I watched a 4K Blu-ray for the first time in years – and was left disappointed

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Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
I’m going to jump in and defend the author of this article as just one month ago I went through the exact same exercise when (coincidentally) settling down to watch Dune.

Firstly, I think some posters are taking the wording too literal and probably didn’t read right to the end where he concludes the AV advantage.

Anyhoo, I use a Panasonic UB900 and when I put the disk in I also experienced long load times and a noisy mechanism. That noise is problematic as it increases the noise floor in the room and ruins some of the quieter more atmospheric scenes of the film. Now I’ve no idea if it was always that noisy or has developed over time, but it is a problem with alot of mechanical players.

Now maybe a newer player will resolve this; but would I want to invest *today* in a technology that is slowly being phased out?

And here’s the other thing. As per the article the bit rates for Netflix is pretty low and frankly it shows…4K Blu-ray shows Netflix the door and then boots it right through it. But Apple TV+ / iTunes is actually not bad at 40mbps and it is visually and sonically quite a step up from Netflix. I also wonder how much of the 128mbps is actually used on the average disk. I mean we all know DTS-MA on bluray can handle 24 bit at 24mbps but try and find a disk that actually does that. Most are 16 bit 44khz.

I have a number of films from iTunes and an Apple TV+ subscription and I’ve been repeatedly blown away by the picture and sound. Similarly with Prime but not quite to the same extent. I have still been buying films on 4K Blu-ray but due to the expense (£20-£25 per film) I save it for films I absolutely love, such as Dune. However, as I felt let down by the 4K Blu-ray experience this time around I decided to double dip and buy the same film on Apple TV+. With an ageing Blu-ray player and iTunes films being less than half the price of their 4K Blu-ray equivalent I decided to bite the bullet and pay out so I could compare the two to see if it was worth buying any more expensive 4K disks.

The result was interesting. My player is HDR10 only and Apple TV is Dolby Vision so please take this factor as an unfair fight but to my eyes the best picture quality was very much scene dependant. The audio was also very very close. In some scenes the 4K Blu-ray was slightly (very slightly) fuller, but outside of that the fidelity between the two was pretty much on par and the lack of mechanical noise meant the quiet scenes were better via Apple TV+. Now some of this could be my receiver doing a good job, but if I had left the room and someone switched from Blu-ray to Apple TV+ I probably wouldn’t notice. In the past I almost certainly would have noticed, but stream quality really is improving on iTunes. I just might now be favouring the stream when balancing quality and cost, but it is very much service dependent as quality really does vary. I wouldn’t compare Netflix for example with Blu-ray as I can certainly tell the difference in that case.

One last point. As streaming services have increased the bit rates of our film collections have slowly crept up in quality. This does not happen with disk.

So is it worth buying another disk spinner just as studio’s are pulling out and streaming improving? Not for me. I’ll probably keep mine until it breaks or I need the rack space, because I already have a disk collection and it is still a good spinner, but I won’t be adding to that collection in the future.
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Well-known member
May 6, 2017
I have a bunch of BDs but I rarely watch them if I can find the content to stream. The compression with streaming is frustrating but the backwards step in functionality of blu-rays was even moreso. My last DVD player could resume playback in about 3 seconds after pressing the play button in standby. I've had a Pioneer BD player and the PS4 and not only was the load time for both ridiculous but there was no guarantee you could resume from where you last watched.

So they lose revenue because people don't want to buy inconvenient media and we lose AV quality.
I don't have this problem, 4K loads in a very reasonable time, the picture is stunning and my 7.1.4 Atmos setup is the best part, something streaming just cant touch. The functionality of the 4K player is also very good.
Convenience is never going to better the hardware for a long time.

Panasonic, Oppo, Pioneer and Monitor audio.


Well-known member
May 6, 2017


Apr 25, 2022
I am trembling with rage at this silly article by Joe Cox, that l can't bring myself to write anymore.


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