I was confident the moment Samsung announced their 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray player into the Australian market that it would be a great viewing experience. Think of the many homes – millions – in Australia who have a 4K TV having upgraded in the last 2-3 years, for the most part they are not getting the most from the TV.
In our lounge room is a 65 inch Ultra HD LG LED TV, it’s big and it’s an excellent TV. But I’m pretty sure in the year or so it’s been sitting there I’ve never seen any 4K content on it.
Samsung’s Ultra HD Blu-Ray player hit stores last week priced at $599, a huge premium on any standard Blu-Ray player, but also with solid smart capabilities and connectivity, so it’s a whole lot more than just another Blu Ray player.
I’ve installed all the apps that I recognise and that’s giving me a whole heap of content options already – though only Netflix is capable of delivering me 4K.
This review unit was delivered on Friday evening, I wasted no time plugging it in. Fortunately, Samsung also provided two Ultra HD Blu-Ray titles – The Revenant and X-Men for me to sample.
Neither of these movies I’ve seen before, neither are really my type of movie – but I was just going to sample the content to get an idea of quality.
Nope. I put the Revenant in, hit play and was captivated. Not by the story, perhaps by the cinematography but certainly by the quality of the picture. This was something very different. The lines were crisp, the edges were clear, I could basically see the pores on the faces of the actors.
I watched that movie from start to finish. I can’t really tell you what it was about but I’m keeping away from bears in the woods that’s for sure.
No doubt, I was blown away. But could this actually be that I just don’t watch a lot of movies on my TV? Perhaps.
So next up, I took out X-Men. In each Ultra HD Blu Ray pack, you get the Ultra HD disc and a standard Blu Ray. I put the Blu Ray into my X-Box, and the Ultra HD disc into the Samsung player.
Here’s the thing, it looked great in both. Heck, this is a 65 inch TV, it has its own upscaling capabilities and as I noted – I don’t watch a whole lot of movies – so perhaps I’m easily impressed?
I am, the Blu Ray looked great. I watched a few different sections of the movie, trying to switch HDMI inputs time and time again to compare.
After some time I resolved that without question the 4K Ultra HD vision was more impressive, more detailed, a much finer picture.
But there was something else. It was pushing out a different colour, a different brightness, all around this was not a head to head comparison.
I flicked and changed the colour settings on the TV, trying “Cinema”, “Vivid”, “Standard”, you name it. They all made a difference, and I’d probably stick with Cinema for the best all round experience.
I wondered Why? And I think it’s all about HDR. These Ultra HD discs are HDR ready – HDR is “High Dynamic Range” and it provides a wider range of colours on-screen and a much more complex and brighter picture. Could it be that playing HDR content, on a HDR capable machine on a non-HDR TV puts me at a disadvantage?
Perhaps there are settings on the player to tinker with, and I will, regardless, the Ultra HD picture was better, it was clearer and it was amazing.
If I was investing $599 in this unit, I’d also spend a fair bit of time tweaking and tuning the settings on both the player and the TV to get the perfect picture for your eye.
For those with 2016 TV’s that are HDR capable, this is a must own. If you love movies and have a big-screen to watch them on, this is your new best friend.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.