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Old 03-02-2020, 01:41 AM   #1
seafiant seafiant is offline
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Question Is series tv on blu-ray being downgraded?

Even with streaming as an option I buy everything on disc when it's released because I like owning the best possible video quality for futureproofing. Yet TV shows released by one ultra big company on blu-ray are really starting to feel like a scam. Or to put it a better way, they look like cost cutting for profit and nobody seems to notice.

I won't say which company because I don't want to put a bullseye on me. But one of the major ones for US sci-fi TV today used to put about five episodes per disc on UK blu-rays, but the last few years it's gone up to seven episodes on a single disc plus extras - sometimes eight episodes! The number of discs for a regular season down from five to only three to fit the same amount of episodes.

When watching the live stats on a PS3 (yep, still the greatest blu-player) I checked out an earlier release season for a show and the video bitrate was bouncing around 14-16mbps constantly and jumping higher up to 20mbps for occasional pieces. Then I swapped over to a new season presented on fewer discs. Most of the time the video was sticking to between 4.5mbps and 9mbps! At it's peak just hitting double digits. I know variable bit rate but it wouldn't explain away such a huge constant drop for the same show (all bright daytime scenes with action) only a different season.

With most films on blu-ray being around 35mbps for video quality, there are some companies that still keep the episodes around an amazing 30mbps (Agents of SHIELD) but there is one company that is really looking to cut costs by producing fewer discs.

So I've got to ask, is it just me feeling cheated that blu-ray doesn't mean what it used to...at least for series television? Or am I missing something technical which means they've just got better without losing quality even though the bitrate is massively lower?
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:53 AM   #2
PenguinInfinity PenguinInfinity is offline
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Does the picture quality look a lot worse to you?
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:36 AM   #3
seafiant seafiant is offline
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I wouldn't go with "worse" but it does seem to have a slight blur that makes it look like fine detail is missing.
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:23 PM   #4
gotmule gotmule is offline
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Was it just one show where you experienced this, or multiple from the same studio?
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:04 PM   #5
seafiant seafiant is offline
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Multiple. I might as well say which studio it is. It's the most recent seasons for shows like The Flash released by Warner Brothers. All the related shows have been cut in their number of discs per season and also in the reported bitrates when playing via ps3. It does have me wondering if they've lowered it to fit more on to make less discs per box and more profit.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:19 PM   #6
Vilya Vilya is offline
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The product review page here on blu-ray.com states that the average bitrates for seasons 1 and 3 of The Flash were 15.93 Mbps and 16 Mbps respectively. The fourth season's average bitrate was down to 12 Mbps. Season 5 has not been reviewed here and season 2's review lacks this information.

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-F...lu-ray/121750/

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-F...lu-ray/138838/

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-F...lu-ray/165165/

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-F...lu-ray/193278/

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-F...3240/#Overview

All five seasons are presented on four BD-50GB discs using the MPEG-4 codec, but season 4 is approx. 120 minutes longer in total running time than season 1 and 3.

Last edited by Vilya; 03-03-2020 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:47 PM   #7
Legend293 Legend293 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seafiant View Post
Multiple. I might as well say which studio it is. It's the most recent seasons for shows like The Flash released by Warner Brothers. All the related shows have been cut in their number of discs per season and also in the reported bitrates when playing via ps3. It does have me wondering if they've lowered it to fit more on to make less discs per box and more profit.
I rather studios do this then just get rid of blu ray and do dvd only release. Which I oringally thought this thread was gonna be about
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:19 PM   #8
seafiant seafiant is offline
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I use the UK release discs for Flash and Supergirl as my examples, bad example on a US forum on my part. Sorry about that.

A better discussion example would be comparing the 5 discs for every Agents of Shield (Disney) with the around 25-30mbps bitrate to the standard 4 discs (15mb or less) for any modern Warner Bros release. The lowest I'd ever seen was 4.4mbps reported when viewing 'The Originals'. Even the review here on SHIELD makes a passing note about it:

Quote:
Spreading the first season's 22 episodes across 5 discs gives each one plenty of room to breathe, without giving way to any serious compression issues.
https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Agent...104993/#Review

With no release extras (maybe a blooper reel) on SHIELD on 5 discs vs things like Arrow having Comic-Con panels and more to fit on 4 discs doesn't it feel like something has to be being sacrificed somewhere? I keep thinking it's video quality as the bitrate stats keep telling me so.
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:47 PM   #9
PenguinInfinity PenguinInfinity is offline
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Warner has been pretty consistent about putting their full length seasons on 4 discs since the beginning of the format (as far back as 2007). The only difference now is the Arrowverse shows contain up to 26 episodes per season because of the included crossover episodes.

The good news is that the upcoming release of Arrow Season 8 is putting the 5 episode crossover on a separate disc. If Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow do the same thing then there won't be more than 6 episodes on any disc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legend293 View Post
I rather studios do this then just get rid of blu ray and do dvd only release. Which I oringally thought this thread was gonna be about
I agree. Even though Warner puts more episodes on each disc and doesn't fill up the discs (they usually use about 35GB of the 50GB capacity) they are still superior to most other studios because they release far more of their shows on Blu-ray.

Disney is a good example of this. Agents of Shield, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones have great picture quality on Blu-ray. But later seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones haven't been released on Blu-ray (or even DVD) at all. That's far worse than having a lower bitrate than they could.
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Old 03-03-2020, 02:32 PM   #10
Vilya Vilya is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seafiant View Post
I use the UK release discs for Flash and Supergirl as my examples, bad example on a US forum on my part. Sorry about that.

A better discussion example would be comparing the 5 discs for every Agents of Shield (Disney) with the around 25-30mbps bitrate to the standard 4 discs (15mb or less) for any modern Warner Bros release. The lowest I'd ever seen was 4.4mbps reported when viewing 'The Originals'. Even the review here on SHIELD makes a passing note about it:


https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Agent...104993/#Review

With no release extras (maybe a blooper reel) on SHIELD on 5 discs vs things like Arrow having Comic-Con panels and more to fit on 4 discs doesn't it feel like something has to be being sacrificed somewhere? I keep thinking it's video quality as the bitrate stats keep telling me so.
The U.S. and U.K. editions of Flash on blu-ray all use the same codec and the same number of discs per season; they are identical.
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