If you're thinking of buying a new Ultra HD TV, then you're obviously investing that little bit extra because you want it to look its best. To do exactly that, you should also invest in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player and some new 4K Blu-rays. Here are our 10 favourite 4K discs, all of which you can buy right now.
Sony was first to market with both 4K UHD TV and Android TV in Australia. From the director’s lens to the living room, Sony is a proven leader of innovation and technology in home entertainment.
All these movies have excellent quality 4K transfers — from either a 4K or 2K video source — as well as support for HDR. Since they're delivered on Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, too, they have the highest video and audio bit-rates possible today — which translates into the cleanest and most detailed picture on your new big-screen TV. Think about it like this: when the best possible streaming 4K from Netflix and YouTube tops out at around 25 megabits maximum, a good quality 4K Blu-ray can hit over 100 megabits, or four times the image detail in each individual frame.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Confident in his powers as Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) embraces his new role as a hero and spends time with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in between protecting New York from criminals. However, his greatest battle yet is about to begin. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront an enemy far more powerful than he is. And when his old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns, Peter comes to realize that all his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 is just about the best and most detailed 4K disc that you can buy right now, with an excellent transfer from a high quality film master. The level of detail in both live-action and CGI is excellent, with a Dolby Atmos audio track that would sound great on a high quality sound system.
In the near future, a mechanized police force patrols the streets and deals with lawbreakers — but now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid is stolen and given new programming, he acquires the ability to feel and think for himself. While the robot, dubbed "Chappie (Sharlto Copley)," puzzles out human behavior, the authorities begin to see him as a danger to mankind and order; they will stop at nothing to ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.
Chappie is similarly high quality, with another excellent blend of live-action video and CGI that looks very detailed with great colour depth and really smooth and realistic skin tones throughout. There's also an equally great Dolby Atmos audio track.
3. The Revenant
While exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sustains life-threatening injuries from a brutal bear attack. When a member (Tom Hardy) of his hunting team kills his young son (Forrest Goodluck) and leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back to civilization. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance, the legendary fur trapper treks through the snowy terrain to track down the man who betrayed him.
Revenant is one of those films that has amazing video cred in certain areas — noticeably the amount of detail visible in long, slow, smooth pans and in the more film-like, natural gradation of some of the movie's greener scenes. It's a stunning film to start with, and the soundtrack is excellent despite not having Dolby Atmos support — it's DTS Master Audio instead.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary. His world comes crashing down when evil scientist Ajax (Ed Skrein) tortures, disfigures and transforms him into Deadpool. The rogue experiment leaves Deadpool with accelerated healing powers and a twisted sense of humor. With help from mutant allies Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Deadpool uses his new skills to hunt down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
We absolutely loved the level of visual detail in Deadpool's 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, and the addition of HDR makes a huge improvement over the existing 1080p Blu-ray version. It also has an absolutely excellent Dolby Atmos audio track and soundtrack.
5. The Martian
When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.
The Martian is an absolutely beautiful film visually, and it's an excellent opportunity for you to show off your new 4K HDR TV's smooth gradation particularly in reds and oranges. You'll also see absolutely excellent detail in the faces of the characters and in the starscape in the movie's opening scenes.
6. X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) develops the Sentinels, enormous robotic weapons that can detect a mutant gene and zero in on that person. In the 21st century, the Sentinels have evolved into highly efficient killing machines. With mutants now facing extinction, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) volunteers to go back in time and rally the X-Men of the past to help change a pivotal moment in history and thereby save their future.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past is another CGI-heavy movie — are you beginning to notice a trend here? — but interestingly it's one that started life as a 2K master. The biggest improvement here is in the new HDR codec support, which means better colour rendering without the need to spend a few hundred dollars on expertly calibrate your new TV.
7. Life of Pi
After deciding to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada, Santosh and Gita Patel board a freighter with their sons and a few remaining animals. Tragedy strikes when a terrible storm sinks the ship, leaving the Patels' teenage son, Pi (Suraj Sharma), as the only human survivor. However, Pi is not alone; a fearsome Bengal tiger has also found refuge aboard the lifeboat. As days turn into weeks and weeks drag into months, Pi and the tiger must learn to trust each other if both are to survive.
Life of Pi is one of those movies that TV manufacturers have used for quite some time to show off the visual brilliance of their TVs, and there's very good reason for that. There are a few key CGI and live-action scenes — like the first time you see the tiger in the lifeboat, and the mid-movie scene with the phosphorescent sea and humpback whale — that look absolutely excellent. The level of colour saturation is consistently high but nonetheless spot-on.
8. Mad Max: Fury Road
Years after the collapse of civilization, the tyrannical Immortan Joe enslaves apocalypse survivors inside the desert fortress the Citadel. When the warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) leads the despot's five wives in a daring escape, she forges an alliance with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a loner and former captive. Fortified in the massive, armored truck the War Rig, they try to outrun the ruthless warlord and his henchmen in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland.
If you've ever seen Mad Max: Fury Road in the cinema, you'd know exactly how good it looks. It's a very gritty, dirty movie but the 4K transfer from a 2K digital filming process is very clean, and with the exception of some digitally-enhanced flames — which actually look a little fake with the extra detail visible in 4K HDR video — it's a very impressive movie and filmed on a grand scale. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack, too, is excellent.
9. The Lego Movie
Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary LEGO figurine who always follows the rules, is mistakenly identified as the Special — an extraordinary being and the key to saving the world. He finds himself drafted into a fellowship of strangers who are on a mission to stop an evil tyrant's (Will Ferrell) plans to conquer the world. Unfortunately for Emmet, he is hopelessly — and hilariously — unprepared for such a task, but he'll give it his all nonetheless.
The Lego Movie is a predominantly CGI movie, and that means it looks very smooth with a huge amount of detail where intended. Throughout the movie, with the computer-generated Lego world being very colourful and crisp, with some filmic effects like smooth lens blur and depth of field applied, it's just a good film to show off your shiny, new and expensive TV.
10. San Andreas
A seemingly ideal day turns disastrous when California's notorious San Andreas fault triggers a devastating, magnitude 9 earthquake, the largest in recorded history. As the Earth cracks open and buildings start to crumble, Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson), an LAFD search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, must navigate the destruction from Los Angeles to San Francisco to bring his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) and their only daughter (Alexandra Daddario) to safety.
Another 4K transfer from a 2K source, San Andreas isn't an exceptionally detailed or super-fine contrast movie, but we like it just for its scale. It might not be equally as high resolution a 4K HDR movie as some of its competitors on this list, but as a movie to share with friends to show off a TV it's downright impressive. At the same time, it has one of the most stellar audio tracks in Dolby Atmos that we've heard so far.