Quality versus convenience: Can 4K Blu-ray discs fend off streaming media?

By Shawn Knight ยท 27 replies
Sep 5, 2014
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  1. Streaming video may be the wave of the future but optical discs aren't ready to concede defeat just yet. During the IFA trade show on Friday, the Blu-ray Disc Association said it is nearing completion of a version of its...

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  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,713   +855

    Quality over quantity. There are so many crap movies out there anyway, I'm pretty picky about what I watch. So if I'm going to take the time to watch a movie, I want to see it in its most enhanced mode. And that means blu-ray or 4K blu-ray.
    jackal2687 likes this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    4K blu-ray will probably be a niche. By the time enough people are on board with 4K televisions, Amazon, Netflix et al. will have enough 4K infrastructure in place to mount stiff competition against the discs.

    More importantly, on-demand streaming is likely to take over the market during the next 8 years. On average, people value convenience above raw quality. Add that to the fact that there isn't much by means of quality production & writing any more (there are exceptions), and you run into the bigger problem of having to justify a markup for a product (the production, not the disc) that's hardly worth the base offering price.

    Personally, I fall somewhere within this spectrum. There are a few movies I will only watch at the highest quality I can get my hands on. But for 90% of the content I'm likely to consume on a yearly basis, I'll stream before I pay a premium to better see how much makeup was applied to the cast before a shoot.

    More importantly, give me a story and a performance before you give me additional pixels.
  4. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 990   +233

    Too little, too late. They should have gotten the specifications done so the current gen consoles could have been outfitted with the drives.
  5. LG just said 4k is obsolete, 8k now now now. You even posted the article. So this is moot.

    I can watch anything in any quality. Personally, if it its, Sci fi cgi, then its probably best to see it in HD glory. If its, something on par, with TV soaps, or anything from Adam Sandler, or others who dish out films just to make a quick buck for their friends so they can continue to live in the lap of luxury, then its standard dvd quality.

    But you can stream in HD or SD so eventually 4k surely. Oh well not with ease cause heaven for bid these companies get it right. I don't think discs can get damaged is the way forward. Cheap SD card like media ?
  6. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,283   +900

    It all sounds very dumb to me... if streaming quality is good enough for most users, why would they even bother having a 4k tv when they'll never acchieve the deserved quality.

    It's like buying an i7 5980x procesor to run minesweeper or freecell, or play facebook games.
  7. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 139   +33

    Sorry, I don't see the point in 4K TVs or Blu-Ray discs. I have a 92" projection screen at 1080p, and some movies look awesome, and some not so much. I don't see how extra pixels are going to make a bad transfer look better.
  8. Hopefully Google will exponentially accelerate it's deployment of Google Fiber so that we all can have some REAL competition; and this is when 4k streaming will start taking off.
  9. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    If the discs are priced competitively I wouldn't mind buying 4K Blu-Rays over streaming. However, as someone else pointed out, if streaming is more competitive I will stick with streaming.
  10. ddg4005

    ddg4005 TS Guru Posts: 383   +54

    If I'm not mistaken a report released last year concluded that most people still prefer Blu-ray discs and DVDs over streaming media (especially given that much of the latter is compressed anyway). I don't see that changing anytime soon no matter what the media says.
  11. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I vote convenience. Especially when the difference is so small.
  12. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,472   +126

    Walmart sells DVD so cheap under $6 bucks then Blue-Ray like $10 depending on how bad the movie was. So I not spending money on 4K where it going to be replace quick. And I only have 1080p devices here so not going to happen. Everyone I know has 1080p. So they're only selling these 4K to those who want to buy it. Plus Netflix is cheap also to watch movies today.. So unless you want to keep a movie then just maybe your buy those expensive 4K Blue-Ray Disc.
  13. NicktheWVAHick

    NicktheWVAHick TS Booster Posts: 105   +82

    It'll be a cold day in hell before I plunk down $$$$ for a system that shows every single wrinkle in Merrill Streep's 4K face. Jennifer Lawrence nude, though....now that's another matter ;P
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    JeLa has days where she's retaining a little extra water.You'd probably make out better going straight for the Russian art models And if you think Merril Streep would be bad, consider Dame Judi Dench without makeup.
  15. Snowden

    Snowden TS Member Posts: 68   +31

    Perhaps you should either :
    1. Upgrade your home theatre, particularly speakers or
    2. Get your hearing checked

    Image quality of streams has improved somewhat but audio? There is no comparison to DTS Master Audio on a high quality 5.1 or 7.2 system.
  16. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,372   +69

    Sounds great for their never improving internet infrastructure.
  17. jackal2687

    jackal2687 TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +12

    I think one of the biggest reasons that people are much more selective is simply because they don't have the money anymore. I remember the 90's when it seemed like there was plenty to go around and therefore we bought entire libraries and we gloated to our friends about our extensive movie selection. However these days it seems like media is getting more and more inexpensive. With so much at our fingertips for so little, it ultimately will boil down to who can bring it to us the most content for the price.

    I already make those decisions on a day to day basis and I feel like I spend a lot of money on content in various forms. Yet I no longer buy Blu-Ray movies and instead, I focus on expanding my digital library. (Legally, I'm not a total cheapskate. I'm supporting my brethren)

    Also worth noting is that I am very capable of distinguishing between small resolution differences. However it is the quality of movie that I am after overall.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    In my case that is very true.
  19. 4K at 10-bit color should be the end of the line quality wise. That's (almost) the same level of quality as a DCP cinema package (those are 12-bit and discrete JPEG-2000 frames). I'm glad these super quality discs are comming. As a collector I like to have certain films in studio master quality (Prometheus, Star Trek, Avatar, etc). For an average Seth Rogen comedy or cheap horror flick streaming is good enough, it's not like I'll ever rewatch those again.

    8K is just hype. You have to have an insanely large TV or projection screen to see the difference in resolution. Or you have to sit at one meter distance from your 120 inch TV.
    People with perfect 20/20 vision can see about 60 lines of resoultion per degree, so in a large theatre only about the first 3rd of rows would be able to see the difference in resolution between 2K and 4K, and that is on a 27 meter screen. If you upgrade to 8K only the first row maybe is going to see a difference.
    Resolution is maxed out of 4K. 8K requires a lot more storage space with little return on investment.
  20. What hassle? Going to a website like amazon and clicking 2 buttons? The only hassle is opening your door or mailbox to recieve the package. Nobody goes to brick and mortar stores anymore.
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    Exactly right. Going from 4K to 8K, the inverse square law kicks and quadruples the number of pixels in every image. So therefore ostensibly, you'd need 4 times the storage capacity
  22. Frank Barnett

    Frank Barnett TS Rookie Posts: 61   +6

    You would watch a movie after the mail person has touched the package?
  23. Streaming is fine but most of the streaming content is pretty low end titles (IMHO). And prime titles that do get to stream disappear after time. So I prefer discs in the long run, picking titles that I enjoy, which I can watch even when they disappear from streaming.
  24. Victor38077

    Victor38077 TS Rookie Posts: 23

    I use all forms of entertainment from VHS to Bluray from Television Broadcasts to Internet streaming. While VHS provides the lowest screen resolution (320x200), it lasts the longest. I have videotapes that are over 20 years old and still look great. Television and Satellite Television Broadcasting while a great viewing experience, there is a lot of crap on the airwaves these days. Internet Streaming while convenient allows companies to pull digital licenses very easily and force the user to pay for the same content again.Optical Discs only lasts a few years before you have to buy a new copy of the same program. To answer the question of quality versus convenience? I prefer Quality. Optical Discs and tapes protect my right to view my programs without fear of losing my viewing license.
  25. The Audio marketplace has already decided this.
    Audio CD's or even DVD-Audio have far superior audio quality - but mp3 rule the marketplace, in both purchase and in streaming.
    Optical media will become ever more niche - not saying it will vanish from the marketplace completely, but it will definitely become more and more a videophile / collectors realm than a mainstream media consumption medium.

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