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4K Blu-ray Players for Digital Cinema Use

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  • 4K Blu-ray Players for Digital Cinema Use

    Since Oppo is out of the Blu-ray business, we are in search of a professional or at least "Pro-sumer" grade 4K Blu-ray player to take its place. At the moment, the pickins are pretty slim for the pro/semi-pro market with Denon's 2K (DN500BDMkII) being an example of mixed quality and not 4K.

    I've looked at Pioneer, Sony and Panasonic...none are professional though Sony does offer Rackmounts for some of their stuff. I also hate the short life-cycles of the consumer stuff as well as the rather limited controllability they often have (I'd prefer to avoid IR flashers and stick with Ethernet or RS-232.

  • #2
    Last time I hit the electronics store, they had exactly three models of Blu-Ray players on offer. I guess it's a sign of the times, even consumer Blu-Ray is going away. The only "semi-pro" 4K player I know off is probably the one you already mentioned. The Sony UBP-X1000ES, which offers rack-mount options RS-232 and Ethernet connectivity, although I don't know if you can control it through Ethernet via "serial commands".

    Regarding the Rack mount kit: It's not like it converts the machine to a real 19" device, it's essentially just a front plate and some mounts it can rest on. It's a tiny bit of metal for $100...


    • #3
      Yeah, that's the nature of pro-sumer stuff. Even the Oppo rackmount was the normal kludge...go through the cover screw holes...put a perf plate to hide the feet and build out the metal to nearest rack unit.


      • #4
        Since Oppo quit the disc player business, we've installed Panasonic DP-UB820s, with a generic shelf and clamp for 19" rack mounting.

        They can be made to work, but they're nowhere near as good as the Oppo UDP-203. In particular, we've had significant EDID issues when using them with Visionary Solutions E4100 HDMI over IP endpoints (mainly audio-related: even if we configure the endpoint to say that it'll accept LPCM audio only, the player will still send Dolby or DTS, unless the player is also forced to LPCM only), and unless all the audio outputs except HDMI are disabled, we've had reports of "clicking" audio artifacts being audible during 5.1 and 7.1 playback. And yes, we do update the firmware in these things to the current version when we install them.


        • #5
          The whole EDID and HDCP nightmare definitely continues. I had a recent installation using the Denon DN500BDMKII (not 4K player so a bit off topic) in a Q-SYS system with a Barco projector and Crestron DM-HD6x2...everything HDCP compliant from beginning to end. One output of the Crestron switcher fed the preview monitor...always rock stable (naturally)...but the image going to the projector looked like a turn-signal flashing about once per second. Eliminate any one thing in the path and that problem goes away...something about the "repeater" part of the system caused the whole HDCP Keys to breakdown. In particularly, sending the Blu-ray through the DCIO-H to the projector definitely had issues. I think that the projector is putting out a DVI EDID was confusing it. Also, the DCIO-H can do DTS-HD but only up to Dolby Digital Plus (low bit rate). Ultimately, I ended up using an Extron distribution amp to feed the DCIO-H and the projector separately clean signals and let their EDID/HDCP stand on their own merits (The Extron DA works as a sink and source so the buck can stop there). That said, I had an interesting one along the way that confused the EDID table in that since the DCIO-H did low bit-rate Dolby, something decided that LBR it is for EVERYTHING.

          The Denon, when forced to output only PCM took the lamp approach of "we have 2-kinds, 2-channel and 8-channel" so if the source was 5.1, it would still say 8-channel and merely have dead Left and Right Back Surrounds...which prevents an "Auto decode" mode to ensure the right format was selected. Once the Extron DA was in place, the Denon could be in "Bitstream" and the various devices decoded was was recorded at the highest bit-rate available. I just should be that complicated (or expensive). Fortunately, Extron just came out with their 4x2 switcher that is HDMI 2.0 (18Gbps) switcher at a "reasonable" price point. I think that will go a long way to getting the EDID and HDCP right. I should point out, I've done full-bore Crestron DM blade HDCP issues with that. The only bazaar thing was the EDID getting the color space wrong on an IMS3000 HDMI input (selectable so not a big issue). The full Crestron DM matrix switchers are very solid but often overkill for most cinema applications and normally require a Crestron controller to make them seamless in operation (though there are some basic commands the like of Q-SYS can use. Conversely, I have a reasonably well fleshed out Crestron 6x2 Q-SYS user component now (bidirectional with status as well as I wished the unit didn't participate in recent problem.


          • #6
            On the color space issue, one of the many gotchas with the Panasonic players we're now using is that they output YCbCr when in 1080p output mode, but RGB in 2160p (or it could be the other way round - can't remember). Some IMBs and projector input boards can detect the change and cope with it (e.g. the IMS3000), but others can't (e.g. GDC SX-3000), meaning that you have to create separate projector macros for 1080p and 2160p HDMI.

            And yes, we've had HDCP problems as well. The only way I can get those Panasonics to work with a Dolby cat745 is by putting an HD Fury box between its output and the IMB.

            The bottom line is that the Oppos simply worked - I almost never had to change any factory default settings on them, and integrating them into even quite complex cinema and multi-use venue systems was almost always quick and hassle-free. If another manufacturer could come up with a similar product, then I suspect that professional cinema and a/v installers would be prepared to pay significantly more for it than even the Oppos cost. Even if we're talking in the low four figures, that would save the hundreds of bucks in tech hours that you'll end up having to spend integrating consumer and "prosumer" players into professional installations.

            Frankly, I wish that disc players in movie theaters would simply go away. To anyone equipping or upgrading one now, I would advise that, instead of a disc player, they invest in a decent PC with DVDFab and DCP-o-Matic, and DCP-ize anything they receive on DVD or BD for screening. OK, there are potential legal concerns over doing that, but if the screening is legitimately licensed, I can't see there being any practical problems. And unless you're playing a large number of BD screenings and/'or hosting festivals of low-budget stuff that include material supplied on discs, the workload won't be a problem, either.
            Last edited by Leo Enticknap; 01-12-2020, 02:44 PM.


            • #7
              I always cringe when I read something I've posted previously (I clearly don't proofread before posting).

              There is a time factor to making a DCP of a disc that isn't always available. Sometimes, they just want these players for parties and special events (1-offs) and who wants to convert for a 1-off of something that should, quite frankly, just work!

              I'm looking quite seriously at the Sony UBP-X1100ES. It has dual HDMI outputs (unfortunately one is audio only...I miss the Oppo was a trooper with its dual preview, one program...had two HDMI inputs so it was a mini switcher and audio stripper too). The Sony is priced slightly under the old Oppo UDP-203 price and has a rackmount option. It has integration features like RS232. It only has stereo analog out though. That said, I'm losing devices that have multichannel analog inputs and for the "fancy" systems, I have Q-SYS that can deal with the HDMI part.

              90% of our Blu-ray installs are very basic...just the player to the projector. Those normally don't have much in the way of "Gotchas" Depending on the IMB...the audio processing may be just a channel-for-channel PCM...which on 2-channel stuff (including Mono) will not be ideal.

              Leo, if the Panasonic is such a troublesome unit (as you seem to be describing)...why aren't you all seeking something else?


              • #8
                I agree that it's sometimes just impossible to get a DCP made from a Blu-Ray in time and for that, you simply want to keep it as input option, at least for those venues that regularly host different evens than just pre-scheduled movies.

                We ourselves keep our venerable Oppo, although I would like to see an upgrade to 4K.

                I have had some limited experience with the UBP-X1000ES (ass well with the "rackmount kit"). We used the RS232 port for automation and it worked pretty OK, although I really prefer the Oppo:
                - Oppo's documentation is far better and easier to find on-line.
                - The OPPO uses mostly human-readable ASCII commands which support ASCII parameters, whereas the Sony protocol is a binary protocol, where you're essentially sending the IR remote commands, with the only added benefits of getting "ACK" commands back as acknowledgement.

                I don't really know the difference between the UBP-X1000ES and the UBP-X1100ES. I think the latter one primarily adds support for Dolby Vision, something currently not really beneficial for DCI installs.


                • #9
                  Steve, I ran into the same problem with the Denon, DCIO-H, and Barco. QSC told me that it is because Barco has never updated the HDCP on the DVI ports from 1.4 In my case I was using a 16x16 and had an extra output to seperate the projector which of course meant buying and running extra cables.


                  • #10
                    I have some locations that use a dedicated media player PC That either uses Cyber DVD or they rip the disk and play it with VLC


                    • #11
                      Sean, that is QSC's fault. The DCIO-H should be backwards compatible down to HDMI 1.3, for sure. There should be zero requirement for HDMI 2.0 for most systems, at this few projectors/server support it, but that is changing. The IMS3000 and the ICMP, starting from the 2nd iteration onwards. Furthermore, QSC has no excuse for not testing their cinema products on cinema projectors (there are what, 4-brands?) and Cinema servers (again, not a large pool out there). I suspect that they have existing dealers/customers that could test such things on most any combination.

                      The other issue is if you want a preview monitor, you need to think about 4K and HDMI 2 for that as well (and the sound). Anything on the EDID party line can muck you up. Monoprice has an interesting "splitter" that claims to allow HDMI 2.0 in and outputs one as HDMI 2.0 up to 4K UHD while the output output can be downscaled to 1080 in an HDMI 1.4 level. Monoprice stuff seems to work or not and one will never know if the combination of components they are using will work or not until they are tried.


                      • #12
                        These are all reasons I prefer the 8x8 and scaling output hdmi output cards where possible and budget allows


                        • #13
                          Oh, absolutely...the budget rarely allows for me to put in 8x8s (or 8x4 or even 4x4 would allow for keeping everything separated).


                          • #14
                            Cambridge Audio has a high end player too but have not read anything about it yet.



                            • #15
                              The Cambridge Audio machine is based on the same OEM silicon as the Oppo players and they are very similar to Oppo. Their RS232 instruction set for example, is the same.

                              The problem of those players for us is the availability. Another problem is the lack of rack-mounting options. Eventually, you can still simply put it on a 19" tray, but it's a bit of a cumbersome solution.