year. I took steps to upgrade my display and audio/video processor to meet the requirements. All that remained was the release of the first player and media. Before I go any further here are a few facts on the Ultra HD format:

Finalized in the spring of 2015 the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification addresses a range of factors, beyond simply increasing resolution, that will significantly enhance the home entertainment experience for consumers. The format provides expanded color range, high frame rate (up to 60fps) and up-to 3840x2160 resolution. The Ultra HD Blu-ray format will also deliver next-generation immersive, object-based sound formats (Dolby Atmos & DTS:X). The Ultra HD Blu-ray format will deliver high dynamic range content that significantly expands the range between the brightest and darkest elements providing a more life-like viewing experience.
Today’s displays use the BT.709 color gamut, which can reproduce roughly 35% of the colors that the human eye can perceive. The initial HDR-enabled displays that came to market are capable of reproducing most of the DCI P3 color space used in cinemas. DCI P3 covers approximately 54% of the colors seen by the human eye. The newly introduced BT.2020 color gamut for Ultra HD Blu-ray covers roughly 76% of the color spectrum perceivable by the human eye. Combine this with high dynamic range (HDR10 is what is currently being used on the first discs coming to market) and the possibility of reproducing visually striking imagery on a capable display system takes home entertainment to a new level.


For more details on Ultra HD Certification, HDR capability, and a list of HDR capable displays see AVS Forum Editor Scott Wilkinson's related articles:

HDR Capable Displays

Ultra HD Premium Certification

What Does HDR Capable Mean?

In December I added the JVC DLA-RS500 front projector to my reference review system. The JVC is HDR capable and can reproduce the range of colors necessary for Ultra HD playback. This along with my Marantz AV8802A pre/pro (which meets the HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 requirement for UHD playback) meant that the only piece of gear needed was a player capable of Ultra HD Blu-ray playback. Enter the Samsung UBD-K8500, the first Ultra HD Blu-ray player to come to market.

The UBD-K8500 supports HDR content and framerates of up to 60 frames per second. In addition to 4K content, the player is backward compatible with existing 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, DVD and CDs. The player features over 300 apps including Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and more, plus the UBD-K8500 will play your home movies and downloaded music via DNLA. This isn't intended to be a review of the UBD-K8500 so I will just offer a few observations.

The player isn't aesthetically pleasing with its curved fascia and lightweight, monochromatic design. The rear panel covers the bases with two HDMI outputs, one that delivers audio only for backward compatibility to allow direct connection to a video display and legacy AVR for audio playback. The remote control is poorly laid out, too small, and not backlit. These of course are all things I can live with given the player's price point. What's most important is performance is the UBD-8500 does well in that department. The player is lightning fast at loading UHD Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray and DVDs. Playback of UHD Blu-ray at 2160p/24 is excellent, providing pristine images that incorporate high dynamic range and wide color gamut.

The player isn't without a few quirks, chief among them being that its main menu, from which all operations launch, is output at 4K/60 12 bit 4:4:4. This high bandwith resolution has created problems with certain displays and longer HDMI cabling runs for many, the result being an inability to see the main menu upon start up. The work around is to start the player, insert a disc, load it and wait for the player to switch to a resolution (such as 4K/24) that the display and or cabling can handle. This is an annoyance that could easily be resolved by Samsung with a firmware update that would set the main menu output to a common resolution. Be that as it may, the UBD-8500 has much to offer and does very well for a first generation player.

After spending time watching Ultra HD Blu-rays I began thinking about how I wanted to handle the inclusion of UHD Blu-ray ratings using my review template. My ratings as they stand can be used across all platforms and will continue to be done this way. Titles released that include both a Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray disc will be covered using my original video rating parameters for Blu-ray. Ultra HD Blu-ray has properties that should be considered in addition to those we see as standard. With that in mind I came up with five rating parameters:
  • HDR: Dark Highlights – The implementation of darkest visual elements
  • HDR: Bright Highlights – The implementation of brightest visual elements
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG – Discernibility/Effectiveness of applied chromatic range
  • Resolution – The discernible difference/improvement when compared to standard HD
  • Visual Impact - How the image stacks up as a whole


These will be scored on the same rating scale that I use for the current system and result in a technical rating that will be part of the overall rating along with the audio portion. The Blu-ray Disc rating will be included with Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews but will not be factored into the total audio/video rating that appears at the top of each review. This is similar to how 3D Blu-ray reviews are done currently. Going forward these parameters may get tweaked or changed but for now provide a foundation. As it stands there is apparently no exacting system for HDR10 implementation on the manufacturer side, and no calibration tools to allow for a standardized threshold for setting up a visual system. This leaves us to do the best we can to determine what appears to be accurate, at least for the time being.

It should be noted that in every case where an advanced audio codec like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X is included on an Ultra HD Blu-ray release the audio rating, reflected in the review summary at the top with the UHD video rating, will reflect that rather than the lossless core rating. The lossless core commentary/rating will be included along with the Blu-ray portion of the review but not factored in. In all other cases (meaning titles that don't include an advanced audio codec)the audio rating/commentary will be included as before. With the advanced video associated with Ultra HD Blu-ray it seems only logical to factor in the advanced audio rating when present. I realize that not everyone is set up for Ultra HD Blu-ray and Immersive home theater sound but at AVS Forum we strive to be at the cutting edge of the latest and greatest that home audio/video has to offer. The rating details for standard Blu-ray Discs included with Ultra HD Blu-ray releases will be incorporated in reviews so no worries.

I reached out to all of the studios that announced titles for release in Ultra HD Blu-ray to see about obtaining review screeners. I received titles from Sony and Warner Brothers. They are all catalog titles which I have previously reviewed. I will rate them using the parameters above. The titles from Sony all include new Dolby Atmos mixes (YES!) so I will offer an Atmos rating for them as well. To find out my thoughts on the bonus features and films please refer to my previous reviews.




UHD Presentation: 72
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



Dolby Atmos Rating: 76
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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






UHD Presentation: 72
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



Dolby Atmos Rating: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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






UHD Presentation: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



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


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






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


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • 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:






UHD Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



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


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






UHD Presentation: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



Dolby Atmos Rating: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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

As you can see I rated these in order of least to best looking. I commend Sony and Warner for offering Dolby Atmos mixes on their Ultra HD Blu-ray releases. Right now, as I see it, Dolby Atmos is the best game in town with respect to 3D immersive audio. I hope that trend continues as I appreciate their steadfast commitment to elevating the listening experience in the home environment.

Going forward Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews will include all of the information generally found in my reviews. This article was meant to serve as an introduction to the format, summary of the rating system, and newly released titles received. The format is new and there will be growing pains. I am optimistic based upon what I have seen so far and hope that as the year progresses we see more support from hardware manufacturers and quality release from the supporting studios.

Ralph C. Potts
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Last edited by Ralph Potts; 03-03-2016 at 06:05 AM.
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post #2 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 11:53 AM
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Ralph,

As always, thanks for all your hard work and effort in doing these reviews.

In this particular case, however - I don't think viewing on the JVC projector allows you to critique the HDR aspects of these discs.

I too have a JVC projector and hope a real JVC 4K (not shifted) Dolby Vision project hits the markets in the next year or so. Until then, I do not think the front projectors can realize the HDR content.

It will be very interesting to see what comes down the road in OLED/etc 4K HDR flat panels and how fast the pricing will fall. The LG Signature and Vizio Ref units should do an excellent job demonstrating HDR (among other things), but I'm not ready to jump into this game yet. 1st time for me to not be an early adopter. I guess I have too many arrows in the back.....

Best Regards,
J
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post #3 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 11:59 AM
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oh, my goodness, Ralph, I love this post very much. I have been waiting for someone to introduce me to UHD and also eager to see UHD review. Now you did it. I really appreciate it. I love this forum!!!. first question, at what UHD rating, the UHD picture quality is same as BD? I saw the first UHD only has 72 score. other questions, How is your JVC RS500? It has e-shift technology. Do you happen to compare it to true 4K projector? What HDMI cable do you use for UHD at what length? Thanks Ralph.
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post #4 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 12:42 PM
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Ralph, have you tested to connect the UHD player to a legacy HDMI 1.3 system? It would be interesting to see if the Atmos track still will be available when the image is forced to 1080p.

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post #6 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zigzag666 View Post
Ralph,

As always, thanks for all your hard work and effort in doing these reviews.

In this particular case, however - I don't think viewing on the JVC projector allows you to critique the HDR aspects of these discs.

I too have a JVC projector and hope a real JVC 4K (not shifted) Dolby Vision project hits the markets in the next year or so. Until then, I do not think the front projectors can realize the HDR content.

It will be very interesting to see what comes down the road in OLED/etc 4K HDR flat panels and how fast the pricing will fall. The LG Signature and Vizio Ref units should do an excellent job demonstrating HDR (among other things), but I'm not ready to jump into this game yet. 1st time for me to not be an early adopter. I guess I have too many arrows in the back.....

Best Regards,
J
Greetings,

I agree in theory. I do think that while front projection for the home may not be capable of fully realizing the full potential of what HDR and Dolby Vision offers I believe that at this stage it will allow us the basis necessary to provide enthusiasts with a reasonable expectation of what the format can do. Thanks for reading and for offering your thoughts.

Regards,
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post #7 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mashie Saldana View Post
Ralph, have you tested to connect the UHD player to a legacy HDMI 1.3 system? It would be interesting to see if the Atmos track still will be available when the image is forced to 1080p.
Greetings,

I haven't tried it although I don't see why the Atmos track wouldn't playback at 1080p.


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post #8 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 01:02 PM
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When rating the resolution it would be good to have a standard rating (e.g. 2 points) that means it doesn't really look any better than 1080p. However you can't really use the regular BD for that comparison because it may well come from a different master. Somehow you should use the UHD disk but force it to play back in 1080p.

What may happen (as it did when the new lossless audio formats were introduced) is that people see/hear a big improvement in the new discs, but most of that improvement was just better mastering and could have been achieved with the old format. Same with HDR—I'm not convinced it really brings a lot to the table. but some people will see good shadow detail and claim it's a result of HDR when it's really not.

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post #9 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 01:17 PM
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Hi Ralf,

Thanks for posting. I too have been look forward to the Ultra 4K Blu rays since announced last year. I picked up a Sony 4K tv back in 2014 so unfortunately I won't be able to take advantage of HDR but I am still excited. I did not like the way the Samsung player looked, so I am hoping Sony and the other players will make some announcements soon. I did pick up some movies from Best Buy today (Kingsman, The Martian, and Sicario) and will enjoy the 4k image once I get a player. Keep up the great reviews.
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post #10 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 01:52 PM
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Bragging now are we Ralph?
Now I have to seriously look at upgrading my basement HT system, which is on my bucket list as a 2017-mid item, and coming fast around the corner.....

Till then, I'll read your reviews and just dream away .....
(my family room 2015 55" Vizio P while 4k UHD is not HDR capable )
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post #11 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 04:16 PM
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UHD BD reviews! Wow, awesome! Thanks Ralph!

This isn't an easy task with a moving target but you've got to start somewhere. It helps that you had a good number of titles to start out with that you could compare.

Ralph:
* Is there reference material, other than the reviewed disks, that you used to judge against?
* If so what was it and how would you rate that materiel? Or, in other words, would you rate that reference material better than the best disk you've already reviewed?

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post #12 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 04:22 PM
 
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Wait wasn't your original review of mad max a 100 for the atmos? Are you saying that the HD Blu Ray atmos is worse?
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post #13 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Wait wasn't your original review of mad max a 100 for the atmos? Are you saying that the HD Blu Ray atmos is worse?
Greetings,

Brian, that is a typo. It most definitely is a 100 for the Atmos mix. I will amend the article to correct that..


Regards,
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post #14 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 06:02 PM
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Ralph, to be honest, I base the majority of my sight-unseen movie purchases on your A/V reviews and have been doing so since 2010. Reliability never goes out of style. I am happy you're adding UHD under your purview, as I am getting ready to take the leap to UHD shortly. This is an encouraging article.
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post #15 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 07:18 PM
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Interesting that the highest rated film in the bunch was shot and edited in 2.5k, sounds like we have to up our standards if that got 5 stars for resolution. Can't wait to see films like the Dark knight (and Rises) that were shot or scanned at 4k plus resolution, and then retained taht resolution all the way through post (A rarity).
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post #16 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 07:28 PM
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Could you please indicate at what resolution each movie being reviewed was filmed and/or mastered in. I understand that many of these first releases are not true 4K (or above) through the entire transfer process.
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post #17 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 08:49 PM
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When is the release date for these movies?
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post #18 of 81 Old 03-02-2016, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Evazan View Post
Interesting that the highest rated film in the bunch was shot and edited in 2.5k, sounds like we have to up our standards if that got 5 stars for resolution. Can't wait to see films like the Dark knight (and Rises) that were shot or scanned at 4k plus resolution, and then retained taht resolution all the way through post (A rarity).
the consensous amonst UHD disc owners is that smurfs 2 is #1 by a landslide.

Im not sure how Mad Max got rated ahead of smurfs 2, but smurfs is pure 4k all the way through. having seen both, Smurfs is ahead in resolution and its not even close.

I think Ralph just enjoyed Mad Max more and was a little giddy

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post #19 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 03:29 AM
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Gratitude

Gratitude Brother Ralph!(Gladiator) I am so grateful for your detailed reviews and am excited about the advancement of our shared hobby! I will be waiting for the new Oppo player and the new AVR's that should be introduced midyear.I also bought the new JVC RS-500 and upgraded my Carada from 104"diag. to Carada 120"diag. which maxes out my wall space.I will be hanging on every word of your reviews of the new format films just like I do for your Blu-Ray reviews.By the end of 2016 I should be technologically caught up(moving target)by adding the 4 ceiling speakers ,Oppo player,and new Onkyo,Yamaha,Marantz or Denon AVR W/11powered channels and the removal of the compatibility glitches that are so typical of these early products. Exciting times if the studios and electronic company's make it simple enough for Mr.Joseph Sixpack to see an upgrade path that is both super desirable and fully sorted out.Once again Brother Ralph....Gratitude!
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post #20 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 04:50 AM
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Ralph,
Thanks as always for your reviews. I will be probably purchasing desired titles even though I haven't made the jump to 4K yet (my Panny 65VT50 still looks fabulous) so I've been doing the sound upgrading first.
Can you tell me, if the included BD in these 4K packs, also contain the Atmos track (for ones that did not previously. Mad Max already had an Atmos release but Hancock did not, for example)? Or do I have to buy the player and have it downgrade the 4K pic to my 1080p?
I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering this?

Thanks,

Chris
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post #21 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumps View Post
Ralph,
Thanks as always for your reviews. I will be probably purchasing desired titles even though I haven't made the jump to 4K yet (my Panny 65VT50 still looks fabulous) so I've been doing the sound upgrading first.
Can you tell me, if the included BD in these 4K packs, also contain the Atmos track (for ones that did not previously. Mad Max already had an Atmos release but Hancock did not, for example)? Or do I have to buy the player and have it downgrade the 4K pic to my 1080p?
I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering this?

Thanks,

Chris
Greetings,

The Blu-ray disc supplied with the Sony titles does not include the Atmos soundmix. They all seem to be the original Blu-ray release which includes either a DTS-HD MA or in the case of the older titles (Hancock for example) Dolby TrueHD.

Regards,
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post #22 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dnoonie View Post
UHD BD reviews! Wow, awesome! Thanks Ralph!

This isn't an easy task with a moving target but you've got to start somewhere. It helps that you had a good number of titles to start out with that you could compare.

Ralph:
* Is there reference material, other than the reviewed disks, that you used to judge against?
* If so what was it and how would you rate that materiel? Or, in other words, would you rate that reference material better than the best disk you've already reviewed?

Cheers,
Greetings,

dnoonie, I only covered the titles supplied to me by the studios. I have discs from Fox and Lionsgate that I picked up. I have a dozen or so that I used as a basis for this evaluation. Of course this medium being new our exposure is very limited at this point. As thing progress and we being to see more and more titles the comparative range will increase.

Regards,
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post #23 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Pres2play View Post
When is the release date for these movies?

They are all available right now in the US.

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post #24 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 09:19 AM
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I think the review is OK on a technical point, but why are you reviewing using a projection screen and not a TV? and I wanna know how much better it is in comparison to 1080P, is it worth the change? I don't get anything by reading the ratings of each movie, I wanna know how the technology performs, is the difference a huge improvement?
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post #25 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumps View Post
Ralph,
Thanks as always for your reviews. I will be probably purchasing desired titles even though I haven't made the jump to 4K yet (my Panny 65VT50 still looks fabulous) so I've been doing the sound upgrading first.
Can you tell me, if the included BD in these 4K packs, also contain the Atmos track (for ones that did not previously. Mad Max already had an Atmos release but Hancock did not, for example)? Or do I have to buy the player and have it downgrade the 4K pic to my 1080p?
I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering this?


Thanks,

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts
I reached out to all of the studios that announced titles for release in Ultra HD Blu-ray to see about obtaining review screeners. I received titles from Sony and Warner Brothers. They are all catalog titles which I have previously reviewed. I will rate them using the parameters above. The titles from Sony all include new Dolby Atmos mixes (YES!) so I will offer an Atmos rating for them as well. To find out my thoughts on the bonus features and films please refer to my previous reviews.
http://www.dolby.com/us/en/experienc...streaming.html
Dolby Atmos Releases on Blu-ray Disc
A
The Age of Adaline
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (UHD)
American Sniper
B
Bram Stoker's Dracula Supreme Cinema Series
C
Chappie (UHD)
E
Enchanted Kingdom
Everest
The Expendables 3
F
The Fifth Element Supreme Cinema Series
G
The Gallows
Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season
Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season
Gravity: Special Edition
The Gunman
H
Hancock (UHD)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1
I
Insurgent
J
Jupiter Ascending
John Wick
L
Léon: The Professional Supreme Cinema Series
M
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Man From U.N.C.L.E
Minions
Mission: Impossible - Rouge Nation
O
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter
P
Pan
Pineapple Express (UHD)
Pixels
R
Roger Waters: The Wall
S
Salt (UHD)
San Andreas
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Sicario
The Smurfs 2 (UHD)
Step Up All In
T
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Terminator Genisys
Transformers: Age of Extinction
U
Unbroken
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post #26 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdrdredd View Post
They are all available right now in the US.

Thanks, just haven't come across any in the stores.
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post #27 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pres2play View Post
Thanks, just haven't come across any in the stores.
Greetings,

Check your local Best buy..


Regards,

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post #28 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 01:04 PM
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so i just noticed on Amazon that they say The Revenant will come out on UHD as well! Can anyone confirm anything?
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post #29 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naylorman32 View Post
so i just noticed on Amazon that they say The Revenant will come out on UHD as well! Can anyone confirm anything?
http://www.google.com/search?q=UHD%...+release+dates

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post #30 of 81 Old 03-03-2016, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pres2play View Post
Thanks, just haven't come across any in the stores.
Our BestBuy had ~20 different UHD titles yesterday (2-8 remaining of each) in the area where they used to showcase 3D Bluray. None displayed in the new releases or other areas of the store that I could see.
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