Home theater & 4K/UHD frustrations!

lparsons21

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At this stage of the 4K/UHD game we have a slew of excellent TVs to choose from. In the US we only have one actual 4K/UHD BluRay player. Getting both of those together gets great video, but it takes adding a good speaker setup and AV Receiver to take advantage of the advanced audio available some streams and all 4K BluRay discs.

And until the 2015 models, most AVRs cannot do that. They aren't HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 equipped. And that's where the frustration can begin. You can either get a new AVR that does support 4K properly or give up the advanced audio codecs. Also many of the current AVRs that support 4K properly only do so on some of the HDMI ports, typically the first 3 ports.

And on 4K TVs some don't support 4K inputs on all of their ports, though that is becoming less of a problem.

For those with older AVRs that don't support 4K there is a workaround that will give you 4K video and DD sound. Originally when I got my 4K TV I connected my Hopper 3 and FireTV box to the TVs HDMI inputs and used optical audio to send DD back to the AVR. It works though it makes a bit more of a cable mess and you really need a universal remote unless you just like juggling remotes. As I said, it works, BUT DD wasn't cutting it for me. Netflix & Amazon use DD+ on many streams, possibly other services do too, and I want that.

Because the HDCP standard requires that everything in the chain be compatible, there aren't any HDMI splitters or switches that support it, so they won't work for 4K. With the sole 4K BluRay player you can workaround a bit because it has one HDMI output for the video/audio that is HDCP compliant and a 2nd one that does only audio, so using it with an older AVR can provide the advanced audio and the TV can give you the 4K experience.

Other than that, all the rest of the 'boxes' only have the single HDMI output so the choice is use the TV/optical trick and lose advanced audio codecs OR get a new AVR. I opted for the new AVR route.
 

Blackloz

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Very shortly I'll be setting up my new Panasonic 4K with Samsung K8500 using my 2014 Onkyo TX-NR1030. Luckily it has one HDCP 2.2 input, and as I don't do separate cable runs I'll run it through the Onkyo. I was going to buy a new AVR as well but in the end I can't justify it as my 1030 is only a year and a half old.
 

lparsons21

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I didn't know any 2014 models had the right HDCP standards. I had bought a Denon S900W as they were advertised as "future proof". But in the end it didn't have any ports that met the newer spec. So I got the Onkyo NR757 the other day as it has 3 HDMI ports that meet the specs.



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Blackloz

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Very few 14 models have it. I almost bought a Yamaha RX-A2040 but found out that while it had HDMI 2.0 it didn't have any HDCP 2.2 inputs. The 14 model Onkyo's all have at least one HDCP 2.2 input so that's why I got the 1030 and it's awesome. Ya it has no DTS-X but big deal. DSU will do nicely, and since I really only want 4K for Blu-Ray anyway it will do me nicely for a while.
 

jevans64

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I feel that if someone is buying a $4000 to $10000 4K TV then another $3000 for a top-notch AVR is no big deal. I bought a new Denon AVR X7200WA as soon as they came out for $2444 from an authorized dealer. The regular W had to be shipped back to Denon for the HDMI upgrade but the WA came with it, so I waited a few months. That gave me the time to get my Atmos house in order. As far as 4K Blu, I'm waiting for the Panasonic UB900 in September or may wait a bit longer for Oppo, which will probably be pushed to early 2017 now. I'm already buying 4K titles that have the regular BD included.
 

lloydp211

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I would agree, but the majority of 4K tv sales are in much lower price ranges for all the usual reasons.


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lparsons21

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A little more rambling...

Did some testing and viewing over the last few days and came to some conclusions.

If your 4K TV doesn't support HDR, and the majority don't at this point, then the difference with streams and shows that are native 4K compared to upscaled 1080i/p to 4K by the TV or Bluray player isn't really very much at somewhat normal viewing distances. This is most likely due to the fact that the 4K TVs have better innards overall, and certainly better upscaling circuitry. Of course if you use THX recommendations for 70" 4K TV you would be sitting 4.7' away from the set. Personally I wouldn't ever sit that close.

If you view demo 4K clips you can see the differences between upscaled and true 4K but that is because they are usually tweaked for that and most often have higher bitrates than the streaming video of shows/movies. And I'm sure there are some few streams of 4K that are much better, but the only ones I'm reading about that are truly eye-popping are those with HDR playing on an HDR 4K TV.

And yes, if you get up real close to the screen you would see a difference between actual 4K video compared to 1080i/p upscaled. But how often do you do that?

So in practical terms that means that if you have a good home theater setup but your AVR doesn't support 4K you can still get much of the video benefit of having a 4K tv and have all the audio you bought the AVR for to begin with. IOW, if you have a 4K TV without HDR you can still benefit quite a bit without any upgrading of other equipment. And that might be the better move at this time as things in the 4K world are certainly not set in stone, and we still have no idea how much actual 4K content will be out there. So far the bulk of it is streaming, with a smaller segment on 4K bluray disk, and the almost non-existent cable/sat/broadcast video.
 

lparsons21

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Interesting product that might be of interest to those with high end AVRs.

At low to mid-range pricing of AVRs, replacing the AVR would probably be more likely.
 

BearcatScott

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I have a Sony XBR75x940E 4K tv (HDR capable), a Sony UBPX800 UHD Bluray player, and a Denon AVRx1400H receiver. My issue is I bought my first UHD Bluray disk (Fifth Element) and when I play the movie, I am getting a lot of noise in scenes with blue sky and other light colors (looks like snow, static like in the old times when you had electrical interference with the tv picture). The picture looks great except the blue sky has a bunch of snow/static in it. I have all new 4K capable cables connecting everything. I am connecting the Bluray to the Bluray input on the Denon and from the Denon i am connecting to HDMI 3 port on the tv which supports HDR. I turned on Enhanced on both the receiver and tv to support HDR. I am not getting this problem from my Apple TV 4K going through the Denon. I haven't tried going directly from the Bluray to the TV yet, but that is my next test. Anyone have any ideas what else I might try?
 

lparsons21

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I would try hooking straight to the TV as a test, assuming that turns out to fix the issue, then I'd try a different input on the Denon to see if the issue is the connection you are using.
 

klang

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Try swapping cables as well. I recently ran into a bad HDMI cable. It was brand new from Amazon and certified for 4k and HDR. Colors looked really bizarre.
 

gadgtfreek

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jayn_j

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Tried swapping cables. No luck. Tried going straight to tv. No luck. So ordered cables from Monoprice. Will have to wait until Monday to see if they work better.
At this point, you need to start using logic to eliminate the problem. I expect the new cable won't fix it, so the problem will trace to the player, receiver or TV. You already took the receiver out of the equation by connecting the player directly to the TV. I think the TV is OK, because you say the Apple TV is working well in 4K using the same signal path.

You need to look at the Sony UHD player carefully. Check the menu settings for video resolution. Try forcing 4k instead of the auto default.
 

king3pj

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I have a Sony XBR75x940E 4K tv (HDR capable), a Sony UBPX800 UHD Bluray player, and a Denon AVRx1400H receiver. My issue is I bought my first UHD Bluray disk (Fifth Element) and when I play the movie, I am getting a lot of noise in scenes with blue sky and other light colors (looks like snow, static like in the old times when you had electrical interference with the tv picture). The picture looks great except the blue sky has a bunch of snow/static in it. I have all new 4K capable cables connecting everything. I am connecting the Bluray to the Bluray input on the Denon and from the Denon i am connecting to HDMI 3 port on the tv which supports HDR. I turned on Enhanced on both the receiver and tv to support HDR. I am not getting this problem from my Apple TV 4K going through the Denon. I haven't tried going directly from the Bluray to the TV yet, but that is my next test. Anyone have any ideas what else I might try?

Have you tried other content yet? It might just be that particular movie. What you are describing reminds me of the film grain that is in some TV and movies. I watched Marvel's The Punisher in 4K HDR on Netflix this weekend and it was very noticeable against things you mentioned like blue sky. The Walking Dead does this too.

I would try a different UHD blu-ray before you spend too much more time trying to diagnose all of your hardware. It might just be the way The Fifth Element was filmed. Read some reviews on blu-ray.com first and pick something that doesn't have film grain.

Edit: I just read their Fifth Element UHD review here and they mention the film grain in that movie. My guess is that this is what you are seeing. I'm not a fan of heavy film grain either by the way. I would much rather have a cleaner image even if that means I'm not a purist. At least UHD Blu-ray and Netflix have a high enough bitrate to handle the film grain. The film grain sometimes makes the compression get a little wonky during The Walking Dead on Dish.
 
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gadgtfreek

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At this point, you need to start using logic to eliminate the problem. I expect the new cable won't fix it, so the problem will trace to the player, receiver or TV. You already took the receiver out of the equation by connecting the player directly to the TV. I think the TV is OK, because you say the Apple TV is working well in 4K using the same signal path.

You need to look at the Sony UHD player carefully. Check the menu settings for video resolution. Try forcing 4k instead of the auto default.

He has the same tv and player as me, the X800 runs to the 940E perfectly with everything put on Auto. The Sony outputs UHD in 12bit, which could cause issue with the HDMI cables.
 

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