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Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Old 03-03-14, 05:59 PM
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Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Hi,

A few years ago I bought a blu ray player that seems to work very well in general (very well with DVD disks), but noticed some issues with blu ray disks. I was surprised, as I'd always heard blu ray was better than DVD.

I ran into two issues:

1 - The sound is very bad. While it is not distorted or anything, the problem is that the highs and lows (how loud or quiet it gets) is way too extreme, not balanced, so some parts are way, way too loud and some (particularly dialog) is extremely hard to hear. My DVD disks do not have this problem (on the same player and TV). On one of the first blu ray disks I tried, I had it turned up very loud to hear the dialog and suddenly loud music came on that was so loud the speakers on my TV distorted (there was no permanent damage, fortunately).

2 - The resolution does not appear to be any better. The player itself makes my DVD disks look as good or better than the blu ray disks. I have primarily tested this on the same titles (meaning, DVD vs. blu ray version of the exact same movie). I even have one that looks a bit worse on the blu ray version.

A relative said they ran into exactly the same resolution issue with their player (completely different player), so I do not think I have a problem with my player. Particularly as it does very well with DVD disks.

I am using HDMI and my TV does support high definition. I am using TV sound and have no interest at all in a complicated sound system. DVD disks, streaming, and standard TV look and sound great.

Has anyone else run into these issues? I did a little research and found one person one a site somewhere saying that he thought most movies on blu ray are not transferred from the original source, but from the same source when they made the DVD disk version - is that anyone else's understanding? I guess that would explain the resolution problem.

Due to these issues, I have been buying DVD disks only and been perfectly happy with that route, but the problem has always had me very, very curious.

Thanks
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Old 03-03-14, 08:54 PM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Originally Posted by ag87 View Post
1 - The sound is very bad. While it is not distorted or anything, the problem is that the highs and lows (how loud or quiet it gets) is way too extreme, not balanced, so some parts are way, way too loud and some (particularly dialog) is extremely hard to hear. My DVD disks do not have this problem (on the same player and TV). On one of the first blu ray disks I tried, I had it turned up very loud to hear the dialog and suddenly loud music came on that was so loud the speakers on my TV distorted (there was no permanent damage, fortunately).
This is a common problem when hooking up a Blu-ray straight out of the box.
If you're listening through your TV speakers they are usually displaying the Left and Right portions of the 5.1 mix. Most of the dialogue comes through the centre channel.

The remedy is to go to the audio options in your Blu-ray player menu and select "2 channel PCM" or something similar. This will take all 5.1 channels and mix them into the left and right speakers giving you a much better balanced soundtrack.

Originally Posted by ag87 View Post
2 - The resolution does not appear to be any better. The player itself makes my DVD disks look as good or better than the blu ray disks. I have primarily tested this on the same titles (meaning, DVD vs. blu ray version of the exact same movie). I even have one that looks a bit worse on the blu ray version.
This has been an ongoing debate since day one. It's always been a subjective one.

Generally if your TV is under 40" and you're sitting about 7-8 feet away, you're not going to notice too much of a difference.

A brand new movie on DVD may look better than a Blu-ray of a film that was made 20-25 years ago. I can't say I've seen a Blu-ray look "worse" than its DVD counterpart except that I would rather watch Predator DVD than the Ultimate Hunter version Blu-ray.

Some older films were shot with high-speed film and they are naturally grainy going back to the original film source.
Some people will compare the picture quality to a current TV show shot in HD video and mention the TV shows looks so much better and sharper.

All movies were shot differently and transferred differently to Blu-ray. Some with great care and attention others not so much.

Some movies "look great" but they have had so much Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) applied to them that the picture looks waxy and doesn't look like film anymore. Some people love the crisp sharpness of this effect, most don't.

It's a little bit like putting a 2014 modern-quality paint job on your 1964 1/2 Mustang. Sure the paint is better quality, it's shinier, smoother but it doesn't have an "authentic" look that the paint used in 1965 does.


Originally Posted by ag87 View Post
Has anyone else run into these issues? I did a little research and found one person one a site somewhere saying that he thought most movies on blu ray are not transferred from the original source, but from the same source when they made the DVD disk version - is that anyone else's understanding? I guess that would explain the resolution problem.
I think most current release DVDs and Blu-ray are downconverted from 2K and 4K masters to 480p and 1080p, respectively.

Last edited by orangerunner; 03-03-14 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 03-04-14, 01:53 AM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
This has been an ongoing debate since day one. It's always been a subjective one.
It's not subjective that a presentation with a resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 is almost always going to be better than one with 480 x 720, unless something was seriously screwed up in the mastering.

If memory serves, orangerunner has never been a fan of Blu-ray and slags it whenever he has the chance.

Generally if your TV is under 40" and you're sitting about 7-8 feet away, you're not going to notice too much of a difference.
This is true(ish), but it wouldn't explain some Blu-rays looking worse.

A brand new movie on DVD may look better than a Blu-ray of a film that was made 20-25 years ago.
Maybe, but probably not. There are a lot of older movies that look better than what's shot these days. Try watching "Casablanca," "The Wizard of Oz," "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" or "Lawrence of Arabia." Age has little to do with picture quality, unless there has been some kind of damage.

All of that said, the OP hasn't really given us enough information to help him. Specific brand and model numbers of the Blu-ray player and TV would be a good place to start.

The first thing he should probably check is the output resolution setting of the Blu-ray player.

Last edited by Mr. Salty; 03-04-14 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 03-04-14, 03:15 PM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
It's not subjective that a presentation with a resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 is almost always going to be better than one with 480 x 720, unless something was seriously screwed up in the mastering.
Mathematically speaking, you're right it's not subjective at all, Blu-ray is six times higher resolution than DVD. The specs don't lie.

There are many other variables that are highly subjective.

Does a person get 6X more enjoyment from watching a Blu-ray?

Is (or was) it worth paying six times more money?

As I mentioned with Predator Ultimate Hunter Edition; a casual watcher would probably say it looks fantastic, no grain, crisp bright colors.

A more experienced viewer sees that version as an atrocity to film.

The perceived "value" is still subjective.

Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
If memory serves, orangerunner has never been a fan of Blu-ray and slags it whenever he has the chance.
Sure, back in 2009 when the cheapest player was $300 and a hot deal on a disc was $20, yes I was rightfully skeptical how this format was going to play out in the future.

Was everyone going to ditch their DVD collection for Blu-ray? I was right, that didn't happen. Eight years after the formats inception it still only averages about 30% of the physical market.

I bought a Blu-ray player for $79 and my discs have averaged out to $5 a piece. HD DVD? $1.50 a disc and a player for $8 at a thrift store.

Why not upgrade some titles at those prices?

I don't recall slagging the technical advancements, just the price, sense of necessity among consumers and the ability to penetrate an already exhausted physical media market.






Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
Maybe, but probably not. There are a lot of older movies that look better than what's shot these days. Try watching "Casablanca," "The Wizard of Oz," "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" or "Lawrence of Arabia." Age has little to do with picture quality, unless there has been some kind of damage.
The movies you're describing are considered classics that have been painstakingly remastered frame-by-frame by the best in the business.

Many many movies are not going to get equal treatment. Again, what looks better? Natural film grain "great" or heavy DNR grain scrubbed-away "great"?

Depends who you ask. It's not just the experts that are allowed to express an opinion.

Last edited by orangerunner; 03-04-14 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 03-04-14, 04:45 PM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

The point about the 5.1 sound into stereo speakers is very likely the cause. It needs to be told to output stereo only.

But, where did this 6X the cost for Blu-ray business come from?
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Old 03-04-14, 05:41 PM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Originally Posted by andicus View Post
But, where did this 6X the cost for Blu-ray business come from?
It was worded:

"Is (or was) it worth paying six times more money?"

Was it unusual, say back in 2008/2009, to buy a catalogue DVD for $5.00 when its Blu-ray counterpart was $30?

Even today you can buy a catalogue title for $3 on DVD and the Blu-ray can be north of $20.

I certainly wouldn't apply this to your average modern New Release where the difference is about $2-$3.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:18 PM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Originally Posted by ag87 View Post
Has anyone else run into these issues? I did a little research and found one person one a site somewhere saying that he thought most movies on blu ray are not transferred from the original source, but from the same source when they made the DVD disk version - is that anyone else's understanding? I guess that would explain the resolution problem.
Masters are made of every movie, which are the source for distribution on whatever media. Film, DVD, BD, internet, whatever. Most films made or remastered for digital distribution since HDTV was about to come out have had 1080 or higher resolution masters made. It's now starting to be higher since 4K is coming.

So, yes is the answer to: Are BDs and DVDs usually transferred from the same master? But no is the answer to: Is that a resolution problem so that BDs don't look good?

As mentioned above, if BD and DVD look the same, it is probably because of how far you sit from a certain size TV. But if that is all set, and they look the same to you, you have probably made a good decision to purchase whatever is cheaper.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:25 PM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
I think most current release DVDs and Blu-ray are downconverted from 2K and 4K masters to 480p and 1080p, respectively.
1080 is 2K.
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Old 03-04-14, 10:47 PM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

You're right, 2K is basically Blu-ray. Blu-ray is 1080 X 1920 and 2K is 1080 X 1998.
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Old 03-05-14, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Spiky View Post
1080 is 2K.
Not quite, but more or less.
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Old 03-07-14, 03:00 AM
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Re: Blu ray sound and resolution problems

Thanks for the responses, I really appreciate it.

I'll try that modification to the audio settings, thanks

I didn't post my player or tv info because everything else I've tried (streaming, standard tv, dvd's, .mpg's/avi's/etc) all look great so I'm fairly certain everything is set up and working properly, so not an equipment problem. But because you were wondering, it is an Insignia 39", I usually sit about 8 feet away, and an LG BD611 (streaming is done separately via a Roku).
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