4K is the Season to Upgrade your Television and What to Choose From

I’m not as interested in buying movies I already own (either in DVD or Blu-ray). Of those classics worth re-investing in, only a handful exists:

4KBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

According to CableTV.com, 2020 is the year to embrace the 4K (UltraHD) for your television viewing needs. A 55″ unit is considered reasonably priced. The infrastructure exists for broadcasters to push the digital content, but the alliance industries are not ready unless people pay the cost of this extra data bandwidth usage instead of them.

Anyone buying a TV during the Black Friday (Cyber or Boxing Day) sales will be in for a treat. I’m enjoying the format so I can view crisp CGI over live-action. Nature documentaries are the best. Some films truly shine whereas others really do not need it.

Plus, not everyone is aware of the problems. Some people get nausea after prolonged usage. Proper viewing distance is key. I found upscaled standard definition is not as bad. However, it’s better to invest in a unit with the option to not upscale. My advice is to watch about 30 minutes of content at the store before saying I want to buy. Also, it’s best to know what streaming services offer this extra fidelity. Netflix has some titles in this format for an extra cost, Youtube has it for free (with more unlocked at a cost), and Disney Plus doesn’t charge! However, you need the proper ISP package to allow for constant usage. Not everyone is paying for unlimited data, and you need a 25 megabit data stream.

The 4K market falls short because studios are mainly releasing popular titles. I’m not as interested in buying movies I already own (either in DVD or Blu-ray). I’m willing to pay for well done documentaries that give me the illusion of being there and to make the hyper reality even all that most jarring, 4K Virtual Reality headsets are coming.

Of those classics worth re-investing in, only a handful exists:

Front Standard. 2001: A Space Odyssey [4K Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray] [1968].

2001, A Space Odyssey (1968)4K
The Dark Crystal (1982)4K
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)4K and 2049 (2017)4K
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)4K
The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)4K

Real4kbluray.com is a great website for checking into which titles are proper 4K presentations. Highdefdigest.com publishes very detailed reviews of those releases.

My hope for the future to extol the format include these titles:

Amadeus (1984)

The effort put into making this classical period come alive is all kinds of special. The film won numerous awards–which include costume design and also art direction.

Ben Hur (1959)

This classic has a lot of detail to love. From the colosseum to the chariot race, it’s a marvel of movie making. Anyone who’s read those making of essays will know of the huge number of extras used, and how highly detailed the special effects were. A 8K scan of the film print exists and there’s no reason to not offer a UHD release.

Cleopatra (1963)

Much like Ben-Hur, this time in cinema history had producers thinking big and being as extravagant as possible. The Golden Age of Cinema’s love for detail is everywhere! These movies shined. If I can’t get to see the writing on the tablets in The Ten Commandments, then this film is the most desired.

Dreams (1990)

Akira Kurosawa‘s masterpiece is a marvel of fragmentary fairy tales. The blu-ray edition is made from a restored 4K digital transfer and if this offering ever sees the light of day, it will depend more on Criterion to deliver–if they decide this format deserves its own line of releases.

Raiders of the Lost Ark.jpg

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

This under-appreciated Disney film made waves when computer generated imagery was becoming a thing in movie-making. The added layer of depth perception can make a scene look that more surreal–especially when concerning a certain stained glass knight.

Indiana Jones Trilogy (1981-89)

Unless I’m watching the movies on the big screen again, the holy artifacts Indy finds or has to rescue won’t resonate with that gossamer quality that the 4K format delivers. In theory, Disney has a home release ready to sell. They’re just sitting on it until the right anniversary hits.

Moulin Rouge (2001)

This film is special not only for its colourful grandiose musical numbers but also the work to make the cabaret come alive. This rendition of the Orphic tale can easily give any home theatre system a workout.

Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy (2003-2007)

Strangely, only one title in this franchise is available, and it’s the fifth film in the series–Dead Man Tell no Tales.

I’d rather see the original trilogy. The highlight is when we see Captain Jack dance with the devil–fighting his enemy in either human or skeleton form. This climatic moment is worth the price of a re-release.

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Apparently, a UHD print exists. It’s not released is because a third film is in the works, and nobody will see it until after this project gets an official green light. Plus, the studio may need time to clean up the original since it’d be nice to see this upscaled from its 8 bit beginnings to 128.

What Dreams May Come (2008)

The visual design behind this Robin Williams movie made this work very memorable. A lot of it owes a debt to choice of film stock, which vividly brought paintings to life. The journey Chris takes is a trip through the Louvre, through various landscapes–which only a specification like Dolby Vision can truly recreate.

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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