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HD and UHD ( 2K+ ) Digital Cinema
Various topics: HD, UHD (2K / 4K) Digital Cinema acquisition to distribution.

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Old January 4th, 2016, 10:12 PM   #1
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Distributing 4K Videos to Consumers

I am planning on shooting a series of non-fiction videos in 4K this year.

I had originally planned to distribute them on Blu-ray DVD's until I found out how expensive they are to duplicate.

I am hoping that members of this forum can perhaps recommend some more economical methods of distribution. Each video will be 60-90 minutes in length.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 04:30 AM   #2
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Re: Distributing 4K Videos to Consumers

To the best of my knowledge, there is no standard consumer 4K distribution format at present, with 4K being a great filming tool but limited for distribution.

Your best bet is probably a USB stick with MP4 files, although whether a 4K tv will be able to read a 4K file fast enough from USB will be trial and error. The other alternative is to upload the file to a cloud service that will allow the client to pay to stream. Unfortunately it is a matter of waiting for the playback technology to catch up. They may take a while if at all with the way that the media market is rapidly migrating to streaming technology.

Don't forget though that if you are looking to distribute on 4K, your product will not be backwardly compatible with the huge existing market of HD and SD users, severely limiting your marketing potential. As you are filming in 4K I would suggest that you also plan to distribute in DVD format to maximize your market.

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Old January 6th, 2016, 07:46 AM   #3
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Re: Distributing 4K Videos to Consumers

Originally Posted by Bob Prichard View Post
...Blu-ray DVD's ...
There is no such animal. There are BDs (Blu-ray disc) which are designed for HD content (but which include a couple of SD resolutions in the blu-ray spec.). Then there are DVDs, which are SD only.

Currently neither BD or DVD can handle any form of 4k or QHD content.

There is a newly released 4k-blu-ray standard (Feb 2015). There are a couple of 4k blu-ray players on the market (Panasonic had one at CES 2015, before the standard was finalized, but it probably complies). I don't know of any burners, but there's bound to be a couple. CES 2016 just started today; you'll probably see announcements of new 4k players and burners.

If you really want to distribute in 4k, I'm thinking you're a year or more early to the party for any kind of disc. That leaves you with USB drives and streaming I think.

But really, the problem is more along the lines of who your customers are. People like me, video people posting in a video enthusiasts' forum, don't even have 4k TVs yet. My Panasonic HD plasma is only six years old, and it's perfect for what I want. Can't come up with a reason to upgrade to 4k and loose the blacks and the tonality of plasma. Those things are more important to me than extra pixels. Maybe when OLED matures, but probably a projector if they ever reach a price/performance point I can handle.

I'm not saying you're wrong to want to distribute in 4k, just that it may take longer and be more effort than you might imagine. But it will never happen without people like you pushing the technology forward. So have at it.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 09:58 AM   #4
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Re: Distributing 4K Videos to Consumers

I just put a 55" Samsung UN55JU7100 in the living room and moved a 46" Panasonic plasma set downstairs. After spending a few days getting things adjusted via the myriad of settings, I tried out a few 4K videos on YT via the built-in SmartHub application. The Samsung was on the house wifi network and I suspected that the sustainable throughput was not high enough to ensure glitch-free 4K playback. A set of Netgear ethernet-over-powerline adapters fixed the problem but pointed out that internet delivery infrastructure may not always be robust enough for 4K (we're on a "free" year of upgraded 80Mbit Comcast service so at least that wasn't an issue). An 8-port Netgear switch is arriving this week to provide networking to all the components via the Powerline 1200.

I should have expected that all 4K video is not equal and pet owners have apparently flocked to the newer phones with high-resolution capture. Feeling slightly desperate, I grabbed a Roku 4 media player which supports 4K but requires a HDCP 2.2 HDMI connection to satisfy encryption, something my Marantz NR1403 receiver does not have. The Samsung TV does HDCP 2.2 but the audio gets converted to stereo if you take if from the TV feed. Luckily the Roku has an optical audio out and Marantz included just one of these inputs as well. We seem to be back in business with the new TV, 5.1 sound and an Oppo blu-ray player waiting to be replaced by a UHD version sometime in the future.

Sure, 4K programming is just around the corner. Radio Shack picked a bad time to pack up its tent.
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Last edited by Chip Gallo; January 6th, 2016 at 10:02 AM. Reason: cheap shot at Comcast added
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Old January 9th, 2016, 01:21 AM   #5
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Re: Distributing 4K Videos to Consumers

Currently USB stick distribution is what I agree with. HEVC only really needs 12mbps to display 4K, so there's no real issue with transfer speed if you encode in HEVC. H.264 at a high bitrate is what you have to worry about, but all modern TVs should accept HEVC playback, and the bitrate is friendly to the transfer rate of even USB 2.0 flash drives.
I wait for the day cost-efficient global shutter 60fps capable CMOS sensors emerge for use on major manufacturers' cameras. (Sony, Canon, etc.) Rolling Shutters are a plague.
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Old January 16th, 2016, 06:00 PM   #6
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Re: Distributing 4K Videos to Consumers

You should qualify your 12 Mbps speed with a frame rate. It is probably OK for 23.98 fps but not for 60 fps.
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