iTunes vs Physical Disc Atmos Quality

Lax608

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Original poster
Jun 8, 2015
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There have been one or two comparisons done while TVOS was in beta but now that its fully public I would like to get an idea what everyone thinks. I know the physical disc will always be better, but how much better?
 

kiranmk2

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
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I’d also like to know this, but especially for “double-blind” tests where the person giving their opinion doesn’t know which version they are listening to to remove conformation bias
 
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Lax608

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Jun 8, 2015
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That's a good point. I know people have gizmos that measures sound and all of that but I was just looking for real world experiences but a "blind test" would definitely be better.
 
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BODYBUILDERPAUL

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YES!!! I'd love this. I'm hoping Flatpanels may do this AND some of the guys here on MacRumours too. I'd LOVE a real opinion from the 'human ear' not on a £15K sound system but from a decent set up.
I bought 'Rough Night' last night and that's both DV and Atmos.
PS Guys - I saw the LG C8 OLED yesterday and OMG What a beautiful design - loved its stand - everything about it. Even nicer than the B7 that we are enjoying. Reminds me of giant iPhone X's :)
[doublepost=1537454045][/doublepost]This is my favourite reviewer on YouTubr - SPARECHANGE
 

awp69

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Jul 30, 2017
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I’d like to know as well but I recently got my first Atmos receiver (a Sony) and have been having trouble getting Atmos from discs on my Xbox One X. Games and streaming work but not 4K Blu-rays.

Atmos on my ATV is working perfectly and sounds great but I’d love to be able to hear how much better discs are.
 

awp69

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BODYBUILDERPAUL

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Thank you Priltv8 I appreciate your testing.
BUT as I've mentioned a few time here before, it's availability. Let me show my latest purchase as an example.
9 month old film 'ROUGH NIGHT' You'd think that it would be offered as a 4K BluRay wouldn't you. We have 2 suppliers online in the UK a few on HMV and some on Zavvi.

ZAVVI...
NO 4K BLURAY
BluRAY 1080p @ £19.99 - FOR A DAMN BLURAY!!!!!!!!
DVD @ £16.49 - WHAT!!!!!! 25fps speeded up by 4% LOW DEFINITION - Looks crap!

HMV...
NO 4K BLURAY
BluRAY 1080p @ £8.99 + Delivery

iTunes
4K Dolby Vision Dolby Atmos iTunes Extras @ £5.99
(Plus instantly appeared on my MacBook, iPhone X, my fiance's iPhone SE, my Apple TV 4K and the Apple TV 4K at the our weekend residence friend's apartment).

So I guess in this case, the iTunes Atmos stream will outperform the double/ 3 times the price BluRay as, as usual here in the UK, the 4K BluRay will never be offered!!! Sad but true.
 

awp69

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Jul 30, 2017
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Have you turned off any sound mixing on the device?
It needs to send out an unmodified bitstream. Letting it mix in any system sounds or auxiliary soundtracks from bluray will ruin it.
https://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/console/choosing-speaker-audio-output
Actually just got it to work with bitstream uncompressed and turning the switch for letting my receiver decide OFF. This is the opposite of what I want it to do but it’s working not sure how well the X1X decodes on it’s own.

Don’t have much time to test (on my lunch hour) but sounds good. Wouldn’t say a ton better then the ATV at first listen. Annoyingly I cannot find my Blade Runner 2049 disc. To me that sounded the most incredible on the ATV. Think that would be my best demo comparison if I can find it.

Edit:
Got Atmos using let my receiver decode and the receiver set to AFD. I’m a noob to all this stuff but think I finally got it.
 
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Lax608

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 8, 2015
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I know the difference (for me), but how am I supposed to describe it in words, so that you can hear it??
PS I also tried in pictures here: BOOM: Dolby Atmos Streaming vs Physical Disk
What I, and I think others were looking for was something like: "I watched both the iTunes and 4K blu-ray version of Dead Pool 2 and I couldn't tell the difference in the audio." Or, "The difference was night and day between iTunes and the 4K blu-ray, you absolutely need to watch the physical disc."

That simple. If some folks go through the trouble of doing to the two blind that would be really cool too. I think a thread that has a whole bunch of comparisons could be helpful; sometimes you can save a decent amount of money buying on iTunes, and if the audio quality is close it might be a good idea to grab that version.
 

priitv8

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Jan 13, 2011
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Gotcha!
To me the difference is not “night & day” but clearly discernible in any blind testing.
Have tested both Mad Max FR and BR2049.
And I think Atmos plays little role here.
You could also try with just DD+ 7.1 and TrueHD 7.1, it is the lossy vs lossless difference.
TrueHD is more transparent, open or “spacious” in the mid to high frequencies and punchier down below.
For down below, you may want to check out Fury (2014) chapter 10 (tank battle).
 
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BODYBUILDERPAUL

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What I, and I think others were looking for was something like: "I watched both the iTunes and 4K blu-ray version of Dead Pool 2 and I couldn't tell the difference in the audio." Or, "The difference was night and day between iTunes and the 4K blu-ray, you absolutely need to watch the physical disc."

That simple. If some folks go through the trouble of doing to the two blind that would be really cool too. I think a thread that has a whole bunch of comparisons could be helpful; sometimes you can save a decent amount of money buying on iTunes, and if the audio quality is close it might be a good idea to grab that version.
Out of interest, The SpareChange guy gives the Deadpool 2 iTunes Atmos film a 8.5 for audio and says that the 4K BluRay should sound even better.
One week later, he tests the 4K BluRay version and... gives it 8.7 for audio :)
.2!!!!!!!!!
I think that says it all really :) And he is a DAMN GOOD reviewer nit picking at everything. His reference player for disc testing is the Oppo 203.
 

BODYBUILDERPAUL

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Hey Lax, i've just been reading AVS and one guy reckons that the iTunes Atmos audio is 80-90% there compared to the 4K BluRay and another reckons that he cannot tells the difference if blindfolded! Remember a lot of the guys on forums like that are perfectionists who probably have movie watching as their main hobby. They probably are the type who go looking for a speck of dust on a new car in a car showroom, so if they are happy, well...
[doublepost=1537469787][/doublepost]
disc will always be better
Prove it!
 

jetjaguar

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Hey Lax, i've just been reading AVS and one guy reckons that the iTunes Atmos audio is 80-90% there compared to the 4K BluRay and another reckons that he cannot tells the difference if blindfolded! Remember a lot of the guys on forums like that are perfectionists who probably have movie watching as their main hobby. They probably are the type who go looking for a speck of dust on a new car in a car showroom, so if they are happy, well...
[doublepost=1537469787][/doublepost]

Prove it!
how would you like me to prove it ? I have itunes atmos movies as well as 4k blu rays and the blurays have much better sound
 

priitv8

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how would you like me to prove it ? I have itunes atmos movies as well as 4k blu rays and the blurays have much better sound
Though “much” is very subjective and unmeasurable, I’m definitely with you!
I hear a clear difference. But you will need to do side-by-side comparison.
Humans are not good at sensing absolute values but can easily tell minute differences.
 

Lax608

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 8, 2015
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35
Hey Lax, i've just been reading AVS and one guy reckons that the iTunes Atmos audio is 80-90% there compared to the 4K BluRay and another reckons that he cannot tells the difference if blindfolded! Remember a lot of the guys on forums like that are perfectionists who probably have movie watching as their main hobby. They probably are the type who go looking for a speck of dust on a new car in a car showroom, so if they are happy, well...
[doublepost=1537469787][/doublepost]

Prove it!
That’s awesome. That’s kind of what I was hoping for. Although I think there’s a market for individual movie comparisons here. At least until we start seeing the same thing over and over again, like “the iTunes version was good but the disc was slightly better.” If we get that for every movie for a little while I think we would be safe to assume that will be the case.

Proving one over the other is tricky, it really would come down to the person. Although, someone earlier here linked to some photos that may “prove” the disc is better.
 

awp69

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2017
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Hey Lax, i've just been reading AVS and one guy reckons that the iTunes Atmos audio is 80-90% there compared to the 4K BluRay and another reckons that he cannot tells the difference if blindfolded! Remember a lot of the guys on forums like that are perfectionists who probably have movie watching as their main hobby. They probably are the type who go looking for a speck of dust on a new car in a car showroom, so if they are happy, well...
[doublepost=1537469787][/doublepost]

Prove it!
Could you give me the link to that AVS thread, I’d love to read some impressions from over there.
 

BODYBUILDERPAUL

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Feb 9, 2009
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Could you give me the link to that AVS thread, I’d love to read some impressions from over there.
I can indeed buddy! Here it is...
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/39-n...apple-tv-os-12-update-adds-dolby-atmos-4.html
[doublepost=1537478281][/doublepost]
That’s awesome. That’s kind of what I was hoping for. Although I think there’s a market for individual movie comparisons here. At least until we start seeing the same thing over and over again, like “the iTunes version was good but the disc was slightly better.” If we get that for every movie for a little while I think we would be safe to assume that will be the case.

Proving one over the other is tricky, it really would come down to the person. Although, someone earlier here linked to some photos that may “prove” the disc is better.
Still hoping for ThatGuyInLa to do some more reports as his findings were great! Although in reality, a disc and a download are truly chalk and cheese to each other - a bit like comparing roadster motorcycles to touring motorcycles. Also when you see how the world uses iPhones for everything along with Macs etc and the Internet, the thought of using a disc to watch the TV is quite last century. People have simply moved on.
Have a read of this...
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/39-n...apple-tv-os-12-update-adds-dolby-atmos-4.html
 

BODYBUILDERPAUL

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Feb 9, 2009
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Though “much” is very subjective and unmeasurable, I’m definitely with you!
I hear a clear difference. But you will need to do side-by-side comparison.
Humans are not good at sensing absolute values but can easily tell minute differences.
But guys in the absolute real world, there's no way that a viewer of a film would do a side by side comparison. This evening, we've had our weekly film night. We saw 'Joyride' HD from iTunes and OMG, the picture was incredible and the sound was truly alive - crisp, full, consistent level, bright - just superb. This was a 1080p HD film upscaled by the ATV 4K and my gosh, the yellow orange Mini Cooper S in the film absolutely sparkled on our LG OLED B7 along with the amazing countryside of New Zealand. Apple should use this film as a demo for what HD can look like from an iTunes film because, we were all left stunned with the quality from this film rental.

I loved it so much that i'll end up buying it! 5 star film!
JOYRIDE

***Just checked and this new film is not available on any disc here in the UK and Europe - no BluRay, DVD or 4K BluRay. No physical media available. And this seems to be the story time and time again outside of the US.
There's no way to compare a disc version when it simply does not exist!
 
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Lax608

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 8, 2015
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35
Here’s an interesting comparison: The iTunes Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom which is in Atmos and the 4K disc which is in dts-x.
 

Tech198

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Mar 21, 2011
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disc will always be better
Discs are compressed though as well. possibly just better audio *because* its physical vs iTunes (which Apple would have to cater for bandwidth even on acceptable bandwith quality)

Once you add "the accountable for bandwidth" factor in. i reckon that eliminates the "how much better" question, because you have to either compress it more, or reduce the audio quality so its 'acceptable' for streaming. Otherwise you'd be have a giant file (probably even comparable to a 4K physical copy), which in reality if i had to stream 4K, I wouldn't be happy about, unless you had unlimited bandwidth.

I havan't for 4K TV, not even Apple TV, but that's my conclusion ... When you have a weak leak in a chain (server bandwidth), sometimes you gotta play by the rules, and often if that mean lower than the 'best', then so be it.
 

priitv8

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Discs are compressed though as well. possibly just better audio *because* its physical vs iTunes (which Apple would have to cater for bandwidth even on acceptable bandwith quality)
On the audio front, discs use lossless compression for quite some time already.
No streamnig service offers that yet.
In broad terms - physical media can always use more bandwidth than streaming.
 
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