Should I buy 4k disks?

I'm wondering what should be my strategy with forthcoming purchases. How much more should I be willing to pay for stuff that I essentially can't use for several years (assuming that I don't upgrade our bedroom TV). 4 Stars

I have a UHD HDR 3D player (Oppo 203) but my TV is a Viera ST60 [ last 3D plasma from about 2013 ]. Since I’m retired I will probably not upgrade my main TV for a while (maybe 5 years). I’ve gotten several 4K disks in the past — 4K/3D combos of Ghostbusters. Passengers, Guardians 2, and a couple of 4K only when the price difference was minimal — typically black friday specials when the 4K was 12.99 and the regular was 10.99. But now I’m wondering what should be my strategy with forthcoming purchases. How much more should I be willing to pay for stuff that I essentially can’t use for several years (assuming that I don’t upgrade our bedroom TV). At the moment I’m still buying 3D over 4K if no combo is available and buying the combo if it is and I want the movie.

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Kevin Collins

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61 Comments

  1. I'm on the fence with this too.

    3D is my priority over UHD, so in instances where it's a choice between 3D or UHD, 3D is the clear winner for me. But for titles where the movie is 2D-only to begin with, that's a tougher call. I think it'll depend on what the price difference is. It seems that most studios are putting all of the bonus features on the BD version, and including that with the UHD, so it would seem that I wouldn't be at a disadvantage having the UHD and not being able to play it yet. It's not like the early BD/DVD combos where the bonus features tended to be only on the BD and not the included DVD, but were on the stand-alone DVD.

    The thing I'm also keeping in mind is, how many Blu-rays have been redone since their original release, and how much cheaper is BD now than ten years ago? I don't necessarily want to pay $10-15 extra for a UHD today, only to find out that in a couple years they remaster the UHD, and then it's still cheaper to buy that remaster in the future than the amount extra I paid for the UHD today. At the moment, I'm leaning towards whatever is cheaper now, but I'm not sure that I'm always making the right call.

  2. sidburyjr

    a couple of 4K only when the price difference was minimal — typically black friday specials when the 4K was 12.99 and the regular was 10.99.

    That's what I'm doing. I have little interest in 4K, but have picked up a couple of 4K 2D only titles when the price was equivalent to the blu-ray version. I just upgraded to 3D and have no intention of moving to 4K until forced to do so by equipment failure or if they actually start making 4K the only physical media option.

    I do have a 4K compatible player and AVR, but my current displays are HD/3D only.

  3. My advice is not to waste your money on discs you aren't going to look at for the next few years. Remember early blu-ray? Early DVD? All of the titles were rather quickly supplanted by remasters and upgrades in a few short years. Quality went up and prices came down.

    If you buy them now you're likely going to want to upgrade them before you even remove the shrinkwrap.

  4. sidburyjr

    I have a UHD HDR 3D player (Oppo 203) but my TV is a Viera ST60 [ last 3D plasma from about 2013 ]. Since I'm retired I will probably not upgrade my main TV for a while (maybe 5 years). I've gotten several 4K disks in the past — 4K/3D combos of Ghostbusters. Passengers, Guardians 2, and a couple of 4K only when the price difference was minimal — typically black friday specials when the 4K was 12.99 and the regular was 10.99. But now I'm wondering what should be my strategy with forthcoming purchases. How much more should I be willing to pay for stuff that I essentially can't use for several years (assuming that I don't upgrade our bedroom TV). At the moment I'm still buying 3D over 4K if no combo is available and buying the combo if it is and I want the movie.

    I wouldn't buy any 4K discs if you're not going to upgrade anytime soon. Good luck to your ST60 lasting another five years.

  5. Robert Crawford

    Good luck to your ST60 lasting another five years.

    That's pretty much the gist of the question, ain't it?

    Dick: I've got an Oppo 203 and 4k-capable Denon receiver. But an ST55. We're in pretty much the same boat.

    I certainly don't want my ST55 (purchased in '12) to crap out on me. I love it. But we all know these things don't last forever.

    I'm not buying every new release I want in the 4k format (if available), but I'm cherry-picking those that promise to be sensational whenever I DO get a 4k display. I also went out of my way to pick up the new 4k Groundhog Day (exclusive at Best Buy) since it's one of my all-time favorite films.

    I figure that way I'll have some content to watch when I want to dial in my new display and put it through its paces! 😀

  6. I've kind of jumped into the 4k world, as my Panny ST30 series crapped out earlier this month and I replaced it with a Vizio M series. I'm getting ready to move from an older Panny HTIB sound system to a newer Nakamichi soundbar which has 4k/HDR passthrough, so I figure at some point in the next year I'll upgrade to a 4k player as well (for now, I'm going to just use the BD player functionality of the old HTIB for playing discs as its still a great BD player). All this while just a few months ago I had ZERO plans to upgrade anything. But the plasma dying changed all that.

    As for discs, I'm resolute that I won't replace my existing 800+ BD's with 4k upgrades. I might upgrade here and there (LOA, Ben-Hur, Guns of Navarone, the Bond series) but my plan is to be content with upscaled BD's for the majority of my collection. And I'm pretty sure a lot of the deep catalog titles in my collection won't get 4k discs anyhow.

  7. My primary display device is a projector. Not only is it still working fine, but a comparable 4K/HDR replacement goes for $5000 (Sony). When the Sony (or a legitimate contender) 4K/HDR projector comes down to $2000 I may consider it. Until then I see no reason to invest any additional money for a 4K/HDR blu-ray that will probably have been replaced with a superior release by the time I can support it.

  8. I don't buy them yet, even though I am salivating over 4K and will take the plunge as soon as prices become reasonable. It's the classic cart before the horse scenario in that the titles can be had for prices we can mostly handle but the gear required to render said content is out of range for most. I've lived through enough of these iterations to know that you have to let the dust settle before a clear path will emerge. I commend early adopters but I am usually not one of them as I need value for my dollars.

  9. (From a contrarian perspective).

    I'm in a semi-long term "wait and see mode" in regard to 4Kbluray discs.

    What immediately turned me off on 4Kbluray, is when I first heard that Sonopress manufactured 4Kbluray discs for Universal and Warner. (Dunno about other movie companies).

    Sonopress is one of the worst bluray disc manufacturers. Many years ago some Criterion and WellGo bluray discs manufactured by Sonopress apparently went bad due to premature "bronzing". Since then, I don't trust anything made by them.

    Compounding my distrust in a tangential mannaer, is Sony recently closing down their cd/dvd/bluray manufacturing lines at their large Terre Haute, Indiana disc manufacturing plant. No definitive word yet on whether 4Kbluray disc manufacturing will also be discontinued, whether soon or in the intermediate future.

  10. I bought a 4K UHD LG/3D while 3D sets were still available. I’ve got the Oppo 203 so I can watch 4K, 3D, and blu ray. I’ve got some 4K discs and I wonder “where’s the 4K?” I just watched a DVD (Tombstone) and was surprised how good it looked. If you can’t watch 4K, why pay the preimium price? By the time you get a 4K set, the discs may be a lot cheaper.

    Let’s see, I’ve gone from VHS/Beta to DVD to Blu Ray to 3D to 4K. I skipped laser. I tired of upgrading.

  11. I suppose if you have no plans to EVER upgrade to a 4K TV 4K blu-rays may not make sense.

    For me I eventually plan to get a 4K TV within the next 5 years.

    In the meantime, my Sony UHD player will "downscale" to 1080p on the fly. It may be a maladjustment on my part on the TV I have but when I play 4K discs the blacks look blacker the colors look truer using the 4k disc.

    The only movie I've had a chance to compare is Dunkirk (out of the Christopher Nolan 4K UHD set) and the blu-ray appears lighter with less shadow detail for the first sequence (when one of the lead characters makes it to the beach) than the 4k UHD disc downscaled.

    My suggestion might be if you run in to a situation like mine where the blu-ray player seemed to struggle on some disc and hasn't had an update in 3 years. To consider purchasing a 4K UHD player virtually all of them (except X-Box one) should have the downscale feature with varying degrees of success.

    The build quality on most of these units is far superior to the standard mass-market blu-ray players that i've seen available.

  12. I started out with VHS in the 1980s and changed to laserdiscs in 1990. Watching laserdiscs with a Dolby Pro Logic surround soundtrack on a 29 inch CRT TV was incredibly exciting – I'll never forget watching The Right Stuff and The Abyss and watching all my friends get blown away by the enormous, enveloping, sound! My dream was always to be able to be able to project a picture large enough in my living room, to be able to match the sound experience – and what I felt in the cinema.

    When I purchased my first projector in 1999 (a Philips), I was so disappointed at how awful laserdiscs looked projected on to a big screen. I remember watching West Side Story, with a DTS soundtrack. The picture was so blurry and drained of colour. Laserdiscs disappeared right about that time and I stopped collecting for ten years. DVDs were hardly any better projected and the sound was worse than laserdiscs. When blu ray discs first appeared, I started collecting them at least a year before I purchased my first blu ray player. The first blu ray discs I bought were No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood in 2008. After a year I purchased a Panasonic projector – which wasn't full HD – and a blu ray player and I was quite impressed at how much better than laserdiscs and DVD the blu ray picture looked, although it wasn't close to cinema quality. The sound, however, was fantastic.

    Since then, I've upgraded projectors with two HD Sonys and my screen has now enlarged to 120 inches. When I last upgraded in 2015, I projected Gravity and was disappointed that the reference blu ray did not look like film when projected so large. The picture quality was good, but not what I experienced in the cinema. But watching old films – ones that I'd owned since VHS – like Robocop, that were upgraded to blu ray with 4K scans, was indeed a treat. I guessed that 4K would provide that extra quality in resolution and colour, that was missing from blu ray. I started buying 4K discs just over a year ago. Downscaled to HD, I didn't notice any difference. I figured I was going to have to wait at least three years before being able to upgrade my projector.

    Two weeks ago, I chanced into my local store, where they had a cheap 4K Optoma for $1500 in their demo room. I was very skeptical that such a cheap projector would work, but I was able to take it home and test it. With 4K discs from 4K DIs, such as The Revenant, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Fifth Element, Unforgiven, Dunkirk, Blade Runner and Planet Earth II, the picture was stunning. I was up all night! I saw Dunkirk in 70 mm last summer and the picture and sound at home were equally as good! After 30 years, the quality I have at home is equal to the local multiplex! The picture from 2K DIs don't have more resolution than blu ray, but the colour is more lifelike from a 4K disc. The differences in watching 4K discs of Get Out, Logan Lucky and Trainspotting 2, was negligible, compared to the blu rays. I have to switch off HDR, as the projected picture is too dark. Also, the DLP chip in the Optoma gives annoying rainbow artefacts, when watching black and white movies – I watched Criterion's Yojimbo and the rainbow artefacts were there all through the film and subtitles. I premiered Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the same friends that saw the horrible West Side Story laserdisc 20 years ago and they were simply amazed.

    I'm glad I didn't wait three more years before upgrading. If I know a 4K disc is coming of a new release, I will no longer go to the cinema because the picture and sound I have at home is equal to what I can see in the local multiplex. The Optoma is cheap enough to tide me over until laser projectors from Sony become affordable and compact enough. I think it is really worth upgrading to 4K if you can project. On a screen with a smaller dimension than 100 inches, the difference in picture quality (apart from HDR, which I don't use), will be more subtle. I can't wait to see 2001 in 4K!

  13. titch

    I started out with VHS in the 1980s and changed to laserdiscs in 1990. Watching laserdiscs with a Dolby Pro Logic surround soundtrack on a 29 inch CRT TV was incredibly exciting – I'll never forget watching The Right Stuff and The Abyss and watching all my friends get blown away by the enormous, enveloping, sound! My dream was always to be able to be able to project a picture large enough in my living room, to be able to match the sound experience – and what I felt in the cinema.

    When I purchased my first projector in 1999 (a Philips), I was so disappointed at how awful laserdiscs looked projected on to a big screen. I remember watching West Side Story, with a DTS soundtrack. The picture was so blurry and drained of colour. Laserdiscs disappeared right about that time and I stopped collecting for ten years. DVDs were hardly any better projected and the sound was worse than laserdiscs. When blu ray discs first appeared, I started collecting them at least a year before I purchased my first blu ray player. The first blu ray discs I bought were No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood in 2008. After a year I purchased a Panasonic projector – which wasn't full HD – and a blu ray player and I was quite impressed at how much better than laserdiscs and DVD the blu ray picture looked, although it wasn't close to cinema quality. The sound, however, was fantastic.

    Since then, I've upgraded projectors with two HD Sonys and my screen has now enlarged to 120 inches. When I last upgraded in 2015, I projected Gravity and was disappointed that the reference blu ray did not look like film when projected so large. The picture quality was good, but not what I experienced in the cinema. But watching old films – ones that I'd owned since VHS – like Robocop, that were upgraded to blu ray with 4K scans, was indeed a treat. I guessed that 4K would provide that extra quality in resolution and colour, that was missing from blu ray. I started buying 4K discs just over a year ago. Downscaled to HD, I didn't notice any difference. I figured I was going to have to wait at least three years before being able to upgrade my projector.

    Two weeks ago, I chanced into my local store, where they had a cheap 4K Optoma for $1500 in their demo room. I was very skeptical that such a cheap projector would work, but I was able to take it home and test it. With 4K discs from 4K DIs, such as The Revenant, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Fifth Element, Unforgiven, Dunkirk, Blade Runner and Planet Earth II, the picture was stunning. I was up all night! I saw Dunkirk in 70 mm last summer and the picture and sound at home were equally as good! After 30 years, the quality I have at home is equal to the local multiplex! The picture from 2K DIs don't have more resolution than blu ray, but the colour is more lifelike from a 4K disc. The differences in watching 4K discs of Get Out, Logan Lucky and Trainspotting 2, was negligible, compared to the blu rays. I have to switch off HDR, as the projected picture is too dark. Also, the DLP chip in the Optoma gives annoying rainbow artefacts, when watching black and white movies – I watched Criterion's Yojimbo and the rainbow artefacts were there all through the film and subtitles. I premiered Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the same friends that saw the horrible West Side Story laserdisc 20 years ago and they were simply amazed.

    I'm glad I didn't wait three more years before upgrading. If I know a 4K disc is coming of a new release, I will no longer go to the cinema because the picture and sound I have at home is equal to what I can see in the local multiplex. The Optoma is cheap enough to tide me over until laser projectors from Sony become affordable and compact enough. I think it is really worth upgrading to 4K if you can project. On a screen with a smaller dimension than 100 inches, the difference in picture quality (apart from HDR, which I don't use), will be more subtle. I can't wait to see 2001 in 4K!

    Very informative! Your situation is similar to mine and I'm waiting for the right moment to go 4K as 1080P just doesn't really pop on my 135" screen.

  14. I am buying 4K Blu-ray now over standard Blu-ray on new releases and older titles that are for sale at a good price.

    I bought the Sony 800player for half price and a new Denon that handles all the new stuff.

    My five year old 3D Vizio is still going strong so new tv won’t happen for at least another year.

    Good thing about 4K is that you can still play them on your non 4K tv with a 4K player.

  15. John Dirk

    Very informative! Your situation is similar to mine and I'm waiting for the right moment to go 4K as 1080P just doesn't really pop on my 135" screen.

    Cheaper laser phosphor projectors are coming out this year, so hopefully you won't have to wait too much longer. Prices are coming down fast. The main challenge is the lamp brightness in 4K projectors – the increase in contrast and dark mastering of 4K discs craves a much more powerful lamp than 1080p projectors. My Optoma is supposedly 3000 ANSI lumens, but that is only possible with a "bright" setting that renders the picture completely green! One has to have complete control of ambient light in the viewing room too. Very important to be able to test a projector in your home before you buy! Good 1080p blu ray masters look fabulous projected in 4K – Criterion's The Breakfast Club is superb.

  16. TonyD

    Good thing about 4K is that you can still play them on your non 4K tv with a 4K player.

    I was advised NOT to do this, Tony, after I got my Oppo 203. IIRC, I was told I'd be better off playing the standard Blu-ray that comes in the package instead. I wasn't sure at the time that that made sense. But I'm also not very smart about these things so tend to do as advised. :unsure:

  17. Mike Frezon

    I was advised NOT to do this, Tony, after I got my Oppo 203. IIRC, I was told I'd be better off playing the standard Blu-ray that comes in the package instead. I wasn't sure at the time that that made sense. But I'm also not very smart about these things so tend to do as advised. :unsure:

    I would give it a try to see if it’s true or you can tell a difference.

  18. The only issue I’ve come across is a he discs that have the added HDR.
    Sometimes it makes the picture very dark.

    My player allows for lowering the setting of hdr. So that works pretty good.

    Otherwise what reason could there be to advise against it? Did that person say?

    I think it looks better than Blu-ray even though it’s downed to 1080p

  19. Great discussion!

    I haven’t upgraded yet, but I plan to in the next few years.

    So the pricing and the fact I have not upgraded makes buying kind of a grueling process.

    I bought my first 2 UHd titles at Christmas as they were a good price $9.99 each. Plus I didn’t have either title.

    I do have the last Jedi UHd on preorder, but even that title was tough to decide. I’m guessing a UHd blu ray Star Wars set is in the works in the next few years for instance.

    I actually passed on a couple of titles that I eventually want, even though they were cheap at the holidays. Guardians of the galaxy 2 comes to mind.

    I really don’t want to rebuy in a few years.

    Anyway. It is harder for me to put down extra $ for UHd titles right now.

  20. One thing not mentioned is that the majority of the 4K titles are up-rezzed from 2K masters. I don't have a "real" 4K projector (mine is the Epson laser pixel-shifting type) but the difference between a 2k mastered UHD disc and a blu-ray played utilizing the pixel-shifting option is not noticeable.
    For me, I purchase only 4K's that come from 4K masters. I realize that HDR can be a big reason to get the 4K discs over blu-rays, but until projectors get much brighter (my Epson laser is only 1500 lumens) I'm not sure if that alone is worth getting UHD's over blu-rays. Besides, can the professional up-rezzing gear do that much better a job turning 2K into 4K than a quality 4K TV or 4K projector which will do the same thing when it plays a blu-ray?
    I mean will one see a noticeable improvement in the resolution (discounting the HDR improvement). Also, from what I've read about HDR, there is no industry standard that all the video companies are using. The maximum nit rate varies depending on which company's disc you're buying. And we still are waiting for an HDR calibration disc to come out. And soon we'll have HDR+ on the newer TV's and projectors.
    Everything is still too much in flux for me to upgrade my LCD TV or my two Epson projectors. And I'm a big 3D fan – no 4K TV's have 3D – so it's a no sale for me because of that too.

  21. Edwin-S

    There is no point in buying 4K discs unless you have the gear to take advantage of them. Why pay premium prices for a format that a person isn't ready to use?

    It’s not really an absolute.

    They all have a Blu-ray included.
    If it’s a movie you don’t have yet.
    If you can buy it for a really good price.

  22. TonyD

    The only issue I’ve come across is a he discs that have the added HDR.
    Sometimes it makes the picture very dark.

    Absolutely true. I have noticed a dynamic difference in movies with and without HDR. Some of the darks are a bit too dark for my tastes but most still look much better with it added.

    HDR with video games can ruin them though. I played a lot of "The Last Guardian" with HDR added on my PS4, until I realized that the dark caverns were too dark confusing me, and obstructing my view in the gameplay. Luckily I can turn it off, and the game becomes playable once again.

  23. One thing I get hung up with about HDR is that the overwhelming majority of films are not made with HDR in mind and not presented with HDR theatrically. (Only laser based systems like Dolby Cinema and IMAX With Laser can display HDR and come from special DCPs created by the filmmakers for that purpose.) So while what's on the disc can look very pretty, it may not be an accurate representation of what the films looked like in theaters. I'm much more concerned with discs representing what the film looked like in theaters rather than taking advantage of what a new TV can do. Obviously there's plenty of room for disagreements and personal preferences there, but that's generally how I feel about that issue.

    I thought it was interesting that, in the latest American Cinematographer issue, the filmmakers from The Last Jedi spoke about how they used HDR very minimally on the DCPs they made for theatrical exhibition because they didn't want to change their idea of what the movie should look like just for the sake of showing off what the new projectors could do.

  24. TonyD

    Otherwise what reason could there be to advise against it? Did that person say?

    Can't remember. I went looking through some obvious places (Oppo threads)…but can't find the dialogue.

    Robert Crawford

    I would give it a try to see if it’s true or you can tell a difference.

    Just watched my 4k disc of Baby Driver. My first time watching the film. It looked and sounded great. And there's a big HDR sticker on the front of the slipcase. Really fun film.

  25. Mike Frezon

    Can't remember. I went looking through some obvious places (Oppo threads)…but can't find the dialogue.

    Just watched my 4k disc of Baby Driver. My first time watching the film. It looked and sounded great. And there's a big HDR sticker on the front of the slipcase. Really fun film.

    If the disc had any special features … it was the blu-ray … just sayin'

    So far I've watched Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, Dunkirk & Baby Driver on 4K discs down-rezzed to 1080p via my Sony X800 UBP player – if you don't have a 4K display it will give you a warning you'll get better results with a 4K TV … but after pressing play on the remote after a brief pause, you'll get to the movie main menu – unless there are previews or promos.

    One major caveat is that there is a known issue (at least on some of the sites I looked at) I've experienced where the player either locks up and won't respond, or won't turn on at all. Sony's recommendation is to unplug the device and wait 15 seconds. This works, but as a result I've put the player by itself on a switchable power strip …:huh: (If you have a Sony BD remote you may wish to keep it handy as it works with this player and the one that comes with the player is bare-bones to say the least
    View attachment 43669

    And the buttons are too close together & seem to be designed for Munchkin sized hands 🙁

  26. TonyD

    It’s not really an absolute.

    They all have a Blu-ray included.

    While that is supposed to be the standard there are at least three examples where that is not the case

    Two from Universal:
    Extreme Adventure Collection
    [​IMG]
    Extreme Nature Collection
    & [​IMG]

    As well I understand BBC Planet Earth II do not have blu-ray discs …
    [​IMG]

    Most UHD discs have blu-rays …
    The case should say -sometimes the only way to tell is if it says on the back something like "Special Features on blu-ray only …"

  27. I have the Sony 800 and after the first couple of weeks it hasn’t locked up since.

    The remote is small but for me, I’m not a small handed fellow, the buttons are just fine.

    And to B Roll. Ok how many 4K discs are there now? A whole bunch, so 3 or so that don’t include it, thanks for pointing it out.

  28. I have 1 UHD and that is PASSENGERS. Almost all my buys are 3D and if they are too expensive, then BD. If they start only releasing in UHD, with a BD inside, then I guess I'll start buying then. My 3D/4K PJ 3D/4K player plays them and I'll have Atmos by this coming next week, so I'll be good to go when I will be forced to start buying them.

  29. TonyD

    The only issue I’ve come across is a he discs that have the added HDR.
    Sometimes it makes the picture very dark.

    My player allows for lowering the setting of hdr. So that works pretty good.

    Otherwise what reason could there be to advise against it? Did that person say?

    I think it looks better than Blu-ray even though it’s downed to 1080p

    No reason not to try – you have to trust your own eyes! If you have, say, an Oppo 103 with a Darbee processor and have calibrated your 1080p projector to the 1080p blu ray colour, contrast and brightness standard, potentially, 1080p blu rays could look better than downrezzed 4K discs using the same projector. I purchased my Oppo 203 a year ago, when I started buying 4K discs. I've played 4K discs in my Oppo 203 and downrezzed them to 1080p and – as you say – there isn't much difference beyond the darkness of the 4K mastering of some titles. 4K discs are encoded with a much higher bitrate than 1080p discs – I saw fewer digital artefacts on the downrezzed 4K of Sicario. However, the downrezzed 4K picture on Unforgiven was too dark on my 1080p projector. The sound on 4K discs is often 7.1 Atmos and packs a bigger wallop than the 1080p blu rays. Currently there is no 4K calibrating disc available from Joe Kane or Spears and Munsil but maybe they will come out this year.

  30. B-ROLL

    While that is supposed to be the standard there are at least three examples where that is not the case

    Two from Universal:
    Extreme Adventure Collection
    [​IMG]
    Extreme Nature Collection
    & [​IMG]

    As well I understand BBC Planet Earth II do not have blu-ray discs …
    [​IMG]

    Most UHD discs have blu-rays …
    The case should say -sometimes the only way to tell is if it says on the back something like "Special Features on blu-ray only …"

    There were also some UHD-only sets for sale at Walmart. I purchased the three Expendables films and the two Now You See Me films that way. I think there were a few other sets available, as well.

  31. I bought a 4k TV in Jan. 2017 and didn't get a player until black Friday. I told myself I would only get new releases I really wanted on UHD, or films I don't already own on blu ray. So the only UHD discs I bought prior to having a player were the Skull Island and GOTG2 steelbooks from best buy, deadpool and Labyrinth.

    I was tempted to upgrade goodfellas, but reviews of the UHD all said the blu was better, so I resisted. Unforgiven got great reviews, but I wasn't sure of rewatch value for me, so I resisted. ET and CE3K got great write ups from Robert Harris, but I already had the blu rays and they looked great on my 4k tv. So I didn't buy them.

    Kong and GOTG2 looked spectacular in 4k. But so did the blu. I had to do a direct comparison to see the differences. I figured they were recent expensive digital productions that should look great, so they didn't sway me to heavily invest in UHD discs.

    Deadpool was sharp and looked great, a fun film for sure, but there wasn't a wow factor. Labyrinth had some great detail and color, best its ever looked. But again, nice but not particularly wow.

    Then right after I got my player I picked up one of my favorite films, Apollo 13. As Mr. Harris noted, this is a 4k scan from the OCN and lools better now than it did theatrically. This was the wow factor I was looking for. Sharp, colorful, mind blowing. This is what every 4k disc should look like.

    I then added Serenity and Jumanji, and again, wow.

    I was hooked and spent most of Dec and Jan catching up on discs I wish I would have bought gradually over the last 6 months. ET, CE3K, Unforgiven, Leon, A Few Good Men. Also a few new films like Atomic Blonde and Hitmans Bodyguard.

    So my suggestion is buy now and enjoy the blu ray for the time being. Because once you upgrade to 4k you'll want to buy everything in sight.

  32. sleroi

    I bought a 4k TV in Jan. 2017 and didn't get a player until black Friday. I told myself I would only get new releases I really wanted on UHD, or films I don't already own on blu ray. So the only UHD discs I bought prior to having a player were the Skull Island and GOTG2 steelbooks from best buy, deadpool and Labyrinth.

    I was tempted to upgrade goodfellas, but reviews of the UHD all said the blu was better, so I resisted. Unforgiven got great reviews, but I wasn't sure of rewatch value for me, so I resisted. ET and CE3K got great write ups from Robert Harris, but I already had the blu rays and they looked great on my 4k tv. So I didn't buy them.

    Kong and GOTG2 looked spectacular in 4k. But so did the blu. I had to do a direct comparison to see the differences. I figured they were recent expensive digital productions that should look great, so they didn't sway me to heavily invest in UHD discs.

    Deadpool was sharp and looked great, a fun film for sure, but there wasn't a wow factor. Labyrinth had some great detail and color, best its ever looked. But again, nice but not particularly wow.

    Then right after I got my player I picked up one of my favorite films, Apollo 13. As Mr. Harris noted, this is a 4k scan from the OCN and lools better now than it did theatrically. This was the wow factor I was looking for. Sharp, colorful, mind blowing. This is what every 4k disc should look like.

    I then added Serenity and Jumanji, and again, wow.

    I was hooked and spent most of Dec and Jan catching up on discs I wish I would have bought gradually over the last 6 months. ET, CE3K, Unforgiven, Leon, A Few Good Men. Also a few new films like Atomic Blonde and Hitmans Bodyguard.

    So my suggestion is buy now and enjoy the blu ray for the time being. Because once you upgrade to 4k you'll want to buy everything in sight.

    That’s been my thinking as well. Buy for my eventual upgrade plus I get the standard blu ray.

  33. Edwin-S

    There is no point in buying 4K discs unless you have the gear to take advantage of them. Why pay premium prices for a format that a person isn't ready to use?

    Definitely. You're likely to pick up discs for a lower price later. I just got 3D and have managed to buy many 3D discs for $10-15 each, whereas if I'd purchased them a few years ago as they were released they would have been double that.

    If you can find the 4K combo packs for a good price, buy them, but I wouldn't be paying the $5-10 premium to buy most current 4K releases.

  34. Malcolm R

    Definitely. You're likely to pick up discs for a lower price later. I just got 3D and have managed to buy many 3D discs for $10-15 each, whereas if I'd purchased them a few years ago as they were released they would have been double that.

    If you can find the 4K combo packs for a good price, buy them, but I wouldn't be paying the $5-10 premium to buy most current 4K releases.

    The last Jedi seems to pricey no matter the format.

  35. TonyD


    I think it looks better than Blu-ray even though it’s downed to 1080p

    I have tested several time comparing (same movie) a Blu-ray disc and a 4K Blu-ray disc downscale to 1080 HD. The picture from a 4K disc is better on my Samsung 64" plasma.

  36. B-ROLL

    If the disc had any special features … it was the blu-ray … just sayin'

    So far I've watched Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, Dunkirk & Baby Driver on 4K discs down-rezzed to 1080p via my Sony X800 UBP player – if you don't have a 4K display it will give you a warning you'll get better results with a 4K TV … but after pressing play on the remote after a brief pause, you'll get to the movie main menu – unless there are previews or promos.

    One major caveat is that there is a known issue (at least on some of the sites I looked at) I've experienced where the player either locks up and won't respond, or won't turn on at all. Sony's recommendation is to unplug the device and wait 15 seconds. This works, but as a result I've put the player by itself on a switchable power strip …:huh: (If you have a Sony BD remote you may wish to keep it handy as it works with this player and the one that comes with the player is bare-bones to say the least
    View attachment 43669

    And the buttons are too close together & seem to be designed for Munchkin sized hands 🙁

  37. My experience with the Sony UBPX800 has been exemplary … fast loading times, outstanding up-conversion of 1080p to quasi-UHD on my LG 4K OLED 55" panel. I did encounter 1 problem, however. After several discs being played back with no issues, one instance of loading & playing a disc caused the OLED picture to pulse-flash, resembling a strobe light. Thinking it defective, the technician who worked on the machine advised me to TURN OFF the HDMI DEEP COLOR in the picture-settings menu(it normally defaults to AUTO). Sony even mentions it in the user manual, saying if the picture seems "unstable", to turn off the setting. No further problems encountered.

  38. I bought a Sony XBR 75X900E 4K HDR television and a Samsung UBD-M9500 4K HDR player in November. So far I only have three 4K HDR discs, Planet Earth II, Dunkirk, and The Bridge on the River Kwai. Planet Earth II looks amazing and is the disc I show to friends wondering what 4K looks like. Dunkirk is very very good but Bridge is a bit of a disappointment. I also have Bridge in blu-ray and although it does look better it is not a big improvement.
    What I am noticing is that all my blu-rays look better on my new system. Lawrence of Arabia in blu-ray looks as good as the 4K version of Bridge. I am hoping the studios start releasing some big titles such as Lawrence on 4K this year.

  39. Been buying them since they came out, have over 150 now. Once I got a tv that could be calibrated for HDR and is good at it (not all are), I wouldn’t consider anything else. If it comes out on UHD and I want to see it, I buy it.

    I have found that I will delay 1-2 weeks, and then I can find good deals on Amazon after it has been out.

  40. I guess you have to ask yourself…."just how clear I want my picture to look". I use the Oppo 103 player and see no need to upgrade…..period. The BD's look fantastic and the DVD's look good enough for me. I'll save my 4K money to invest in a newer Epson 3D projector. If they quit making those (and I guess they might one day) I'll just bite the bullet and buy a Pro DCP projector. A nice used Barco, Christie or NEC projector would be just fine!!
    No 4K's for me.

  41. DFurr

    I guess you have to ask yourself…."just how clear I want my picture to look". I use the Oppo 103 player and see no need to upgrade…..period. The BD's look fantastic and the DVD's look good enough for me. I'll save my 4K money to invest in a newer Epson 3D projector. If they quit making those (and I guess they might one day) I'll just bite the bullet and buy a Pro DCP projector. A nice used Barco, Christie or NEC projector would be just fine!!
    No 4K's for me.

    I'm with you. I started with a Sharp 10K projector that cost me $6700 back when I built my HT in 2004. I'm still running the same receiver and speakers now, but my PJ got the color wheel squeaks and it wasn't economically worth fixing after only 5 years. I've since been running a Sony VPLHW10 projector for the last 9 years that cost me $2500.

    Going forward that is my max for a projector. If i had to replace it anytime soon it would be with the Sony 45es for $2000, which is also a 2K projector. The Sony 4K projector goes for $5000. I'll only end up with a 4K/HDR capable projector when they are below $2500 and my current projector dies. I'll will only "consider" 4K disks when I have a 4K projector, if even then.

  42. Due to greatly improved compression, 4k HDR on UHD disc downconverted to 1080p SDR will look more like theatrical projection than just about any 1080p Blu-ray you will ever see.

    The only potential downside is that the down conversion from HDR to SDR performed by many players can wreak havoc with your monitor calibration settings, so you may have to have two different sets of monitor color and contrast modes. This is exacerbated somewhat by the absence from the market of a reasonably priced UHD calibration disc.

  43. Ken_McAlinden

    Due to greatly improved compression, 4k HDR on UHD disc downconverted to 1080p SDR will look more like theatrical projection than just about any 1080p Blu-ray you will ever see.

    The only potential downside is that the down conversion from HDR to SDR performed by many players can wreak havoc with your monitor calibration settings, so you may have to have two different sets of monitor color and contrast modes. This is exacerbated somewhat by the absence from the market of a reasonably priced UHD calibration disc.

    I have turned off HDR on both my Oppo player and Optoma projector. HDR makes the picture too dark. (I feel that HDR is a bit gimmicky anyway, when it is not used theatrically). I have calibrated the colours, brightness and contrast on the projector using both the Video Essentials and Spears & Munsil blu ray discs. The picture quality looks smashing for both 2K and 4K. It might be possible to tweak the picture with a proper 4K calibration disc, but the difference is going to be minor on my current set up.

  44. titch

    I have turned off HDR on both my Oppo player and Optoma projector. HDR makes the picture too dark. (I feel that HDR is a bit gimmicky anyway, when it is not used theatrically). I have calibrated the colours, brightness and contrast on the projector using both the Video Essentials and Spears & Munsil blu ray discs. The picture quality looks smashing for both 2K and 4K. It might be possible to tweak the picture with a proper 4K calibration disc, but the difference is going to be minor on my current set up.

    Turning off HDR still means that your player is somehow converting HDR to SDR. When my Sony player does this, it affects the contrast, brightness, and color saturation. There would be no way to compensate for this with Video Essentials or any Blu-ray reference source since they do not include HDR test patterns.

    Your mileage may vary, of course. Other players might handle the down conversion better than mine.

  45. I've only purchased a couple UHD movies so far, because it was the only way to get the 3D disc. I've been an early adopter of pretty much every format, but for some reason this just doesn't appeal to me that much. Maybe upgrade fatigue has finally taken hold. I think I've also lost some trust over the decision to get rid of 3D which I enjoy a lot.

  46. Ken_McAlinden

    Turning off HDR still means that your player is somehow converting HDR to SDR. When my Sony player does this, it affects the contrast, brightness, and color saturation. There would be no way to compensate for this with Video Essentials or any Blu-ray reference source since they do not include HDR test patterns.

    Your mileage may vary, of course. Other players might handle the down conversion better than mine.

    I have a Panasonic player that must do a good job of it because I don't see any difference in brightness or colour on my 1080p plasma.

  47. I've got a Panasonic player and a 1080p projector (which has pseudo 4K "upscale – a 2012 JVC model) and the HDR-SDR conversion works great. I had to tweak the Panasonic's features considerably, by eye, but it looks good to me now – the visual difference between the UK Sony Blade Runner 4K and regular BD was certainly noticeable to me. I'll upgrade the project in a couple of years once JVC has perfected the 4K technology a bit more.

  48. DaveF

    I'll start buying UHD over BD when the price premium is small, maybe $5 or less. I hope to upgrade in displays next year.

    For example, when the UHD is $18 vs the BD at $15, I'd buy the 4K version

    But if UHD is $30 versus $20 for BD, I'll buy BD or buy nothing until I upgrade to 4K and hope the UHD drops to $20 in the next year or two.

    That time is already here for some films. This week's 'Wonder' release was $22.99 on 4K and $19.99 on standard Blu. Other films have been similarly priced.

    If you go to Target and have RedCard, don't forget that 5% of $22.99 is slightly greater than 5% of $19.99 so that closes that $3 gap a little bit too, about 16 cents. That makes the 4K a $21.84 purchase and the standard Blu-ray a $18.99 purchase.

    Mark

  49. DaveF

    For example, when the UHD is $18 vs the BD at $15, I'd buy the 4K version

    Here in the UK the differential seems to widening 🙁
    DVD is £9.99, Blu Ray £14.99 and many 4Ks either £19.99 or £24.99 for new 'big' releases – ie Dunkirk, GOTG2.
    We do get some limited '2 for £30' deals on older titles, but never seem to get the kind of deals that USA stores offer…..
    Not sure how this ongoing increase in 4k pricing is going to help an emerging market….

  50. I recently upgraded to the LG C7 OLED from the Panny ST60 because I felt the time was right an I have not been disappointed the PQ is jaw-dropping, maybe the OP should look at upgrading now and getting a small amount for his TV than waiting later when, to be honest, they will be worthless.

  51. I had no plans to get into 4K discs, but I needed a new player and there was a Panasonic UHD on sale for not much more than a decent standard blu-ray machine, so I ended up getting one. I still have a 1080p set and have no intention to upgrade until it dies on me.

    I buy very few new releases, but thought I might as well get the best going froward. So far I've bought the original Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk, along with E.T. and Close Encounters, which are particular favourites. I'm not going to replace many blu-rays I already have, unless it's a film I really love and the 4K represents a significant upgrade.

  52. sleroi

    Other than the GoTG2 and Kong bestbuy 3d/uhd steelbooks I haven't paid more than $22 for any 4k discs, and most ive gotten for under $20. There is always something on sale every week.

    All my UHD purchases have been under $20 per film, with the majority being $15 or less. All but three of my 53 UHD films have been purchased for under $18. So, you can find deals if you are just patient and can resist buying a title when it first comes out.

  53. Worth

    I had no plans to get into 4K discs, but I needed a new player and there was a Panasonic UHD on sale for not much more than a decent standard blu-ray machine, so I ended up getting one. I still have a 1080p set and have no intention to upgrade until it dies on me.

    I buy very few new releases, but thought I might as well get the best going froward. So far I've bought the original Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk, along with E.T. and Close Encounters, which are particular favourites. I'm not going to replace many blu-rays I already have, unless it's a film I really love and the 4K represents a significant upgrade.

    But it is a significant upgrade in most cases, so I am a little confused as to why you think it isn't. ( i remember the same comments about DVD over BR back in the day).

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