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Old 02-21-2021, 12:49 PM   #1
Mr. Sasquatch Mr. Sasquatch is offline
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Default Are "HD" Streams of DVD movies just up-converts?

For a movie that is available on DVD, but has never been released on Blu-ray, when that movie is available on streaming services and marked as "HD", is the stream just the SD Master up-converted to HD? The studio probably never made a true HD Master for an older movie that has never been released on Blu-ray, right?


I've run across this situation before, but currently I'm looking at the 2008 movie "Goodbye Solo". I'm deciding if I should rent the Netflix disc or pay a couple bucks for the "HD" stream, if the PQ will be any better with the stream.

Last edited by Mr. Sasquatch; 02-21-2021 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:08 PM   #2
Fiffy Fiffy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Sasquatch View Post
For a movie that is available on DVD, but has never been released on Blu-ray, when that movie is available on streaming services and marked as "HD", is the stream just the SD Master up-converted to HD? The studio probably never made a true HD Master for an older movie that has never been released on Blu-ray, right?
No, not necessarily. There are many less known movies (and even more TV shows) that have never been released on BD but have been shown in HD on TV and/or on streaming services. Upscales are rare on the digital stores.
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:27 PM   #3
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The Dukes of Hazzard series haven't been released on Blu-ray, yet they've been beautifully remastered in HD. There is a downside to it (other than being digital-only), and that's that they cropped from 4:3 AR to 16:9 AR so you're missing picture intended to be seen.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:27 PM   #4
tjritter79 tjritter79 is offline
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Yes or no....is really too limited an answer. It depends on what it was originally filmed/taped at, and if the actual film masters were used in the ....for the sake of argument lets call it "restoration". While "Fiffy" is correct that upscales are rare, I also want to point out that when found....are terribly annoying, Two instances where this was true and both involve Vudu:
1) "Hondo" an older Paramount John Wayne movie, is in 4:3 ratio and the HDX is simply the upconverted SD master. In my complaint it was revealed that this was an older syndicated TV master. Yet, the iTunes version is REAL HD, matched the original BD and is in 16:9 ratio. I haven't had the opportunity to view this film on other vendors. Vudu MAY have corrected this, they've never contacted me after I was refunded for the purchase. Paramount film, so NOT MA eligible.

2)"The Tomb Of Ligeia" an older Vincent Price film. ONLY Vudu (at the time) offered this on digital. Again their version was a syndicated TV copy, 4:3 ratio and upconverted HDX from the SD master (even blu-ray.com lists this as 2.35:1 which is incorrect). The Shout Factory! "Vincent Price Collection II" has this title in true HD and 16:9 ratio.
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:31 PM   #5
crackedknee crackedknee is offline
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As noted, yes, there are some egregious upconverts, and Vudu is the worst at having these versions. This is because Vudu tried early on to be the service with the largest mass of material, and therefore accepted/adopted/bought any version they could get their hands on (i.e. way too many syndicated TV versions). Other services often have the correct version, not just one that is a true HD scan, but, as noted above, the correct aspect ratio.

Note also, that just because a movie was released on DVD, that does not mean the scan was merely SD. Plenty of DVDs were produced from an HD scan, which would still exist. But were not released on BD, only DVD. Including some HD scans on DVD from before the era of BDs. And, of course, to varying degrees of restoration (up to no restoration at all). So a fair number of HD movies on Vudu would be true HD scans.

TV can be a bit problematic, as it may depend on how they filmed and/or archived the show in question. Many from a certain time span were filmed and/or stored on magnetic media (not film), and would never really look "HD". Some were stored on higher quality magnetic media and might look varying degrees of better/excellent in "HD". Some series were notably filmed and stored on 35mm film, which can yield excellent HD (and of course UHD) results.
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:42 PM   #6
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I have had a few disappointments on streaming, just as some discs look like crap. But for the most part everything is good just like physical. I'm talking about movies as I own very few television series.

Most movies line up with the picture quality reviews you get on here for physical. Just a tad behind due to bit rates but unless you have a huge screen or sit really close and have exceptional eye sight and/or are looking for issues, you may never notice.

Last edited by bladerunner1; 02-21-2021 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:28 AM   #7
Lee A Stewart Lee A Stewart is online now
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Many DVDs, especially anamorphic ones had HD masters.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:48 PM   #8
tjritter79 tjritter79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee A Stewart View Post
Many DVDs, especially anamorphic ones had HD masters.
Technically, DVD's are 480, so not an HD format. Films began getting digital masters in 1998, the same year they began filming some movies digitally.
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjritter79 View Post
Technically, DVD's are 480, so not an HD format. Films began getting digital masters in 1998, the same year they began filming some movies digitally.
I understood him to be saying that they were scanned / mastered in higher than SD, NOT that the DVD itself is high-Def
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:26 PM   #10
tjritter79 tjritter79 is offline
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My confusion was in what way was he trying to make a distinction?
The DVD format is not HD, so regardless if it uses a 2K or 4K master of the film, the DVD is ALWAYS going to be 720 X 480, regardless of the master used. SD television is 640 X 480, the change in lines to DVD accommodates the change in aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9. Hence "anamorphic one" in his statement. Prolly forgetting when DVD's came out, they were connected via SVHS cable (for video only) or via composite/RCA connections.
When the HD standard was approved in the US and devices began to show in the marketplace, DVD players in order to "keep up" included HDMI ports and up-conversion to 1920 X 1080 to maintain the aspect ratio and produce an "artificially produced" HD image, but the disc itself can never be more than 480.
A 35mm film is already at the same resolution as a 4K digital image, so technically that's beyond an HD image as well.
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:19 AM   #11
JWgrayhawk JWgrayhawk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjritter79 View Post
My confusion was in what way was he trying to make a distinction?
The DVD format is not HD, so regardless if it uses a 2K or 4K master of the film, the DVD is ALWAYS going to be 720 X 480, regardless of the master used. SD television is 640 X 480, the change in lines to DVD accommodates the change in aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9. Hence "anamorphic one" in his statement. Prolly forgetting when DVD's came out, they were connected via SVHS cable (for video only) or via composite/RCA connections.
When the HD standard was approved in the US and devices began to show in the marketplace, DVD players in order to "keep up" included HDMI ports and up-conversion to 1920 X 1080 to maintain the aspect ratio and produce an "artificially produced" HD image, but the disc itself can never be more than 480.
A 35mm film is already at the same resolution as a 4K digital image, so technically that's beyond an HD image as well.
I understood his point to be that in many cases there would be no need to upconvert from SD for an HD stream, because a HD master already exists.
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Old 02-25-2021, 11:51 AM   #12
tjritter79 tjritter79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWgrayhawk View Post
I understood his point to be that in many cases there would be no need to upconvert from SD for an HD stream, because a HD master already exists.
If that was the case, why does Vudu upconvert SD movies to HDX while retaining the 4:3 ratio, if they have access to the same HD master as iTunes?

The original ? was are HD movies whose last physical release was DVD, upconverts or HD masters. Again, depends on the service. Yes most of the time an HD master is used, but you also cannot assume it is 100% so.
Let the buyer beware!
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:01 PM   #13
Fiffy Fiffy is offline
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Sounds like one more reason not to use Vudu. I'm not aware of any "fake" HD movies on iTunes. There is at least one TV show (Farscape) that is an upscale (also on Blu-ray), but that's justified because there is no better source and the upscale from broadcast masters looks better than the DVDs.

Last edited by Fiffy; 02-25-2021 at 04:05 PM.
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