UHD Review A few words about...™ Westworld - Season One -- in 4k UHD Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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There's more going on here than may meet the eye.

Sales of TV shows have been so unpromising in the past few years, that even a mega-hit like This is Us, can only be found as a standard issue DVD - 480 lines, interlaced.

While cable and speciality streaming fair can be found on Blu-ray, network programming is becoming a rarity.

One would presume that, with multiple means of streaming, either free, or for a minimal subscription price (think Netflix), most consumers, happy to view on their iPads, simply aren't seeking high quality.

Those who do seek higher quality imagery and audio, are left out in the cold, even with certain programming streaming in "4k" via various services. But as most understand, 4k doesn't always mean 4k. And a streamed 4k data source will not equal true 4k.

It's for this reason, that I find the new HBO, via WB release of Westworld - Season One, as promising as it is historic.

Promising in that it allows the public to vote with their wallets, and send a message that high-end (and high concept) programming, either shot on 35mm film, or via a large chip in 4k or above, will find an audience, willing to add a hard copy to their libraries -- because of quality.

While the original 1973 film, Michael Crichton's directorial debut - he also wrote the screenplay - is still great fun, the HBO series, takes everything in high gear, creating a wonderfully fulfilling entertainment, that keeps you both enthralled, and wondering what might be going to occur next.

Going into the storyline, especially for the uninitiated would be a travesty, so I'll not. Suffice to say that fans of Ridley Scott's Bladerunner, will find this a wonderful place to visit.

I mentioned "historic" above, and I don't use that term lightly.

Westworld is the first 4k Blu-ray of a television series.

But more important, it's a series shot on 35/3 film, scanned at 4k, and completed as 2k data files for broadcast, which gives the impression via the new 4k Blu-ray, that it's be 4k throughout the entire post process.

An article from Kodak:

https://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/Blog/Blog_Post/?contentId=4294999072

The imagery is that highly resolved, especially in projection.

Going along with the high resolution imagery is a proscenium busting Dolby Atmos track, that will delight home theater fans.

While occasionally we do receive Blu-ray broadcast-based media, inclusive of entire series, such as Friends, we're going to be seeing less and less of it unless the format is supported in the marketplace. Fans of Perennial favorites E.R. and West Wing, are only available on DVD. It's the rarity to find a show like Longmire, supported on Blu-ray, via Warner Archive.

From the opening title sequence, which looks almost other-worldly in 4k to the magnificent exteriors, shot in Utah, Westworld is a treat for the senses, and an exercise for the brain.

Westworld in 4k, comes with a myriad of extras, and is a painless means of making your home theater desires known.

Image - 5

Audio - 5 (Dolby Atmos)

4k - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 

Jeff Brooks

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I was not sure I wanted this on disc; but I have had it pre-ordered since announced, and now, I can't wait to see it.
Thank You, as always, Mr. Harris for your recommendation. I really appreciate your "a-few-words" posts, even though I realize I do not know enough about film; but, you make me appreciate it. The article from Kodak is a great read. Thanks for the link.
 

madfloyd

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I'm watching the 4K now and find it to definitely offer a visual/audio upgrade over the Blu-rays. I admit I've not always been knocked out by the 4K UHDs I've seen, but "Westworld" fares considerably better in the format...
Colin, you've already reviewed the Blu-ray, are you actually watching the entire season again in 4k?
 

Colin Jacobson

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Colin, you've already reviewed the Blu-ray, are you actually watching the entire season again in 4k?
No - when I reviewed the Blu-ray, I actually watched the 4K "at the same time".

Not literally, of course, but I watched half the season BD and half 4K.

Hope that doesn't count as cheating! :D
 

Powell&Pressburger

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I would have purchased the 4K set as a future proof purchase but sadly the standard BLUs are 5.1 only. Atmos is reserved for 4K only.

They lost a purchase... I was curious about the show now it’s just a BLU purchase I won’t have to worry about for this and future seasons.
 

Jonathan Perregaux

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I picked up the Target exclusive tin (4K/2K).

I will not, however, pick up the DVD-only season 3 of Fargo, no matter how much I love that show.
 
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Johnny Angell

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I would have purchased the 4K set as a future proof purchase but sadly the standard BLUs are 5.1 only. Atmos is reserved for 4K only.

They lost a purchase... I was curious about the show now it’s just a BLU purchase I won’t have to worry about for this and future seasons.
I’m assuming the blu’s on the 4K and blu only don’t have Atmos. You imply you’re going to buy the blu only version. That doesn’t make sense because the 4K version is cheaper than the blu only.

I reread (for the 3rd time) and I guess you’re saying you won’t buy the blu only without Atmos.
 

madfloyd

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Rebuy it and return the original. Even if you have to pay return shipping you'd save a lot.

If you haven't begged them for a PriceMatch much you could try and see if they'd grant a 'one-time' exception.
Thanks, I tried but they wouldn't price match so did as you suggested.
 

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