PODCAST 002: 4K Content

by | Mar 14, 2016 | Podcast | 0 comments

4K Content

by Matt Montgomery, Greg Montgomery | Season 1

In this week’s episode, Matt and Greg discuss 4K content, including 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, and a new Hollywood startup that wants to stream first-run movies for $50.


Matt:

Hey everybody it’s Matt with TYM, and welcome back to our second podcast.  We’re excited to be back.  News this week, we kinda wanted to cover a couple of the articles circulating the web.  Don’t know if you seen it, but Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, and later the President of Facebook, is trying to create, I don’t know how would you explain it?

Greg:

It’s a first run movie service, which means hat you can watch a movie in your home the same day it’s released in the theater.

Matt:

Yeah, and to me, for those of you where maybe this is kind of new.  There’s another services called Prima Cinema.  And the idea with Prima Cinema is that you know you get to watch the movie the same day the movie comes out in the theater but it’s sort for high profile people. It’s $35,000 for the hardware, if I’m understanding right, and then $500 a movie.  Cool service, but you know not something most of us are able to use.  What Sean Parker is doing as I understand it, is that you would have  a set top box that is a $150-200, and you would get to watch the movie one time for $50 when it’s first released.   So you can download it and watch it in your own home without having to go to the theater.

Greg:

Yeah Absolutely, and like you said they’ve got services like this already.  If you live in Hollywood, or have connections to any of the major studios, you might have a private screening room.  And the studio will literally send a projectionist to your house to play a current theatrical release in your private theater.   For some of the A-list stars that don’t want to have to go to theater to watch the latest blockbusters.  Of course that’s expensive for the studios.  That’s why Prima Cinema brought out their service for us mere mortals.  But like you said at $500 a pop, it still hurts, and especially with the hardware cost being $35,000. But it’s been a popular service.  People liked it. A lot of people rationalized they were into the movie $100-200 by the time they took a small family to a movie and bought popcorn.  So it had an audience. But it was still prohibitive.  You had to be able to shell out the money for the equipment.  It involved an FBI-level background check.  And a thumb scanner.

Matt:

Yeah I was going to say there’s a thumb scanner to watch your movie right?

Greg:

Yeah you have to have a thumb scanner so if Dad’s not home you can’t watch the movie. Course if you’re paying $500 you probably don’t want your kids pressing rent anyway. But it was a great service.  It was better than Blu-ray quality, and the Demos I saw were always a lot of fun.  But it didn’t hit the mid market, it didn’t hit the mass market and that was the issue.

Matt:

Well, I was talking to my wife about it this morning, and I asked her for her thoughts on it, and she had the same reaction I did.  You know at $50 a pop, It cost us more than $50 to take our whole family to the movies today, and that’s before we start buying popcorn or anything else. So I like it, I hope Sean Parker is able to pull it off.  Now I know one distinction is that Disney is one of those studios that probably won’t be included in those services.  When you consider Marvel and some of the other companies there, that’s a pretty good chunk of movies.  You were telling me a bit about what you thought lead to this?

Greg:

Well, yeah it’s interesting the Studios have wanted to do this, but now they’ve got the data to really push it.  I think one of the things is the Interview; the famous Sony movie that led to the infamous Sony hack.  Where Sony was hacked, and all their information released to the public, and even death threats leading up to the movie the Interview. So as you might remember the movie was pulled from the theaters.  Nobody wanted to show it.  They all got cold feet because of all the death threats.  So Sony released it online instead.  So it was an online release for a major blockbuster, and it was kind of an industry first.

Matt:

Well, and my understanding is that it was a first run for something digital like this, but they killed it for digital sales online.  They dominated.

Greg:

They did.  The movie did 1.8 million opening weekend at the box office, one million opening day, which wasn’t bad for a limited release because it was only in about 300 theaters.   But in the digital rentals it did $15,000,000 in the first 4 days.  And overall the split was somewhere around $40,000,000 to $11,000,000 rentals vs box office.  So it showed that people were willing to pay to get a first run movie, and get a first glimpse at it.

Matt:

Well, fascinating at the least to see where that’s going to go.  We’d love to hear your thoughts, make sure you send us your comments in the comments section below.  Let us know, would you be willing to pay $50 to see first run movies in your own home?  What’s your thoughts on it?

Kind of changing directions, one of the things we wanted to talk about today is 4K and 4K Blu-rays.  I think it was 2 years ago that we went to CES and saw the first batch of 4K Displays and TV’s.  For me, I’m always kind of more of the audio guy in our group.  I notice a difference in Audio.  But you, Brad and Scott, it’s the video that you guys seem to notice.   You guys can go to a movie and point out to me how impressive the video is, and I just don’t see it.  And that’s why 4K impressed me so much because it’s one of the first times where I really did see the difference between 4K and high def.  So when people ask me if its better, I think it’s sensational how it looks.

Greg:

Oh yeah, people ask all the time.  Maybe not as much as they use to because they’ve seen it themselves now.  But people always ask is 4K really different, is it worth it?  For the little difference you pay in price to future proof and have the latest technology it’s worth it right there.  But then when you view 4K, and you watch a 4K TV and realize how much crisper and cleaner the content looks it’s really hard to go back.

Matt:

So one of the questions we get from customers is ‘do I buy 4K today, or do I wait to a couple of years.  Is it worth getting 4K now, or do I wait a couple of years.  Is it worth buying now?’

Greg:

Well, there’s a couple things that make up 4K.  So for those of you who don’t know, 4K refers to the resolution, 4K or ultra HD.  And basically it’s 4 times the resolution of high def TV as we now know it or 1080p.  So it’s nearly 4,000 lines of resolution. That portion of 4K has been available for years, and its exciting.  But there’s two other portions of 4K.

Something called HDCP, and that’s the encryption. The newest encryption is finally out and available in all new TV’s.  which means you’ll be able to watch any of the 4K content.   To dumb that down it means YES, the 4K tv’s we have now are standardized, they are future proofed and they’re going to work with anything you buy in the future.

Matt:

So you don’t have to worry about replacing your 4K TV in a year because it can’t play the Blu-ray?

Greg:

Exactly.  So the new TV’s have the great standards.  That was the hold up people had.  They knew the standards were being finalized.  Now that the standards are here, there’s not a better time to enjoy it.   Especially with the release of some of the new 4K content and services.   The user experience is pretty dramatic.

Matt:

Before we move onto 4K Content, the color spectrum in 4K, dumb it down for us.  That’s something that’s really unique.  As I understand it, we’re able to see a larger spectrum of the color with 4K then we’ve ever been able to see before and that’s why it looks so amazing.

Greg:

Yeah I think it’s one for the things that people like the most about 4K.  They might not be able to put their finger on it, but when they see a TV they notice right away that it’s different.  It’s because the colors are better.  We’re use to seeing a TV at the local department store, where they’ve turned up the colors and tried to make it look bright and vibrant.  But when you really look at it, the reds don’t look right.  It looks like someone turned up the orange or the yellows to try and make the reds pop.  And it’s the same with the most dominant colors the blues and the greens, they don’t quite look right.  They look fake.  With the 4K TV’s they actually support a broader color gamut.

So the human eye can see a certain number of colors.   And standard TV’s as we’ve known them showed us a very limited number of those colors.  The new 4K Tv’s are more capable of displaying the colors as we see them. So now when you go and see a TV, those reds look like Reds, blues look like blues, and greens look like greens, even when they’re bright and vibrant.  They look bright.  It doesn’t look washed out or over saturated.  Its fun because the picture seems very natural.  You’re able to relax and get into the show and just enjoy it.

Matt:

One of the things I remember.  And if you get a chance to go see a good 4K Demo, it almost looks 3 dimensional.  Like you could reach out and touch it even though it’s not 3D.  I know that has a lot to do with what we’re talking about the color and the contrast.  Get out and see a good 4K demo.  I would recommend to you, find an excuse to go to a Home Theater Showroom, rather than your big chain store.  Nothing against them. But your local dealers are going to have everything set up just right to really show off how spectacular the 4K really is.  I think you’ll get a great demo there.

One of the obvious questions is the content.  You know content hasn’t been there as well in the past, but it’s really starting to roll out now.  You were telling me about the Blu-rays earlier today.

Greg:

Yeah, up until this month we’ve been limited to some streaming content from Netflix, Amazon and Youtube.  And it’s been fantastic, but it’s highly compressed.  So you’ll still see the digital artifacts.  And of course, 4K TV’s up-res.  So your old movies look great as well. But finally the Ultra High Def Blu-rays have been released.  The Samsung player is out that will play those, and as of March 1, they’re shipping the actual Ultra High Def Blu-ray titles.  And the reviews are off the chart.

Matt:

And this is kind of important, you were saying if you are out there looking at Blu-ray reviews on say Amazon.  I think there’s 23 titles that are out right now. On the reviews, don’t be deceived.  If there’s a poor review on the Blu-ray and you click into it. What you were saying Greg is that most the time the video and the audio got 4-5 stars.  It’s something like the special edition features or something unrelated to the video and audio that’s getting knocked.

Greg:

Yeah exactly.  As I go through and look at bluray.com/4K they’ve got some great reviews of all the content. And as you go through and open each one, you’ll notice that the Audio almost always has a 5 star, and the Video’s got a 4-5 star. Because the Video and Audio is just fantastic, and then there might able a poor rating on something on extra features or menu features, and other things that don’t really pertain to the 4K content.  But the reviews on the 4K content, people are really excited.

Matt:

So one question on the 4K, for you guys out there that are audio guys, one of the things a lot of people don’t realize is that when we talk about compressing video to send it to you over the internet with say Netflix or Hulu.  We’re not just compressing the video, we’re also compressing the Audio. And so you’re not getting the full quality of Audio either.  I assume with the 4K Blu-rays the same is true with Audio.  We’re getting the full res Audio in addition to the 4K?

Greg:

Yeah, absolutely.  A lot of movies that we stream, and it’s a lot of fun we all do it.  But you’re losing Video Quality and Audio quality.  A lot of them, don’t even get you surround sound. You’re just watching your movie in stereo. With a Blu-ray, especially an Ultra High Def you’re getting a full if not much less compressed version of the movie.  So as you watch it you won’t see any of those artifacts, you’ll get a lot better colors coming through.  And then with the Audio, that’s when you can get the full Audio experience.  High Definition Audio that just sounds fantastic.

Matt:

Well, as you can probably tell, we’re super excited about some of the 4K content that’s coming out, the Blu-ray players.  If you’re someone whose out there that just picked up the new Samsung Blu-ray player, or one of the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, we’d love to hear from you.  If you like the picture quality?  If you feel like it’s enhanced the movie experience for you. We’d love to hear your feedback.

That’s it for this weeks podcast.  We look forward to having you with us next week.  Thanks for listening.

Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


Matt Montgomery, TYM, Salt Lake City, Ut

Matt Montgomery

Home Systems Designer

@mattmostips

Matt is the lead designer for TYM LLC. He has designed the audio/video and smart home automation systems for 3 recent "PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD" winning parade homes. Clients include custom home builders and their clients, production home builders, and well as commercial developers in Utah, Idaho, and Texas. His work has been featured in Electronic House, TecHome Builder, and Spaces Magazine.

Greg Montgomery, TYM, Salt Lake City, Ut

Greg Montgomery

Home Systems Designer

@GomersGarage

Greg is a THX certified professional who has designed audio/video and automation systems for multiple commercial and residential clients including a home recording studio for a TV musical director. With a background in programming, network, video production, and live event production, Greg is highly sought after for his ability to find creative solutions for tech projects.


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