Getting into 4K video

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#1
When it comes to electronics - audio, video or otherwise - I like to immerse myself and understand all angles first, before I do anything.

I'll keep it brief, but I have been waiting for some time now until High Dynamic Range processing was advanced enough to call it fairly mature (HDR for video is different than HDR for photography). There are currently four such technologies: HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and more recently HDR10+. Here are some links that explain it all:

https://www.cnet.com/news/hdr10-vs-dolby-vision-vs-hlg-how-do-hdr-formats-compare/
https://www.cnet.com/news/what-is-hdr10/

The good news is that recent TVs promise to support future developments in the HDR space with firmware upgrades, so I am not fearing "wars". Dolby Vision requires royalties, so few bundle it. Next, when it comes to recording my own 4K content, one must pay attention to not only frames-per-second (currently, 30fps max is available in the US), but also bitrates. So for high quality 4K video, 100Mbps is desirable, and the caveat here is that a camcorder must use a fast-enough SDXC memory card with at least a V30/U3 Class 10 rating, to get those bitrates.

So I am going down the following path:

TV: Sony XBR65A8F 65 inches OLED (known as AF8 elsewhere; it and the A9F replace last year's fantastic A1E), supports HDR10 and HLG (DV perhaps in the future via firmware upgrade); a smart TV running Android and bundling various apps was mandatory in order to stream content (e.g. Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc). We call them 'smart TVs', but they are really Android-based (or other) computers with a very large custom display. I intend to ISF-calibrate this TV.

Camcorder: Sony FDR-AX700/B, XAVC S encoding, 100Mbps bitrates, 30fps max @4K resolution, HLG dynamic range; streams 4K to the TV over HDMI, and 4K w/ HLG over USB. Won't get into the various encoding algorithms that various manufacturers employ, but for anyone interested, it's great reading material. XAVC S is clearly the low-end encoding, offering only 8-bit depth and low color sampling (4:2:0); XAVC-I and XACV-L would be best, but the resulting files would be too large; really high-end, expensive pro recorders would be the way to capture the absolute best video quality (e.g. https://www.provideocoalition.com/canons-new-broadcast-camcorder-the-xf-hevc-capable-xf705/ which offers 4K UHD 60P 4:2:2 10-bit recording).

https://www.digitalphotopro.com/gea...igh-frame-rate-set-sonys-4k-camcorders-apart/ - notice, all of these three camcorders in the line use the exact same lens and 1" Exmor RS CMOS sensor; the pro versions have more pro-oriented features which I don't need, same picture quality.
https://www.boxcast.com/blog/hevc-h.265-vs.-h.264-avc-whats-the-difference
https://www.divergentmedia.com/blog/understand-xavc/
http://www.pavtube.com/news/h265-xavc-h264-high-output.html

Memory Card: SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO SDXC 256GB or higher because of the very high bitrates, despite the XAVC S compression.

4K Editing Software: Leaning towards CyberLink PowerDirector, since I've used older versions in the past for HD. Final Cut Pro X would be best. XAVC S support is critical here.

4K Blu-Ray player: Leaning towards the Sony UBP-X800 or its bigger sibling Sony UBP-X1000ES although I don't need high-end audio that it offers.

It will be interesting to see how this all compares with my calibrated and still stunning Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-110FD plasma...
 
Last edited:
Feb 8, 2011
19,289
84
48
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#2
You'll be rewarded to another higher league. Plasma, even from Kuro is old picture school.

Your choice of 4K TV and 4K player are good choices. Just be aware that the X800 is Dolby Vision-less (it doesn't support it).

4K is like ultra High End music. ...Analog and/or digital...it's all part of the highest best next.
Next week they are starting to broadcast in 8K in Japan.
 
May 25, 2010
797
29
28
SF Bay Area
#4
I'm confused. I have an older Panasonic PTAE7000U front projector, Oppo 105 and Xfinity cable TV. We have a fair collection of bluray discs and regular DVDs. No subscriptions other than Amazon Prime. I read about upscaling to 4K with my Oppo 105. What would I need to do to have 4K in my home? I am guessing I need new everything, including replacing my bluray collection. Also if I buy an Ultra 4K Bluray movie, can I play it in my Oppo 105 (i.e. is it downward compatible with regular bluray? Thanks.

Larry
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,265
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Boston, MA
#5
Larry, yes, you'd need new everything, though I do not intend to re-buy my entire movie collection. For now, I am staying put on a 4K blu-ray player, although the cost of the Sony is only $250. With streaming, I don't really see the point of having a disc player. With the movies I will be making, I'll be streaming them from computer or a NAS.

And I doubt you can play UHD blu-rays on the Oppo 105.
 
Feb 8, 2011
19,289
84
48
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#6
Larry, you need a 4K HDR TV...very cheap now some of them...$900 for 65"
A 4K BR player is also very cheap...$100-150

Upscale all your regular Blu-ray and DVD movies to 4K.

No, the Oppo 105 will not play 4K Blu-ray discs, but it will upscale your 1080p BR and 480p DVD movies to 4K. You can play 4K discs from only a 4K BR player, and they can be displayed on your old 1080p 2K TV...HDR>SDR conversion. The Panasonic 4K BR players are best @ this type of conversion...4K to 2K. But best is to have a HDR 4K TV.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#7
Feb 8, 2011
19,289
84
48
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#8
...And not only streaming ultra high definition 4K HDR movies but also ultra high resolution music audiofiles.

How much did I pay for the Sony X800 universal 4K BR player, $150?
I feel like I spent $150,000 and they throw in a return ticket to Mars inside the box, for free.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs ... check it out on Netflix.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Rocoa
May 25, 2010
797
29
28
SF Bay Area
#9
Thanks for the clarification. I talked to a Direct TV guy at Costco today and he said that Direct TV has 4K content, but not very many channels are doing 4k yet. I have a decent size bluray collection, about half are operas and other classical music concerts. I tried to search Amazon, but I only saw one 4K opera. I already went through going from VHS and Beta to Laserdisc to DVD to bluray, rebuying classic movies several times.

Larry
 
May 25, 2010
797
29
28
SF Bay Area
#10
We have a front projection TV which projects onto a 100" screen, so I have started looking at 4K projectors. Some are down below $2K. Anyone do that kind of TV? BTW, my current projector does 3D. I even have some special glasses to wear. Is that dead?

Thanks again.
 
Feb 8, 2011
19,289
84
48
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#11
Do you watch 3D occasionally? It is almost dead here in North America. We have very very few releases, and they are getting worse because the love is not there from the people doing their conversion. The 3D addicts import most of their 3D movies today.

JVC 4K front projectors are the ones used by most serious videophiles. And they still do 3D, many of them.

People who view 4K content from their 4K front projectors watch TV content (including 4K streaming) on their 4K TVs. They do the bulk there, and the front projector is mainly for a movie, on 4K and/or in 3D. 3D TVs are extremely rare to find today; it has to be an older model...primarily from 2016.

If Dolby Atmos (7.1.4) is not in your sky, just upscale your regular Blu-rays to 4K when you get a 4K display. You are right that there aren't many music concerts on 4K Blu-ray discs.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#12
We have a front projection TV which projects onto a 100" screen, so I have started looking at 4K projectors. Some are down below $2K. Anyone do that kind of TV? BTW, my current projector does 3D. I even have some special glasses to wear. Is that dead?

Thanks again.
Yes 3D is dead. And there are 85 inch LED TVs with good picture that I saw. I believe OLED tops off at 77 inches, unless you want to go even higher at 8K
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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#14
I calibrated the A8F with the eye so far, to perform an initial evaluation against my Kuro. It can easily match and surpass the Pioneer Kuro in every single aspect with HD and certainly UHD, which goes to show that OLED has matured. The blacks are blacker than the Kuro, which always had a slight deep purple hue; I would even call them true black.

The below image is just 1080p HD blu-ray; 4K content on youtibe is exquisite (but the iphone camera cannot do it justice); 4K from the camcorder through the USB port using Hybrid Log Gamma is exactly what I expected it to be: far superior than any other mode, close to broadcast quality (but not exactly), and it'll do for what I am going to be shooting.

Finally, love that Acoustic Surface, whereby the sound emanates from the panel itself (it's vibrating to the touch); this has enabled me to clean up the area of amplifiers, speakers and cables.


a8f-1080p-1.jpg
 

KeithR

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May 7, 2010
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Marina del Rey, CA
#15
I replaced my (dead) 60" Kuro two years ago with a 65" LG - haven't looked back. Only negative i've discovered is occasional black crush for which you need to find the right gamma setting you prefer.

I think 4k is overrated - but HDR is the real deal. Even streamed through Netflix or Prime on a Roku. For instance, check out Man in the High Castle or Mrs. Maisel in HDR. You feel in the studio.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#16
+1 on HDR again; it really makes 4K worth it. I taped my room the other day in all different gamma options, and the dark parts of it became clearly distint and textured with HLG, as expected. With every other setting, they were way too dark and indistinct.

It also looks like we have gotten to the point where upscaling of 1080p really works extremely well, courtesy of faster chips and perhaps better algorithms... so well, in fact, that I am starting to believe upscaling benefits in high end audio as well, when done "right". I was watching the Lakers last night, and the picture was jaw dropping. Audio upscaling may also be playing a part in my Alpha DAC sounding so incredibly good, now that I have addressed issues with it elsewhere in the circuit, but I don't know for sure.
 
Feb 8, 2011
19,289
84
48
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#17
The LG and Sony (Panasonic too) OLED 4K TVs (& the top 4K LEDs from Sony & top 4K QLEDs from Samsung), with HDR (& Dolby Vision) are the top 4K TVs today. They are not perfect but they sure are a big advancement to yesterday's 1080p Plasma TVs. ...Except for missing 3D capability but it's ok because they need to be very bright in today's highly competitive world. With 3D feature they have to give up some of that brightness.

Anyway, if you Ack, Larry and Keith are wondering what 4K material on Blu-ray would make your UHD 4K HDR shine I sure have few suggestions from various type of films and documentaries of your preference. ...From wildlife to space to the sky to mountains and to films of romance, science fiction, animation, drama, famtasy/adventure, comedy, action, etc. ...Even black and white films.

I don't know if any of you is a fan or not of Tom Cruise's films, but his latest one just released on 4K Blu-ray...Mission: Impossible - Fallout, is an action film with pretty slick picture shots (cinematography). ...Some good demo material visually.

I'm going to make a further confession; I am a fan of Batman (Nolan) and The Matrix.
If you happen to be too, you are going to enjoy both trilogies in 4K Blu-ray.
And you can add the music scores on top of that...Dolby Atmos; they shine all the way up to the highest sky in both visuals and sounds department. But even in 7.1 or 5.1 it's a hell of a ride.

Planet Earth ll is also rewarding visually in 4K.

If you like war movies, Dunkirk in 4K.
Latest sci-fi, Blade Runner 2049 in 4K, and Interstellar in 4K BR.

Animation flicks from PIXAR both in 1080p and 4K they look splendid.
Two of my favorite animations; Coco and The Book of Life.

Ack, you are right about upscaling; many people dont even bother with 4K BR discs, they upscale their 1080p Blu-ray movie collection to 4K and are very very satisfied. ...Or they stream 4K from their favorite movie apps.

Black & White? Logan and Mad Max: Fury Road. ...If those fill your cup of tea, of course.

Films and music are great for people young @ heart. And they come in all flavors for all taste and ages. ...In 4K.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#18
Thanks Bob. Still thinking about a UHD BD player, but perhaps I shouldn't, given the low $250 price of the Sony
 

astrotoy

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May 25, 2010
797
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SF Bay Area
#19
I looked up HDR and it looks like there is a highly recommended 4K TV (TCL 55S517 ROKU TV) which sells for $450, that I could replace my old 43" Westinghouse 720p TV in the bedroom. Prices seem to be on a downward spiral on 4K TV's. Not an OLED, and no 3D (I actually have only one 3D movie - Avatar) and I tried to watch a couple of channels two or three years ago that broadcast 3D. 3D was pretty disappointing and I haven't tried since. Probably will wait on the front projection replacement.

We really liked the first Planet Earth movie on bluray, and everyone says the Planet Earth II movie in 4K is spectacular. (We sat two seats from David Attenborough last May in a concert of Bach Cantatas in London. He was quite spry at 94 or so and talking to admirers who came up to him at intermission.)

We currently have Xfinity Cable and Amazon Prime. We don't watch much TV (I think about 10-20 hours so far in 2018), but some blurays and regular DVDs. How does the upscaling on 4K TV work with blurays? Your judgement of degree of improvement of watching a regular bluray on a 1080p TV, regular bluray on at 4K TV with HDR, and a 4K bluray on a 4K TV with HDR. Does the upscaled regular bluray/4K get you half way to a full 4K bluray/4K experience?

Thanks, Larry
 
Feb 8, 2011
19,289
84
48
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#20
Thanks Bob. Still thinking about a UHD BD player, but perhaps I shouldn't, given the low $250 price of the Sony
Ack, don't be taken off by the low price of the Sony X800 universal 4K Blu-ray player.
Its picture quality rivals my Oppo 205 player.

But if you must have the very best picture quality, then go with the Panasonic 9000 4K player; it lists for four times the price of the Sony X800 universal player. There is a thread dedicated specifically to that player.

The Sony X800 is just that good, very. Around Christmas it should be on sale for roughly $150.
The only thing missing is Dolby Vision.

Oppo is no more, but Panasonic is (820 & 9000), and Pioneer LX500. ...And Sony X800.
Cambridge has one too, based on the Oppo 203.

Sorry, but it's impossible today to buy a 4K Blu-ray player that costs more than a thousand bucks.
There is simply no high end market for such video players. In Audio it's just the total
Oppo-site. C'est la vie; music lives, films they give us super high emotions in 4K for peanuts.
I wish I was a video product designer for the ultra high end market; I see great investment potential there. ...For the very ultra rich people...millionaires and billionaires.
 

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