Britbox app Apple TV 4K - image quality

bingodisco

Active Member
Does anyone else have odd variances in picture quality using the Britbox app on an Apple TV 4K box?
Some stuff looks perfect - sharp, colour balanced and very watchable. Other stuff looks very off - with raised, milky blacks. Series 2 of the ITV drama 'Innocent' for example looked this way, as do the two Doctor Who Dalek movies - the black letterbox bars are more light grey than black. Strangely the 1960's classic Doctor Who episodes in black & white are fine - the 4:3 pillarbox black bars are proper black.
What's weird is that the same things viewed on the Britbox app on a Samsung TV, Panasonic TV and Manhattan T3-R box all look fine - the blacks are properly black.
I've checked all my ATV connections, tried different picture settings, but to no avail. I'm running the box at 4K SDR 50Hz with match frame rate and dynamic range turned on. Every other app provides an excellent picture - it's just Britbox that seems to exhibit this problem. Is it some kind of upscaling issue?
 

Barrovian

Well-known Member
Does anyone else have odd variances in picture quality using the Britbox app on an Apple TV 4K box?
Some stuff looks perfect - sharp, colour balanced and very watchable. Other stuff looks very off - with raised, milky blacks. Series 2 of the ITV drama 'Innocent' for example looked this way, as do the two Doctor Who Dalek movies - the black letterbox bars are more light grey than black. Strangely the 1960's classic Doctor Who episodes in black & white are fine - the 4:3 pillarbox black bars are proper black.
What's weird is that the same things viewed on the Britbox app on a Samsung TV, Panasonic TV and Manhattan T3-R box all look fine - the blacks are properly black.
I've checked all my ATV connections, tried different picture settings, but to no avail. I'm running the box at 4K SDR 50Hz with match frame rate and dynamic range turned on. Every other app provides an excellent picture - it's just Britbox that seems to exhibit this problem. Is it some kind of upscaling issue?
Exactly the same here. Picture is off when watched via ATV 4K app, but the same content is fine via the Sky Q app and the onboard app on my TV. It's also the same on my iPhone 12 Pro Max so it might be an 'Apple bug'... Frustrating though.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
Exactly the same here. Picture is off when watched via ATV 4K app, but the same content is fine via the Sky Q app and the onboard app on my TV. It's also the same on my iPhone 12 Pro Max so it might be an 'Apple bug'... Frustrating though.
I'm currently in contact with BritBox tech support - getting them to investigate further. I've provided them with video evidence of how different the same content looks via the ATV compared to the TV app. Fingers crossed they'll sort it. Will keep you posted.
 

Kotatsu Neko

Well-known Member
I had a free 6 month trial of Britbox and watched it occasionally. Some of their masters are just flat out broken, with as you say washed out blacks. They make mistakes on a technical level too, such as not supporting frame rate matching so everything jitters its way through the stock 60hz ATV refresh rate.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
I had a free 6 month trial of Britbox and watched it occasionally. Some of their masters are just flat out broken, with as you say washed out blacks. They make mistakes on a technical level too, such as not supporting frame rate matching so everything jitters its way through the stock 60hz ATV refresh rate.
I don't think it's a problem with their masters, unless they're using different ones for ATV - the same content looks perfect on the BritBox app on my TV, Firestick 4K and on my Manhattan T3-R box. It's something to do with the app on the ATV box - not outputting gamma correctly or something. The tech department are now looking into it apparently.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
Surprise surprise BritBox tech support blame the ATV box and say they can't replicate the issue at their end so I should take it up with Apple. I pointed out that every other app on the box works perfectly with my current cables & settings but they say there is nothing more they can do.
 

Barrovian

Well-known Member
Surprise surprise BritBox tech support blame the ATV box and say they can't replicate the issue at their end so I should take it up with Apple. I pointed out that every other app on the box works perfectly with my current cables & settings but they say there is nothing more they can do.
I'm not convinced by their "Can't replicate" stance, more likely they've just not noticed it. To be fair, I didn't spot it straight away. It was only when watching "Thunderbirds" in the evening in a dimly lit room that the grey 'pillar boxes' stood out. It may well be the way Apple devices are handling the picture. It's the same on my iMac, ATV4k, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone XR and MacBook Air. As far as the TV goes, I just knock the brightness down a few notches. Or just watch the onboard App or via the Firestick.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
I'm not convinced by their "Can't replicate" stance, more likely they've just not noticed it. To be fair, I didn't spot it straight away. It was only when watching "Thunderbirds" in the evening in a dimly lit room that the grey 'pillar boxes' stood out. It may well be the way Apple devices are handling the picture. It's the same on my iMac, ATV4k, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone XR and MacBook Air. As far as the TV goes, I just knock the brightness down a few notches. Or just watch the onboard App or via the Firestick.
Completely agree. The 'can't replicate' stance was just a quick and easy fob off.
Interestingly, after you mentioned looking at content on other Apple devices, I've just watched some stuff on my iPhone 12 Pro and MacBook Air and you are correct - the blacks are distinctly grey, same as on the ATV.
It could be something to do with how Apple kit handles low bit-rates maybe, they're not very high on BritBox content.
As you say, I'll just watch via the TV or Firestick app from now on...
 

Jong1

Well-known Member
Just posting to say I have just started a trial and am watching S4 of Unforgotten. I immediately noticed the raised black in the letterbox bars and the generally washed out look of the show itself (Episodes 1and 2 so far).

Installed the app on my LG E6 and the black bars and contrast are perfect. This is definitely a problem with this app and only this app on the Apple TV 4K.

I cannot believe that anyone half competent in their tech team with a properly calibrated TV would not spot it immediately!! My guess is they gave the job of verifying to some random person in the 1st line team using any old TV in a brightly lit office and, surprise, surprise, they didn't notice!!
 

Jong1

Well-known Member
By the way, I use Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, iPlayer, Now, All4, iTunes Movies, Plex & YouTube on Apple TV 4K, all of which are capable of setting the right black level.

Britbox need to get on this. If it is not a universal problem (I've yet to explore the rest of their catalogue) there is a problem with their uploading protocols/workflow that makes it possible for content providers to set the black level incorrectly.
 

bingodisco

Active Member
Just posting to say I have just started a trial and am watching S4 of Unforgotten. I immediately noticed the raised black in the letterbox bars and the generally washed out look of the show itself (Episodes 1and 2 so far).

Installed the app on my LG E6 and the black bars and contrast are perfect. This is definitely a problem with this app and only this app on the Apple TV 4K.

I cannot believe that anyone half competent in their tech team with a properly calibrated TV would not spot it immediately!! My guess is they gave the job of verifying to some random person in the 1st line team using any old TV in a brightly lit office and, surprise, surprise, they didn't notice!!
Yup. I suspect they didn’t even have an Apple TV box in their office, hence they “couldn’t replicate the issue”. Pathetic response. Even the initial person I had contact with in the support department could clearly see the issue on the video I sent. The ‘tech team’ however, couldn’t be arsed.
I also get perfect black levels from all other apps on the ATV but BritBox can’t get their heads round that fact and say the blame lies with Apple, not their content.
The app itself is clearly at fault. It’s misinterpreting metadata from the masters & increasing gamma or something like that. The hardest thing is how to convey that information to someone at BritBox who has half an idea what it actually means.
The more people flag it to them though, the more likelihood of them looking into it.
 

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