You Asked: Is Dolby Vision a must-have? And how to handle At…

In this installment you asked: Is Dolby Vision forbidden? If your ceiling is funky, should you try Dolby Atmos? Is OLED the best replacement for old plasma? And Streaming vs 4K Blu-ray, which one is better and why.

dolby vision dilemma

Closeup of cherry blossoms on a Samsung S95C OLED TV.
Samsung S95C digital trends

ZM Knox asks: I’m shopping for an OLED TV. And here in the US, that means I really only have three brand options: Samsung, LG, and (if I choose to open my wallet more than I’d like) Sony. But I hesitate to buy Samsung TV because it does not support Dolby Vision. It seems that most services still only offer Dolby Vision, not HDR10+ content. Does it make sense to remove Samsung from my list of options due to the lack of Vision support? Is this really an issue in practice?

Well, I’m going to give a partial answer to your question here because I have yet to do a real-world Dolby Vision-vs-HDR10 post that I can tell you about. So, for now, I will say this:

First of all, I’m just as disappointed as many of you that Samsung has refused to do business with Dolby. Samsung may argue that Dolby Vision Is unnecessary and does not provide significant benefits. It could be argued that HDR 10+ , The standard it helped develop is just as good, and it doesn’t want to pass the cost of implementing Dolby Vision on to its consumers. You may be surprised to learn that I agree with at least some of its public-facing arguments. But here is my opinion:

I wouldn’t dismiss a Samsung OLED TV just because it doesn’t support Dolby Vision. The few times I’ve seen Dolby Vision content look significantly better than HDR10 content, that’s the bare minimum. In fact, there were times when the Dolby Vision version didn’t look as good as the standard HDR version.

The thing about Dolby Vision is that producers aren’t using it to its full potential. If they were, it wouldn’t be a big deal – you’d really be missing out on not having Dolby Vision. But as it stands, I’m not sure that’s the case at present. And it’s really hard to say when Dolby Vision will finally become the mandatory HDR format because it’s clearly superior.

So, as far as Dolby Vision being a necessity vs. a want? I still think it’s in the wanted range. However, I can’t agree with the idea that Samsung doesn’t want to put the burden of this on its consumers. I think if this were the real argument, it would be more like Samsung doesn’t want to bear the costs and therefore, wants to make less money because I don’t think Samsung wants to go above market rate with their TVs like Sony does. . Plus, every other major brand is supporting it – there’s a really strong “OLED is inferior” sentiment in this whole protest over Dolby Vision – and we see where Samsung has landed on this.

There’s a lot more to picture quality than just the HDR format used. Don’t overlook TVs like the Samsung S90C or S95C – these TVs are gorgeous. If you want QD-OLED And you don’t want to spend Sony’s money, buy Samsung. And my message remains the same for those struggling between Samsung QLED and competing QLED TVs.

Vaulted ceilings and Dolby Atmos

A family with a Sony HT-A9 home theater system.
sony-ht-a9 Sony

Kutle asks: My question is about the Dolby Atmos effect in a vaulted (sloped ceiling) room. The height of the lower end of our living room is about 9.5 feet, and the highest part of the ceiling reaches about 18 feet. As you’ve already mentioned in your other articles, up-firing drivers rely on reflection of sound off the ceiling. Having such a sloping roof will affect these desired reflections. Therefore, I believe it is not realistic to create a Dolby Atmos effect in this room (unfortunately, I couldn’t install any type of reflector or insulator type board because my girlfriend didn’t like the look of them).

Is it possible to create such an effect in this room? (I can’t even install roof speakers.) I’ve considered the Samsung 990C and the Sony HT-A9 so far. Should I skip it and consider a more budget-friendly sound system? Do you have any advice?

It’s true that up-firing Atmos speakers attempt to use reflection points to help with some localized Dolby Atmos effects, and that the nature of your ceiling – from its shape to texture to ceiling height – may be a factor. May affect the effectiveness of the Atmos effect.

However, as I’ve learned from trying out different Atmos systems in different rooms with different ceiling positions, there is almost always some benefit from the presence of an up-firing Atmos speaker. The intensity of that difference varies, but I always get something out of it.

I believe this is because those Atmos speakers are not using only reflectivity. Up-firing speakers have some directionality, so you’ll hear them one way or the other. Depending on the system, processing can be used to play with the phase of the signal to achieve a dome of sound effect. So, although it may not seem like you can pinpoint the airplane as it is flying over you because you don’t have a very localized reflected sound, you will have the sense that the airplane is passing over you, not Just around you.
I recommend trying Sony HT-A9, which does some clever processing, and sees what you think. I’d be surprised if you weren’t impressed. Samsung 990C It’s also a very impressive system, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by it; I think the A9 is so good at processing that it can help overcome some of the characteristics of your room that might not seem Atmos-friendly.

best dts setup

A PS5 is sitting on a table.
Giovanni Colantonio/

Sasha has a question about DTS and its setup: This setup will use an LG soundbar and a PlayStation 5 The following connections: Audio from PS5 to LG C2 via HDMI, then audio from LG C2 to soundbar via HDMI eARC. Is that connection method the way forward?

No, you don’t want to do it that way. The problem here is that the LG C2 and G2 do not pass DTS signals through the TV and through an HDMI ARC connection. So, you can send DTS to the TV, but what comes out won’t be DTS. I’m not really sure what LG would spit out in terms of audio in that case. I will have to test it. It can codec it to PCM. That wouldn’t be bad – but your question is how to get DTS on a soundbar.

So, in that case, you want to connect the PS5 directly to the soundbar and then run a signal that sends video from the soundbar’s HDMI output to the LG C2 OLED. This is if you want DTS for a specific reason. The thing is, this is a Dolby Atmos soundbar, and unless you have some very specific DTS:X content you want to listen to, I think you’ll want to stick with Dolby Atmos. Your PS5 supports Dolby Atmos – whether the app you’re using does or not is another question. But, frankly, I would run your proposed connection and go with Dolby Atmos and forget about DTS. But, like I said, if you have something specific you’re going for with DTS, going to the soundbar first, then to the TV with your PS5 signal is the way to go.

upgrading from plasma

Green plant shoots rise up through the dirt in a clear pot, seen on the Sony X90L.
Sony X90L Zeke Jones /

Gerrit from Germany asks: I currently have an old Sony 60W605B plasma TV and I want to eventually upgrade to 4K, HDMI 2.1, and all the good stuff we’ve gotten over the last 10 years of TV evolution.

On several forums, I read that the only sensible way to upgrade from a plasma would be to an OLED TV, as I would be underwhelmed by the picture quality of an LCD compared to my old plasma. Do you agree? Or, for example, would a Hisense U8K or similar be a significant and reasonable upgrade not only from a technical standpoint but also from a picture quality standpoint?

I mostly watch and play movies and TV shows through streaming apps and YouTube on my PS5.

I will neither agree nor disagree with those people on the stage, because I do not want to provoke the anger of the people on the stage. Anyone who has ever drawn the ire of forum people knows what I’m talking about. It’s not pretty. And that’s definitely not helpful.

But I will say that I think I understand why they’re saying what they’re saying. They’re probably thinking that you’re used to full black levels and no blooming, and the only TV technology that can do that is OLED, so to help keep you from being disappointed with your new TV, they want That you stay away from LCD-based technology. And it all means a lot. I can’t say I disagree with that argument.

However, some LCD TVs are extremely impressive. You’re moving from a non-HDR TV to an HDR TV, which is a big upgrade in itself, as long as it’s a good HDR TV. Additionally, some of the best LCD-based TVs have local dimming systems so good that they do a good job of matching OLED black levels and manage to reduce blooming significantly.

So, I think a very good LCD-based TV like the Sony X90L, Hisense U8K, or TCL QM8, for example, will feel like a big upgrade to your plasma in many ways. It really depends on how sensitive you are and what effect you have when looking at a picture.

I will caution that the Hisense U8K in Germany is not necessarily the same as the Hisense U8K we have and it is highly praised here in the US, so, I’m not sure that model is the one you should be looking at. This leads to a completely different discussion, but I’ll have to stop there for now.

4K HDR Streaming vs Blu-ray

A Marantz A/V receiver and Sony 4K Blu-ray player are controlled from the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED TV's IR blaster.
digital trends

Jeremiah asks: I have a LG G1, ATV4K, PS5, Sonos Arc and all. Any existing 4K HDR content I use is iTunes movie purchases and streaming via ATV, Max, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Prime.

I watched the 4K Blu-ray release from Criterion of Wall-E. If I play that 4K Blu-ray through my PS5 Blu-ray drive, will I see any dramatic improvement in picture and audio fidelity compared to the 4K/DV/DA version I have through iTunes and the version on Disney+ Will the difference be visible?

So, I’m using this question to discuss the best movie streaming service option and try to answer the question of how streaming vs 4K Blu-ray compares.

First of all, I don’t know how to quantify “dramatic” for you in terms of the difference between 4K Blu-ray playback and streaming. I can say I can clearly see the difference, mostly in the larger color areas, where I would see banding on the streaming version and no banding on the disc version. The detail on the disc is also better and there is less noise. This is because the disk is too much more information. The disc also features lossless audio, which many report provides a clearly audible improvement over the lossy streaming version of the soundtrack. For me, disc-based playback is definitely better than streaming in almost all cases.

Now, as a Blu-ray player, the PS5 is fine. It’s better than the Xbox Series Still, you may want to consider a dedicated player for the best Blu-ray playback. This isn’t necessary, but because you obviously care about getting the best quality, you may want to consider a standalone player. You don’t need to moon any player. A solid Sony or Panasonic will be fine.

However, as far as streaming playback is concerned. Consider getting movies anywhere. This is not an advertisement. Movies Anywhere takes all your digital movie purchases, including iTunes, and puts them in one place. But the real benefit is that Movies Anywhere has been shown to offer the highest bitrate compared to other streaming services like iTunes, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video. If you have a bandwidth cap, this may be a problem, so keep that in mind. But also, Discord doesn’t touch your internet, so if you have a bandwidth cap, that’s another reason to get Discord. Plus, with the disc, you actually own the movie. No one can snatch it from you. I can’t say the same about the digital versions, what it’s worth.

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