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"Waiting" on Blu-ray: My first 7.1 uncompressed PCM title!


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#1 of 32 RAF

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Posted August 01 2007 - 11:43 AM

Those of us who returned from HTF/EMA had a copy of "Waiting" in our Blu-ray goody bag. This title was released on Blu-ray on 07/17/07 and I received a pleasant surprise when I got home. I already had the "regular" SD of this guilty (scatological) pleasure of a movie and loved it the first time around. But the back of the box stated something that intrigued me:
Quote:
7.1 PCM uncompressed audio track

What? An actual 7.1 audio source?!? Up until now the only true 7.1 sources I've heard came from my PS3 in game mode (as verified by the incoming display on my Denon 3806 AVR - definitely 7.1 input.) Could this "B" title actually be my first legitimate 7.1 DVD source?

To my pleasant surprise it's just that. The PS3 display confirms that the disc offers a choice of DolbyEX 5.1 at 640Kbps and an uncompressed 7.1 channel PCM audio track that outputs at 6.1Mbps!! And it sounds great - even for a movie where one wouldn't think such a sound track is necessary.

I have questions:
  • Is this the start of more Blu-ray titles with 7.1 uncompressed PCM tracks? If you have HDMI capability (even 1.1) you are set to go.
  • Will HD-DVD titles also offer 7.1 PCM uncompressed audio tracks? There's no technological reason why they can't.
  • When will the information on the Internet catch up with this? Amazon gives you no clue and Lasersedge offers a small "PCM 7.1" tidbit if you look close enough.
To me, this is a big deal. If you have the disc and the audio capability check it out. And can anyone provide me with a list of upcoming PCM 7.1 titles in either HD format?
RAF
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#2 of 32 CRyan

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Posted August 01 2007 - 12:21 PM

To me this is also a Very big deal. Funny, this movie is on its way to me from BB online. Now I am excited to see it!

Not only that, but I dont purchase HD movies without a lossless track. This is as important to me as 1080p video.

#3 of 32 RAF

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Posted August 01 2007 - 04:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRyan
...Not only that, but I dont purchase HD movies without a lossless track. This is as important to me as 1080p video.

I'm glad you feel that way as those are my sentiments exactly. You can do a lot with the video portion of SD DVDs (and my DVDO VP50 does a heck of a job with 480i source material via HDMI scaling it up to 1080p) but there's one thing that electronic wizardry can't even come close to when comparing SD discs to HD discs (either format) - the HD Audio Codecs. To me the "HD" experience involves both video and audio and this is what really separates it from SD counterparts.

We can argue the merits of upscaling video all we want but there is very little argument when one compares audio bitrates in the kbps range with HD audio bitrates in the Mbps range. Yes, DTS at 640kbps is better than what we are used to on SD where it clocks in at about half that (remember all the fuss about how DTS LDs actually sounded better than DTS DVDs? The LDs were carrying a 640kbps DTS bitrate.) Now crank this up to the MEGAbps arena and you really have to have a tin ear not to notice a difference (unless you are limited to the internal speakers on some displays.) Without a doubt, comparing the sound available on most HD discs when compared to SD DVDs is like comparing the sound of SACD or DVD-A to redbook CDs. If you can't hear a difference (assuming a good source) then you are either not using audio equipment capable of producing the sound or you have hearing problems. To me, and obviously to many others, this is not an insignificant part of the whole HD (both formats) disc experience.

In a related matter, I realized that there are several other BR titles out there which offer more than 5.1 sound. The Descent contains uncompressed PCM 6.1 audio as does Weeds - Season 1. And Weeds - Season 2 contains uncompressed PCM 7.1 audio. It looks like the start of a trend. Some of this, of course, is related to what is available at the source.

Generally, I've found that HD-DVD titles have generally held a slight edge over BR where the movie was available in both formats. Paramount was releasing BR titles with 640kps sound while the HD-DVD equivalent title was 1.5Mbps. Same for Warner Bros. (No surprise here). However, with the uncompressed 6.1 and 7.1 PCM audio showing up on some BR titles the playing field is leveling.

Stay tuned....
RAF
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#4 of 32 Adam Barratt

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Posted August 01 2007 - 05:53 PM

RAF, I agree that it's great seeing more channels and, although I believe PCM is quite wasteful, it is a better alternative than lossy most of the time (man, there's some interesting discussions to be had there: 16-bit PCM or 24-bit DD+ for example!).

Quote:
Yes, DTS at 640kbps is better than what we are used to on SD where it clocks in at about half that (remember all the fuss about how DTS LDs actually sounded better than DTS DVDs? The LDs were carrying a 640kbps DTS bitrate.)

DTS on DVD was/is either 754 or 1509kbps; 640kbps was only an option for Dolby Digital, but on DVD it was restricted to 448kbps. On LaserDisc DTS was 1235kbps, well short of DTS at its highest on DVD. Posted Image Posted Image

To be honest, the audio on DVD never really impressed me. I remember feeling incredibly disappointed when I compared AC3 LaserDiscs to their DVD counterparts. One of the great things about HD DVD and Blu-ray is that they both sound, to my ears, significantly better than anything DVD has had to offer. Hopefully all of the studios will eventually stop using lossy formats and switch to TrueHD or PCM (don't get me started on DTS HD MA).

Adam

#5 of 32 Jari K

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Posted August 01 2007 - 09:22 PM

So this has 7 discrete channels? Since I believe with some earlier titles from Lionsgate (e.g. "Crank" and "Descent"), the 7.1 is enconded as a "7.1", but has actually 6.1 discrete channels (I hope I got this right?).

#6 of 32 Neil Joseph

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Posted August 01 2007 - 11:55 PM

As far as I know, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End will also have pcm 5.1...
Quote:
First up today, Disney has officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End on 12/4. The DVD will be a 2-disc set (SRP $34.99 - a single disc DVD will also be available for just $29.99) and the Blu-ray will also be a 2-disc set (1 50GB and 1 25GB disc - SRP $35.99). Disc One of the set will include the film itself (1080p AVC video, 7.1 48/24 uncompressed audio on the Blu-ray) along with a blooper reel (and the BD-Java Jolly Roger host on the Blu-ray). Disc Two will include 8 featurettes (Anatomy of a Scene: The Maelstrom, Keith & the Captain, Tale of the Multiple Jacks, Hoist the Colors, Inside the Brethren Court, The Pirate Code: Revealed, The World of Chow Yun Fat and The Pirate Maestro: The Music of Hans Zimmer), along with the 5-part Masters of Design documentary (the Blu-ray will also include the exclusive Enter the Maelstrom BD-Java interactive feature, and all the standard DVD content will be presented in high-definition).
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#7 of 32 MarekM

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Posted August 02 2007 - 01:13 AM

there are two times mentiond PCM in press release, once as 7.1 and once as 5.1 hmm

it would be super great to have full 7.1 24bit/48 track Posted Image

Marek

#8 of 32 CRyan

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Posted August 02 2007 - 01:29 AM

And to even add to my previous comment, I would prefer the lossless track to be PCM after hearing what "mess" Dolby True provided on the 300 Blu Ray.


But, I will continue to rent titles that are encoded in last gen codecs...

#9 of 32 RAF

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Posted August 02 2007 - 01:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Barratt


...DTS on DVD was/is either 754 or 1509kbps; 640kbps was only an option for Dolby Digital, but on DVD it was restricted to 448kbps. On LaserDisc DTS was 1235kbps, well short of DTS at its highest on DVD.

To be honest, the audio on DVD never really impressed me. I remember feeling incredibly disappointed when I compared AC3 LaserDiscs to their DVD counterparts....
Adam

Thanks for the clarification, Adam. One question. I agree that in the early days of DVD I favored the sound of my AC-3 LDs over their SD counterparts. However, your figures seem to suggest that SD DTS has a higher capability than LD DTS (1509 kbps vs 1235 kbps). Was our favoring of AC-3 LDs due to the fact that at the time (circa 1997) SD DTS was limited to 754 kbps?

And yes, listening to the lossless and uncompressed tracks on HD media (both formats) is truly ear-opening on any decent sound system. It's a shame that a lot of people are limiting their HD experience to HD displays with their built-in speakers. While this will change for the enthusiasts, it's unfortunate that audio takes a back seat to video in mainstream HD discussions. To me, the attraction is the whole package (which is why I bite my tongue when people exclaim, "I don't really see that big a difference between HD and SD DVDs.")

Posted Image

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#10 of 32 CRyan

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Posted August 02 2007 - 03:02 AM

Yes, I have seen posted here on many occasions... the audio is a second thought. This is just not the case for me. It is at least equal.

#11 of 32 Eric F

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Posted August 02 2007 - 04:42 AM

You have to remember the majority of Americans live in apts, or multifamily dwellings and just don't have enough space for decent sound setups.

I myself live on the 3rd floor and have a downstairs neighbor who used to pitch a fit when I listened to my stereo. I had to get smaller speakers mounted on stands and get rid of my sub altogether. I now have a lossless receiver, but I sit there with my finger on remote, adjusting the volume constantly.

#12 of 32 John Garcia

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Posted August 02 2007 - 05:19 AM

My neighbors probably hated me when I lived in my apartment because there was no way I was downsizing my system, but that would be one of the downsides of living in an environment like that. I did not have it loud past 10:00 during the week though.

I enjoyed Waiting quite a bit and this is just one more reason for me to pick it up on BD. I'm glad I didn't get the DVD now Posted Image
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#13 of 32 Eric F

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Posted August 02 2007 - 06:50 AM

A bit OT but...one halfway decent substitution for late-night listening are Pioneer SE-DIR 800C IR headphones and transmitter. Purchased mine 2yrs ago and it was a nice investment, works extremely well with any Dolby or DTS source.

I hope Pioneer decides to update the whole package and introduce a lossless version eventually.

#14 of 32 Shane Martin

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Posted August 02 2007 - 08:36 AM

RAF,
This harkens back to the days of Laserdisc when we had uncompressed audio. I'm glad Adam mentions that DVD never impressed him because it opens up a debate we constantly had(not him and me persay) about how DVD audio was such a step down from LD audio. I believe that compression was the primary evil of that.

This isn't the first 7.1 title(Lionsgate has put out a few others prior).
Quote:
Was our favoring of AC-3 LDs due to the fact that at the time (circa 1997) SD DTS was limited to 754 kbps?
DTS at the time was full bitrate. Only after a while did 754 come out. I think DTS had to compromise as DVD really couldn't handle full bitrate DTS if they wanted the best quality video & extras.
Quote:
To me, the attraction is the whole package (which is why I bite my tongue when people exclaim, "I don't really see that big a difference between HD and SD DVDs.")
Ditto except I can't bite my tongue.

#15 of 32 Eric F

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Posted August 02 2007 - 10:32 AM

FYI: AFAIK Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Japanese import), was the first Blu-Ray release with a 7.1 PCM lossless track.

Yes, there are a few others now, Lionsgate has some, Ultimate Avengers (Animated), Daddy's Little Girls, Weeds S2 (others?). I do know that their upcomming title, Doctor Strange will be their first DTS-MA release to offer a 7.1 track (for the little good it will do anyone).

#16 of 32 Adam Barratt

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Posted August 02 2007 - 04:38 PM

Quote:
Adam mentions that DVD never impressed him because it opens up a debate we constantly had(not him and me persay) about how DVD audio was such a step down from LD audio. I believe that compression was the primary evil of that.

Compression was probably one factor accounting for the differences heard when comparing PCM on LaserDisc with DD2.0 on DVD, but I also felt 5.1 was lacking, and the compression was often less on DVD (448kbps) than on an equivalent LaserDisc (384kbps), which seems counterintuitive.

Quote:
DTS at the time was full bitrate. Only after a while did 754 come out. I think DTS had to compromise as DVD really couldn't handle full bitrate DTS if they wanted the best quality video & extras.

Yup, 754kbps DTS didn't become available until November of '99, RAF, so all of the early Universal and DreamWorks discs were 1509kbps!

Adam

#17 of 32 Dave_P.

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Posted August 03 2007 - 01:53 AM

Yeah, those early full-bitrate titles were awesome, but they also pretty much dropped the extras fom the DD versions to make room for the full DTS track (not that I'm complaining). I have the DTS versions of Small Soldiers and The Peacemaker and they rocked. Warnwer did it with a few of their titles as well. I believe I have the newer Interview with The Vampire & Twister with full rate DTS?

#18 of 32 Eric F

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Posted August 03 2007 - 02:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_P.
Warnwer did it with a few of their titles as well. I believe I have the newer Interview with The Vampire & Twister with full rate DTS?
Yes, I have Twister, and I believe it has extras. Sounds awesome but unfortunately the PQ of the movie itself is somewhat lacking.Posted Image

#19 of 32 Dave_P.

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Posted August 03 2007 - 02:53 AM

Yeah you're right about the Twister PQ. That movie must be a compressionist's nightmare.

#20 of 32 Shane Martin

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Posted August 03 2007 - 03:37 AM

Those Full bit rate DTS tracks were "special mixes". You can't really make an apples to apples comparison there. That doesn't mean we didn't all favor them Posted Image

Quote:
Compression was probably one factor accounting for the differences heard when comparing PCM on LaserDisc with DD2.0 on DVD, but I also felt 5.1 was lacking, and the compression was often less on DVD (448kbps) than on an equivalent LaserDisc (384kbps), which seems counterintuitive.
The mix is more than likely the biggest contributor.

Compression(even lossless) might have reared it's ugly head again with the current debate over Dolby True HD vs PCM.


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