The First 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Movies With Dolby Vision HDR Are Simply Stunning
Stephan Jukic – June 9, 2017
Whether or not you’ve seen or would even much enjoy the CGI animated Universal Studios movies “Despicable Me” and “Despicable Me 2”, they have now just become highly recommended purchases if you happen to own a 4K HDR TV with Dolby Vision support AND a 4K Blu-ray player that also includes Dolby Vision. Why? Because these are the first ever 4K Blu-ray titles so far to come with Dolby Vision premium HDR mastering programmed into them on top of the more conventional HDR10 that they already also have.
While HDR10 (which is present in virtually all existing 4K Blu-ray titles and in all existing 4K HDR TVs) delivers a superb new level of picture quality that leaves normal SDR content in the dust in terms of sheer color, vibrancy and contrast quality, Dolby Vision takes things even further than that. This is something it pulls off by adding a further layer of dynamic metadata on scene-by-scene basis over the more static dynamic range improvements that HDR10 mastering is already applying. In other words, optimizations of shadow, light, color and contrast become far more dynamic for details and vibrancy that HDR10 can’t match so far. With these extra features to keepin mind, anyone who can enjoy these first ever 4K Dolby Vision HDR Blu-rays has a lot of eye candy to look forward to.
Promoted as the superior “premium” high dynamic range alternative, the Dolby format is also more expensive to implement due to its proprietary nature and certain other hardware requirements. This has made it much less popular among producers of 4K HDR content and electronics manufacturers. However, that the Dolby Vision standard has more to offer than its open source HDR10 counterpart is almost without debate. A look at these two new 4K UHD Blu-ray releases shows the quality of Dolby Vision like few other things could from a consumer point of view.
Playback of these discs on a Dolby Vision-capable 4K Blu-ray player such as the Oppo 203 reveals a level of picture quality beauty in the already colorful digital graphics of Despicable Me 1 and 2 that really outshines HDR10 on every level. Colors look incredibly rich with lots of fine shading detail which previously wouldn’t even be visible and tones of shadowing in both colors and all contrast variations of both movies are remarkably fine. Then there are the levels of precision with which Dolby Vision delivers enhancements of brightness and fine bright points in specific parts of these movies scenes. High brightness peaks and small bright points are delivered with much more impact and refinement than could in any way be pulled off by HDR10 and small details in particular, like bright reflections off glass or shiny parts of objects in the displayed content are truly impressive in their subtlety.
The two newly released 4K HDR Blu-ray versions of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 are already available on Amazon.com right now as package deals with bonus features included. Despicable Me 2 can be found here, though we thought the original was the better, funnier movie between the two, even for adults.
Fans of HDR10 who’ve watched content in the format on truly premium HDR10 4K TVs should find themselves quite impressed to see just how picture quality can be made even better from what they’ve seen before and become used to.
Of course, as we said above, watching “Despicable Me” and its sequel in all their 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR glory on Blu-ray discs means having to own two very important things. The first of these is a 4K UHD Blu-ray player with support for the Dolby HDR format and the second is a 4K HDR TV with Dolby Vision display support. Of these there are numerous models to choose from but the ones with the maximum capacity for delivering all the fine details of DV mastering in the disc content will be premium HDR TVs with features like local dimming or OLED display technology. Specifically, LG’s entire lineup of 2016 and 2017 OLED HDR TVs fits the bill superbly in terms of all color, contrast and precision brightness capacity. Two particularly excellent models among these would be LG’s fantastic 2017 C7 OLED TV, which we reviewed in detail here and LG’s still excellent HDR OLED model from 2016, the B6. Both of these would be perfect performers for the next generations of 4K HDR Dolby Vision Blu-ray discs that we can almost certainly look forward to in the coming months and both of these OLED TVs are the most affordable models of their kind for 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Second choice for a premium 4K HDR experience in the Dolby Vision format are without a doubt Sony’s premium 2017 4K HDR TVs. These include the superb XBR-X940E model which we recently reviewed here and Sony’s slightly cheaper and smaller but also stunning X930E HDR 4K TV. Both come with DV support planned via firmware update in the next few weeks (at the time of this writing) and both TVs crucially deliver high quality local dimming technology for high quality rendering of all those little details we mentioned above in Universal’s two fantastically colorful CGI animated adventures.
On a final note for this overview of just what the first ever Dolby Vision 4K HDR Blu-ray discs offer, we need mention that while the DV format enhances texture, light texture and just about all perceivable details in every single scene of these movies to levels that HDR10 does not match, we don’t think you should rush out and buy a Dolby-capable high dynamic range capable TV right off the bat if you already own a great HDR10 4K TV model. However, if you haven’t yet bought that 4K TV you’ve been considering, yes, going for a model with Dolby Vision HDR support would definitely be a good bonus, because with DV-mastered content that looks this good in Blu-ray, we can probably expect plenty more to arrive for other movies.
Story by 4k.com