A curious circumstance of confinement has been that in countries like Spain We could not know the maximum quality of image and sound from Disney + until yesterday, July 8, when the company has lifted its particular confinement of resolution and sound limitations. The service was launched in full quarantine.
Unlike competitors like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, during the image quality reduction stage, Disney + has not cut bitrate, but resolution. This made their 4K movies to be seen in “2K” (1440p), and 1080p content in 720p, but with the same bit rate. The image quality of the service has been very good except in some cases, but since yesterday it is even better in the contents that have returned to normal, which are not all and depends on the time and device in which we view.
The best image quality among the most popular services
Thanks to tests we have been able to do with an Apple TV 4K, we have been able to verify that Disney + image quality is best among all mass services. The best quality is offered by Apple TV +, but it is a more limited service in scope than that of Disney.
Spectacular image quality in Captain Marvel.
At Disney +, in 4K, the average bitrate is usually around 16-18 Mbps, which is already more than Netflix’s 15 Mbps when it has no limitation. However, in movies like ‘Captain Marvel’, there are average bitrate moments of more than 21 Mbps, with peaks of 28 Mbps. It is a figure that is still far from the maximums of a physical 4K Blu-Ray, but that offers quality splendid for most people.
History repeats itself with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’
One factor to keep in mind is that that 4K bitrate is delivered with a QDH1 codec (similar to HEVC) or HEVC, which makes All things being equal, the image quality is much higher than the AVC / H.264 still used mostly by platforms such as HBO or Filmin. Amazon Prime Video, for example, also delivers 4K HDR with HEVC, but with an average bitrate of about 10 Mbps. It looks great, but comparatively worse. HBO gives, at most 1080p, and with bitrates that are usually at 3 Mbps. That, together with the use of an old codec, produces perceptible differences by anyone.
Upgrade points for Disney +
Despite there being editions of Toy Story 4 in 4K with HDR, in Disney + there is only the 1080p version with a bitrate lower than that of ‘Onward’, and an older codec.
As we said, the image quality of Disney + has been very good even during confinement, except for the content that went down to 720p, as for example have been all the Pixar movies, because its maximum quality is HD (1080p). The exception is ‘Onward’, which does come in 4K with HDR Dolby Vision.
Meanwhile, Netflix continues with the reduction of bitrate, and without announcing when it will make changes in Spain
The image quality in 1080p animation is great, but during 720p confinement, having to scale to 4K, saw teeth have been notable in movies like ‘Coco’. After the confinement, the quality is very good, but seeing that ‘Onward’ has 4K with Dolby Vision, and knowing that there are 4K Blu Ray editions of even movies like ‘Toy Story 1’, it is missed that these versions reach the platform, as have come from sagas like Star Wars, where pre-class and classic trilogy have been delivered in 4K before they even came out on Blu-Ray UHD. More “serious”, if possible, is that recent films like Toy Story 4 are not at their highest quality either.
The important thing is perhaps not so much the resolution in which we see ‘Toy Story 1’, which was rendered in 1995 at 1536×922, but enjoy the wider color space provided by HDR editing. Also, in 1080p the bitrate is lower, and with this resolution, Disney + does not use HEVC, but H.264. Without being anything serious, it is a point of improvement, and Disney controls the entire process.
Share The new Disney + normality in image quality is spectacular, and far exceeds that of HBO or Amazon Prime Video