Review Thread for Picture and Audio Quality of iTunes Content

catcher

Active Member
Hi Guys,

I have noticed that there doesn't seem to be any good sources for picture and audio quality reviews of streaming movies. I wonder if that is the case why don't we try and have a thread here where people can give short reviews of PQ/AQ of streamed content. I have noticed that especially on HD content on iTunes, there can be quite a bit of disparity in PQ, with some movies looking almost as rich and detailed as 4K (Lucy for example) or very grainy and distorted (English Patient for example).

Even a simple score out of 10 for PQ and AQ might be a very useful resource.
 

Graham

Well-known Member
Hi Guys,

I have noticed that there doesn't seem to be any good sources for picture and audio quality reviews of streaming movies. I wonder if that is the case why don't we try and have a thread here where people can give short reviews of PQ/AQ of streamed content. I have noticed that especially on HD content on iTunes, there can be quite a bit of disparity in PQ, with some movies looking almost as rich and detailed as 4K (Lucy for example) or very grainy and distorted (English Patient for example).

Even a simple score out of 10 for PQ and AQ might be a very useful resource.
Hi

I agree! I suggested this a couple of months ago and didn’t get too much interest unfortunately. But please feel free to add to the following thread if you’re happy to, and hopefully as it builds more people will pitch in.


All the best
 

maverick177uk

Distinguished Member
This would be a good thread to follow as many of us have digital stuff now
 

Smurf100

Well-known Member
Agree it's a useful idea, however the current European Covid throttling would likely make any review of streaming quality at the moment pretty ephemeral
 

Olliefreddie1

Active Member
Agree it's a useful idea, however the current European Covid throttling would likely make any review of streaming quality at the moment pretty ephemeral
Is this also affecting films purchased on iTunes?
i thought it was only affecting the streaming services
 

Coz22998

Distinguished Member
The Invisible Man (2020, watched via US iTunes - purchase via Vudu: 4K, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)

This decent take on the traditional tale has one of the very best soundtracks I've heard yet for a film from non-physical media.

Even though its not Atmos - just traditional 5.1 - its got near constant surround sound from all its speakers (including those engaged via my AVRs upmixer). Like A Quiet Place, the use of sound is crucial to the tension built by the film, so much coming from empty spaces and the threat of someone being there we cant see.

Every tiny whisper of the wind, every little squeak of a floorboard, every rustle of clothing, the surrounds are alive with these sounds, often mixed very quiet and yet it has pinpoint accuracy. If anything, the surrounds are maybe mixed a touch too hot, but I'm a surround sound junkie so this is not a problem! Even low end thump - long the bane of digital soundtrack who are accused of being thin sounding - has its moment, notably over the opening credits as thunderous waves wash over the soundstage from back to front, drenching the whole room with a trouser flapping thump.

While a different type of soundtrack, this is up there with Godzilla King of Monsters as the best example to show those who bemoan the audio quality of digital films.

Image-wise, it looked rock solid, with some lovely detail levels, yet it was never the kind of film that wanted to be a visual showcase. HDR is used to give a more realistic sheen to things rather than to blind us with spectacular highlights, relegated to the odd moment to 'shine' (sorry) such as a digital clock readout in the dark, or a torch beam in a dark attic. It looked very good and I didn't notice a drop in quality due to any throttling at the moment on my 92" screen.

Summary - a fantastic presentation, with the audio for once stealing the show from the visuals. HIghly recommended both as a film and a technical presentation.
 
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Graham

Well-known Member
Thanks for this! I think we should probably merge the two threads mentioned here - happy for this one to be the primary one if preferred
 

Coz22998

Distinguished Member
Oops, if you want me to move the post to the other thread let me know!
 

Nayfne

Distinguished Member
The Invisible Man (2020, watched via US iTunes - purchase via Vudu)

This decent take on the traditional tale has one of the very best soundtracks I've heard yet for a film from non-physical media.

Even though its not Atmos - just traditional 5.1 - its got near constant surround sound from all its speakers (including those engaged via my AVRs upmixer). Like A Quiet Place, the use of sound is crucial to the tension built by the film, so much coming from empty spaces and the threat of someone being there we cant see.

Every tiny whisper of the wind, every little squeak of a floorboard, every rustle of clothing, the surrounds are alive with these sounds, often mixed very quiet and yet it has pinpoint accuracy. If anything, the surrounds are maybe mixed a touch too hot, but I'm a surround sound junkie so this is not a problem! Even low end thump - long the bane of digital soundtrack who are accused of being thin sounding - has its moment, notably over the opening credits as thunderous waves wash over the soundstage from back to front, drenching the whole room with a trouser flapping thump.

While a different type of soundtrack, this is up there with Godzilla King of Monsters as the best example to show those who bemoan the audio quality of digital films.

Image-wise, it looked rock solid, with some lovely detail levels, yet it was never the kind of film that wanted to be a visual showcase. HDR is used to give a more realistic sheen to things rather than to blind us with spectacular highlights, relegated to the odd moment to 'shine' (sorry) such as a digital clock readout in the dark, or a torch beam in a dark attic. It looked very good and I didn't notice a drop in quality due to any throttling at the moment on my 92" screen.

Summary - a fantastic presentation, with the audio for once stealing the show from the visuals. HIghly recommended both as a film and a technical presentation.
Word for word agree dude, i was blown away with the audio track on this, it is immense and agree with everything you say about the film. Loved it.
 

PS3 Kiwi

Well-known Member
Hope you all don't mind a Yorkshire/Kiwi posting in this thread.

We haven't been affected by the throttling that you guys have had with your iTunes streams, so hopefully the thread will get more traffic when the streams get back to normal.

Just watched The Call of the Wild from iTunes, and I have to say that it was one helluva great transfer. There are some beautiful landscape shots, that are jaw dropping, and the whole movie is a reference quality iTunes stream. Its a steady Atmos track, and it does have its moments, just not as active as some that I have heard lately.

Video 10/10 - Audio 8/10 - Movie 7/10
 

Nayfne

Distinguished Member
Although not the best in the series, by a long shot, i thought Jigsaw 4k looked excellent throughout on Itunes, digitally shot im guessing? With fantastic detail and colours, as well as a very active Atmos track when the grue/action kick in.
 

PS3 Kiwi

Well-known Member
Another excellent movie to stream is A Quiet Place. Even though an iTunes stream is reportedly only a stripped down version of the real thing, the Atmos on this stream is superb. Not so much "in your face" superb, but very Atmospheric, with good use of the overhead speakers.

The video is almost as good as the audio, and its another big tick for iTunes streamed movies. I still buy 4K discs, but only if I can't get Dolby Vision or HDR10 coupled with an Atmos track off iTunes.

Video 9.5/10 - Audio 10/10 - Movie 9.5/10
 

Coz22998

Distinguished Member
Two very different recent watches and both with sublime A/V.........

Underwater (2020, Fox - US iTunes: 4K, Dolby Vision, 5.1)

Denied even a regular blu release over here, this 4K transfer is one of the very best I've seen - the grungy tech porn of the opening act, focussing on the collapse of the undersea drilling platform allows the fine detail to really shine. Every speck of dust, every grain of rubble, every bead of sweat or droplet of water is crystal clear, detail levels being off the charts.

The colours are nicely rendered, balancing the pitch black of the ocean floor with the pin pricks of light, the HDR pass helping eek out every last bit of shadow detail in the shots. The image if fairly flat looking, thanks to its digital photography, but for the relatively claustrophobic nature of most shots, this isn't a problem - in fact, its a boon, helping bring the image right up to our faces, immersing us in the claustrophobia perfectly. Things do soften up a bit with all the swirling CG beasties that populate the screen in the final act, but visually, this is a real treat.

I still bemoan a lack of an Atmos track, but the 5.1 surround track does a very good job in its own right. The surrounds are constantly active and realistically so, with the opening act giving us near constant ambient sounds of steam, of water, of creaks and groans. The LFE is pretty meaty too and while this isn't quite up there with the very best tracks iTunes has to offer (the lack of Atmos was noticeable in the third act and I was left wanting just that little but more from it...), its not far off at all.

An a/v digital exclusive at this quality level and one that lives up to its billing.

Cold War (2018, UK iTunes: HD, 5.1)

For a Polish art film set amongst the peasant countryside of the 1950s, the black and white film and the 4:3 aspect ratio almost seem de rigeur........and yet the image here was every bit as impressive as it was on Underwater, even if for very different reasons.

The use of film gives those detail levels almost as much clarity as the latest digital photography. But what sets this apart was the contrast ratio and the depth of field in the image, together with shot compositions designed to show both off to their fullest.

Crowded shots with people across multiple layers really do give the impression of looking through a window, the depth of the image seemingly never ending. The use of shadows and light, even without any form of HDR pass, give us deep blacks and bright whites virtually next to each other in the shot and the image is sumptuous. There's no obvious grain to speak of, the director choosing to not give us an image from the period of the film and when the 'action' moves to the sweaty jazz clubs of 50's Paris, the image becomes no less impressive. Utterly gorgeous.

And the soundtrack gives us the hugely important music in all its glory - from peasant folk songs to smooth jazz to early rock 'n roll, the 5.1 has body and it gives the music the energy it needs due to tits importance to the story. Not a surround extravaganza by any means, but for clarity and weight, its a great listen.

A/V that belies the film itself (which is brilliant and demands to be watched), this is at the other end of the A/V scale but is every bit as impressive.
 
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PS3 Kiwi

Well-known Member
Although I'm an avid Home Cinema fan (especially in Dolby Vision), I haven't bothered to learn too much of the technical side of it. So, my question is..... if I buy Gemini Man from iTunes and I have Match Frame Rate etc switched on, will I get the movie streaming at 60fps?
 

Nayfne

Distinguished Member
I'm pretty sure the 60fps is only available on the 4k disc of Gemini man.
 

PS3 Kiwi

Well-known Member
Thanks Nayfne. I thought so, but just needed confirmation. 4K disc it is then.
 

Coz22998

Distinguished Member
Although I'm an avid Home Cinema fan (especially in Dolby Vision), I haven't bothered to learn too much of the technical side of it. So, my question is..... if I buy Gemini Man from iTunes and I have Match Frame Rate etc switched on, will I get the movie streaming at 60fps?
Yes, @Coz22998 wrote a helpful review of the Gemini Man UHD disc, compared to having previously watched the itunes version at 24fps, at
Thanks Smurf - yes, I can confirm that the US iTunes version of Gemini Man is indeed 24fps only (I assume all other countries digital versions will be the same). And quite frankly after witnessing the horror of the 60fps version, we should all be grateful of that........ :eek:
 

Graham

Well-known Member
Yep I agree, I briefly had the UHD of Gemini Man and while the clarity was amazing, the 60fps effect was horrible for me. It’s like frame interpolation turned up to the awful maximum levels they use in shops, although ironically of course there isn’t any actual interpolation.

I watched the climactic action scene again on the Blu-ray in 24p and far preferred it. Each to their own but 60fps didn’t feel remotely cinematic to me. I am glad I watched it before I sold it though, just to get the experience.
 

PS3 Kiwi

Well-known Member
Damn, you've all given me second thoughts on buying Gemini Man now. Maybe I'll buy the disc just for demo purposes, and the iTunes version to watch :confused:
 

catcher

Active Member
Damn, you've all given me second thoughts on buying Gemini Man now. Maybe I'll buy the disc just for demo purposes, and the iTunes version to watch :confused:
If you search on YouTube there are demo videos showing Gemini Man running in HDR and 60FPS. Amazing visual fidelity but the movement does look like a home video. I couldn’t watch a movie like that and take it seriously.
 

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