Q: I just set up a new 4K OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) TV with an Oppo BDP-103D Darbee Blu-ray player. It looks good, but the seller said it will be a while before true 4K UHD (ultra-high-definition) sources are available.
They touched on upscaling my current AT&T U-verse TV source, 4K streaming boxes and Internet speed. I would just like to utilize the system's capabilities and the sources I have now. My current Internet connection is 3 mbps (megabits per second). Is that a factor for streaming from Netflix and Amazon?
A: Netflix and Amazon recommend speeds from 15 mbps to 25 mbps, much higher than your 3 mbps rate. You don't have nearly enough speed to stream 4K, but we can talk about how to make the most of your current equipment as well as what is on the horizon.
You are off to a good start with the Oppo Blu-ray player. You can connect your U-verse set-top box to the Oppo player so the player acts as a video processor. Not only is it the best Blu-ray player available, it's also one of the best video processors. It combines Darbee Visual Presence (DVP) with Oppo's upscaler, merging two kinds of processing to make the most of standard definition or high-definition sources.
DVP brings new clarity and definition to the picture using a proprietary process that improves the image without creating artifacts or making it look unnatural. When setting the DVP, I recommend using the high-definition setting at 35 percent.
Oppo's 4K upscaler has advanced picture controls. After applying the DVP processing to the source material — be it a DVD, Blu-ray disc, media streamed from the player or the signal from your set-top box — the Oppo will upscale it to 4K using a processor that is likely much better than the one in the television. You can fine-tune the picture in the player as well as with the TV's picture controls to make it look its very best. I have a separate video processor in my system, and I am able to achieve a better picture using it in conjunction with the TV's picture settings than by using the TV's controls on their own. Readers can see the player and the Darbee difference at http://tinyurl.com/oppodarbee.
Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Panasonic announced its high-end DMP UB-900 player without pricing, and Samsung announced its UBD-K8500 player for $499, with preorders selling for $399. The Samsung will ship in March, and you can see it at http://tinyurl.com/samsungultrahdbd. Just don't expect many 4K Blu-ray movies to be available for quite a while, and expect them to be quite expensive compared with regular Blu-ray.
At the electronics show, I spoke with an engineer who helped develop the original high-definition broadcast standard we use today. He told me they are pretty close to completion of the 4K broadcast standard for over-the-air network broadcasts. The bad news is that it's not compatible with the current system, so those with existing 4K TVs will need an external tuner box to receive it.
This sounds very similar to what we went through in the conversion to HDTV from standard definition. I will have a lot more to say about 4K in upcoming columns.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.