With the recent update on what Ultra HD Blu-ray will offer and the fact that the format specs will be officially confirmed in the upcoming weeks according to the always interesting Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits, I’m convinced even more that I want the format to succeed and that I will try at least for one more generation of technology to augment my movie library.
Of course all the digital natives out there are already laughing while reading this and a lot of them will never buy a Blu-ray movie, even less a 4K one. It’s true that the digital streaming convenience is great and that direct access to thousand of movies and hundreds of TV Shows is a blessing. But, as a lot of home theater enthusiasts will tell you, the quality of streaming is not up to par with disc based media.
When you currently look at the ISP Speed Index provided by Netflix, the best streaming bandwidth connection they recorded in November in the USA is 3.27 Mbps. Just as a comparison factor, Blu-ray movies average 20 to 30 Mbps and the announced bandwidth for Ultra HD Blu-ray will be close to 100 Mbps. This means that the movies and TV shows we watch in HD on streaming services are way more compressed and we definitively loose details and both audio and video quality.
With more and more movies shot digitally in 4K and enthusiasts wishing to get the best multimedia experience possible, the bandwidth necessary to reproduce this in the home theater will continue to be a challenge for a while.
On top of this, and yes digital natives will probably laugh again, the collectible factor is still in my mind an important part of buying disc based movie. The capability to see packaging, purchase collector editions of our favorite movies and document your collection is in my mind an important factor.
Yes disc based media sales will continue to go down and will be gradually replaced by streaming and digital. But as a movie collector, I still hope and believe Ultra HD Blu-ray will have a good level of success and will help disc based medias continue to be the best way to experience movies at home as they were created by the artists behind them.
In term of technology, I never complained about the early adopter tax : the fact that as enthusiasts we pay more for new technology that was just recently released. I somehow get more frustrated when important issues hit a new device (e.g. Xbox 360 red ring of death or Harman Kardon DVD macroblocks) and early adopters end up with more problems than joy.
But honestly, that never stopped me from buying new technology, just for the rush of trying it as early as possible and to be able to share impressions about it and bring other people to experience it with me. In that sense, early adopters, when treated well, are the best ambassadors of any new technology product. I cannot count the number of DVD players, home theater systems, LCD televisions and other technology I recommended and helped people purchase over the last decade. Make me happy with a new technology launch and I’ll almost wear a tattoo of its name wherever you want me to.
Continue reading Dolby Atmos and DTS:X : Early Adopter Complains
As you may have read in my three wishes for CES 2015, Blu-ray 4K was in my mind the most important announcement of the show this year. After a limited press releases last September announcing the format would be launched for the 2015 holiday period, CES was the perfect timing to hope to see players in action and ideally a commitment from studios to the format. After watching the webcast of the press conferences at the show on Monday, it’s hard to be very satisfied with what was announced.
The only company that presented something was Panasonic, who showed a prototype player, pictured above, supporting 4K video output at 60p, 10-bit gradation of colours and high dynamic range, all of this through an impressive debit of 100 Mbps coming from the disc format. This is all of course tentative as the format standards has not been confirmed yet.
Continue reading Ultra HD Blu-ray somewhat announced at CES 2015
If you are like me and desperately waiting for some content to watch on your new 4K TV and feel let down by the real visual difference provided by 4K streaming (more on that in a later post), the Blender Foundation is there to help. Responsible for the development of open source 3D rendering tools, the group also drives open content movie projects almost every year.
Since 2008, three of their short movies have received a 4K rendition that you are able to freely download and watch on your TV provided it supports the format or if you have a working 4K media player.
You’ll find below the link to the three movie websites where you’ll be able to download them in 4K and I included a Youtube version if you want to preview the movie before downloading.
Continue reading Some 4K Demo Material Thanks To The Blender Foundation
How Reviews Are Done On NextGenHomeTheater.com : Here are some ground rules for review on this site. The first thing is that the movie itself will never be reviewed, as this is not the intention and tastes and opinion regarding movies are up to the viewer. Furthermore, the review will concentrate on the next generation element of the content, so in this case the Dolby Atmos track, while presenting the other aspects. A Blu-Ray 4K would for example be reviewed for visual performance only. There will not by any grades either, just comments and a purchase recommandation in the conclusion.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is another reboot in the recent wave of 80’s and 90’s popular culture rebirth. Is this new version, the four turtles, helped by April and Splinter, will try to stop Shredder and his Foot Clan from getting control of New York City.
Continue reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Dolby Atmos Review
Waking up from the holiday celebrations this morning, I realized that CES was now only four days away. To be honest, the last couple of years I had mostly lost interest in the show. Bigger TVs, almost identical wearable gear and more bluetooth speakers were making the show pretty boring.
2015 is a different story. Maybe it’s personal, but I feel that this year new technologies announced at CES will impact the home theater in a meaningful way. I can assure you that this time I’ll be following closely the announcements next Tuesday and reporting here as soon as possible.
While we wait for the event to take place, here are three things that are not official yet that I would like to see happen next week in Las Vegas.
Continue reading Three Wishes For CES 2015
How Reviews Are Done On NextGenHomeTheater.com : Here is the first content review on the blog. Before getting into Step Up All In, let’s set some ground rules for review on this site. The first thing is that the movie itself will never be reviewed, as this is not the intention and tastes and opinion regarding movies are up to the viewer. Furthermore, the review will concentrate on the next generation element of the content, so in this case the Dolby Atmos track, while presenting the other aspects. A Blu-Ray 4K would for example be reviewed for visual performance only. There will not by any numbers either, just comments and a purchase recommandation in the conclusion.
Step Up All In is the fifth instalment of the series and regroup characters from the previous movies while they regroup in Las Vegas for a dance competition called The Vortex with the ultimate price of running their own show in Sin City for three years.
Continue reading Step Up All In : Dolby Atmos Review
I fondly remember the year 1999. Why ? It’s the year where I went back five times to the home audio video store to buy, return and upgrade my first home theater system.
You see, I just had purchase my first home DVD player a couple of weeks before. After learning everything about black bars and aspect ratios and overcoming the shock of not using all of my TV to watch movies (I was young and naive), I quickly realized that listening to movies on my old stereo system was not really an option. I needed to leverage the full capacity of that new player and hear the movie the way it was intended to be : in the right aspect ratio with surround sound.
The first sound system I bought one was simply a Pro Logic system, for a matter of not investing too much I imagine. I came back home, enabled Dolby Surround on my system and waited for something great to happen. And nothing great happened. I sat down, watched a couple of movies, trying to concentrate to hear surround sound coming from the tiny “home theater in a box” speakers that came with the system but could barely hear effects.
Continue reading A New Blog Dedicated To New Technologies In Home Theaters
After seeing the arrival of Dolby Atmos in home theaters at the end of 2014, it comes as no surprise to see that DTS announced yesterday the release of their own object based audio format called DTS:X. The new format will be launch in March 2015 and already the vast majority of home theater receiver manufacturers has agreed to implement it.
The press release from DTS, coming at a strange time on December 30th, a couple of weeks away from CES, states that among others, Anthem, Denon, Integra, Krell, Marantz, McIntosh, Onkyo, Outlaw Audio, Pioneer, Steinway Lyngdorf, Theta Digital, Trinnov Audio and Yamaha will be supporting the format. It is yet unknown if this will be done through firmware updates on some of those or if new receivers will be needed.
DTS had been a favorite over the last couple of years on Blu-ray with a strong presence of DTS Master Audio tracks, but they will be coming late to the object based format this time. It will be interesting to see if their relationship with studios will be able to help them establish this leadership position over Dolby Atmos.
Continue reading DTS announces officially it’s object based format : DTS:X