The big news this week was the pivotal battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones, and the problem was it was so DARK and badly lit. Scott says that it's almost as if the filmmakers didn't take into consideration that those who are streaming would be dealing with a heavily compressed image, that would crush the details in dark areas. Add the fact that it was the most watched episode in HBO history, it had to deal with congestion as well. The episode will no doubt look better on Blu-ray and in UHD. But with the heavily compressed signal of a 4K stream, it simply didn't.
Leo got the latest BBC series Planet Earth 2 on Blu-ray and he says it's stunning. Scott says that they shot the film on the RED cameras, which have incredible dynamic range and recorded at a higher resolution at 60p before downscaling to 4K for the Blu-ray.
Leo wants to know if he should wait until February (Super Bowl time) to get his 4K TV. He's noticed there still isn't that much content out there. Scott says that's true. It's comparable to when HD first came out and most people were watching upscaled TV until the content caught up. Leo can get HD streaming and at least 720p broadcast, and of course Blu-ray discs. Now that we're moving into 4K, it's still going to take awhile for 4K content to come out, and even then TV broadcasts won't catch up for awhile, if ever.
Trevor bought a Vizio TV, but it doesn't have a tuner for over the air reception. Leo says that most of the time people don't need tuners because they have cable or satellite. Trevor returned it and went with a Samsung. Leo says the Samsung is just as good. If he's going for over the air content, he could get a Channel Master DVR which works as both. Is it HDR? Leo says it may be. SUHD is HDR compatible, though it came out before the UltraHD premium spec was formalized.
Microsoft announced a new Xbox One console at the E3 Gaming Conference this past week. It's called Xbox One S, and the "S" stands for slim. If anything, this will be a good way to get one of the new UHD Blu-ray players. The current crop of Blu-ray players are 1080p, but now with 4K TVs becoming more common, the UHD Blu-ray players will be more sought after as well. There has been 4K content available for streaming, but it's highly compressed and isn't the best example of how 4K can look.
Scott joins us to talk about E3 and Microsoft's announcement of the new XBox One S, which will offer not only 4K gameplay, but will have a 4K Blu-ray player as well. For $299, it'll be the most affordable UHD Blu-ray player on the market. It also has the new HDCP 2.2 copy protection, so every bit of the chain will have to support that or you won't be able to watch movies on it.
Microsoft also announced Project Scorpio, which is next year's game player. You'll also need a 4K receiver and Scott says you can get one in the $500 range that also gives you HDR, Atmos, and 4K.
Gary wonders if the new LG G6 series can enjoy HDR through Samsung's new Blu-ray player. It has to have HDMI 2.0a. But with DOlby Vision it only needs HDMI 2.0. Scott says that is correct. But what about the Vizio Reference series? It doesn't have HDMI 2.0a. Leo says that's because it's last year's model. So it can only receive Dolby Vision HDR, not HDR 10, which is what the Samsung Blu-ray player does. So Scott says to get the LG G6 TV. It does both. Will Vizio upgrade it with firmware? Scott says not likely. It's a hardware difference.
Scott has discovered that DirecTV will be broadcasting the Masters Golf Tournament in 4K on April 7-10th. It will be their first UHD broadcast. Leo wonders how much that signal will be compressed. Scott contacted DirecTV and found that they will be using AGVC as the codec. But he also found out that DirecTV won't say what the bitrate is. Leo says it's like Netflix doing the same thing, and it ends up being awfully compressed and leaves people with an inaccurate and negative impression of what 4K really is. Scott also says that high dynamic range will be missing as well.
Scott is at CES for the latest in Home Theater and all the TV manufacturers are introducing new models of high dynamic range 4K TVs. There's finally a standard from the UHD Alliance called "Ultra HD Premium." But there's also a competing standard. Scott says that even though we have a budding format war, this time, they are largely interoperable. The 4K Blu-Ray players coming out are a lot cheaper as well, starting at $400. The first Blu-ray player was $1,000. So we're getting better at that and Leo says that by next year, they'll be under $100.
Scott says that the AVSForum has been redesigned so that it's easier to get the editorial content. Scott also says that there's a lot of HDR movies coming in theater including The Martian, PAN, and the Maze Runner Scorch Trials. Scott's really looking forward to The Martian. The book is fantastic, and according to reviews from the Toronto Film Festival, the film is really faithful to the book.