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ApexPredator

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Aug 11, 2018
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My favorite part of surround sound is the deep bass that fills the room, as the action scene intensifies. I am researching how to build my collection moving forward and am looking for some feedback.

I am leaning towards buying the physical disk for all my action movies and buy the rest from iTunes. Has anyone compared the Dolby Atmos bass response utilizing the physical disk versus streaming it from Apple?
 

priitv8

macrumors 601
Jan 13, 2011
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Estonia
Purely subjectively truehd feels still slightly more punchy compared to dd+
So I personalky still buy discs for movies I’d like to keep.
Hopefully I will be able to do some measurements as well sometime later.
But apart from the source so many other variables (like equipment and room) will impact the results.
And I do not have a calibrated room or setup.
 

BODYBUILDERPAUL

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Feb 9, 2009
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The fact that these 4K films on iTunes cannot be downloaded and can be 'removed' at anytime makes me question how good these will be for someone who loves to build a collection. Given Apple's non existent iTunes customer service and the fact that they loose interest in their own products after a few years has made me question the whole thing.

I take the whole 4K iTunes thing with a pinch of salt as their PR tool and simply download the HD to my iPhone for travelling and as a back up.

IF you can find the film on a 4K disc then buy that - iTunes films are for people like me who are more casual viewers (watch a film once a week or whilst travelling on my iPhone) OR like to rent a film for which they are great although rather expensive. They are not for serious film lovers who want a permanent collection. (Another example audio wise - yesterday I compared older CD rips of my favourite tracks (from the 80s) to the iTunes versions and in all cases, the CD rip (at 320AAC) sound so clear compared to the iTunes store versions which sounded dull, muffled and lifeless - really got me worried as the difference was huge.)
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
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My favorite part of surround sound is the deep bass that fills the room,

A physical disk directly played using suitable audio equipment is almost always going to have better sound that iTunes streaming due to the audio losses due to the compressed movie audio track and/or that imposed by Apple TV. However, at least for me, it is not as noticeable at lower bass frequencies as it at higher ones. Symbols, percussion instruments dramatically lose their presence. I don't see as dramatic a degradation with bass.

Find a movie with bass you really like, then purchase both the iTunes and physical media versions. [I generally just buy used movies on Amazon as I rip them and don't ever remember having any problems. If I did I would just return it]. Compare them and see which you like the best.

Purely subjectively truehd feels still slightly more punchy

Overall with good equipment and a good soundtrack it puts you right in the middle of the movie set. No comparison with streamed audio.

The fact that these 4K films on iTunes cannot be downloaded and can be 'removed' at anytime makes me question how good these will be for someone who loves to build a collection.

Agree completely.

Be aware that physical media can deteriorate - Laser disks were subject to laser rot. My primary copy is digital, with the physical media as one backup.
 
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dsdevries

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2009
133
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The TrueHD and DTS-HD/X versions are a night and day difference in quality compared to any streaming service. Base is not necessarily louder or punchier, but just better. There's a lot more headroom to deliver both powerful bass and the finest detail in de mid's and highs at the same time. With DD, you can either have very loud bass, or very detailed highs, but not both.

Take the the elevator scene in the Matrix for example. The DD version is nice, but it comes at you like a wall of sound. It feels like the bass is obscuring or overpowering the highs at the most intense explosions. The TrueHD Atmos version however is way more refined. The bass is the same, if not more powerful, on top of that you can literally hear every bit of concrete shattering, every bulletshell that drops sends shivers down your spine and every move Neo makes sounds like the whipping of rope. All in all, a way better experience. Once you hear it, you'll never want to go back.

You must have the equipment to experience this difference of course. If you're speakers are just not precise enough, or your receiver/amplifier is not powerful enough to drive them, you won't notice any difference anyway.
 
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dsdevries

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2009
133
73
For a bass-addict, chapter 10 in Fury (2014) is also a good piece to hear.

This is why i don't buy uhd blu-rays based solely on their soundtrack and score. If i'd do that, by now i would have spend hundreds of euros on movies like, Fury, Pacific Rim, Transformers, Rampage, Kong: Skull Island, etc. All quite enjoyable movies, but i tend to watch them only once. I'm perfectly fine renting those on iTunes. I rather spend the larger money om movies that have a little bit more to offer than just great sound or nice visual effects because i'll probably watch them more often.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
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The fact that these 4K films on iTunes cannot be downloaded and can be 'removed' at anytime makes me question how good these will be for someone who loves to build a collection.

I'm a disc buyer (and disc renter), so I'm familiar with this sentiment.

However, I know many people including myself that have lost part of (or all of) their physical collections due to theft, house fire, accident (scratches, high heat in cars), or insufficient protection from family (children, pets).

I also know from personal experience there are online video services that have shut down. In my case this was Target Ticket and Cinema Now, but they transitioned everyone's titles via "Ultraviolet" locker. So not only did I not lose my collection, but I am in fact better supported by VUDU applications than I ever was by those smaller guys.

So from personal experience and the experience of friends and family, I actually think the reality is that people are losing physical titles all the time, but I don't know anyone that's lost their online titles.

Although I'm a disc guy I find myself getting more and more streaming titles. Apple in particular regularly has $5-$10 deals for 4K Dolby Vision movies, and they are titles that I actually like. It's really hard for an UHD disc to compete with that pricing.
 
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snooksy83

macrumors newbie
May 20, 2018
29
23
Some movies on Blu Ray come with DTS-X and not the Atmos object based format. Itunes will not give DTS-X. Also as previously mentioned, Atmos over ITunes will only be DD+. If you really want the best sound then physical media or a variant thereof with DTS-X 7.1 or TrueHD with Atmos is the only option to get the original source as produced. In Australia, movies tickets and UHD discs are terribly overpriced (double what I think the cost should fairly be) so compromises must be made by consumers to save costs. In saying that it was only about 10 years ago that cinemas only had 5.1 surround audio and 35mm projectors.
 

Macalicious2011

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May 15, 2011
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We typically praise movies for their art direction or visual effect. The reality is that a great deal of effort goes into sound production. Not all films have equally as good sound either.

I have mission impossible 5 on Bluray. Yes the sound is good but the Bluray version of Oblivion is in a different class as far as bass, treble, sound stage, clarity goes.

The more compressed the sound is, the less you will be able to appreciate or even notice the difference in effort that does into the sound of some movies.

As @BODYBUILDERPAUL pointed out, iTunes movies is the best movie streaming service available but won't make the most of your sound system if you have spent lots of $$$$$$$.

When watching terrestrial TV there is sometimes little difference between my sound system and the TV's built in speakers. Chuck in a bluray and the difference is night and night.

However, I know many people including myself that have lost part of (or all of) their physical collections due to theft, house fire, accident (scratches, high heat in cars), or insufficient protection from family (children, pets).

Lost or damaged discs can be cheap to replace. In fact, I occasionally buy blurays is mint or new condition for less than £4/$5 on eBay.

Although I'm a disc guy I find myself getting more and more streaming titles. Apple in particular regularly has $5-$10 deals for 4K Dolby Vision movies, and they are titles that I actually like. It's really hard for an UHD disc to compete with that pricing.

I agree that availability of UHD discs and price for that matter isn't the best. Even on eBay, UHD titles have yet to become a bargain. However it's worth pointing out that some titles on iTunes can't be rented and you your only option is to buy the the movie for $13-15.

Is there an all-you-can-eat UHD disc rental service in the US?
 

Lax608

macrumors member
Jun 8, 2015
50
35
Is there an all-you-can-eat UHD disc rental service in the US?

Red Box is adding UHD Blu-rays to their machines for rental. I believe they have begun in test markets already. I am very much looking forward to this as it will be a way to not have to spend $25 - $30 to get the best quality from a movie. However, I will say I tested out "Gravity" on iTunes with the Public Beta of TVOS 12 and it sounded fantastic. That is one of the "benchmark" Atmos tracks out there. I think it is possible that iTunes movies with an Atmos soundtrack will sound nearly as good to most people as the physical disc. However, those with very high-end systems, + $20 - $30 grand will almost certainly notice a difference.

With convenience comes a trade-off; in the case of iTunes its cost (+ $5 for rentals in most cases) and for some with good ears, sound quality. But it is nice to just sit down, browse and rent a movie all without having to on pants!
 
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priitv8

macrumors 601
Jan 13, 2011
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That will be ideal. I don't have an Atmos setup so I'm not sure I'll be able to "unlock" the higher quality Atmos audio track.
Atmos in itself will not add to the sound quality. The carrier - Dolby Digital Plus - will, compared to Dolby Digital.
That applies also to disc - TrueHD sounds as good without Atmos as with it. Atmos will just increase the sound envelope.

BTW A Quiet Place was also a nice example of sound design. Some of the deadly creatures could be heard in the room, although they were not visible on screen. So a flat front-only 2.x sound will miss half the fun.
Having Atmos allowed them also be heard overhead, especially in the cellar scenes :)
 

Macalicious2011

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Atmos in itself will not add to the sound quality. The carrier - Dolby Digital Plus - will, compared to Dolby Digital.

BTW A Quiet Place was also a nice example of sound design. Some of the deadly creatures could be heard in the room, although they were not visible on screen. So a flat front-only 2.x sound will miss half the fun.
Having Atmos allowed them also be heard overhead, especially in the cellar scenes :)

I just checked. My sound system can decode Dolby Digital Plus.:cool:

Interesting. I like Emily Blunt and the IMDB rating is good too. I'll add it to my watch list.

Red Box is adding UHD Blu-rays to their machines for rental. I believe they have begun in test markets already.

I hope it's a good service. This week I signed up to CinemaParadiso which offers all-you-can-eat disc rentals in the UK. To my surprise it's very good. There's categories such as heists, seaside movies, Oscars winners, Football movies, German, French movies, classics with influential soundtracks, top 100 movies etc.

The curation is exemplary and the best I've seen anywhere - Even compared with LoveFilm that was shut down by Amazon last fall.

With convenience comes a trade-off; in the case of iTunes its cost (+ $5 for rentals in most cases) and for some with good ears, sound quality. But it is nice to just sit down, browse and rent a movie all without having to on pants!

With my Bluray subscription convenience doesn't suffer. I can have two discs at a time. After watching one, a different movie from my queue is posted to me. So for the majority of nights I have two movies I really want to watch, at my disposal.
 
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BODYBUILDERPAUL

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iTunes, Vimeo and Netflix replaced Love Film in 2012 for me. Why? Because there came a time when so many of the discs were scratched badly. We got to the point that every weekly film we watched ended up jumping and sticking. In the end we called it a day.
 

Macalicious2011

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2011
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iTunes, Vimeo and Netflix replaced Love Film in 2012 for me. Why? Because there came a time when so many of the discs were scratched badly. We got to the point that every weekly film we watched ended up jumping and sticking. In the end we called it a day.

That's nuts. In the 150-200 discs I received only 1 or 2 skipped. Maybe your Bluray/DVD player were scratching them?
 
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Lax608

macrumors member
Jun 8, 2015
50
35
With my Bluray subscription convenience doesn't suffer. I can have two discs at a time. After watching one, a different movie from my queue is posted to me. So for the majority of nights I have two movies I really want to watch, at my disposal.

So, like Netflix 10 years ago? Haha. Its still not as convenient as sitting down, clicking what you want to watch and immediately watching it. But if that works, hopefully the service sticks around.
 
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ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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Is there an all-you-can-eat UHD disc rental service in the US?

Yes. I use http://3d-blurayrental.com.

Keep your expectations low--they do not have Netflix's size and budget. The website is a bit basic. There's no queue, so you have to stay on top of orders. Also there aren't fulfillment centers all over the country, so the disc travel is slow.

But the point isn't a slick system. The point is that they carry UHD BDs, 3D BDs, and import BDs. And all of their discs are retail, not crippled rental versions like Netflix often has, which are typically missing the special features and/or having reduced quality audio.

Some titles that cost them an unusually high amount of money to acquire do not apply to the all-you-can-eat plans. They must be rented with a separate order for the specified rental price. These are usually expensive imports that are not available domestically in the USA.
 
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Macalicious2011

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May 15, 2011
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Yes. I use http://3d-blurayrental.com.

Keep your expectations low--they do not have Netflix's size and budget. The website is a bit basic. There's no queue, so you have to stay on top of orders. Also there aren't fulfillment centers all over the country, so the disc travel is slow.

But the point isn't a slick system. The point is that they carry UHD BDs, 3D BDs, and import BDs. And all of their discs are retail, not crippled rental versions like Netflix often has, which are typically missing the special features and/or having reduced quality audio.

Some titles that cost them an unusually high amount of money to acquire do not apply to the all-you-can-eat plans. They must be rented with a separate order for the specified rental price. These are usually expensive imports that are not available domestically in the USA.

Interesting. Thanks for the insight.

I presume they use ground shipping to keep costs down which likely makes turnaround slow. Here in the UK turnaround is quick. On Wednesday I posted Coco, CinemaParadiso received it today and also sent me an email saying that BlackPanther will be with me tomorrow. Our postal service also deliver on Saturday which is handy if I post a disc on Thursday.

If a similar service obviously doesn't exist in the US then the makes iTunes attractive.

So, like Netflix 10 years ago? Haha. Its still not as convenient as sitting down, clicking what you want to watch and immediately watching it. But if that works, hopefully the service sticks around.

It's the only economical choice until there's a comprehensive movie streaming service for £12/$20 a month.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
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Here in the UK

Oh, whoops. I didn't realize you were in the UK, which is why I wrote the message as if it were a cautious recommendation.

So you have an all-you-eat UHD disc rental service in the UK? If so, that's great.

On a side note, 3D is dying here in the USA so I end up importing 3D BD disks from Amazon UK.
 
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