Comparison of bluray and 4K quality in reviews - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 07-22-2018, 03:24 AM
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Default Comparison of bluray and 4K quality in reviews

Hi, I wanted to ask about how a comparison between the quality of a bluray picture of any film and the benefit of an upgrade to the 4K version is made. Is the bluray review based on 1080p equipment and the 4K (obviously) on UHD equipment? I read so often that the bluray quality is superior or only slightly worse but when I watch it on my UHD equipment (Panasonic OLED TV and Panasonic player with THX Cinema setting for the picture) it looks grainy and not sharp at all (e.g. Forest Gump). On my HD Panasonic Plasma it looks great. So, I wish there would be a recommendation on upgrading from bluray to 4K based on watching the bluray on the UHD equipment. Do you share that view?
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Old 07-22-2018, 02:49 PM
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My Two Cents: (and I'm sure you'll get a few feedbacks on the topic from others as well(
The biggest upgrade from FHD to UHD is going to be the HDR aspect of it. Secondary of course is the screen resolution. A native 4K source will generally look better than a 2K FHD source.
The definition of something looking great may vary from person to person. If a movie was made on film, there will be film grain in the picture. To remove the grain, you are altering the picture by adding noise reduction, which also removes some of the fine details of the image, as well as often times creates a halo around objects on the screen. Viewing distance and screen size also have something to do with it as well.
From the sounds of it though you could have one of two things happening here, and I am going to over simplify it.
1) Your Panasonic Plasma has the sharpness controls turned way up and is therefore suppressing the film grain. You can try to adjust this setting on the OLED but keep in mind that sharpness = less fine detail.
2) On the 4K Screen -- When the HD image is upscaled to a 4K screen, don't forget that each pixel becomes double wide double high. So a speck of grain on film, say 2 pixels wide, 1 pixel high becomes 4 pixels wide 2 pixels high. Assuming you have a similar screen size between the 2 displays, the film grain might become more noticeable, but it should not because the pixel density is x 4 compared to the regular HD screen, so physical size should be the same.

You could check your sharpness settings and adjust them to your taste. But a movie, say Forrest Gump as an example will pretty much always look better coming from a 4K disc than from a Blu-ray disc. The same speck of film grain might end up being 3 pixels wide and 1 pixel high on the 4K scan, so it's barely noticeable, and at a reasonable viewing distance, pretty much invisible.

You might want to also experiment with the upscalers. Let your player upscale the FHD image to 4K, then let the TV itself do it. Using the various "modes" are in a sense altering the picture in some manner or another. From the sounds of it, you're already altering the signal, you're set to "THX Cinema Mode." You could set it to a regular play as is mode and see what happens too.

If you have access to a Darbee Vision device, you might also try playing your FHD through that. It has its own algorithms to improve picture quality. If you find a happy medium of processing the image to where the grain is less noticeable while keeping picture quality, every thing is good from there.

Ultimately it is all YOU as far as what you're happy with. If turning the sharpness to 40 percent makes you happy with the results, go for it! But still consider upgrading to the 4K version disc as you still gain benefits from the HDR aspect. Keep 2 presets on your tv even - one for older movies and one for newer movies. The older movies setting of course would have sharpness turned up to reduce film grain noise, the newer movies setting should have minimal video processing as they should not have any noise on the screen.
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Old 07-23-2018, 11:28 AM
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Dear Krawk,
thanks a lot for your extensive answer. I do agree with your arguments completely and have experimented a lot with the TV's settings. I have my preferred settings for each type of film and am quite happy with them now. I do of course understand the limitations of upscaling and sometimes a bluray looks just fine and acceptable but sometimes it is not watchable at all.
That's why I am still interested in how the reviewers judge bluray quality and whether their recommendation (bluray has the better picture in relation to the films UHD version) is based on a HD-Screen. I always check reviews before investing in yet another media version of a film I already own: upgrading from VHS to DVD to bluray to remastered bluray to UHD is quite costly and should be absolutely worth it ;-)
An interesting example is the HDD review of Arrival on 4K - which is not positive at all. I could not bare to watch the bluray on the new OLED TV - it was so terrible. In the end I ignored the review and bought the UHD and it is brilliant! Of course the style of the film is so that color palette is reduced and sharpness is also subdued but it feels perfect and matches my cinema experience of the film.
I hope that clarifies what I am looking for.
Best regards
Wolfram
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Old 07-23-2018, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfram View Post
Hi, I wanted to ask about how a comparison between the quality of a bluray picture of any film and the benefit of an upgrade to the 4K version is made. Is the bluray review based on 1080p equipment and the 4K (obviously) on UHD equipment? I read so often that the bluray quality is superior or only slightly worse but when I watch it on my UHD equipment (Panasonic OLED TV and Panasonic player with THX Cinema setting for the picture) it looks grainy and not sharp at all (e.g. Forest Gump). On my HD Panasonic Plasma it looks great. So, I wish there would be a recommendation on upgrading from bluray to 4K based on watching the bluray on the UHD equipment. Do you share that view?
FWIW, that's generally what our 4K-equipped reviewers do every time they get a 4K movie in for review.

Also, generally speaking, we've found that a majority of 4K Blu-rays are an upgrade over the Blu-ray versions, although sometimes this upgrade is minor. I'm not sure where you're reading lots of reviews saying the Blu-ray is "superior".

And, regarding Arrival, while I found the movie's uses of greyscale and black levels troubling compared to other 4K releases, I said, "the Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation replicates my theatrical experience almost exactly." However, perfectly replicating the theatrical experience doesn't make for perfect video.

Lastly, thank you for reading our reviews and welcome to the HDD Forums. Cheers & all the best.
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Old 07-24-2018, 10:47 AM
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Thanks a lot - but I still did not get an answer whether you also watch a HD bluray on UHD TV when reviewing it ;-)
"However, perfectly replicating the theatrical experience doesn't make for perfect video" is an interesting notion - the judgment is purely technical and not artistic. For me the presentation in cinema (provided it has excellent equipment) is the guideline for how a movie has to look on disc - but I already try to read between the lines of more technical reviews.
I really appreciate the work you put in reviewing and I am really grateful for it!!!
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:35 PM
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I can’t speak to every review, but generally speaking, yes, we’re looking at the included Blu-ray on the same UHD TV.
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Old 07-25-2018, 05:45 AM
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Ah, ok - thank you
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