New to Blu: June 27 – July 3

Winter’s here, and so too, for the first time, is Game of Thrones on 4K-UHD.

“Season One of Game of Thrones was shot digitally in 10-bit 4:4:4 at 1920×1080 resolution using ARRI Alexa cameras but the captured image was recorded on HDCAM SR videotape,” The Digital Bits reports.

The entire season was produced on a tape-based workflow, with colour correction done on set. This source was upsampled to 4K, given high dynamic range grades in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and is presented here in the original 1.78:1 broadcast aspect ratio. I have to say, I’m really kind of shocked at how good this looks

Game of Thrones is great television drama. Against all odds, this first season is also quite a good 4K Ultra HD release. This is absolutely the best these episodes have ever looked, better than broadcast, better than Blu-ray, and better than it damn well should look upsampled to 4K.

“Outside of resolution, the HDR presentation offers its own set of improvements here and there,” High-Def Digest said.

Most notably, the 10-bit video and wide colour gamut offer a delicate expansion of the show’s palette, rendering a greater range of colours. Skin tones, in particular, seem to benefit from the upgrade, resulting in some added warmth and a natural, rosier tinge to faces. Greens in leaves and forests pop a bit more as well, and there’s added depth to primaries in general.

Home Theater Forum rated the video 4.5/5 and the audio, 5/5.

My only real complaint is that unsuspecting viewers who do not have Atmos will allow their player to choose the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track by default, and not the Atmos, which contains a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless track. HBO should have included Dolby TrueHD 7.1 as a selection from the menu or defaulted to Atmos, regardless.

The only downside is the omission of the Blu-ray release’s in-episode guide; every other extra has been ported over.

  

Winchester is presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1,” Blu-ray.com said.

While some CGI elements look noticeably fake, the bulk of this presentation has a really beautifully burnished and well detailed appearance, despite the prevalence of shadowy, often minimally lit, scenes … Some interior sequences are graded toward cool blues and grays, but detail levels are surprisingly well rendered even in darker moments.

“I watched Winchester on both an iPad Pro and then a second time upconverted to 4k via projector,” Home Theater Forum said.

Both looked terrific for 1080p material, with the projected image having depth and clarity befitting a modern transfer. Grain was minimal and pleasant in the many very-dark segments, colors popped nicely both indoors and out, and there wasn’t ever a hint of ringing or other artifacts.

Also new are Renegades and The Mercy.

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