Why I bought an AppleTV 4K in case you are trying to decide if you should buy one.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jyyz, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. jyyz, Sep 30, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017

    jyyz macrumors regular

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    #1
    I’ll start by saying I was not going to buy, nor was I interested in the ATV4K. I watched the Apple announcement to see what was new with the iPhone. In fact while they were talking about the ATV4K, I did not even pay attention.

    Last year I wanted a BIG TV. So I went out and got one spur of the moment. That was when I discovered HDR. Fast forward some, the TV I selected was good, but seeing this HDR I realized I needed more of it. I did my research after the purchase of the TV, and learned the TV I had selected wasn’t even delivering a great HDR experience. So I returned it and got a better model. I subscribed to Netflix and Amazon as those were the easy ways to get some HDR stuff to watch. Wow! At the time, I recall thinking wouldn’t it be great if this TV could just upscale regular 1080p to HDR...

    So last week, I somehow had an ATV4K review in front of me. I wasn’t even going to read it, until the word upscaling caught my eye. I came to learn, quite by accident, that the ATV4K upscales EVERYTHING to HDR; I needed to check this out. I read quite a few additional reviews that spoke negatively about the upscaling. All I can say is I am throughly impressed with it. Yes, it looks horrible if you are watching anything less than 1080p, BUT if you can get 1080p or better sources, all I can say is WOW. Regular Netflix HD and 4K looks phenomenal upscaled. Is it as good as true 4K HDR, no (check out Planet Earth II on Netflix for what I consider the best example.) Who bothers watching less than 1080 anyway? From Netflix, to TV station apps all I can say is I am impressed. I’ve read on here, many are turning off the 4K HDR to 4K SDR. I don’t know what to say about that: if you have a good 1080p or better source, the upscaling looks fantastic in my opinion.

    So if anyone is considering the ATV4K and was shying away due to reviews about the upscaling, if you have a TV capable of HDR or Dolby Vision, I’d say check it out. I have a hard time using regular TV, or even my Nvidia Shield for (non-native HDR content now - the Shield does a good job with actual HDR content) the upscaling is that good. Just my two cents for anyone on the fence about getting the ATV4K.
     
  2. Donfor39 macrumors 65816

    Donfor39

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    #2
    Excellent review,thanks
    I’m currently ebay bidding for ap tv 4k-1 or 2 options including ‘buy now’
    Trying to be patient whilst my ps4 is sold.
    Looking forward to ap tv next few days all going well.
     
  3. jyyz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Just make sure your TV HDMI port is set to take the enhanced signal (on my Sony TV you have to go into settings and change to enhanced, other TVs have this on some of the HDMI ports so make sure you are using the correct one.)
     
  4. Donfor39 macrumors 65816

    Donfor39

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    #4
    Exactly I’ve been using enhanced mode on my Sony with Skyq 4k for a few months.
     
  5. NameUndecided macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Sounds cool unless you're watching a lot of stuff that wasn't filmed with HDR in mind, it was never originally screened that way, and you care about what the filmmakers actually intended.
     
  6. jyyz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    I’ve watched quite a bit of HD (not even 4K) in Netflix and the Canadian CityTV app, and everything has consistently looks dynamite. For comparison, I have run the same non-HDR Netflix programs / movies on my Nvidia Shield (which plays native HDR) but doesn’t upscale HDR. The upscale HD on the ATV4K looks far superior.
     
  7. Packers1958 macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Apple applying 4K HDR to everything is absolutely garish. If people like watching tv with their tv set to vivid mode, I guess they would like horrendous 4K HDR application to everything by Apple. It's so wrong, so terribly wrong. Apple screwed up by not having a native mode. If it's not an HDR program, HDR should NOT be applied to it. An SDR709 mastering looks terrible when bt2020 is applied to it. SDR709 should be seen as SDR709 and HDR2020 should be seen as HDR2020.
     
  8. jyyz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    I don’t have my TV set to vivid at all. Also HDR can be set up in a vivid type fashion, or adjusted to more subtle settings. I also conceded different TV sets will vary on how they display HDR. Anyone that has seen my ATV4K playing stuff this weekend has liked it.
     
  9. Packers1958 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    On my LG E6 OLED, the default HDR setting on the ATV looks horrendous with non HDR material. I am forced to change the setting based on the content I am watching. Apple should be ashamed of themselves for producing a sub standard product by omitting a native mode setting. Once again, Apple can't seem to get it right.
     
  10. jyyz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Interesting. I have a Sony 930D, it’s not an OLED. Assume you have tried adjusting the LG HDR mode settings on the TV? The ATV is making things look great here.
     
  11. Packers1958 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Mine is professionally calibrated for HDR mode. That means correctly calibrated for bt2020 for bt2020 mastered HDR movies. Applying bt2020 to sdr709 does not even come close to a properly calibrated HDR setting. Every calibrator will tell you it is wrong, horribly wrong.
     
  12. jyyz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I’m sorry to hear that it doesn’t look good with your set up. I feel bad saying it looks great on mine. On the same TV if I play the same HD movies on Netflix (1) using the ATV and (2) using the Nvidia Shield (which doesn’t HDR upscale,) the ATV looks significant better displaying the same movie.
     
  13. gim macrumors 6502

    gim

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    #13
    And the next thing you‘re going to say is that these fake 3D picture modes for 2D content looked great a few years back when 3D was all the hype?

    This Apple TV problem is pretty similar. Every person with some knowledge about picture quality will say that this enforced HDR mode looks really, really bad. It’s just the truth. You don’t have to feel bad if you think that it looks great. Just don’t try to convince people who know better ;)
     
  14. jyyz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    I’m trying to think of how to respond to that... come over, compare both, you tell me what looks better to you on my TV. Maybe Sonys handle HDR differently. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. Just sharing. If you know better, then I defer to your better judgment.
     
  15. NameUndecided macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Two different discussions are happening here.

    You're saying you like it because it looks subjectively "better" and prettier, and there's really nothing wrong with that. We're saying we don't like it because it results in the wrong colors.

    People get their televisions calibrated because they want the image to be as uniform as possible to what is originally intended by cinematographers, color graders, and directors of the content we watch. When HDR is applied to a movie or show that wasn't shot with that in mind, it is throwing off the image from what it's intended to be.

    Another comparison could be soap opera effect -- where the motion feels "smoother" with an artificially high frame rate. It looks terrible (much more terrible than artificial HDR, imo), but some people do, bafflingly, prefer it to be turned on on their TVs. And it matches not-at-all how that program is intended to be shown. It throws off the mood and reaction to the film than what the creators of that film intended.

    If the Apple TV, by default, changed content to look like 60fps instead of 24 or 30, people would be right to be annoyed and put off. Throwing off the color gamut is similarly exasperating. It's so needless for them to push this by default and not give the option for it to switch automatically depending on if the content is HDR or not.
     
  16. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    So if you have a TV capable of HDR why don’t you manually enable the virtual HDR. It can do that on all your source for you.

    Secondly applying HDR isn’t upscaling. Your TV always upscale anyway as there is a native panel resolution. As we all know it is much better to have sources that actually match the panel resolution. And yes twenty years ago external scaler were likely better. But in modern 4K HDR TVs they aren’t bad. Again totally unnecessary for apply to force this and at the wrong frame rate as well.

    I’m glad you like what you are seeing, but one thing I guarantee you it ain’t no upscaling HDR ;)
     
  17. Patrick Turner macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Even if your ATV is permanently set to HDR, movies mastered in SDR will correctly be displayed, as the HDR spec allows for communication of the Dynamic range and Mastering infoframe to the display.

    Think of it this way. HDR is a superset of SDR, so you can still correctly signal SDR when in "HDR" mode.
     
  18. jyyz thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    Fair enough re HDR “upscaling.” If I take the Nvidia Shield play a non HDR source, and if I manually change the TV’s picture mode to HDR while playing this, it looks horrible. Absolutely horrible.

    With the ATV4K, what I have called upscaling - let’s change the word to processing - the source to augment highlights and deepen the darks significantly improves the perceived image quality. So many here are saying that’s wrong, it’s not how the director intended it. Another respondent indicated yes what the ATV4K is doing looks “prettier.” You have a TV that is capable of displaying a superior quality image, the ATV4K is able to take more content and increase highlights, deepen darks allowing you to see more content “prettier.” I don’t want that. I prefer it “natural.” Well I like pretty things :) and the ATV4K is making everything pretty here. So I’m happy with it.

    I would be fairly confident that Apple will update the OS to include the ability to auto switch SDR and HDR signals. If and when that happens, I’ll maintain the “prettier” setting.
     
  19. Donfor39 macrumors 65816

    Donfor39

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    #19
    1 little step closer to raising the required funds for aptv 4k.
    Gone is my Pioneer bluetooh car stereo from cup winning clio.
    Only ps4 to be sold via e-bay.
    Only if it could have been sooner, patience required.
    Enjoyed a few rentals via ipppro.
     
  20. gim macrumors 6502

    gim

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    #20
    This is WRONG. If you set the ATV to HDR, SDR content is NOT displayed correctly. That’s the whole point of this discussion...
     
  21. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

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    #21
    I'm sorry but that is simply incorrect, it is just not true.

    Hey if you like it like that then why not, many TV's have a 'dynamic' mode on it etc. I think it is garish. Where we agree is that choice is good, so if you like everything like that then why not...
     
  22. Patrick Turner macrumors newbie

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    Sep 30, 2017
    #22
    You are assuming that HDR10 is the only standard that defines greater than 8-bit.

    Let me remind you that the base HDMI specifications define deep color even for SDR.

    There is also such a thing as 8-bit 444 HDR (where HDR infoframes are embedded).
     
  23. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Nope I'm simply responding to what you wrote - no need to name bring in bit depths as that has absolutely nothing to do with it...You say that if you permanently switch to HDR that movies mastered in SDR will correctly be display - I'm sorry but that is simply not true...
     
  24. Patrick Turner macrumors newbie

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    #24
    Why is it "simply not true"?

    Do you know that you can map Rec 709 into a PQ curve?
     
  25. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

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    #25
    Again has nothing to do with what you wrote...How to explain when something isn't true? It simply isn't true...If you like fake HDR mode on SDR material please enjoy, but don't pretend it is the same as displaying SDR as SDR...
     

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37 September 30, 2017