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  1. #1

    Default "Rental" vs. "Retail" Bluray discs - Is video quality gimped?!


    My apologies if this has been previously discussed. I attempted a quick search and couldn't quite find the answer I was looking for.

    I know that "Rental" versions of Bluray discs distributed by Netflix are sometimes gimped in terms of extra features and top-menu interface pizazz, but are they also gimped in terms of video and/or audio fidelity?

    I ask because I've received a "rental" version of the Iron Man 2 Bluray via Netflix that didn't seem to corroborate the glowing video review offered here at highdefdigest.com. I have a number of retail Blurays that perform consistent with the reviews here, but Iron Man 2 was just way off. Lots of grain, inconsistent skin tones, washed-out blacks in dark scenes, etc.
  2. #2
    I doubt very much that the video or audio encodes are different from rentals. I watched this title and thought it looked pretty good overall. I don't remember seeing any washed out blacks, and grain is a good thing

    Have you calibrated your source (TV, projector, etc)?
  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by illbenooneelse View Post
    Lots of grain, inconsistent skin tones, washed-out blacks in dark scenes, etc.
    These are characteristics of the transfer of a film, not the encode. The two are very different. The transfer is the scanning of the film source to a digital representation. This is where things like contrast, color fidelity, etc. come into play. They can be fixed after the scan, but if you've ever scanned anything, you know that it's much easier to do the scan properly to begin with. If you do a really poor job scanning, you might never be able to fix the issues.

    A poor encode will display the following artifacts: color banding, macroblocking, and lack of sharpness. You see these things because there just aren't enough bits to go around--the source is being bitrate starved. The encoder has to compromise somewhere.

    Other digital artifacts include lack of detail from excessive use of DNR and halos around the edges from excessive edge enhancement. These lie between the transfer and the encode. They have to be added somewhere between the two, and aren't particular to the transfer or the encode process.
  4. #4
    Thanks for the feedback. Perhaps I was just expecting way too much after highdefdigest's glowing review of the film. I suppose what I should do is watch a retail version of the same title and compare it to my previous experience with my initial "rental" copy viewing.

    And yes, I've properly calibrated and adjusted, so it's certainly not an issue with my settings
  5. #5
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    Well we now know that the Movie Only version of RED is different
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  6. #6
    In some cases (Fox IIRC) the disc are exactly the same except for the menu. The extras were there just need AnyDVD to get to them.
  7. #7
    I would image that the quality for renting and retail to be the same if not you are getting ripped off for your rental.
  8. #8
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    I use Netflix and if I like the movie enough I will go out and buy it. In the very few cases where I have bought the movie after I rented it I have noticed no difference between the two discs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HamsterDance View Post
    I use Netflix and if I like the movie enough I will go out and buy it. In the very few cases where I have bought the movie after I rented it I have noticed no difference between the two discs.
    There have been examples of the audio being gimped on a rental version (Red), and certainly extras are stripped off (Tangled) - but I've never personally noticed reduced video resolution on a rental BD vs. the retail version.
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  10. #10
    Do you know if the disk was 25gb or 50gb? I know the IM2 retail has a 50gb disc for just the movie, which means it must exceed a 25gb size. If they used a 25gb disc to save a few bucks and compressed the movie to fit, that could be the quality loss.

    If anyone can give stats on the retail or rental disc that would rock.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich86 View Post
    There have been examples of the audio being gimped on a rental version (Red), and certainly extras are stripped off (Tangled) - but I've never personally noticed reduced video resolution on a rental BD vs. the retail version.
    The cheaper retail version of Red also had the high definition audio track removed.

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