First impressions are good, it looks OK, better than the Samsung BD-F6500 it replaces in my rack. The remote is a bit small but actually quite easy to use, the finish on the player is good, the curve is not as pronounced as it looks in pictures and the controls are nicely placed (unlike the F6500).
In use the player responds quickly, whether navigating smart features or simply following an instruction to eject the disc tray. Save for some noise when searching discs (e.g. when you’ve just put one in) the player is silent.
My TV is a LGEF950V. This is the flat, 2015, 55 inch, 4k OLED. The set up was “plug ‘n’ play”, I just swapped the player, switched HDMI deep colour on on both devices, followed the 3-minute set up wizard on the Samsung and…well, nothing. That’s all I did.
I have been able to back-to-back the Revenant on UHD and BluRay. UHD is a step forward, there’s no doubt the film does look better. After seeing the UHD the BluRay looks washed out, thin, flat. A good example is a scene where the camera follows a horse rider out of a forest into morning sun. On the BluRay the scene does start dark and then go bright but….somehow stays dim. It’s as if the bright sun light is washing everything else out, and there’s no quality to the light, it’s just brighter, as if someone has turned up the brightness control on the TV….on UHD the dark parts of the image are still there, and the bright sun light is extra, and has a depth to it. Dark parts of the image retain their detail and objects retain their colour. Fire is another good example, on BluRay the fires are flat and thin, they merge into the background….on UHD they are bold and bright, standing apart from their surroundings, casting light and reflections.
How much of this is down to the 4k resolution I’m not sure. I have watched ‘The Martian’ and there is detail there, the clean parts of the image (say inside the space ship) are very crisp and clear…but I’ve seen BluRay’s look pretty good in that aspect too…to be honest I haven’t really noticed the extra resolution in this or the 'proper 4k' 'Revenant' maybe my screen isn't big enough. I have noticed the increased contrast, brightness, detail and depth of colours. Some of that might be helped by the 4k, but I think most of it is the HDR and colour space.
Is it worth it? Well, it’s easy to say no. BluRay can still look amazing, and it’s not like UHD makes the story better or improves the acting but….films are my passion. I love watching a good film, partly for the feeling of being taken to another place and being shown things I could never see for myself…HDR gets me another few inches closer to that picture so for me, yes. I'm thrilled and can't wait to see more HDR!