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Upgrading the DaveF household to 4K UHD

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by DaveF, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm thinking of going 4K late this year. I want to start some early planning, figure out what I don't know, what gear I'll need (large and small), and work out the budget. My speculative schedule is to start with the pre-ordering of 2019 projectors, typically announced at CEDIA in the Fall.

    I don't want to upgrade my direct view sets to 4K until I can upgrade my theater projector. I see only disappointment and sadness in having a glorious new OLED 4K DR set in the living room, but watching all my favorite TV and movies on a 1080p projector.

    Here's where I'm starting:
    • Theater
      • Marantz 7702mkII pre-pro
      • Sony 40ES projector (HD)
      • TiVo Mini
      • AppleTV (HD)
      • HTPC running Emby (HD)
      • NVidia ShieldTV (4K)
    • Living Room
      • 50" Kuro
      • Onkyo TX-SR707
      • TiVo Roamio
      • Blu-Ray Player
    • Bedroom
      • 40" LCD (budget model)
      • TiVo Mini
      • Blu-ray player (ancient)

    Here's where I'm going:
    • Theater
      • Marantz 7702mkII pre-pro (no need to upgrade to 7705)
      • JVC NX7+ (whatever 2019 brings to the mid-range 4k line)
      • TiVo Mini? Do I need to upgrade?
      • AppleTV 4K
      • HTPC running Emby
      • NVidia ShieldTV (4K)
      • UHD disc player (I'm really uncertain about HTPC for 4K)
    • Living Room
      • 65" LCD or OLED. Doesn't have to be top-shelf, but above average
      • 5.1 AVR compatible with 4K. I want Audyssey, but otherwise something low/mid-range is fine
      • TiVo Roamio? Upgrade to Bolt?
      • AppleTV 4K
      • NVidia ShieldTV (Maybe...I don't use HTPC streaming in the living room much)
      • No disc player (rarely watch discs in the living room, so why spend $500 on a player here)
    • Bedroom
      • 40" 4k?
      • TiVo Mini?
      • AppleTV 4K?
    I've labeled things I know I want to upgrade in dark blue.
    I've labeled things I'm uncertain about upgrading or adding in hot purple.
    I've left things that I think don't get upgraded in normal black.

    Also in the background are issues of cables. Especially for the theater. I need about 30'. Currently the system uses a Key Digital HDMI extender. I don't know if this needs an upgrade.

    I haven't decided if I'm doing the theater upgrade myself or will work with my designer/installer company. I think it depends on how complicated it looks for setting up the 4K HDMI run and installing the projector and other new gear. The living room and bedroom I have under control.

    This should just be a list of "what gear do I buy" questions. But underlying is my uncertainty about whether 4K is just a matter of buying a new TV, AVR, and streaming box and connecting the HDMI cables...or if there are nuances and details to attend to that I'm ignorant of. :)
     
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  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    [​IMG] Looking forward to being along for the ride.

    I've got a 4k player, Dave. But that's about it.
     
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  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Same here. I went with the Panasonic DP-UB820, which has all of the same video features as the flagship DP-UB9000 but cost nearly half as much. I didn't need the nicer build quality or high end audiophile features of the 9000.

    If you're holding off until you can upgrade your projector and displays at once, I highly recommend the 820 for downconverting 4K discs with HDR to 1080p without HDR. I've experienced none of the problems I've heard about downconversion with someo other players, such as an overly bright picture or crushed blacks or blown out whites. The player also features options to tweak the output depending on your projector or type of display. In my case, I swapped out my old Panasonic Blu-Ray player for the DP-UB820, swapped out the cheap HDMI cable for a $5 4K-certified HDMI cable from Monoprice (item #15428), turned off Dolby Vision and HDR10+ in the setup menu, and I was good to go. If you're using a projector, there is a "Basic Luminance LCD and Projector" option under HDR TV Type.

    Since that initial setup, I haven't really had to mess with any settings. I've been really happy with how everything's played since, including the downconverted UHD discs.
     
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  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I love watching other people spend money, Dave. I can live vicariously through them! :laugh:

    Both Panasonic and Sony have announced new UHD disc players for 2019 -- the UB-450 (Panny) and X-800 M2 (Sony). I plan on comparing these two as potential upgrades to my existing Sony X-800 in order to obtain Dolby Vision support in the main home theater in our family room -- the Vizio 70-inch M-Series in there supports DV, but an Apple TV 4K is the only playback device I currently have that also supports the format. I will move either the Sony X-800 or my existing Panasonic BD player from the HT to our bedroom setup when I finally upgrade -- we have a 49-inch Samsung 4K display in that room. That display only supports HDR10, not DV, and I really don't need a UHD player in that room, as we rarely watch discs in there (just Xfinity cable and the 4K Roku Premiere mostly get used). I would move the Sony UHD player there only if I go with the new Sony UHD player, as Sony doesn't support multiple IR code sets for its players, so having two Sony players in the same equipment rack can cause issues.
     
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  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm hoping for pre-order / sale pricing of ~$6000 for a JVC NX7 successor. But now I'm reading speculation that 4K projector prices will go *up* with 2019 models, not further down! That will break my upgrade plans if true.
     
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  6. Message #6 of 31 Jan 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
    John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    That makes perfect sense to me as 4K projectors are still relatively new and will probably never achieve the economies of scale needed for reasonable pricing. I would suspect the bargains will be in the previous models [like JVC's E-Shift series] as the newer ones come to market.

    How many of your favorites are native 4K? Personally, I'm in no hurry whatsoever to do this and probably won't until my current sets fail. I bought a 43 inch 4K set for my sitting room after the previous one failed and, [as suspected] I just can't tell the difference with a screen that small even though I'm maybe 5 ft away. As for the remaining sets we have [my wife's sitting room, bedroom, etc] these are used sparingly and she could care less about resolution or pixels anyway. I do all of my "critical" viewing in my Theater Room.

    I've even cooled on the projector somewhat. The VAST majority of the content I actually love to watch is 480P DVD. I have a decent collection of Blu Rays but almost no compelling "native" 4K content. I want a more modern projector with Ethernet support but, aside from that my Panasonic still looks amazing with suitable content. I don't know that a 4K projector would significantly improve my experience with the content I actually watch most often but, as an enthusiast, I would love to be convinced otherwise.

    Same here. I've basically given up on this as I know it will require more effort and time than I am willing to extend for content that represents a small portion of what I currently consume. I'll happily revisit it in the future if conditions warrant. I use my HTPC daily while my shiny new Oppo 203 sits unloved most of the time. When I do want to watch one of the few UHD discs I own however, I'm happy to bypass the HTPC and fire up the Oppo. When I add a 4K projector [one day - maybe soon] I suspect this will remain the same.
     
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  7. Chris Strnad

    Chris Strnad Stunt Coordinator

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  8. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Unless you're willing to go through the tedous procedure to reflash an LG manufactured bd-r drive to an older "4Kbluray friendly" firmware, then I wouldn't waste any time with 4Kbluray on the computer.

    For many 4Kbluray discs, it takes over an hour to rip an entire iso to the computer's hard drive. (It might be slightly faster if one flashes the "friendly" firmware version originally from an asus bd-r rebadge of the equivalent LG bd-r drive). If it takes almost just as long to rip a 4Kbluray disc as the length of the original movie, then I mind as well just watch through the entire movie on a standalone UHD 4Kbluray player.


    In contrast, the only reason I bother watching my dvds ripped to the computer, is because it only takes around 11-12 minutes to rip an entire dvd disc iso with the css encryption removed entirely. (Bluray takes around 10 to 30 minutes to rip the entire iso).
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    FYI, Amazon also sells Monoprice cables. If you are a Prime member, it may be less expensive to order through them, depending on length needed, when you consider shipping costs. I am using Monoprice's certified cables for all 4K connections in my main setup, and have not had any issues with the exception of one bad cable from an order I placed directly with Monoprice. Their service was great -- they shipped me a new cable quickly, and just told me to throw out the defective one.
     
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  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    When you start shopping around, take a look at the TCL Series 6 line - their 55" is $600 and I think the 65" is $900 - it's a much better TV than its price would suggest. I've only had mine for a month but I am extremely satisfied with it, and with the exception of the 3D capability I lost in switching from an LG plasma to the TCL 4K, it's better than the more expensive TV that it replaced. It may very well be the best TV I've ever owned. Best Buy also had the option of adding a five year in-home service warranty for $120 extra, which I did. I thought it was a great deal.

    I was really worried about being in the same situation because I have a dual display setup as well: an HD projector for movies and prestige television programming, and a 50" TV for news, sports, non-prestige TV content, sitcoms, streaming, etc. The 50" TV died and needed to be replaced, but doing the full 4K upgrade was not a possibility at this time. So the TV is 4K and the projector is still HD. In practice, I find that the immersion from the larger screen size more than makes up for the slight difference in quality that I can perceive on the 4K TV.

    I think the goal to replace everything at once makes sense and in a perfect world, I would have done the same. But with that said, I don't think it's as drastic or disappointing as I worried it could be. The types of content I watch on the projector are so different than what I watch on the TV that it really is an apples-to-orange comparison for me.
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I also have to figure out nitpicky stuff, like whether this is ok, or if I need a new HDMI extender for UHD circa 2019.
    • 4K/Ultra HD Resolution: Support for 4096x2160 or 3840x2160 24/25/30Hz at 4:4:4/8 Bit or 60Hz at 4:2:0/8 Bit
     
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  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Absolutely. If my Kuro dies tomorrow, I'm getting a 4K TV this weekend and moving forward without upgrading everything else in the short term. But, so far, I'm in control of my destiny, and hope to execute a "perfect world" upgrade :D
     
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  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I don't care about 4K pixels. I can't resolve it. I doubt I can currently resolve HD from typical distance (I'm wearing soft contact lenses now, and have some uncorrected astigmatism in low light such as watching TV in a dark room).

    What I care about is:
    • HDR for improved contrast, because I can tell my HD projector doesn't have dark inky blacks in my light-controlled theater room, and neither it nor the Kuro have really bright highlights
    • Broader color space, because I've long been annoyed by the color banding in what should be smooth gradients in HD content
    • Streaming is doing more and more 4K material, and I watch a lot of TV -- I'll get the benefit in new content, not in old favorites.
    Those will be noticeable when I upgrade.

    (I basically don't watch DVDs or SD material anymore. I can't imagine SD material being the great majority of my viewing content. Even cable has been HD for years. :) )
     
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  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Thanks. I'm a long-time Monoprice shopper. I've got HDMI cables from Monoprice, Blue Jeans (an HTF sponsor) and maybe some Amazon Basics. That's the kind of stuff I'll buy for the living room and gear interconnects.

    For the long run, about 30 ft to the projector, I've seen the RUIPRO specifically recommended as the best:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XGDFCSC/?coliid=I1E1L0X8DK699E&colid=3HJ7KZ334050V&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

    and also this:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076SX7WXX/?coliid=II9EDY1FXOEQR&colid=3HJ7KZ334050V&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

    But as noted, I have an ethernet HDMI extender that I might keep or upgrade.

    HDMI switching will be done by Marantz 7702mkII in theater, something like a Denon AVR-S640H for the living room, and the TV itself in the bedroom.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Already done. I've been ripping 4K discs for a year. :)
     
  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    My big internal debate on media, whether to completely give up on discs with the 4K upgrade and go 100% streaming (Movies Anywhere via AppleTV). My current library is on the HTPC, and all purchases from the past two years I've redeemed the MA codes, including the few 4K discs I bought. So I'm torn between:
    • Upgrade HTPC with a GPU to run madVR for the best HDR->SDR tone mapping, which especially benefits projectors
    • Continue HTPC with the Nvidia Shield TV as 4K front end, which by all accounts is pretty good (and works great for HD)
    • Buy a UHD disc player to watch UHD in absolute best quality, and give up on the insane hobby of HTPC
    • It's 2019. Who wants dead-dinosaur discs? Buy movies in MA and have a super SAF system (maybe buy discs, and redeem codes, with discs never used, if pricing is better) Bonus: save money and nuisance by not integrating a disc player in the system.
    I don't know. And my HTPC RAID is full. I have to add a hard drive or two if I start buying more movies. I'm not buying movies right now, since I have a backlog of about a hundred to watch, and I don't want to have to decide whether to upgrade my RAID or abandon the HTPC just yet.

    This is part of why my upgrade plans are for Fall of this year, and not sooner. I want more time to see what how disc players, streaming, HTPC, and projectors evolve before making decisions.
     
  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    If I was in your shoes, I’d probably keep the HTPC as is for the content that’s already there, buy a UHD disc player for the titles that have notable editions worth possessing in some physical form, and a consider streaming for the things that you feel less strongly about.

    A big unanswered question at this point might be, can you notice the difference between a UHD disc on a 4K system vs a stream of the same content? Once you can test that out, I think that’ll give you a big clue for how best to move forward.
     
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  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    And not or. For at least 5 more years.
     
  19. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    This is basically the conclusion I've come to for 4K discs [leave them for the Oppo] but I still have plenty of use scenarios for the HTPC as well.
     
  20. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    We have different viewing habits but your point regarding HDR is something I hadn't considered since I have yet to actually play around with it. The only display I have that supports it is my smallest one [43 inch] and I hardly ever use it.
     

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