Should I Upgrade My System for 4K Blu-ray?

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Q I own about 300 DVDs, but only 20 Blu-ray discs. Should I stop buying regular Blu-rays and move on to 4K Blu-ray now that the new format is out? I’m worried that 4K Blu-ray will just be for new movies and they won’t put out older titles as they did with regular Blu-ray. —Don Fowler

A While the bulk of 4K UltraHD Blu-ray titles released or announced for release so far have been newer movies, a few “older” titles are on that list (Ghostbusters, Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, Pineapple Express, Donnie Brasco, etc.). It’s hard to say at this point if the 4K Blu-ray catalog will rival what’s been put out on Blu-ray over the past 10 years. But since a number of studios have made an effort to archive their assets in a 4K format during the past decade, it’s likely they’ll want to provide it in that same format to the public on disc.

Should you make the move to 4K Blu-ray? That depends on whether or not you want to experience the benefits the format provides, and are willing to make the necessary system upgrades to do so.

Those benefits include images with UltraHD picture resolution, which is four times that of regular Blu-ray. All those extra pixels will allow for up-close viewing on extra-large screens. The new Blu-ray format also utilizes 10-bit color, which extends the available color range from Blu-ray’s approximately 16 million colors to up to 1 billion. The end result? Colors in images will pop more and display smooth, seamless gradations.

The 4K Blu-ray format also allows for programs to be encoded with High Dynamic Range metadata that extends both shadow and highlight detail in images. I haven’t had hands-on experience with an HDR-capable TV yet, but the demos I’ve seen indicate that this feature is even more important than 3D and 4K resolution in bringing a level of “you are there” realism to video images.

As for system upgrades, you’ll first need to buy a 4K Blu-ray player. At present, that means Samsung’s UBDK8500, which at $399 costs considerably less than the first-gen Blu-ray players that first became available back in 2006. You’ll also need to invest in a new Ultra HDTV, preferably a UHD Premium model that’s capable of delivering enough dynamic range to make the most of HDR-encoded programs. Finally, if you plan to use an AV receiver to switch video signals, you’ll need a new model with HDMI 2.0a connections. It’s brave new Blu world out there. Good luck navigating it.

Also see: "Are You Ready for Video Nirvana?"

true audio's picture

Hey friend,
You apparently like watching movies. Have you happened to notice those big black bars top & bottom of your screen. Go to and watch the video by founder Shawn Kelly.You will find out that TV's are crap for movies. The black bars are deleting a third of your pixels and you will never get true 1080p of 4k.If the video doesn't change your mind,and you already have a 4k TV, then find the blue ray discs that are on sale. Also if you have a 4k player,buy one good presentation and compare. At the price of the ultra blue ray discs, I don't think you'll go on a buying frenzy. All I know is that I now have a projector, ultra wide screen, anamorphic lens and a great 1080p BRP. The picture is unbelievable.(AND NO DAM BLACK BARS)!Will never buy another TV and will be years before I would consider a 4k projector. Good luck !

true audio's picture

Need another cup of Joe!

notabadname's picture

A modern letterboxed 2.4:1 movie, has an active picture area of (approximately) 1,920x800 pixels. Using a widescreen anamorphic lens and displaying the image so there are no "Dam(n) Black Bars" does not improve the picture technically, unless you want to consider the upscaling done by the projector (for those that do) to be an enhancement. But the source material, on the blu-ray, is still roughly 800 lines of vertical resolution that is being sent to the TV or projector from that letterboxed portion of the film- the display, no matter how wonderful it is, or preferred it may be by some, cannot change the fact of the actual number of pixels that are provided as source to your equipment on the blu-ray disc. The TV does not "Delete a third of pixels", the film image is simply mapped over vertical pixels numbers 649-1057. While it does leave a third of the vertical pixels on your screen (or non-anamorphic projected image) unused, there is no image data being discarded. While there has been a push to preserve the vertical resolution to support a true anamorphic format on blu-ray that gives you the full vertical resolution of 1080P - currently, systems that remove the black bars are just expanding and upscaling those 800 pixels to fit a 1080P vertical height. And a 4K disc will double that vertical resolution inside the letterboxed area to about 1600 lines (if it is a letterboxed title). You certainly have to decide if the upgrade is worth it to you and check the source of the 4K disc to know if it is native material, or if the studio simply upscaled 2 K source material to sell as 4K. But I can see a difference on my 84 inch LG Ultra. I don't know if you would on, for example, a 50 inch screen though, unless you sit very close to the screen.

I recommend this site (below) to determine whether a title was shot and mastered in true 4K (source material) to decide if it is worth getting in the Ultra format. I wouldn't bother with any title that was not originally mastered in 4K. Since you would really just be paying the studio to up-convert the original 2K master instead of allowing your AV gear or TV to do.

mikem's picture

Four years ago I spent almost 4K bucks on a new system, aside from speakers I kept. That may not be a helluva' lot of money for some, but for me it was a huge investment. So I'll wait until the new 4K format has aged a bit and the prices as well. For what studios are now asking for 4K-UHD movies, plus or minus $30.00, it will be a cold day in hell before I spend that kind of money - I don't care how good they may look.

yolobaba's picture

Short, white and just right

William Travilla, the designer of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white halter-neck outfit in The Seven Year Itch , called it “that silly little dress”. Yes, that was the one where she stood on top of a New York subway grate and battled an updraft. In 2011, that very dress was auctioned off for $4.6 million.

The little white dress (LWD), 60 years later, is still beloved, and is more popular than ever with summer raising the mercury levels.

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Although the LBD (Little Black Dress) is touted as every woman’s best friend, the LWD lends an ethereal look, and can be styled for any occasion. “You can think of LWD as the little black dress’s summer rival,” says the designer duo Diya Aroraa and Rajvvir Aroraa of the label DiyaRajvvir. “Being a neutral shade, it’s versatile for both day and evening wear. It’s a go-to staple of the season, but one we also love for the fall,” they add.

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Designer Karn Malhotra says, “White is a soothing colour, especially for the harsh Indian sun. From being an evening bodycon dress with hints of colour block elements, to an alluring white slip dress for a brunch, you cannot go wrong with the ivory shades.”

The modern avatar of the LWD is credited to André Courrèges, who, in his 1965 spring/summer collection, showcased a ‘moon girl’ look that sparked a resurgence of the style. Although white was never out of style — as a symbol of purity, it was popular since the early 19th century.

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Now, of course, there is a style of LWD to suit every mood and body type, occasion and event. It also helps that the colour suits almost every skin tone. City designer Dimple Raghani says, “For a sporty, casual look, opt for skater or frill dresses paired with sneakers. For a formal look, pick a fitted bodycon dress with minimal accessories. The same ensemble could be paired with a brightly-coloured blazer to add freshness and a spark of personality.”

Diya Aroraa and Rajvvir Aroraa suggest a cotton or linen shirt dress or sun dress for casual dos, paired with leather accessories, tie-ups or gladiator-style footwear and a tan fringed suede bag. “For a feminine look, floral head gear and a lace cape will be apt. Go formal with a stylish cocktail dress with slight embellishments or hand-painted floral motifs,” they say.

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When it comes to accessorising, Malhotra advises using pop colours like hot pink, lemon yellow or tangerine to ‘colour-block the look’. “But make sure you use only one colour and in only one area, be it a bag, bold lip or footwear. Don’t overdo it.”

Vandana Jagwani, creative head at Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery, echoes this, “Pair a vibrant-coloured accessory like coral or turquoise earrings or a statement ring with bold motifs. The LWD leaves a lot of room to play with funky as well as simple jewellery.” She recommends stylish palm cuffs or ear cuffs and stacking bracelets of varying sizes, colours and textures or gold bangles with coin or tassels. However, go classic for an evening out, with a diamond or emerald ring or pendant, depending on the style and silhouette of the ensemble. For a dash of elegance, a string of pearls will do the trick.

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While the summery LWD is appealing, designers are sure that it won’t be edging out the LBD anytime soon. Raghani says, “LBDs have ruled for ages, no matter what the season is. This summer, the LWD is taking centre-stage on ramps and in street fashion as well.” The Aroraa duo reiterates that while it’s perfect for an afternoon soirée, brunch or sun-downer, they “believe it can never overpower the classic LBD”.

mikem's picture

No thanks on UHD bluray for me at $30.

yolobaba's picture

When it comes to fashion, most men could care less. Shopping? Same thing. Makeup? Not interested. But when it comes to how sexy a woman looks when she's all done up or just chilling in her sweatpants, men are all ears, or eyes we should say—they're visual creatures, what do you expect? They don't care about the hottest new fashion trends or how much a tank top opportunity cost (well, sort of), as long as it looks good on a woman and hugs her curves in all the right places, it's good enough for them. Common though, where's the fun in that? Men have to have a look they love on a gal, right? Here's what we concluded after careful consideration:
1. Men Love Women in a T-Shirt and Tight Jeans
Turns out the casual, au natural look isn't so bad after all. "It's sexy and shows off the curves, but still leaves things to the imagination," says Rafael, an LA based designer. Emma from UK would also have to agree, noting that her husband prefers her most when she's wearing boyfriend jeans, a t-shirt and no makeup.
2. Men Don't Love Women in Clothes That Look Like They Cost More than Their Car
What!? Guys don't love Chanel?!?! "Although it may look good," says Dan, a Manhattan based comedian, "it will make most heterosexual, down to earth men run the other way." Hmm, we guess high maintenance isn't really their thing?jeans for men
3. Different Is Good
"A different or unique outfit reflects a confident woman who is sure of herself," says Andrew Schrage, Editor of the Money Crashers personal finance blog. "Even if it's not the most physically attractive outfit, the thought behind it can be mentally stimulating," Awesome, we love this! Is this outfit too different?
4. Body-Con Dresses Are Great
No surprise here—guys love anything that's form fitting!
5. Yoga Pants Are Probably the Best
We kind of have to agree…they do make our tushes look good! "I don't know when they became an acceptable thing to wear out, but I'm just glad they did," says Mike of NC.
6. Oh, and High Heels Are Super Sexy as Well
This one goes without saying. Every guy loves a woman in high heels!