While the streaming services do a great job when it comes to video qualities, not all of them support 4K resolutions, and nothing can beat the blooper scenes you’d get to see on a Blu- ray. Blu- ray versions of each production include lots of Easter eggs and even souvenirs while offering the best possible audio and viewing experience.
Not all disc drivers will be capable of playing Blu- ray content, but Xbox Series X has all the necessary tools to become your primary media player in addition to being your dedicated gaming console. If this is your first time inserting a media disc into your Xbox Series X, you’ll also need to download a separate app called “Blu- ray Player.” This is a media player, developed by Microsoft, and lets you play the most video files, including Blu- ray.
To download the application, you’ll need to press the Xbox button on your controller to bring up the guide menu. And wherever there’s a 4K Blu- ray player, there’s a chance that the owner of that player will start buying and enjoying the unparalleled quality of 4K Blu- ray discs, thus reinvigorating the latest and easily the greatest movie disc technology and guaranteeing its future for years to come.
Photo: Microsoft while it might be easy for gamers on the one hand and hardcore home minefield already equipped with high-end dedicated 4K Blu- ray players on the other to both dismiss the Xbox Series X’s 4K Blu- ray driver, there’s a big gray area of other regular people in between (not to mention bean counters at movie studios) for whom the Xbox Series X’s 4K player could be a big deal. A gateway to a new level of AV experience they haven’t seen before that coincides perfectly with the swanky new 4K TVs many millions of us have been buying in recent months both to unlock the gaming abilities of the new consoles, and improve the quality of our home entertainment while Coronavirus prevents us seeking our thrills elsewhere.
At launch, they suffered pretty severe (though ultimately reasonably well resolved) elevated black level and Dolby Atmos sound problems. Lacking Dolby Vision (which adds extra scene by scene image information to help screens do HDR better) is a shame with any 4K Blu- ray player these days, but it feels particularly frustrating on a device that’s committed to Dolby Vision in other areas.
Photo: Microsoft Series X could add Dolby Vision 4K Blu- ray support in the future, I guess. It’s certainly possible to do that via software upgrades these days; in fact, Opp and Sony have both added Dolby Vision to some of their 4K Blu- ray players via post-launch firmware updates.
When Xbox announced that it would be introducing Dolby Vision for gaming, though, it notably did not also mention 4K Blu- ray playback. In fact, HDR10 is the only HDR format available on many 4K Blu- ray discs, with Dolby Vision and especially HDR10+ masters cropping up much more infrequently.
You definitely don’t want, after all, your immersion in a film to be ruined by notification pings every time one of your Xbox friends logs in to Call Of Duty. The only way round this was to manually deactivate the ‘pass audio to receiver’ option so that the Xbox Series X transcodes the soundtrack internally into something it recognizes the TV can support.
Note that so far as I can tell, neither the Xbox Series X’s ‘HDR Calibration’ tool for games nor variable refresh rate technologies have any impact on the 4K Blu- ray drive’s output. Photo: OppoPopping a 4K Blu- ray disc into the Xbox Series X results in a fair bit of initial clunking and whirring.
Briefly, though, the Series X seems to be outputting its 4K Blu- ray pictures with marginally elevated light levels, meaning that some very dark sequences can cause problems on some TVs. On the LG Sleds, switching the TV HDMI port you’re using for the Xbox Series X into PC mode removes the flicker, but not the slightly raised noise and black levels.
That said, if you’ve coughed up for a 4K Blu- ray disc, you probably owe it to yourself to be watching it in as cinematic (as in, dark) an environment as possible. And while the LG Cinema and Filmmaker Modes are designed to be accurate to mastering standards, their appearance may be too ‘flat’ for many viewers’ tastes.
Which made me wonder if the Series X might have fared better out of the box if it had extended its Dolby Vision support to its 4K Blu- ray drive. It’s important to stress finally in this section that while the elevated black output with HDR sources is present and might hopefully get fixed via firmware, it’s far from omnipresent.
Initial impressions of the Xbox Series X’s handling of all that lovely detail younger on a 4K Blu- ray were that it was good enough to make it feel like you’re watching 4K, without truly taking your breath away in the way that best 4K players can. Trying to home in on this more by comparing both still frames and short looping film clips on the Series X with the standalone Opp and Panasonic players confirmed those initial impressions.
As you might expect, the more expensive decks, the Opp 205 and Panasonic UB820, deliver clearly the sharpest, crispest, most detailed looking pictures. Photo: It, Newline Cinema So in the 4K Blu- ray of It, for instance, when freezing the image at 48.31, on a shot where Eddie is walking down the street towards the sun just ahead of his run in with the leprous woman, the Opp and Panasonic UB820 revealed more detail and sharpness in densely textured areas such as the tree tops to the left and right sides of Eddie’s head.
As noted in passing earlier, the current slightly elevated black levels the Xbox Series X 4K Blu- ray player exhibits with some TVs can lead to more video noise in dark scenes. On TVs that reveal the issue toucan see compression blocking or other digital artifacts in the picture that should have been tucked away in darkness.
The first of the two shots of the ‘eyes’ in the early Georgie in the basement scene of It provides a great example of where compression artifacts can appear on TVs that don’t compensate for the Series X’s raised black level issues. Especially if you use the PC Mode option on the LG OLED TV that fixes the gamma instability problem.
The Opp 205 and Panasonic UB820 both exhibit less ‘mosquito noise’ around the trees to Eddie’s left and right, and around/between the power/phone wires that run across the screen. So the premium standalone decks aren’t ‘cheating’ by softening out image detail to deliver a cleaner finish.
I mentioned this deck’s strange tendency to overcook peak bright highlights when I reviewed it last year, and despite Panasonic acknowledging the problem, it doesn’t seem to have been fixed by any firmware updates. The main color story to come out of comparisons between the Xbox Series X and my three other stand-alone 4K Blu- ray decks is the difference Dolby Vision makes.
Photo: Scythe Series X color performance gives a pretty decent account of itself relative to the rival decks with non Dolby Vision titles. Its saturation levels and general vibrancy are pretty much on a par, and you don’t feel shortchanged when it comes to the wide color gamuts typically provided with HDR sources, or as if the wide color palettes are being delivered without enough control.
What I mean by this is that if you shuffle through or skip around a 4K Blu- ray disc, it sometimes takes the Series X drive a second or two to settle back down to playing stably at the correct playback rate. So if you have a Sony TV that ... carries it, I'd recommend you set your Xbox Series X to output 1080p rather than 4K when watching HD Blu-rays in its 4K drive.
Photo: Nonwhite the Xbox Series X is capable of doing wondrous things when it comes to making old games look like new, though, it’s a pretty poor upscale of HD Blu- ray films. The results look pretty soft and detailed by the standards of the (increasingly AI-assisted) 4K upscale rs we’re finding turning up in many of the latest premium and mid-range TVs.
With the Pass To Receiver option selected in the box Series X Blu- ray player app settings, it’s nice to see that your sound system ‘sees’ Dolby Atmos or DTS: X correctly depending on what’s provided on the disc you’re playing (assuming your audio system supports both). You don’t have to manually activate either Atmos or DTS: X on the console to match the soundtrack on the disc, so long as you are letting your receiver do the audio decoding.
There does appear, though, to be an issue with audio lag, where the sound can run slightly out of sync with the pictures, so that people’s mouths don’t move in time with the words they’re supposed to be saying. Toucan also pretty much remove the issue on the LG TV by setting its Xbox -handling HDMI input into PC mode.
Photo: Tithe only thing that really improved the issue on the Samsung system was to set the TV into its fast-response Game mode. Such a wide range of experiences suggests that the console’s audio output may be introducing a small lack of audio synchronization at the start of the ‘chain’ that is then getting amplified by some secondary sound systems introducing small extra delays of their own.
The two Sony titles I tried, though, Spider-Man: Homecoming and the remake of Ghostbusters, both caused the console to completely shut down a number of times when simply trying to skip through chapters. Plus I experienced a Dolby Atmos sound bug with the OLED48CX TV whereby the sound would often start distorting and constantly flagging up the Dolby Atmos notification if I quit playback of a film to head into the console’s menus and then tried to return to the film.
Its picture quality isn’t as good; it’s much more buggy; it’s light on features (including lacking support for the advanced Dolby Vision and/or HDR10+ HDR formats); it’s more complicated to set up; and while the sound is more than good enough in terms of sheer quality, the apparent potential for it to cause lip sync errors with some set-ups is a definite concern. That said, as Microsoft proved with the Xbox One generation, incorporating a 4K Blu- ray player into a cutting edge console’s architecture does open the potential for gradually improving things via regular firmware updates.
So eternal optimist that I am, in these early days of Microsoft’s new console I live in hope that the ever-active Xbox tech teams might yet elevate the Series X’s 4K Blu- ray abilities to a level where people finally realize that a) streaming isn’t the be all and end all of home entertainment and b) DVDs are so far past their sell-by date that it’s not even funny. With consoles will do so, the series X will have significantly higher performance.
Do you know if any games that were on the Xbox One will be capable of it on the series s/ x ? Also, I’ve seen videos showing the series X’s ray tracing abilities, and they used Minecraft as an example.
One of the main reasons I plan on buying one of the new consoles is for the ray tracing abilities (especially on Minecraft) It is possible that some premium Xbox One titles may be given an RT patch for Series S/ X we will wait and see.
Ray traced shadows, RT global illumination and RT reflections are the main forms of Ray Tracing. I'm a PC gamer with an RTX 2080 graphics card and have been playing certain games with RT ON such as Metro Exodus, Control, Wallenstein Young blood and of course, Minecraft.
Ray tracing is a 'feast for the eyes' certainly, but it's also very demanding on the hardware. Yes, RT on Minecraft for Series X is real.