Panasonic DP-UB 820 WOW!

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It’s been a while since I have posted anything. My last posts were regarding how impressed I was with my JVC LX-UH1 4K, DLP projector. I continue to be awe’d by it the more I explore different settings. I just purchased (after much research) the Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu Ray Player. It is replacing my Sony UB-X800 which was a great 4K player in its own right. But the UB-820 is in an entirely different class! Almost all of the reviews I saw said it is easily “Reference Quality” in every respect, and in picture quality (though certainly not the same build quality), it is equal to the new Panasonic flagship which retails for $1299 CAD. I paid $497 CAD for the UB-820.

On every 4K Blu Ray I have put in the UB820, I have been amazed. The increase in detail, clarity, contrast and colour is visibly noticeable on my 120” Grandview Screen, strikingly so! I honestly cannot believe the difference. Was it worth the extra $200 over the Sony X800? Absolutely! Being someone who is a true home cinema enthusiast (not a pro calibrator like many here), with a keen eye for the best video quality I can achieve in my man-cave set up, I’m floored. The HCX processor delivers big time! Black Panther, Passengers, The Great Wall, Pacific Rim , Infinity War (to name a few) look noticeably different in positive ways. It’s not just the obvious increase in detail, to my very pleasant surprise, the contrast is also improved. And the HDR def ‘pops’ now more than before.

And if that wasn’t enough, what it does with my 1080p Blu Rays is stunning! “Avengers” on Blu Ray looked jaw-droppingly good. As did Avatar. My son and I were amazed and continually made comments to each other about how noticeably different the movie we have enjoyed several times before looked.The difference was as dramatic as the move from my older Mitsubishi HC7800D 1080p DLP projector to my JVC LX-UH1was - and that is saying a lot! The up-scaling to 4K is superb! The amount of detail in clothing, texture, uniforms, skin we now saw, compared to what we had noticed before was amazing. Colours were deeper, explosions visibly brighter but not blown out, and contrast was much richer. As if I wasn’t already thrilled with my JVC LX-UH1 already, the UB-820 takes it to another level yet again. The Reference quality of the DP-UB820 brings out the best in my JVC LX-UH1!

A few pics of ‘Avatar’ (1080p); ‘’The Hobbit: Battle Of Five Armies” (1080p SDR); “Avengers” (4K) show the incredible picture quality of the UB820. The “Avatar” and “Hobbit” shots the impressive colour, contrast (who said a DLP can’t have great contrast?) and clarity the UB-820 puts out, while upscaling 1080p content...in my humble opinion.
NOTE: Some of the white highlights appear a lil overblown in the photos. As in the last on on her face, his arm. The actual image on screen however, does not.
What you are seeing is the limitations of my Ipad Pro’s camera.


Would live to hear other opinions about this player.
 
Last edited:

thrillcat

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Nice! Is your JVC part of the latest generation and able to automatically adjust tone mapping when used with the Panasonic player?

I was considering the Panasonic to replace my Oppo, but I would still have to adjust the HDMI optimizer on the Panasonic, and if I'm going to have to adjust something, I'll just keep adjusting the Picture Tone and Dark Level on my JVC X790R.
 
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My JVC is the 2018 model DLP 4K, E-Shift.
It has HDR10. I don’t really use the tone-mapping feature on the UB820. It creates some bizarre artifacts when turned up too much. Or can blow out whites and loose detail. And if too low, I can’t see the difference. It says “0” is the preferred # for ‘as the director intended’. Perhaps it is different on a high brightness LCD/LED or OLED?
I have “HDR Optimizer” turned on when watching 4K content. But all values are at 0, except for sharpness which I turn up to 3-5 depending. The few seconds it takes to make the adjustment is for myself, not a big deal. For myself, the value of the Panasonic is in its outstanding picture quality both on UHD and 1080p content.
The difference between it and my (now sold) Sony UB-X800 is strikingly evident. I think it’s def a’ must have’ for Home Cinema enthusiasts. Some reviews I’ve seen label it ‘The Oppo Killer’
 

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There are well-documented issues with tone mapping HDR to projectors (pretty sure all TVs can read the data sent by the player, which doesn't always mean it's correct, but it's at least a positive step). Each disc is set to a different level, many have incorrect metadata, and some don't have any metadata at all, which is meant to tell your display exactly how to tone map the content.

Most projectors, except for the new JVC lineup, aren't capable of reading that information. The new JVCs are capable, but only automatically read from the two new high-end Panasonic players (of which your 820 is one).

In theory, with your older JVC, you should be fine tuning that HDR Optimizer setting on the 820 to dial in each disc you put into it. (The new JVCs will automatically adjust with the 820)

There are a couple of hacks to work around the problem, but it seems like all of them still involve some level of adjustment for each new disc inserted. I've decided to simply adjust the projector settings, and each disc I play, I put a little post-it in the case indicating the proper settings for that disc. It's 6 of 1 and half dozen of the other.

In fact, I'm phasing out disc playback altogether anyway. I've been loading all my content onto a NAS to playback with PLEX via my AppleTV. Yesterday I replaced my Oppo with a cheap used Sony player off ebay so I can sell the Oppo. For as infrequently as I'll be using a disc player, I can't justify having the Oppo in my rack. Or the $1K Panasonic.

Do some googling for JVC projector tone mapping. It's not a big deal with your Panasonic player, but if you read up on it a bit, it will help you quickly identify when you need to move a slider in the Optimizer and why. :)
 

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Great write up @John Platanitis ... enjoy reading posts! The photos are stunning!!

So, I'm curious. When you were watching 4K movies with your Sony player, were you finding some to be severely dark and crushed, while others were overly bright?

So you've set up the Panny to manage HDR tone mapping, yes? I'm curious about setup. Did you simply go into the Panny's menu settings and turn on HDR Optimizer? Did you play around with the Dynamic Range adjustments?

I have an 820... haven't installed it yet. Will be soon.
 

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^^^ oops... looks like you may have answered those questions.
 
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Great write up @John Platanitis ... enjoy reading posts! The photos are stunning!!

So, I'm curious. When you were watching 4K movies with your Sony player, were you finding some to be severely dark and crushed, while others were overly bright?

So you've set up the Panny to manage HDR tone mapping, yes? I'm curious about setup. Did you simply go into the Panny's menu settings and turn on HDR Optimizer? Did you play around with the Dynamic Range adjustments?

I have an 820... haven't installed it yet. Will be soon.
Hi Todd,

I experimented with the HDR Optimizer. I tried numerous different settings. Thus far...and I’ve only had it about 10 days now.
4K content: I turn HDR Optimizer “On”
Luminance (Contrast, Brightness, Tone Curve white/black, System Gamma) on 4K Blu Ray, I leave at 0 per the recommendation of the player).

On SDR 1080p content, I have
“Contrast’ at -2;
Brightness at +1;
Tone Curve white and black at +2;
System Gamma at +2.
Sharpness:
Luma High Frequency - +2
Luma Mid- Frequency - +2
Chroma -+1
Edge Correction - 5

Noise reduction: I have all settings at +5 (this may in fact be superfluous but just in case)

There is a “BANDWIDTH LIMITATION” option - truthfully, I don’t understand what this is? Or what it affects picture wise. So I haven’t adjusted it.
So, with more exploration, I’ll post some different settings soon.
But truthfully, i’m Just floored by the improvement in pic quality over my Sony X800 in every meaningful way.

Ok, so everything is relative to what one knows. And prior to seeing the 820 in action, I thought the X800 was excellent picture quality. It’s not that anything was bad with it. It’s that the 820 is visibly better...at least on my projector in my setup, to my eye.
 
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Great write up @John Platanitis ... enjoy reading posts! The photos are stunning!!

So, I'm curious. When you were watching 4K movies with your Sony player, were you finding some to be severely dark and crushed, while others were overly bright?

So you've set up the Panny to manage HDR tone mapping, yes? I'm curious about setup. Did you simply go into the Panny's menu settings and turn on HDR Optimizer? Did you play around with the Dynamic Range adjustments?

I have an 820... haven't installed it yet. Will be soon.
Hey Todd, a few more pics from 1080p ‘Hobbit:Battle Of 5 Armies’
Note: Whites that look overblown in the photos, are not in actual projected image. For instance, the white areas on Gandalf’s beard in the close up look overblown. But the hairs and detail in actual image are not. It’s the limitations of my IPad Pro’s Camera.
 

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I'd be curious to see a still image of a 4K HDR movie, with the enhancer on vs off... maybe a few comparison shots playing with settings? :praying:
 
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I'd be curious to see a still image of a 4K HDR movie, with the enhancer on vs off... maybe a few comparison shots playing with settings? :praying:
Yes, I was thinking same thing. Will do soon
 
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Hey @Todd Anderson,
Here are several stills taken from the 4K Blu Ray “Avengers”

Some of the subtle differences in colour and black level that I see with my eye on the projected image, may not appear in these photos. I’m using my I Pad Pro camera. I’ve taken several photos of different scenes. Admittedly only the explosion scenes really have HDR, so some of the faces might not demonstrate the 820’s true ability. Each picture shows either “HDR Optimizer” on/off. And or “Tone Curve: Black/White” at various settings which are clearly visible in the photo. Then the “Dynamic Range” photos. Thought higher or lower the setting did visibly change the image. To my eye Black Tone Curve at +5 or higher brought out the most detail in background scenes. White Tone Curve did not seem to change much. Nor did HDR Optimizer on/off seem to affect much difference to the projected image

Note: The 820’s abilities may in all likelihood be more pronounced on higher brightness LCD/LED/QLED/OLED’s, as well as more HDR enhanced projectors than my LX-UH1.Here we go;
 

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Hm. That's interesting. Hard to tell if the camera is truly capturing the image or not. But from the looks of things, setup appears to have a richer vibrancy with the Optimizer set to Off?
 
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Hm. That's interesting. Hard to tell if the camera is truly capturing the image or not. But from the looks of things, setup appears to have a richer vibrancy with the Optimizer set to Off?
The Optimizer makes the overall image a touch brighter, which adds more subtle detail. For example in the 2nd & 3rd pics of Tony Stark’s face inside his Iron Man helmet on “The War’ picture, if you look closely at the HUD display on the right side of the image, the blue lines are slightly more visible with HDR on. The highlights on his face are also brighter.
I agree it is def richer with it off. And that is how I prefer the image.
There are definitely limitations with my IPad Pro’s camera’s ability to capture every subtle nuance. But the differences are by no means dramatic...at least on my projo. They are more subtle.
 

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I need to look for a database of movies and how many nits they’re authored at (great English, I know ;-)... that HDR Optimizer might be better for one versus the other
 
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I think you are correct. “Avengers” is several years old. I need to try some more current content, like Infinity War.
I was watching “The Greatest Showman” earlier, which was mastered in 4K, and it looked amazing.
 
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JVC UH1B, 4K DLP Projector
Screen
120” Grandview 1.0 gain (white)
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@Todd Anderson ; @thrillcat
A few more shots from “Avengers” 4K. Todd in these shots, the HDR Optimizer now shows the richer colour when “on”. Look at the difference in Scarlett Johanson’s skin tone, clothing in the “on” vs “off” shot.
The close up of RDJ also is superior with HDR “on”. Look closely at the grey in his hair, the skin tone etc.
The shots of Chris Hemsworth, I think demonstrate the 4K quality quite nicely.
 

Todd Anderson

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Todd Anderson

News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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Joined
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5,118
Location
Balt/Wash Metro
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha RX-A3050
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen 2 4xStereo 2XSingle
Other Amp
VSX-1016THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-203
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, OPPO Sonica
View attachment 14018 View attachment 14019 View attachment 14020 View attachment 14021 View attachment 14022 View attachment 14023 View attachment 14024 View attachment 14025 @Todd Anderson ; @thrillcat
A few more shots from “Avengers” 4K. Todd in these shots, the HDR Optimizer now shows the richer colour when “on”. Look at the difference in Scarlett Johanson’s skin tone, clothing in the “on” vs “off” shot.
The close up of RDJ also is superior with HDR “on”. Look closely at the grey in his hair, the skin tone etc.
The shots of Chris Hemsworth, I think demonstrate the 4K quality quite nicely.
Wow. Quite a difference in her skin tone and clothing!

Looks like you need to run your 4K flicks with it on?
 

thrillcat

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Looks like you need to run your 4K flicks with it on?
Being an "HDR Optimizer", it doesn't affect SDR, unless you're for some reason, at some point, tricking the projector into processing SDR as HDR, which would be a bad idea.
 

thrillcat

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eD Cinema6 MTM
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SVS PB2000
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Definitive Technology BP20 (2-channel system)
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JVC DLA X790R
Screen
SeymourAV CenterStage UF 115"
Remote Control
Harmony Elite
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ProJect Debut Carbon Turntable (2-channel system)
Take a look at this video.

It's very informative. The HDR Optimizer on your 820 is simply On or Off, in conjunction with 1 other setting where you should select a setting that closely matches your display (projector).

All the other settings that you're playing with are enhancements, and (in my opinion) should be left off to allow the image to display as it is on the disc. Leave any other adjustments to your projector's calibration.
 

Todd Anderson

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Location
Balt/Wash Metro
My AV System  
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Yamaha RX-A3050
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen 2 4xStereo 2XSingle
Other Amp
VSX-1016THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-203
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, OPPO Sonica
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JVC UH1B, 4K DLP Projector
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Wow. Quite a difference in her skin tone and clothing!

Looks like you need to run your 4K flicks with it on?
Agreed. For some reason the Scarlett Johansson photo is “the money shot” here. The difference in her skin tone and clothing is quite dramatic.
 
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