To compliment the electronics industry's launch of 4K Ultra HD Televisions, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that it will begin releasing a new line of "Mastered in 4K" Blu-ray titles. Sourced from pristine 4K masters and presented at high-bitrate 1080p resolution, the first wave of more than 10 titles will arrive on the market in Spring 2013.
I don't think this is a good idea. Right now you have 3 formats available to purchase films on at a store (DVD, blu, and 3D blu), technically 4 if you include digital. DVD is still going strong and isn't going anywhere. Blu-ray continues to grow and right now is just starting to dive deep into catalogs since most of the big name franchises are on the format. And 3D blu-ray has it's little niche. Adding another format doesn't help. Granted it is going to be very small and I understand that technology evolves every second but is there a need to have several different formats? Before it was blu-ray vs HD DVD but now it kind of feels like it is Sony competing against itself. Maybe I'm nuts but I to me it seems like this won't take off much, if at all.
This is nothing but a marketing gimmick.
Blade Runner, which came out years ago, came from a 4K master (going by the documentary that came with it).
But the final master to disc is 1080P (just below 2K), just like these new Sony ones are.
Hell, the new Laurence of Arabia came from an 8K master, but it's still a 1080p end product.
Another Superbit. Consumers will once again just be confused, and at the end of the day, these are just blu-rays. The fact that they are well mastered and from 4k scans just means that they are on par with what most studios are putting out, and they don't need special branding gimmicks.
Superbit had a place on DVD, where bitrates were too low and quality was consistently being traded for more and more "special features", most of which were barely worth watching once.
But blu-ray has always had enough space and bandwidth to deliver all the picture and sound needed, with room to spare.
I think we need to read the reviews on the PQ on these before dismissing them. There's a lot of Blu-rays that really stand in need of remastering from a 4K master.
If they do re-release a title that has a significant upgrade in PQ because they remastered it from the 4k master then I would definitely rebuy the title.
It would need to be a significant difference but I want the best PQ & AQ available on the titles that I own.
Some of the titles that have been newly minted from a 4k master has gotten excellent reviews. So again it will be a wait & see to see how much difference you will be able to see.
Why down a company if they're going to go back & remaster titles. After all the complaining I read everyday in the forums about why don't they go back & remaster titles I thought there would be more positive comments on this.
If you don't like it or think it's worth it then don't buy it.
This is nothing but a marketing gimmick. If a film had a 4K master available, they'd be foolish not to use that as the source for a Blu-ray release - the fact that 4K TVs now exist has NOTHING to do with that. All the titles announced so far are ALREADY mastered from a 4K source as that is Sony's workflow for new theatrical releases.
I'm all for studios doing what is necessary to ensure good sources for theatrical and blu-ray releases - be it rescanning and doing restoration work on older films, or improving the quality of their workflow for new releases. It helps create stunning 1080p Blu-ray releases, and would obviously be necessary for any hypothetical future 4K-native format. But this is not that format - it is nothing but "Superbit Blu-ray," and it's not like Sony's BDs were lacking in the encoding quality department in the first place.
I believe this article is misleading. This is from Sony's site:
4K movies built in.
Get the most out of your 4K Ultra HD TV1 with this special collection of Hollywood movies, digitally mastered in 4K resolution. The first ever collection of 10 full-length feature films delivered in 4K to the home includes:
The Amazing Spider-Man™
Bad Teacher, featuring Cameron Diaz
The Karate Kid, featuring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith
The Other Guys, featuring Will Farrell
Battle: Los Angeles
That's My Boy, featuring Adam Sandler
Salt, featuring Angelina Jolie
Total Recall 2012, featuring Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale
The Bridge on the River Kwai
There is no mention of taking 4K images and outputting them as 2K images (1080p) and reselling Blu-ray owners the same film, claiming an even better quality. These are made for people with 4K TVs. If they are trying to pass these off to Blu-ray owners, then they are just ripping people off.
First of all, bitrate is what determines picture quality. The Blu-ray spec maxes out around 40 mb/second. The higher the bitrate, the larger the file, so the longer the movie and the more extras, the lower the bitrate must be to fit on a Blu-ray disc that holds 50 GB. To get a "super" bitrate, as this article states, Sony would simply be putting the extras on a 2nd disc and using the max bitrate for the movie by putting it on its own disc. Maybe the current version has extras on the same disc as the movie.
Furthermore, starting with a 4K image just to output it to 2K (1920 px X 1080 px) does nothing for image quality. If you start with a 4K image, what's put on a Blu-ray is a downsampled version at 1920 x 1080 pixels (2K), as that it all an HDTV can show. Including a 4K image on a Blu-ray disc to be viewed on a regular HDTV will do nothing except take up more disc space. A 4K image only does any good if it's output at 4K for viewing on 4K TVs
If a movie was mastered in 4K, while you got the 2K version on Blu-ray, the studio can now output a 4K version for the new 4K TVs. If a movie was mastered at 2K, a quality 4K version is not possible (without starting all over again with the original negative). Making a 4K image from a 2K image would be nothing more than upsampling (enlarging) the image.
This is no different than still images, which many people are more familiar with than video. If you send your mom an image from a 20 MP camera, it's so big that she has to shrink it down on her monitor just to see it. Instead, you shrink it down for her and email her something like 800 px X 600 px. But you still have the full size image for making large prints. If you started off with an 800x 600 image because you thought that's all you'll ever need, your stuck at that maximum size. This is why even when I am photographing for web sites, I shoot in the largest size my camera can--way more than I need for a web photo, but no telling what the future holds.
Studios mastered films at 2K because at the time they figured that would be as good as anyone would ever want. Unless they go back to the film negative, 2K is all they will have.
So, no, 4K is not Super Bit. If you want the best image on your new zillion dollar 4K TV, you need a 4K image. You don't need this for standard 2K TV. And, yes, the image will be better than watching a 2K Blu-ray on a 4K TV, though not the same difference as watching a DVD on HDTV. That is a 4x upsampling. Blu-ray to 4K is just a 2x upsampling.
As long as this results in remasters of films that presently have dreadful transfers then that's a good thing. Hopefully other studios will follow Sony's lead and start correcting their appalling back-catalogue titles which have nowhere near the level of picture quality of which Blu ray is capable.
josh this is not a new format its still blu ray also.
Still this is useless to people with TV screens which i suspect most of us have. But it will not wreck anything for blu ray because this is also blu ray. Josh you have misunderstand this is not a new format. This is Blu ray just 4K mastered
If you have a box of apples, and a few are rotton it is much better to have a large sampling of the batch then a small sampling to get an overall picture of the quality of your product. It is a statistics problem and downsampling from a better source is much more effective then less. The same is true of the picture quality example. If you don't believe me then go have a camera take a 12 megapixel picture and then have another camera take a 4 megapixel. What the human eye can detect should never be underestimated. The great thing about Bluray is that the format can be upgraded with just a bit of software or at worst cheap hardware. It doesn't make the rest of the collection obsolete the same as DVD's haven't become obsolete. Matter of fact, with Extras not being licensed properly, I find them even more valuable!
I am confused. So are they going to re-release those films listed above in a specific Superbit-type package or have those films already been released from a 4K master in their original release. I already bought TASM in 3D. Not planning on buying it again. Why not just release it with the maximum quality the first time instead of releasing an inferior product the first time?
I didn't see anything wrong with TASM 3D/2D discs to warrant a repurchase.
Bitrate determines picture quality? What quack reveiwer said that. Bitrate has a significant impact for sure, but it's almost trivial compared to how well the film was mastered. Inexperienced internet reviewers are constantly misdiagnosing video issues based on unstudied, ignorant assumptions that are neither qualified, nor qualifiable. "Why doesn't this film mastered in 1998 look like this one mastered in 2008? Oh, it's MPEG2. That must be the problem." It's like reading early internet dvd reviews criticizing PCM, assuming 2-channel compressed DD is better just because of their association of PCM with CD.
I agree though that, if these new BDs are just higher bitrate 1080p offerings, rather than actual 4K presentations, it's more marketing hype than anything. Superbit was widely considered a joke and DVD was a format that desperately needed maxing out the bitrate. But with BD the most over compressed BD I've ever seen still wasn't as compressed as the very best compressed DVD I've ever seen. Only those with more revealing front projection setups will appreciate any benefit of less compression, which, again, would be a marginal improvement over the current BDs at best.
Now, if these are full 4K BDs, and you've got a 4K display, that should be worth the upgrade to more people. Though considering no flat panel display on the market, due to design limitations, is even fully revealing of the amount of detail in 1080p, unless you've got 4K front projection, it's questionable whether the difference will be very profound over 1080p scaled to 4K material. At smaller consumer display screen sizes, even as large as 80 inches, the difference in picture quality between 1080p and 4K is more to do with screen resolution, rather than the ability of the components to fully resolve the source material.
@ugi100 : It's clearly stating that the newly issued Blu Rays will be nothing new. Sony wab-site seems to omit the "output in high bitrate 1080p" part...
It's going to be 1080p, in AVC / VC-1 encoding, using the norms of the current format.
Then, how is it going to be any different than the current ones ? Take The Amazing Spider Man : it has been shot in Red Epic, mastered in 4K, then encoded in 1080p with a disc dedicated for the film.
How the new "Mastered in 4K" Blu Ray is going to be any different or better than this ?
Moreover, several movies released in different editions have proven for a long time that bitrate is only a factor of PQ. High bitrate does not mean fantastic PQ, as low bitrate does not mean automatic bad PQ.
Take Zodiac, for instance. Paramount had a maxed out disc space. Warner a much lower one because the put the extras on the same disc than the movie. Guess what : differences are minimal to say the least.
You can also take a release like Carlotta's Dressed to Kill, which has a maxed out bitrate (35 Mbps), but still exhibits on the misty shower scenes compression limits.
And, of course, 2K, 4K, 8K, 100K means nothing if some studios (Universal, I look at you) keep on using intrusive and useless post processing tools as DNR or EE.
Hmmmm... I will keep an open mind.... However, the PQ will need to be better... I suppose that a blu-ray sourced from a 4K scan would look better that the same film sourced from a 2K scan. I will certainly not replace any blu's I own with these new ones... but perhaps in the future I might bite.... again, it depends on the PQ and the price. Like most of you, I don't mind an extra few bucks for a better viewing experience.... Sony is just going to have to prove this to me.
I see nothing wrong with Sony providing better-looking transfers. If it doesn't matter to you, then pass on it. If a cleaner transfer does matter to you, then great. There is never anything wrong with having more options!
"The new 4K Ultra HD Video Player is a hard-disc server that connects easily to Sony’s 84-inch 4K LED TV (XBR-84X900) allowing consumers to view 4K resolution movies and short form 4K videos. Available as a bonus loaned exclusively to U.S. customers purchasing the Sony 4K LED TV, the video player comes loaded with content, including both full length Hollywood features and a gallery of videos, creating the first true home 4K experience."
- And these high bit-rate Blu-ray's designed for better 2K to 4K upscaling.
At worst people will only have to upgrade their TV's as I can see if there is any use to 4k. Unlike 3D which made people upgrade potentially their players, receiver and TV's. What a money sink that was.
First title is Spiderman? My psychic powers say the next two titles will be....Fifth Element and A Knight's Tale!
(And it wouldn't be Superbit Returns without them trying to squeeze a Resident Evil sequel in there somewhere.)
Okay, is anyone really clamoring for Superbit 4K editions of That's My Boy or Bad Teacher when Sony have the likes of Lawrence of Arabia, Close Encounters etc. etc. in their library? They're not exactly selling it to anyone with that lineup.
@DrWally - I liked the bad teacher and the good teacher
There was nothing wrong with Superbit as most of those DVDs were actually mastered differently (better). Likewise this new 4K badge SHOULD be a way of denoting a new improved blu-ray transfer or a sign of high quality for new releases. Although it may be a marketing term, like the phrase "mastered in high-definition" was used on standard DVDs it could still have merit. What I'm afraid of with this is conning the consumer into thinking it is a new improved transfer or something else entirely, when it is just a new packaging on the exact same Blu-ray...
Like tenia said 4 hrs above:
"Take The Amazing Spider Man : it has been shot in Red Epic, mastered in 4K, then encoded in 1080p with a disc dedicated for the film. How the new "Mastered in 4K" Blu Ray is going to be any different or better than this ?"
@AngelGraves13 - you will "hold out" and not buy any Blu-rays mastered in 4K because they might some day be released in a 4K format? Many movies we already own were mastered in 4K - Sony is just leveraging it as a marketing term now. We will have to depend even more on reviews before double-dipping though, which is what I think you meant.
If this misleading Sony product announcement can cause such confusion on a specialized forum like this one, imagine what it will do for average consumers.
This is as bad as having a "High Definition" badge on a DVD player because it does upscalling on HDMI. Or when most every analog products had a "Digital ready" sign when the CD was the newest hot thing.
Exactly, Deromax. It is INTENTIONALLY misleading. I think that's the point, and it's pretty underhanded, if you ask me. For those crazy millionaires who adopt the first waves of 4K tvs, they'll buy these thinking they're designed for 4K tvs, and they'll be wrong, as they are still 1080p, but Sony makes money on it. For those who don't have 4K tvs, people who are unaware will automatically assume that this is a leap of quality over their current Blu-rays, which it likely won't be unless the quality was poor to begin with, and will re-buy, so Sony makes money. They are simply trying to take advantage of those who are ill-informed to make some extra cash. As for 4K discs, they would be shooting themselves in the foot by trying to make people switch to a new format again, but then I think 3D is a pointless rip-off, so what do I know?
To be able to see the full 4K resolution, you must have a 4K UHD TV, which cost an arm, leg and foot! 25 grand to be exact.... Who's going to spend $25,000.00 for a 4K TV, with minimal 4K content to utilize it? Watching 4K movies on a 1080p monitor, will only marginally improve the video quality, versus seeing the movie(s) on a genuine 4K UHD TV. Unless you already own a $25,000.00 4K UHD TV, you're good to go. If I had that kind of money to spend on a 4K UHD TV, I would rather invest that money for a down payment on a house instead, a luxury that will appreciates in value annually.
What they need to come up with is a backwards compatible Blu-ray disc that is able to store a 4K feature on it that will play to 2K when played on the current 1080p Blu-ray players. If we ever upgrade to a 4K Blu-ray player in the future, there will be no need to upgrade that specific Blu-ray disc since it has the 4K feature on it. It's planning for the future.
Kind of like how the Resident Evil Afterlife & Retribution 3D discs contain both the 2D and 3D versions, but play only in 3D if one has a 3D TV and Blu-ray player (otherwise it plays in 2D).