The Spears and Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark Disc Has Arrived, We Have Pics to Prove It!

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(July 1, 2019) Here’s a bit of rather exciting news. The highly anticipated Spears and Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark Disc ($39.95) has finally launched. Years in the making and long-rumored, this is the reference-grade 4K UHD test disc that enthusiasts and pro calibrators have been asking for.

Born from the incredible success of both DVD and standard Blu-ray versions of the disc, Stacey Spears and Don Munsil have re-joined forces to unleash more features and patterns to dial-in and evaluate today’s high-test 4K displays. And while many of the disc’s offerings are crafted for professional calibrators, included material will also appeal to casual users hoping to squeeze more performance from their preferred TV. Nearly every pattern is encoded in multiple versions, with metadata and peak levels adjusted for a wide variety of HDR display technologies including 600, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, and 10,000 nits.

According to Stacey Spears: “Every pattern has been rethought with High Dynamic Range and Ultra HD in mind. We believe this disc completely changes the game for test and evaluation discs, by making use of all of the features and range that HDR and wide-gamut standards can offer.”

Don Munsil adds: “We build every pattern using our own tools, written from scratch in C++. If a pattern needs to be generated directly in a very specific color space and data format, we generate it in that color space and format; we’re not limited to what you can do with off-the-shelf graphics software. In a few cases, we’ve had to create our own format, because no existing file format could represent the pattern we needed to create.”

Owners will find many classic test patterns from past Spears and Munsil releases, while new material is meant to address both current and future video technologies (including 8K HDR). Owners can use these tools set up displays for optimal visual clarity while evaluating key performance parameters. According to included specs, the disc carries material with 10-bit color and Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and SDR.

What’s even better? You can buy the disc right now and have it delivered to home in a matter of days. Click here for ordering information direct from Amazon.com.

AV NIRVANA has several evaluation copies on hand. Stay tuned for a review and how-to guide!


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Robert Zohn

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Great 10 bit text pattern disc that also have beautiful content. We exclusively used the text patterns from this disc at our 2019 TV Shootout.
 

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Here's a look at some of the included patterns and test images:

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tripplej

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Very nice. Thanks for the news. Good for UHD folks to have for sure. :)
 

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This is cool. I may need that . . .
 

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The scenes of the cities at night are pretty amazing. Same with the sunrise or sunset through the clouds? It really showcases the dynamic range of your display!
 

Todd Anderson

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@mechman I haven't had a chance to play with it yet... is there a user guide embedded on the disc (for novice?)
 

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Not that I'm aware of. The old way of arrow up or down doesn't bring up the help file like it used to. :justdontknow:

I should add that I believe this is just an evaluation disc. It's not meant for calibration. Although I don't know why you couldn't use it to set your white/black levels.
 
Last edited:

bkeeler10

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Um, I'm no expert in calibration, but it sure sounded like a bunch of test patterns . . . Am I missing something?
 

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That's kind of the point we're getting at, if you don't know what you're doing, it's all just a bunch of patterns - there's no explanation for what the pattern should look like and how to attempt to fix things.
 

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Looking forward to the review and the how-to guide... should be killer good!
 

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That's ^ the 64 million dollar question.

For our June 12, 2019 TV Shootout, a selection of test patterns were presented to our panel of judges along with content that exploit the specific pattern to show how it looks with real content. We had personal consultations with Stacey Spears, Kevin Miller and Joel Silver on which patterns to use and the best practices to interpret and present what we were seeing and the methodology behind these beautiful and powerful new 10 bit patterns.
 

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I believe that is a link to the user guide for the second edition of the HD Benchmark Robert. I do not believe that a user guide exists for the new UHD HDR version of the benchmark.
 

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Actually Stacey posted this at avs a couple of days ago "Current articles on the website will be updated in a couple of weeks for the new disc. A full manual should hopefully be done by end of summer. " So something should be coming soon.
 

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The review and How To guide will probably have to wait until they get a manual published... The test patterns are going to be useless to the folks that might find calibration by disc helpful.
 

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Ok - just got confirmation that the discs were purposely released ahead of any sort of guides. Keep in mind, there are a lot of pro-calibrators that can use the discs – as is – without any outside documentation. Spears and Munsil is working on a consumer guide that will become available in the next few weeks. Then a comprehensive manual will be released (release date on that is a little more fuzzy).
 

Robert Zohn

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