1. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Blu ray... what's the deal?

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by OurJud, Oct 22, 2015.

    Maybe I've just been unlucky with the dozen or so blu rays I've collected over the last couple of years. Maybe I'm paying the price for being such a skinflint and opting for a £50 / $77 blu ray player, but I have to say I'm still waiting to be 'blown away' by this wonder format.

    Without a real-time, side by side comparison, it's difficult to say for sure, but what I've seen so far is only marginally (if at all) better than DVD.

    Yes, it's a cheap blu ray player, but it's still a blu ray player. My television isn't anything special, but it's full HD and conversely the HD documentaries being broadcast these days do look stunning, so I know my television isn't at fault.

    Am I missing something here (apart from a top-spec player) ?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    What is this physical storage medium you speak of?

    >checks streaming internet connection<

    :D
     
  3. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm old school - I like to own things. I ain't paying for things that I can't hold in my hands... not while I have a choice anyway.
     
  4. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Okay. I have worked in electronics and entertainment retail for the better part of a decade. I can tell you, a lot of terms, like HD, get thrown about without the proper context or even correct definition.
    What resolution is your TV using? A lot of TVs don't run at 1080p, so they don't take advantage of full HD.
    What size is your TV? TV's under 32" are too small to notice much of a difference.
    How is your blu-ray player connected? If you aren't using an HDMI cable, the HD signal isn't being transmitted.
    And, of course, some movies, even if put on a blu-ray format, aren't recorded in a way which takes advantage of the format. Older movies, in particular, can only be cleaned up so far, and might not pass DVD quality.
    And, sadly, you might have a crap player. Price doesn't always equal quality, and you can get a good device for a low price, but you can also buy crap for a low price.
     
  5. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    My TV is 32", full 1080 HD. Blu ray connected by hdmi.

    My player is a Panasonic and cost me, as I said, £50 (about $77).

    As I also said, I know what my TV can do in terms of image quality, because of things like new wildlife documentaries that are broadcast on the HD channels.

    So I suppose all this points to my player being a bit crappy then?
     
  6. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Likely, yeah. I don't know how Panasonic stacks up as a brand, or if you maybe just got a lemon, but it sounds like the player is at fault.
    You should be able to see a marked difference between blu-ray and DVD, especially with newer movies.
     
  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe that's another point. I'm not a fan of new films, and tend to buy old and/or classics.
     
  8. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Some older movies have really bad quality on Blu-Ray, like they just took the DVD master and upconverted it.

    Otherwise, yeah, I still mostly buy DVDs, because Blu-Ray doesn't offer anything worth the hassle of buying Blu-Ray disks that just don't work because my Chinese player hasn't had a firmware upgrade in years.
     
  9. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Old movies were not shot in HD or converted properly. Something from the 70s and 80s, even 90s, on Blu-ray is pointless. With new movies the difference to DVD is night and day.
     
  10. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Old movies were mostly shot on 35mm film, which has better than 1080P resolution if it was on good film stock and shot and stored properly. A movie like 2001 should still look great at 4k, as it was shot on 70mm film.

    The movies which will have problems in the future are the ones shot digitally at 1080P or where the CG effects were renderd at 1080p or less. They'll inevitably look crappy on a 4k display.
     
  11. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've got quite a few Blu-rays which are no better than DVDs, and use letterboxed formats rather than full-screen.

    The interesting thing is that 4K is on its way. In order for 4K to look significantly better than 1080p, you need a BIG television. But, they are selling 4K 32" televisions, where you probably won't see much difference between 720p and 1080p. Let alone have a need for 4K.

    It also depends on how good a job your television does of upscaling DVD to full HD. Some are better than others, which mean that the advantage may depend on your television.

    Pirates of the Caribbean blu-rays should be a good way of seeing the advantage.
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Sigh. No. That's not how it works.
     
  13. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    4k looks good on a phone screen, which you hold inches from your face, or on a screen around 60" and up. Everything in between, 4k is useless technology.
     
  14. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you saying that you would be able to tell the difference between native 4K on a phone screen and properly scaled 1080p on the same screen?
     
  15. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Honestly, I've not seen a side by side comparison, so, maybe not. But 4k really only works when you're inches away (as with a phone) or watching a screen the size of a garage door.
     
  16. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, in other words, Blu-ray is just one mighty big con, then?
     
  17. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not saying I disbelieve you, but I'd like to see experiments to check if people can tell the difference. On a phone screen, even a big one, 1080p pixels is a LOT and the actual pixels will be miniscule.

    Some blu-rays are pretty much a con. However, if you have a big television and are watching a recently produced movie (e.g. Pirates of the Caribbean - which is IMHO not a wonderful movie but technically the vision and sound are very good) on a big TV and there should be a noticeable difference.
     
  18. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Um, that's exactly how it works.
     
  19. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to say, Edward, I've had plenty of people tell me the same (that the quality of old films can be as good if not better than new HD recordings, providing they were shot on good stock and stored properly)

    I always thought HD was a new technology, and couldn't understand how old films could be presented in HD, until it was explained that what is new, is merely our ability to view HD in our homes.

    Or something like that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  20. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    There's just a lot of really big ifs with old movies being put into hd.
    One of the issues (and it may be what ed was referring to), is that you're taking a medium which was never meant for digital, and trying to convert it into digital hd. If not done properly, you can actually lose quality.
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Here's on excerpt from a web site (assuming this is accurate):

    "
    Thankfully, it isn’t the case that old films can never be converted to high-definition, only that most of us don’t have the resources available to do so. Films, whether in the form of a VHS cassette, a Laserdisc, or a DVD, are all significantly reduced from their original quality in order to play on the machines of their era. The optics used in filming professional films have been extremely high for decades, and the film used captured a great deal of that information, so that even old movies from the 1950s and 1960s were actually shot with a great deal of definition. They were then compressed down in order to fit on the media of the time, losing most of that definition in the process.

    However, the original film still exists in most cases, held by the studios that shot the movies. These studios can go back to that original film, and put it on a medium that supports high-definition quality, and re-release the films. These films will then have the crisp, clear features, and vivid colors that people have come to expect from high-definition television, even when they were shot nearly sixty years ago. Sadly, films shot in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s are not quite of the same level of technical quality, and so while these movies can be remastered to have quite a bit more detail, they do not tend to reach high-definition levels."

    http://www.wisegeek.com/how-can-old-movies-be-converted-to-high-definition.htm
     
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  22. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Sadly, a lot of those original recordings are lost (fire, theft, chemical degradation, etc), and what we have are copies of copies.
     
  23. uncephalized
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    uncephalized Active Member

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    No. The apparent size of your screen is proportional to the actual size divided by the distance from your eye to the screen. No matter what size the screen is, there is a distance from your eye at which it will appear the same as your 4" phone screen (assuming a reasonable range of distances not too close to the eye--a few inches plus--thus ignoring the small angle-distorting effects of a flat screen). A screen twice as large will appear exactly the same, pixelation and all, at a distance twice as far away.

    But I'm pretty sure 4k is pushing to the edge of what human vision can detect, period--as in, if you are far enough away from the screen that you can see the whole image at once, your eyes could not distinguish individual pixels. At that point further improvements in resolution are pointless unless you plan on inspecting your computer screen with a magnifying glass or microscope.
     
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  24. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Basically. Film resolution is limited primarily by film grain and the lenses used to shoot the movie. A decent old 35mm film stock has more resolution than 1080p HD video. 70mm, and other wide film formats, has far more. The bad Blu-Rays I've seen are mostly due to poorly stored films (e.g. the original negatives were lost, and all that's left are some scratched, dusty prints that have been shown hundreds of times in cinemas), or to companies taking a telecine transfer made at DVD resolution and blowing it up to to HD to avoid paying for a new one.

    It's also worth noting that you didn't see a lot of that film resolution in a cinema. The film prints sent out to cinemas were usually two or more generations away from the original negative, as they were made from copies of the negative: you don't want to trash the original film just to make prints. A new telecine made from that original negative at high resolution can look much better than the movie did when first released.
     
  25. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I could certainly see the pixels on an IMAX screen with CG rendered at 6k resolution when I went to a seminar they held some years ago. But few people sit so close to their TV screen that it completely fills their field of view the way an IMAX screen does.

    Edit: for that matter, I can certainly see the pixels on my 1920x1080 PC monitor when playing games, and I don't sit that close to the screen. 4k might be enough that I wouldn't see them any more.
     

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