Podcast: LG CX vs. Panasonic HZ2000, Laser Projector review, is 4K disc dead, B+W Hugh Jackman

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
This week we continue the physical media debate with forum members comments on 4K UHD Disc buying. Phil is reviewing and comparing the 55-inch LG CX vs. the Panasonic HZ2000 OLEDs, while Steve looks at a laser projector from LG, plus the latest AV, Hi-Fi and Movie news...

00:00:00 - Start
00:03:10 - Competitions
00:05:39 - Ed's ring of fire
00:07:06 - Ed's thoughts on Greyhound and Midway
00:09:35 - Hi-Fi news. Denon CEOL N11 DAB music system
00:11:39 - Ed's Perfect Album article
00:14:00 - Dr. Death Steve's tributes. Grant Imahara and Kelly Preston
00:17:40 - Steve and Phil talk projector screens
00:27:16 - Steve reviews the LG HU85LS Laser Projector
00:27:16 - Review of the LG HU85LS Laser Projector
00:34:50 - Cas is going on a Summer holiday.
00:39:05 - Tom's reviews. Netflix's Cursed Season 1
00:46:12 - Big Jet TV. Bye bye Boeing 747. We're in no danger of staying on topic.
00:49:44 - Update with Kim's JustGiving fund raising.
00:50:40 - Phil takes his Mustang home to Scotland
00:54:15 - The TVs that Phil has in for review
00:58:15 - Is physical media (Blu-ray discs) on the way out? H266
01:12:10 - Q&A
01:25:25 - Best and worst movies of Hugh Jackman
01:32:08 - Thanks and goodbyes

Presented by Phil Hinton with Cas Harlow, Ed Selley and Steve Withers.

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Evinger

Well-known Member
Thanks as always Gentlemen for a great podcast - I only managed to catch it live last night from the Best & worst of section, so caught up this morning.
And on that note, a Mr. Jackman Guilty Pleasure? His Cameo in Night at the Museum 3 (An otherwise painful Movie)
We still call him "Huge Ackman" in our Household after that :)
P.S. and he IS one of the nicest guys in real life, treats his Crew extremely well.
 

Gordon2147

Active Member
Hi Gents,

Really enjoyed the piece on 4K physical discs. Guess it will be down to the market to decide if they continue.

Also really looking forward to Tuesday evenings cast with the Denon team, this is exactly what I was looking for when I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. Will also be keen to hear which products they mention will be available for review after.

Thanks for the entertainment, I enjoy the opportunity to interact live as well as through the various threads

Gordon
 

Morgan Wright

Standard Member
Hi Guys,

Great podcast as always. Interesting to contemplate the future of 4K disc, I do buy them occasionally, they look and sound sensational. My biggest issue is the price of them, though I guess, don't think anyone has mentioned this, is that they're priced based on if you buy X movie on 4K you'll probably never buy another copy of said movie again, so they try and make the most money. I would buy more if they were 15 quid a pop compared to 25. The price of vinyl has come down recently, so should 4K disc if it it want any sort of viable future.

On an unrelated note I have a question for Ed for the next podcast. I'm looking at low output moving coil cartridges for around 500 quid, particularly the Audio Technica AT33PTG/II or the AT33sa. What are your thoughts compared to the alternatives.

Cheers, Morgan.
 

Saintbone

Active Member
I wish streaming services would provide a proper download option, similar what they have for gaming. You have the choice to stream at a certain quality but if you want the full 4k experience you can download and save to a device. Games are hitting 100gb. I'm sure films could do the same thing, maybe attach an external harddrive to a tv and its linked to the app on the tv or a 2tb streaming box.
 

Jokerr

Well-known Member
There may be interesting viewing content on Amazon Prime, but don’t like the forced AD on Prime, BBCIPLAYER and now AppleTV+. You probably don’t have to suffer this on a Blu Ray which is an Almighty advantage. Also, audio bandwidth fidelity is awful compared to Blu Ray or even Classical DVD’s. All this talk of Atmos and other new formats, but fidelity is compromised so much. Just put on quality headphones and you can instantly experience a mammoth difference between Streaming Services vs DVD/BLU RAY. Anyway back to my main point on those forced 30 second ADs - this monstrous imposition against myself and a number of outraged and reluctant constituents is unacceptable.

5DFD0A99-9BA7-4D3A-9853-81D785BA798A.jpeg
 

Eddy555

Distinguished Member
Great podcast as usual guys and an interesting discussion on 4K discs. Here's my take (sorry it's a bit long).

I believe there are some key areas when it comes to physical media and 4K discs that should be considered, and for my points below I'm including the different purchase/rental approaches in place:
  • Purchase of a physical disc (Shops and online)
  • Rental of a physical disc (Cinema Paradiso)
  • Purchase of a digital title (Apple, Amazon, Google etc.)
  • Rental of a digital title (Apple, Amazon, Google, etc.)
  • Subscription to a digital streaming service (Netflix, Prime, etc.)

Cost
New discs are £20 to £25 which is just too high, and a significant jump up from the BluRay. This puts a lot of people off.
Personally I wait for release to drop in price, I've set a limit of £15 per title with only the occasional special title that I'll buy over that.
Of my collection of 187 titles (which includes 2 TV series) I'm avergaing £11.13 per title. This is from a few second hand titles, but mostly from bundle/multi buy deals and buying from overseas. So if you can wait, it doesn't cost a fortune to buy the 4K disc.
Once you buy a physical disc, it's yours forever. Now while this is incredibly rare, if you buy a digital copy it could be removed from the service, or even worse the service could be closed down (again rare, but not impossible in the long term). And it's not yours forever, and is only licensed to the purchaser as a lease.
I also baulk at the rental costs of a digital release, £5 (seems to be the average) just seems way too high to me. I rent physical discs through Cinema Paradiso and that works out at £2 per title (which can be 4K) and I'm getting the best quality. Albeit I don't have full control over what film I get to watch when I want, but I am happy to compromise with that.

Quality
With the exception of Kaleidescape, streaming will always offer poorer quality image and sound. In some cases this difference is not so obvious, but you'll always get a better bit rate from a disc, and non-compressed audio. When you've shelled out significant sums of money on a home setup, I feel it's worth putting in the best quality source.
Also you have control over the quality, with the recent pandemic dropping quality we lost Atmos and resolution on Disney+, and you have no control over this. In normal circumstances you could also get drops in quality from network variability, again out of your control. And when someone likes Sky can't be bothered to stream in a quality that's at least comptetive with other platforms, then there's no way I will give them money, even if I miss out on some titles immediately and wait for the physical release (Game of Thrones, Chernobyl).
Streaming quality will improve as time goes on though. Even with the current codecs they're improving how the compress the videos and we've got H266 on the horizon, I hope they can improve the audio side too.

Convenience
There's no doubt streaming is more convenient, find your film (JustWatch helps enormously with finding the right service), press play and away you go. With a disc you have to find it, put it in the player, wait for it to load (my UB700 seems pretty slow at turning on and starting a disc) and maybe get through some warnings and intros and then you get to a menu to play the film. This can be improved by backing up discs to a network drive and using Plex or Kodi (my preference) so you then have instant accesss to your titles, but this is initially time consuming, more expensive for the setup and not for everyone.

Availability
Films seem to come and go from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon and aren't usually offered in HDR or Atmos, and there's still a huge amount of titles (especially more obscure ones) that are only available physically.
More worryingly for me though is that we're seeing many more recent titles only release on DVD in the UK (yuck) and then get their HD / 4K releases only digitally.

Summary
Now it's not to say that I'm against streaming services at all. I still use Netflix and Amazon a lot, especially for TV shows. I hammer my Spotify subscription and have probably bought 2 or 3 albums physically in the past 5 years. Spotify is good enough quality for the situations I listen in (car, headphones, desk). I buy all my games digitally on PC and console, but then the quality of games isn't different between a digital and physical copy. The reason I still prefer physical copies of films is that for the setup I watch them on I can tell the difference between a streamed and local version of the film and until that changes I'll continue to buy physcial media.
Kaleidescape is the one streaming service that offers the same quality (and sometimes better) than a disc. Although the initial cost of the hardware is too high for me at the moment, if this price of entry comes down and titles are reasonably priced and could see myself switching to this as long as there's some certainty on how long the service will run and how I own the titles.

As a final side note it's also interesting to see how many manufacturers have pulled out of creating 4K players too (Oppo, Samsung). This isn't going to help, although the players from Panasonic are excellent and cover most people's budgets.

However I'm a minority case in the grand scheme of things and see for the vast majority of users, where most of the market money is, streaming will continue to take over from physical media which will become a niche market.
 

Eddy555

Distinguished Member
I wish streaming services would provide a proper download option, similar what they have for gaming. You have the choice to stream at a certain quality but if you want the full 4k experience you can download and save to a device. Games are hitting 100gb. I'm sure films could do the same thing, maybe attach an external harddrive to a tv and its linked to the app on the tv or a 2tb streaming box.
Kaleidescape does this. Other's need to do this too, especially for people with weaker broadband connections.
 

Jokerr

Well-known Member
Kaleidescape does this. Other's need to do this too, especially for people with weaker broadband connections.
Do you know if it is available in the UK yet? I saw a YouTube event presentation 2 years ago and was very interested in the Kaleidescape service.
 

Eddy555

Distinguished Member
I think it has been for some time according to these press releases
Also found this
I'm sure I've seen some of the pro installers on here mention using/demoing it in the UK too.

Also here's the movie store in the UK
 

FergieB

Active Member
Great stuff lads. Interesting but all too brief Bond discussion. I agree with Cas about the nonsense retconning of Bond 24 and more continuense in No Time To Die.

I was an advocate for Craig after seeing Layer Cake. However, now I'm more than happy to see him go as he's had too much influence on production and it's definitely time to return to each film being a single adventure and produced on a lower budget at a much faster rate. His tenure has been fairly good but the time is right to change. The next Bond should be around 30 by next production date.

Looking forward to Tuesday's special.
 

neilgad

Standard Member
Have also just downloaded last weeks podcast from direct link.

Working now. Thanks.
 
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Jokerr

Well-known Member
People do have strong opinions on reviews and what is interesting is not if we agree/disagree with them but how well written the review is.

A Review is a piece of writing that should be engaging, which is where both Cas and Tom easily deserve 10/10.
 

Evinger

Well-known Member
People do have strong opinions on reviews and what is interesting is not if we agree/disagree with them but how well written the review is.

A Review is a piece of writing that should be engaging, which is where both Cas and Tom easily deserve 10/10.
Hear Him! Hear Him!
 

Eddy555

Distinguished Member
Reviews are there to guide people to content they may like or steer them away from stuff they won't. I find you have to calibrate yourself against reviewers and you find a set of reviewers with a similar taste to you. A good reviewer will explain why they like something or not, and not just say it was rubbish, but say the writing or acting let it down etc.

Cas's review of I May Destroy you on iPlayer made me watch it and it was excellent, one of the most interesting pieces of TV I've seen for a while. I've read a lot of Cas's reviews and have a feel for what he does and doesn't like.
Tom's review of Cursed also made me want to watch that, just to see if it was bad, or something I could put on as trashy entertainment as he said it had some redeeming qualities under it all. I only lasted about 20 mins.
A lot of people don't like Mark Kermode and I find some of his recommendations a bit pretentious, but I still get a lot of diverse and interesting movies from his reviews too.
We all have different tastes for sure, but for someone to say that reviewers are not worth while is missing the point, but they are of course entitled to that view too.
 

The_Wierd

Well-known Member
I don't think that physical media is dying out yet, but I think it is clearly going to become more of a niche product, especially if streaming quality can be improved further. If the quality gap is narrow, and pricing competitive, then the mainstream viewers are clearly going to continue to move to streaming as they did with music.

It's clear that the range of 4K releases is less broad and deep than Blu-ray, and unlike the move from DVD to Blu, I don't think every notable movie will get a necessarily get a 4K disc release. I would consider myself an enthusiast, but having bought over 2000 DVDs, Blu-Ray purchases dropped to about 300, but I only have about 50 4K discs, and must be 4 or 5 months since I bought the last one. For most releases I am finding Apple TV 4K sufficient, and my modest kit isn't good enough to really expose the differences. I am only looking at the special edition releases for physical purchase, or the occasional bargain price drop, so I guess I am part of the problem.
 

Waynej

Distinguished Member
Heh cheers for the surprise shoutout, made me chuckle while listening and out walking the dog. Tuned in prepared to drool over the HZ2000 description, you know, just in case I win the lottery this year. ;)

I've rented a few more streaming titles in the past week, as mentioned before with no cinema and disc rentals slowed to a crawl -I'm content with some cheap rentals in the meantime.

Really enjoyed Parasite (£1.99 Prime HD), which I've been meaning to check out for a while. On the 4K HDR iTunes front I rented some Blumhouse's Island film, which I forget the full name of - says it all I guess. Dark scenes looked decent for a stream, but the many bright scenes looked kind of blown out, as if I was watching in a Vibrant or Dynamic picture mode. This was with Professional 1 on the FZ802, presumably it's just the look the director was going for. Anyway, not a great film, but I enjoyed it enough that it was barely worth the rental cost.

More on the discussion of disc and streaming, I've slowly been going through the Marvel films again (for OLED sake), and as I have Thor Ragnarok on 4K BD and Disney+, I thought I'd try switching between them and eyeballing my own comparison.

I don't think there's much in it. There's a clarity and sort of fuller richness to the 4K BD audio which I felt surprisingly stood out more than any PQ comparisons. The 4K BD appears a touch sharper, and I probably only notice this from my rather close 6ft viewing distance to a Panasonic OLED. I guess others at a more modest distance or with a 55" would be even more hard-pressed to spot the differences.

The PQ on Disney+ for me is good enough to the point where I don't feel the need to buy the missing Marvel titles I would otherwise have wanted to own.

Still, convenience aside, I mainly like the Marvel films for their use of HDR, which the streaming seems to handle perfectly fine. I do have a preference for disc still, just for the sheer sake of knowing I have this really nice and OOTB accurate OLED TV, that it'd be a shame to not throw the 4K discs on that big-screen. I think that's just more a matter of principle though, but thinking about it - I can't remember the last time I paid £25 for a 4K BD.

Ultimately the poor value halts day-one purchases, pre-pandemic when deliveries were swift, I was really very happy with 4K disc rentals by post. I had the best of both worlds; uncompromised quality and great value at £15 per month for 2-discs, unlimited. I'm only leaning more on streaming rentals now as their disc delivery times went piss poor (understandably).

Argh, another longer than expected post! 😅
 

Evinger

Well-known Member
pre-pandemic when deliveries were swift, I was really very happy with 4K disc rentals by post. I had the best of both worlds; uncompromised quality and great value at £15 per month for 2-discs, unlimited. I'm only leaning more on streaming rentals now as their disc delivery times went piss poor (understandably).
I'm surprised that this has become an issue. I have not noticed any slow down from our 4K Rental service here in Germany, either in Turn-around or delivery times. Is it the Company or Companies themselves running out of Disks due to high demand, or the Postal Service being overloaded?
 

NatTheGooner

Active Member
A few other points against physical media

Some films won’t fit on a single disc, for example LotR extended editions the iTunes version plays as it should.

More plastic being produced to make the discs, although some people won’t care about this.

Discs can degrade and fail. I’ve had a few DVDs “go bad”, a couple of Blu-ray‘s that stuttered even though the disc looked fine and then a brand new Fantastic Beasts 1 on UHD played fine then pixelated baldly on a key scene even though it played fine the day before and the disc hadn’t even been removed from the player - very embarrassing when you have all the Potter fans in your family over for film night. The next morning I bought the iTunes version and compared the quality and it was very close so I sold the temperamental UHD disc along with every other disc I owned.
 

Waynej

Distinguished Member
I'm surprised that this has become an issue. I have not noticed any slow down from our 4K Rental service here in Germany, either in Turn-around or delivery times. Is it the Company or Companies themselves running out of Disks due to high demand, or the Postal Service being overloaded?
I think there's been a few factors. High demand on discs, slow postage and reduced staff at the distribution centre.
Things appear to have returned to normal now
I think Eddy pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'd say postage is/was slower by 3-working days, given my pre-order for The Last of Us Part II PS4 game arrived this late, and this is from a retailer that always has hit release day delivery for me in the past 10-years.

So it's likely the combination of the two, with reduced staff at both companies likely to accomodate social distancing for staff.

Previously I would average 2-3 deliveries per week, where as in past months it has taken upto 7-10 days for a single delivery (from the day I drop the return discs in postbox).

I made sure to get a proof of posting slip when I returned Birds of Prey, which was just as well as they charged me £20 for an unreturned disc following cancellation. I managed to sort that via. web chat, and told them that I suspect they already have the disc and just haven't logged it on their system yet. It did show as returned on my account a few days later, but with the proof I got the refund regardless. I do wonder if they would have been honest with regards to the return, had I not had that proof.

Sadly there's not much competition on the disc rentals front in the UK, but given the circumstances I'll be happy to re-sub when things go back to some form of normality.

We used to go to the cinema at least once or twice per month and now there's the saving from the cancelled disc rentals... the streaming convenience is something I'll throw some of that money at in the meantime.

I had Midway 4K disc down for rental, but never got around to that before cancelling. I did pick up on Steve mentioning this being on Prime, so I'll be giving that a viewing imminently. Granted it's only HD but at least it's free/in Prime.
 

Rockets

Active Member
People do have strong opinions on reviews and what is interesting is not if we agree/disagree with them but how well written the review is.

A Review is a piece of writing that should be engaging, which is where both Cas and Tom easily deserve 10/10.
Seriously it doesn't matter how well a review is written if it is biased and talking nonsense - it is and always will be utter crap.

Yes there will be people who agree and disagree but the first and main objectives for any review is to try and be unbiased and get your facts right. Think who the item/media is aimed at, maybe it isn't your thing and if that is the case think carefully about a audience it might appeal to.

The well written part is the desert not the main course.
 

Eddy555

Distinguished Member
Something else that I think is important regarding 4K discs is that studios have a bizarre attitude to which territories to release them in. Disney is a prime example of this. They've gone to the trouble of creating 4K versions of the Pixar films but then don't release huge titles like Wall-E, Up, Monsters Inc/U in the UK. I'd love to understand their business philosophy behind this. They have created the product, why not try and get the most return from it by releasing it in more countries. I'm sure they'd sell.
 

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