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Old 02-02-2021, 01:33 AM   #1
JWgrayhawk JWgrayhawk is offline
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Default 4K streaming vs Blu-ray disc

I'm rather amazed at how good streaming video PQ has gotten, but still understand that the much higher bitrate of discs is superior. But sometimes I'll purchase a BR that comes with a digital copy and that copy redeems as UHD, complete with HDR. I'm thinking the HDR component likely makes the digital superior overall, even though lower bitrate 4K might have less overall clarity that high bitrate 2K. But I'd like some input from those more knowledgeable than myself. Thoughts?
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:49 AM   #2
SpaceBlackKnight SpaceBlackKnight is offline
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With modern films, they're all shot on digital so most streaming versions won't look much different from the disc equivalent. However, on action movies with lots of activity going on in scenes, compression macroblocking will be more prominent on a 4k streaming version than the 4k disc.

As to old movies shot on film, disc will almost, always look better. Comparison between the 2016 Sony UHD vs the 4k HDR Vudu stream of Ghostbusters is similar to the 1080p testing. However, there are huge bitrate and PQ differences between the 4k UHD with HDR and the Vudu 4k HDR stream. The UHD HDR disc uses the H265 codec and looks phenomenal as it's optimized for a grainy film with a 50-102mbs bitrate. The Vudu 4k HDR stream is H265 also, but runs at a much lower bitrate of 15-34mbs to address for bandwidth and file size constraints. It looks OK overall, but doesn't hold a candle to the UHD as there's noticeable macroblocking and compression due it being a grainy film with a low bitrate in 4k.
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Old 02-02-2021, 12:13 PM   #3
oneway23 oneway23 is offline
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Have you tried streaming that same movie in iTunes? I only ask because I was an avid Vudu proponent for a decade, and had always read that they had the best streaming quality.

As it turns out, in the intervening years, Vudu must not have kept up with advances in compression technology, especially in the jump to UHD, because their internal player no longer holds a candle to either iTunes or Movies Anywhere, with Amazon being a distant fourth, imo. I was absolutely floored watching some of my collection on the ATV app when it started showing up on my devices. So much so that I've actually begun re-buying all of my non-Movies Anywhere flicks on iTunes.

I'm definitely not going to attempt to speak beyond my knowledge here, and, I'm not looking to rile anyone up. This just my personal experience, and, listen, I'm sure, objectively, that the disc technically has a higher bitrate, but, I'd truthfully be stunned if most movies were subjectively anywhere over, say, a 10% difference on my 65' CX, specifically with the ATV app.. I can live with that.

Last edited by oneway23; 02-02-2021 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 02-02-2021, 01:44 PM   #4
JWgrayhawk JWgrayhawk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceBlackKnight View Post
With modern films, they're all shot on digital so most streaming versions won't look much different from the disc equivalent. However, on action movies with lots of activity going on in scenes, compression macroblocking will be more prominent on a 4k streaming version than the 4k disc.

As to old movies shot on film, disc will almost, always look better. Comparison between the 2016 Sony UHD vs the 4k HDR Vudu stream of Ghostbusters is similar to the 1080p testing. However, there are huge bitrate and PQ differences between the 4k UHD with HDR and the Vudu 4k HDR stream. The UHD HDR disc uses the H265 codec and looks phenomenal as it's optimized for a grainy film with a 50-102mbs bitrate. The Vudu 4k HDR stream is H265 also, but runs at a much lower bitrate of 15-34mbs to address for bandwidth and file size constraints. It looks OK overall, but doesn't hold a candle to the UHD as there's noticeable macroblocking and compression due it being a grainy film with a low bitrate in 4k.
Unless I'm misunderstanding, you're comparing streamed UHD to disc UHD. But I know discs will be better in that scenario- though as you say how much better will depend upon the source. But I'm curious whether a 4K HDR stream will be superior to the 2K blu-ray.
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Old 02-02-2021, 01:53 PM   #5
lgans316 lgans316 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWgrayhawk View Post
Unless I'm misunderstanding, you're comparing streamed UHD to disc UHD. But I know discs will be better in that scenario- though as you say how much better will depend upon the source. But I'm curious whether a 4K HDR stream will be superior to the 2K blu-ray.
From a bit rate perspective, yes they are because:

1. 4K HDR stream uses HEVC and 2K Blu-rays uses AVC. HEVC is meant to be 40-60% efficient than AVC.
2. 4K HEVC encoded HDR streams (iTunes/MA) have an average video bit rate of 15/25 Mbps which is about 22-38 Mbps AVC.

Take Avengers Endgame:

The 4K UHD HDR10 AVBR is 38 Mbps and 4K DV stream (iTunes) is 25 Mbps. Personally, I couldn't spot that much of a difference between the 2 from a reasonable viewing distance.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:14 PM   #6
JWgrayhawk JWgrayhawk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneway23 View Post
Have you tried streaming that same movie in iTunes? I only ask because I was an avid Vudu proponent for a decade, and had always read that they had the best streaming quality.

As it turns out, in the intervening years, Vudu must not have kept up with advances in compression technology, especially in the jump to UHD, because their internal player no longer holds a candle to either iTunes or Movies Anywhere, with Amazon being a distant fourth, imo. I was absolutely floored watching some of my collection on the ATV app when it started showing up on my devices. So much so that I've actually begun re-buying all of my non-Movies Anywhere flicks on iTunes.

I'm definitely not going to attempt to speak beyond my knowledge here, and, I'm not looking to rile anyone up. This just my personal experience, and, listen, I'm sure, objectively, that the disc technically has a higher bitrate, but, I'd truthfully be stunned if most movies were subjectively anywhere over, say, a 10% difference on my 65' CX, specifically with the ATV app.. I can live with that.
Yes, I always watch streamed movies on MA or the Apple app when possible. I saw somewhere on this forum where someone did a bit-rate comparison of the streaming services using his Apple TV. Amazon was worst, followed by Vudu, then MA and the Apple Tv was at the top. But that was the component, not the app. I would imagine the app is lower bitrate than the component, so I switch MA and Apple; Ma at the top, but Apple app ahead of Vudu and Prime. IIRC Netflix was just above Vudu.

I find most streamed sources on MA, Apple or even Vudu to look surprisingly great. I'm not super knowledgeable nor trained in what to look for, but what deficiencies I notice are some noise present at times- esp. in large dark swatches, some reduction in shadow detail and the presence of banding. These issues are not prevalent, but show up sporadically- in what I assume are demanding scenes bit-wise.

IMO, the biggest improvement in UHD is Wide Color Gamut. Colors often really pop in HDR, though I'm unsure whether color depth is affected by lower bit-rates. But some streamed UHD movies look really great. I was amazed by the color saturation in Casino.

Regardless, at the present I choose a streamed UHD version over a 1080p blu-ray. Not sure of the pros/cons of this choice except for one certainty: the laser assemblies in both my Oppo 103D and Sony UBP 800X M2 have limited lifespans, so less usage of them is a definite plus.
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:19 PM   #7
JWgrayhawk JWgrayhawk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post
From a bit rate perspective, yes they are because:

1. 4K HDR stream uses HEVC and 2K Blu-rays uses AVC. HEVC is meant to be 40-60% efficient than AVC.
2. 4K HEVC encoded HDR streams (iTunes/MA) have an average video bit rate of 15/25 Mbps which is about 22-38 Mbps AVC.

Take Avengers Endgame:

The 4K UHD HDR10 AVBR is 38 Mbps and 4K DV stream (iTunes) is 25 Mbps. Personally, I couldn't spot that much of a difference between the 2 from a reasonable viewing distance.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
Great- thanks! This is the kind of knowledge I was missing and can help validate my choice. Not that it's critical, but it gives my anal-retentive mind 1 less thing to worry over!!!
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:36 PM   #8
cmay91472 cmay91472 is offline
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I’m 100% digital. Will never criticize the physical 4K disc collectors, without them the days of $5 digital codes would disappear.

In regards to quality, I’m streaming to a 120 inch screen. Any noticeable differences in image quality is significantly smaller now compared to even a year or two ago and certainly not enough of a difference for me to continue to pay $25 per disc vs $5 digital considering the high volume of titles I buy (400+ since March).

Biggest difference is with Dolby Atmos tracks and even with those, the streaming Atmos still sounds great. But unlike the image quality video, the audio quality differences are noticeable to some degree.
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:47 PM   #9
oneway23 oneway23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmay91472 View Post
Biggest difference is with Dolby Atmos tracks and even with those, the streaming Atmos still sounds great. But unlike the image quality video, the audio quality differences are noticeable to some degree.
See, this is interesting to me. In thinking about the bitrate, I hadn't adequately considered the audio quality. You're 100% correct in saying the audio difference between streaming & disc is notable.

As an aside, I see you have an AppleTV. Would you be able to speak to what JWgrayhawk has said about the physical AppleTV box being a quality improvement over the AppleTV app? I'm not doubting whether or not that's the case, but, it's the first I'm hearing about it (Never thought to look into it before).
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:56 PM   #10
Jbabler Jbabler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneway23 View Post
Have you tried streaming that same movie in iTunes? I only ask because I was an avid Vudu proponent for a decade, and had always read that they had the best streaming quality.

As it turns out, in the intervening years, Vudu must not have kept up with advances in compression technology, especially in the jump to UHD, because their internal player no longer holds a candle to either iTunes or Movies Anywhere, with Amazon being a distant fourth, imo. I was absolutely floored watching some of my collection on the ATV app when it started showing up on my devices. So much so that I've actually begun re-buying all of my non-Movies Anywhere flicks on iTunes.

I'm definitely not going to attempt to speak beyond my knowledge here, and, I'm not looking to rile anyone up. This just my personal experience, and, listen, I'm sure, objectively, that the disc technically has a higher bitrate, but, I'd truthfully be stunned if most movies were subjectively anywhere over, say, a 10% difference on my 65' CX, specifically with the ATV app.. I can live with that.
I agree with this. I think the quality difference between Apple and Vudu is noticeable.

And I also agree that while the disc version of most movies looks better, I personally most often don't think the difference is worth worrying about.

I've been in a de-cluttering phase and have sold almost all of my BDs and have now started selling off my 4k movies. I don't really regret it.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:05 PM   #11
cmay91472 cmay91472 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneway23 View Post
See, this is interesting to me. In thinking about the bitrate, I hadn't adequately considered the audio quality. You're 100% correct in saying the audio difference between streaming & disc is notable.

As an aside, I see you have an AppleTV. Would you be able to speak to what JWgrayhawk has said about the physical AppleTV box being a quality improvement over the AppleTV app? I'm not doubting whether or not that's the case, but, it's the first I'm hearing about it (Never thought to look into it before).
Iíve only ever used the AppleTV box so honestly canít comment on the quality of streaming using the AppleTV app on non Apple devices. I can say the user interface alone would be a legit reason to buy an AppleTV box.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:11 PM   #12
cmay91472 cmay91472 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbabler View Post
I agree with this. I think the quality difference between Apple and Vudu is noticeable.

And I also agree that while the disc version of most movies looks better, I personally most often don't think the difference is worth worrying about.

I've been in a de-cluttering phase and have sold almost all of my BDs and have now started selling off my 4k movies. I don't really regret it.
Itís actually frightening how poor VUDU is right now compared to ITunes and MoviesAnywhere. Iíll still use VUDU when needed such as the other night I streamed A League of their Own as VUDU has the Atmos track, but even then I almost used iTunes with the intention of having my AVR upconvert the audio to DTS Neural X.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:12 PM   #13
Fiffy Fiffy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWgrayhawk View Post
I'm rather amazed at how good streaming video PQ has gotten, but still understand that the much higher bitrate of discs is superior. But sometimes I'll purchase a BR that comes with a digital copy and that copy redeems as UHD, complete with HDR. I'm thinking the HDR component likely makes the digital superior overall, even though lower bitrate 4K might have less overall clarity that high bitrate 2K. But I'd like some input from those more knowledgeable than myself. Thoughts?
You can't really make a blanket statement. It depends a lot on the movie. Film grain in particular is hard to compress (since it's basically random noise), and that's where the combination of (potentially) higher bitrate and lower resolution on a standard BD can make a difference. But of course that also requires that a high-quality master was used. I don't buy a lot of discs anymore, but when I do I mostly focus on remastered classics on UHD BD, which can look significantly better than the corresponding 4K streams (e.g. Jaws or The Bridge on the River Kwai).

Newer digitally shot films tend to have less grain and are easier to compress. In those cases, 4K streams can look very similar to UHD BD, and easily beat standard BD. And, as mentioned, there are also differences between different streaming providers.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:26 PM   #14
Fiffy Fiffy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post
2. 4K HEVC encoded HDR streams (iTunes/MA) have an average video bit rate of 15/25 Mbps which is about 22-38 Mbps AVC.
You can't really compare it directly like that since a 4K stream in general takes more bandwidth to encode than an HD stream (four times as many pixels).
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:28 PM   #15
lgans316 lgans316 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiffy View Post
You can't really compare it directly like that since a 4K stream in general takes more bandwidth to encode than an HD stream (four times as many pixels).
I understand that but the comparison is still valid given the subject of this thread.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:31 PM   #16
oneway23 oneway23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmay91472 View Post
I’ve only ever used the AppleTV box so honestly can’t comment on the quality of streaming using the AppleTV app on non Apple devices. I can say the user interface alone would be a legit reason to buy an AppleTV box.
Thanks. Have been considering buying one for watching Justice League, since LG doesn't have the HBO Max app (and the Roku TV which does have it is in my bedroom), but, it's been three years since the ATV 4k and I keep seeing things about a refresh around March, which, coincidentally is right in line with the JL release date on HBO Max.

I don't wanna take this thread too far off, but, do you think it's still worth it to buy one?

Last edited by oneway23; 02-02-2021 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:35 PM   #17
oneway23 oneway23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiffy View Post
I don't buy a lot of discs anymore, but when I do I mostly focus on remastered classics on UHD BD, which can look significantly better than the corresponding 4K streams (e.g. Jaws or The Bridge on the River Kwai).
This isn't a challenge to your statement, since I haven't seen the 4k disc, but, just kneejerk reaction? I'm absolutely bowled over that Jaws can look substantially better than it already does via the AppleTV app.

I think it already looks phenomenal, and the fact that it can look even better is pretty mind-blowing.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:39 PM   #18
Fiffy Fiffy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneway23 View Post
This isn't a challenge to your statement, since I haven't seen the 4k disc, but, just kneejerk reaction? I'm absolutely bowled over that Jaws can look substantially better than it already does via the AppleTV app.

I think it already looks phenomenal, and the fact that it can look even better is pretty mind-blowing.
Oh, I'm not saying that Jaws 4K on iTunes looks bad by any means. But the UHD BD has a more natural looking grain "texture". I recently finally got a 4K projector, and it does make a significant difference at 100" screen size.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:47 PM   #19
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I'd wait for the new Apple TV.

Vincent recently reviewed the new iPhone which had comparable color accuracy to a Sony reference mastering monitor. Apple knows what it's doing in regards to UHD quality. It's why myself and others have dumped disc.
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Old 02-02-2021, 04:04 PM   #20
oneway23 oneway23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiffy View Post
I recently finally got a 4K projector, and it does make a significant difference at 100" screen size.
Holy cow....That's tremendous....What time does the screening start at your place?
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