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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » A Snapshot of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray - 80k players, 88 titles, 1 million discs sold

   
Author Topic: A Snapshot of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray - 80k players, 88 titles, 1 million discs sold
Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1033
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 11-08-2016 02:09 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A couple of media sites are reporting on the recent data coming out about the state of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format:

CEPro - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Format Gains Steam, Gets Marketing Push
quote:
Supporters of the Ultra HD Blu-ray format say they’re not feeling blue at all. The format made substantial progress since its March 2016 retail launch, driven by thriving sales of Ultra HD 4K TV sales, a growing selection of players and discs, wider distribution, and the greater reliability of a physical 4K format over 4K streaming, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) contends.

In a status report on the format, the association forecasts further gains next year when it expects more hardware companies to enter the market, thanks to more widely available signal-processing chipsets that CE suppliers can use in lieu of creating their own chipsets.

:

Sales Hit $25M; 90 Titles Available

Hardware sales are exceeding expectations, the BDA said, with Futuresource forecasting 700,000 unit sales in the U.S. in 2016, excluding Xbox game consoles launched recently with 4K disc playback. U.S. sales will account for 44 percent of global demand in 2016, Futuresource said. The research company told CE Pro that it raised its 2016 forecast based on first-half sales.

Players starting at $249 are available through Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, Crutchfield, Kmart, Newegg, Sears, Target, Video and Audio Center, and others. Six players are available in the U.S., including three Microsoft Xbox One S SKUs and one player each from Samsung, Philips, and Panasonic, with Sony’s first model due in the spring.

With new players coming in, supply has caught up with demand, says Dan Schinasi, Samsung product planning director and chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association’s U.S. promotions committee.

Discs are available in the U.S. from six of the seven major studios: Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner. Almost 90 titles were available in the U.S. as of Oct. 2 on the way to more than 100 by year’s end, as promised by studios during January’s CES.

All told, U.S. consumers have spent about $25 million to buy discs so far this year through mid-October, the BDA notes.

The Digital Bits - Citizen Kane: 75th, Magnificent Seven, Tim’s Scream for a Week & a 4K Ultra HD format update

quote:
Also today, I mentioned that I spent some time up at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment last week talking with some of the people working on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, and I’ve learned a few interesting things. First of all, more than 80,000 stand-alone 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players have been sold here in the States in the 9 months since the format first launched. Nearly 90 titles are now available, with that number expected push well past 100 by Christmas. More critically, the 1 millionth 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc has just sold at retail here in the States, representing more than $25 million in consumer spending. And shipments of 4K Ultra HDTVs have increased by more than 80% this year, which means that by the end of the year the displays will be installed in some 16% of US households (a number that’s expected to increase to 35% by 2019). What does all this mean? Well, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format is actually well ahead of the adoption curve of regular Blu-ray in the first 9 months of its launch – probably not surprising as there’s no format war for consumers to contend with this time. I’ve also learned – separately, I might add, from other industry sources – that the final remaining holdout studio, Disney, is quietly preparing to begin releasing titles on the format in 2017. I’ll post more on that as I’m able.

One message that you can rest assured I passed on to the powers that be, is the need for all of the studio to release a better slate of A and B-list catalog titles on the format – titles that people really actually want to buy, and that would be attractive in 4K with HDR. While I’m sure that Sausage Party, Pineapple Express, and The 5th Wave have their fans, no one actually wants to own them on 4K.

In any case, it does seem that consumers are responding well to 4K and that the format has a bright future. At the very least, I’m told that there’s pleasant surprise at all of the major Hollywood supporting studios at how strongly consumers have embraced the format thus far.

80,000 players sold since February, especially when the only player available for about half that time was the $400 Samsung unit (a good first effort, but still a 1st-gen device). It's just now in the past month or two that discounting has begun, where you can get one for about $250.

While many people would love to see every movie ever made, but especially their favorite movies, on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, that's not a realistic view, especially if one remembers the introduction of DVD and Blu-ray. The news that Disney is planning releases in 2017 is good, and hopefully, that comes to fruition. Full studio support is a vote of confidence, no matter what anyone thinks of the movies that are released.

I think a lot of this success has to do with the fact that it's quite difficult to buy a non-4K TV. The recognition of "4K" is pretty high, so when someone sees a 4K Blu-ray player, there's not much education needed to get them to consider a purchase.

Relating this back to the theatrical industry, I hope that 4K's success in the home video market will translate into more movies being post-produced in 4K. That would add value to the theaters that invest in 4K projection, and it adds value to the home video release as it won't have the spectre of "oh, it's fake 4K" to turn some people off.

This format is in its infancy, but I think it's doing quite well. It's good to see a physical format seeing some success in the face of the "everyone who's anyone streams movies" myth.

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Jonathan Goeldner
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From: Washington, District of Columbia
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 - posted 11-12-2016 11:09 PM      Profile for Jonathan Goeldner   Email Jonathan Goeldner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
and with OPPO's new 4K player streeting in December - I'm so ready! Disney Home video, the last studio holdout is rumored to be releasing it's first batch of titles in Spring of next year.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

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From: Denver, Colorado
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 - posted 11-13-2016 06:43 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I haven't been tempted at all. I don't feel the need to upgrade my current TV to 4K. Sure, the next TV I get will undoubtedly have 4K. I won't have a choice. Hell it probably won't even have component inputs. It'll be a piece of crap.

Also, there's no way to author UHD discs. And that is crazy lame. The movie industry keeps getting worse and worse regarding these things. It's an enthusiast format at best. I believe UHDBD will remain a niche format. Bump up this thread from obscurity 5 years from now (if forum software allows) and comment on my predictions.

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Connor Wilson
Expert Film Handler

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From: Sterling, VA, USA
Registered: Jan 2011


 - posted 11-14-2016 08:13 PM      Profile for Connor Wilson   Email Connor Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not feeling the UHDBD vibes myself as well, well not yet. And that has to do with a few financially and emotionally economic factors:

1. My 1080p DLP set is turning 10 years old in 2017 and I have yet to see a reason to get rid of it. We've never changed the lamp, the light output is just fine at a traditional viewing angle. We've had it for so long that I've always found new ways to enhance the picture quality. In the past 13 months, I've discovered a hidden service menu that gave me the ability to disable overscan, adjust the gamma, and shut off a hidden "HD Sharp" filter I didn't even know the TV was using on top of the overscan! Just this year, I've discovered a little "trick" to enhance the TV's contrast by switching all the sources I can to 16-235 "Limited" RGB, and calibrate the set accordingly. (YPbPr/YCbCr 4:2:0 content is roughly the same DR, but needed to be calibrated differently on my set.) Also, looking back my TV had a hard time with 0-255 RGB, as a test pattern on the Disney WOW BD showed grey-er whites past 235. YCbCr/YPbPr sources such as component, Wii mode on the Wii U, and BD playback on the PS4, need an adjustment to the brightness. TL;DR is that I am well off to wait another set of years for 4K and HDR.

2. I have not been buying Blu-rays as of recent. A big reason is that we moved to New York in May, so we had to give up a few things. One of which was my 7.2 thrift store home theater. I saved the pair of Design Acoustics PS-10s (which were the side surrounds), a KLH powered sub (was the back surround bass extension), and the Onkyo AVR. They now consist of my stereo hi-fi setup in my bedroom. I don't think I'll be able to hear the awesome multichannel lossless soundtracks to movies like Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario anytime soon, let alone any Dolby Atmos/DTS:X tracks on some Blus and on what UHDBD will promise. I haven't bought a Blu-ray since Sicario came out on the format, and that was because it was not only a good movie in my opinion, it looked and sounded gorgeous in the theaters. Dropping some extra $$ for a player, TV, and some discs just wouldn't be things to invest in.

3. As my HDTV setup downsized, the line between streaming media and a good Blu-ray started to blur. Without a doubt, if I had the Blu-ray, I would put it on over the same movie on Netflix/Amazon, and it will look better sometimes in the slightest or strongest margin (depending on compression). But the downgrade in audio quality from BD is less noticeable through TV speakers. In a household that subscribes to Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and PlayStation Vue, I think I'm good for content. I was happy to find out this weekend that The Neon Demon, a sort of cerebral movie, was free with Amazon Prime. This encourages re-watches of these sort of films without paying to rent it again, or buy the Blu-ray. I think streaming will be an unstoppable force when hardware, software, and authors perfect H.265 streaming.

So UHDBD is today's LaserDisc. Can't wait to collect for it in 20 years.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 11-15-2016 12:07 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ultra HD Blu-ray can barely even qualify as "today's LaserDisc" in the 80's LaserDisc vs. VHS analogy. UHD BD would have to be offering demonstrably better looking/sounding content than Blu-ray for that analogy to work. With very few UHD BD titles sporting native 4K imagery it's just a bullshit format with lots of unrealized potential. UHD BD will remain a bullshit format until Hollywood studios start feeding it a proper supply of native 4K material.

Shit, The Revenant is the best looking 4K title on Ultra HD Blu-ray, but despite the movie being good it's so damned depressing that it would not encourage a lot of repeat views.

quote: Joe Redifer
I don't feel the need to upgrade my current TV to 4K. Sure, the next TV I get will undoubtedly have 4K. I won't have a choice. Hell it probably won't even have component inputs. It'll be a piece of crap.
Joe, your prediction will probably turn out to be 100% accurate. The older 42" HDTV in my 2nd bedroom has two component video inputs, along with a couple other legacy video inputs. The 65" 1080p TV I bought a couple years ago has only one component input, a bunch of HDMI and USB inputs, but zilch for S-Video and composite video connections. At this rate with future HDTV sets we'll have to blow a few hundred bucks on break out boxes from Blackmagic just to connect to first generation HDMI devices.

quote: Joe Redifer
Also, there's no way to author UHD discs. And that is crazy lame. The movie industry keeps getting worse and worse regarding these things. It's an enthusiast format at best. I believe UHDBD will remain a niche format. Bump up this thread from obscurity 5 years from now (if forum software allows) and comment on my predictions.
This is why Blu-ray Disc™ never fully surpassed DVD. Support for Blu-ray burners was shit at best. The blank media was overpriced and hard to find in retail stores. It also didn't help matters that companies who made good DVD authoring software either turned up their noses at Blu-ray (Apple) or put forth a cursory effort (Adobe) only to pull the plug later.

The 5-year old notebook computer I'm using to type this post is practically a Unicorn in terms of rarity since it has a built-in Blu-ray burner as original factory equipment. How many new notebook computers sold today even have an optical disc drive, much less something that can write to blank DVDs or Blu-ray discs? I imagine if I asked anyone from a computer manufacturing company about a Ultra HD Blu-ray burner that guy would look at me as if I was crawling with bed bugs.

I'm amazed the computer hardware companies can still charge as much as they're charging for "high end" notebook computers considering all the features they've eliminated just to make the fucking things thin and light. You know what's really light weight? Paper! It's thin!!! Thin as paper! You can write on it with a pen or pencil! Screw touch screens! Crumple paper up into a ball! Drive over it with your SUV! Unfold it and your message is still there! Amazing!!! Oh, and there's more! There's even thinner, lighter paper you can use to wipe your ass. Now that's real luxury.

What we have now is people trying to back up a bunch of their important shit into "the cloud" when they should probably be keeping some of that shit printed in analog form and locked in a safe rather than potentially accessible to any cracker on the Internet. I haven't enjoyed how much space hundreds of optical discs can consume on an entertainment shelf and in a growing number of storage boxes. But we're trading that for a growing pile of external hard disc drives. Old hard drive acting funky? Buy a new one, even bigger for more digital shit!

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Connor Wilson
Expert Film Handler

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From: Sterling, VA, USA
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 - posted 11-15-2016 12:41 PM      Profile for Connor Wilson   Email Connor Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
With very few UHD BD titles sporting native 4K imagery it's just a bullshit format with lots of unrealized potential. UHD BD will remain a bullshit format until Hollywood studios start feeding it a proper supply of native 4K material.
Bobby, I don't wish to argue with you over a format we don't own, but you're missing a key factor about UHDBD's advantages: Color Space.

Standard Blu-rays use the Rec. 709 color space, which is fine and dandy for your TV shows and maybe it's good enough for your movies, but it does not fill the entire P3 color space that's used in theaters. UHDBD exceeds that with the Rec. 2020 color space that was standardized for UHDTVs and newer premium theater offerings like Dolby Cinema and IMAX with Laser. So even if you have a basic 2K or 1080p upscale on your UHDBD, it can accurately reproduce the P3 gamut from the theaters, and beyond. So unless you have an HDR-enabled TV, you wouldn't see the difference between Star Wars Episode III on SBD and UHDBD. For some people, color is the major jump from SBD to UHDBD.

Another reason I'm not investing in UHD in general is because there is a format war between Dolby Vision (12-bit color on Vudu and Netflix) and HDR10 (10-bit color on UHDBD). One UHDTV would support one over the other, though it's likely that all UHDTVs in the near future would support both.

Here's an article I found about the two.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 11-15-2016 01:29 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have "test driven" Ultra HD Blu-ray at my parents home in Colorado. They have a new 65" UDHTV set. While I can appreciate the technical merits of expanding color bit depths in video formats, the benefits of that, as seen on these UHD discs are very subtle at best. Given the fashion of how color is handled in modern movie post production (colors are often very muted and tinted with things like a urine colored wash) the whole HDR thing struggles to show how it's even necessary.

Native 4K imagery is a difference that is easier to see than "HDR." It's the main selling point on these TV sets. They're not selling "ultra color," they're selling Ultra HD and failing to deliver Ultra HD.

Since you mentioned Rec 2020, it's important to note that no TV sets currently in existence or being sold cover the Rec 2020 color gamut range. RGB Laser projectors are the only things that can potentially do so, provided the projectors are set up perfectly. If the focus is a little off with the projected imagery that deeper color depth and even 4K won't matter very much.

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
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 - posted 11-15-2016 01:41 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
I'm amazed the computer hardware companies can still charge as much as they're charging for "high end" notebook computers considering all the features they've eliminated just to make the fucking things thin and light. You know what's really light weight? Paper! It's thin!!! Thin as paper! You can write on it with a pen or pencil! Screw touch screens! Crumple paper up into a ball! Drive over it with your SUV! Unfold it and your message is still there! Amazing!!! Oh, and there's more! There's even thinner, lighter paper you can use to wipe your ass. Now that's real luxury.
Printing this out and posting it in the IT server room. [thumbsup]

quote: Connor Wilson
Standard Blu-rays use the Rec. 709 color space, which is fine and dandy for your TV shows and maybe it's good enough for your movies, but it does not fill the entire P3 color space that's used in theaters.
Yah, so how come my OLED TV looks BETTER than anything I've seen lately in any theatre in my area? Thing is, what you can describe in spec terms is rarely what can be seen in reality on cinema screens. You can have a system that has the P3 color space spec, but if whatever other factors in that theatre system and environment causes the patron to actually see a picture that is underlit or washed out, the specs meas nothing. As for 4K, as Bobby points out, sure my next TV display will probably of necessity be 4K because by the time I give up my present one (and that will be ONLY if and when it fails), they probably won't be selling anything but 4K.

Point being, there comes a point that people eventually arrive at where most people look at what Bluray gives in terms of real image quality and it probably has hit the point-of-no-return; how much better do you want an image to look? I played a beautifully authored Bluray film, ENCHANTED KINGDOM from the BBC Earth series (HIGHLY recommended) and everyone to a person said it was one of the most beautiful films they had ever seen -- photograph is simply spectacular. Thing is, the two projectionists and one professional photographer all said they have never seen a film look that good in a theatre in any format. That has to say something about the level of visual quality available with the current state of video display and software. Why exactly do we need more?

For me, my eyes probably at this age wouldn't even be able to appreciate the whatever very subtle differences in the next step up might be, especially if the next step up is just that much more hype, e.g., selling 4K discs just uprezed from 2K originals. It's bad enough they've been pulling out enough of that kind of crap, such as needlessly compressed Bluray discs for no apparent reason seemingly without regard that the consumer is getting less than the format's potential.

So if my home viewing looks BETTER than what I see in the theatres where just a few badly placed exit lights can woefully degrade any so-called superior specs of the image on the screen, then sorry, they can keep their "new and improved" next hyped reason to get me to buy more silliness.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
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 - posted 11-22-2016 11:43 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
At this rate with future HDTV sets we'll have to blow a few hundred bucks on break out boxes from Blackmagic just to connect to first generation HDMI devices.
F Blackmagic. It'd be better to get a component to HDMI adapter that does not do any upscaling whatsoever.

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