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Welcome to The BrainStormer - a monthly email newsletter from WyreStorm, focusing on AV signal distribution technology. Our goal is to provide you with useful information to make your job easier. Send us a note if you have any feedback...We would love to hear from you.

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4K Streaming vs. 4K Blu-ray vs. HD Blu-ray: Compressed vs. Uncompressed and Why Convenience is no Substitute for Quality

Okay, so we know we're already in a 4K world, and everyone is realizing by now what a big deal HDR is. We should also be acutely aware that streaming will continue to grow in popularity as a quick and easy means of consuming all that wonderful new 4K content. But does the convenience of streaming outweigh the quality 4K UHD Blu-ray, or even regular HD Blu-ray? And where does point-to-point or switched signal distribution fit into the equation 


Picture Quality
Streaming services vary of course, but they all have one thing in common. Compression. Streamed 4K will look good compared to streamed HD, but regardless of resolution, it's still streamed and the same issues exist that can impact on the viewing experience, such as higher compression and lower bitrates resulting in image pixilation, artifacts and a lack of overall picture subtlety, especially in dark scenes. Add the occasional unpredictability of the internet service, buffering and freezing images and the streaming experience can get frustrating. Contrast that against regular HD Blu-ray, upscaled, on a 4K TV.  The pictures of both start to look about the same.


However, 4K UHD Blu-ray is where the huge difference of an uncompressed transmission is really seen with all the benefits of a physically cabled distribution over HDMI or HDBaseT combined with a significant improvement in image quality immediately evident. 4K UHD and HDR Blu-ray images are flawlessly crisp and detailed with stunning clarity that make the absolute most of fine textures. Colors are incredibly vivid across the entire spectrum, with a level of subtlety in contrast in both light and dark scenes that are simply nowhere to be seen on either streamed 4K content or HD Blu-ray.


Audio Quality
It's a similar story for audio. Although streamed 4K content is now starting to appear with 5.1, 7.1 and even the occasional Dolby Atmos support, it uses up valuable bandwidth needed for video - bandwidth that is in short supply with many of today's service provider data caps or infrastructure limitations.  And as the majority of people streaming won't be watching in a surround sound environment anyway, compressed Dolby Digital Plus is often what's on offer.  That's not bad, but it's not the 7.1 Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio supported as standard for Blu-ray and its certainly not the standard Dolby Atmos as found on 4K UHD Blu-ray.  When it comes to audio, uncompressed again comes out on top, with streaming having a lot of catching up to do.


This is where 4K streaming has an edge with many people happy to sacrifice the quality of picture, sound, transmission and viewing experience for the convenience of instant access to continually expanding library 4K content from a growing number of streaming service providers. It's all about trade-offs - what is the viewer willing to give up. Depending on where the viewer will spend most of their time watching the content, the quality of picture/sound might not be such a deal-breaker.


However, cost of that content is an important variable to consider. For example, access to the full Netflix catalog can be had for a monthly fee less than the price of a single 4K UHD Blu-ray title, not to mention the cost of the UHD Blu-ray player itself.


On the flipside, there is no user 'ownership' with streamed content and what is offered are very much 'vanilla' titles - so bonus features or special editions, no chance to build a collection and limited opportunity for repeated viewings as content is removed when the catalog is updated. Also, currently only Amazon offers 4K movies, and at the same price as a 4K Blu-ray - which begs the question, why stream when you can own something superior? For some, the value of convenience tips the scales in the content battle. While for others enjoying content that makes the most of the 4K UltraHD HDR format and looks as good as their TV will allow is the deciding factor.


Ultimately, it is a question of different solutions for different audiences. But when it comes to distributing that signal around a home or commercial venue, the ideal solution is both.


WyreStorm's latest H2-Series of HDMI and HDBaseT matrix switchers and extender products distribute uncompressed 4K UltraHD HDR content that support HDMI 2.0 video standards for full compatibility with current and future 4K UHD content, sources and displays.
Specification versatility is important when it comes to distributing 4K UHD, with the latest WyreStorm H2 line supporting 4K UHD with HDR @60Hz 4:2:0 10bit or without HDR @30Hz (4:4:4 24bit) and @60Hz (4:2:0 24bit) through HDMI ports themselves up to 7m/23ft. For longer transmissions, HDBaseT supports 4K UHD with HDR @30Hz 4:2:0 10bit up to 70/m/230ft, or without HDR @30Hz (4:4:4 24bit) and @60Hz (4:2:0 24bit) up to 100m/328ft.


It's everything you need to deliver the latest 4K HDR content from multiple UHD sources over distance to multiple HDR screens.


 New Product                                                                                                  


The New WyreStorm H2 Series 4K UHD extender is a Class A HDBaseT solution with full HDR support of 10bit per channel and BT.2020.  Built into an ultra-thin housing, the receiver can fit most anywhere.
•    4K UHD @60Hz 4:4:4
•    4K with HDR @24Hz
•    Revised chipset increases compatibility with new UHD sources
•    2-way PoH for maximum flexibility during installation
•    Bidirectional IR & RS-232
•    2ch PCM | Up to 7.1 DTS-X and Dolby Atmos 
•    HDCP 2.2 compliant 

The EX-70-H2 is a new addition to the growing line of WyreStorm 4K Extender Solutions.

Click here to learn more.

 Where's WyreStorm?                                                                                   


EI Live North - 12th October 2016 -

Manchester, UK
Learn More >>  



Franchise Business Services -

Buffalo Wild Wings Business

Summit & Expo - October 12 -

14 - Las Vegas, NV


Powerhouse Alliance
MRI Expo - October 25th -

Sturbridge, MA  USA
Learn more >>


AVAD Vendo
October 19th
Ft. Lauderdale, FL  USA
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 Tech Corner                                                                                                   


4K HDR:  HDR10 Vs Dolby Vision


Well, HDR is certainly the buzz word in the ever increasing world of all that is 4K.  So let's take a quick look at what that means for installers and their customers.
You have been successfully installing HD (2K) Distribution systems for a while and are probably quite comfortable with it.  But your customers are requesting 4K UHD systems, now that HDR has made 4K a must-have. For the most part there are two flavors of HDR that are getting all of the attention, HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
Both "standards" are allowing for a picture that so much better than non-HDR 4K, that the newer displays are practically selling themselves...
Read more



 New Case Study                                                                                            


Case Study:  Upscale Residential Application with Control4 Integration


Where: London, UK
Installer:  CTS Systems
Market: Residential
Products:  WyreStorm 6x6 Matrix & Receivers


Summary: A WyreStorm MX-0606-PP HDBaseT 6x6 matrix switcher with 4x HDBaseT 70m/230ft receivers
was used to deliver HD content to four HD displays throughout the residence, with room for expansion. The matrix was fully integrated into a Control4 home automation control system.

To learn more Click here.


 In the News                                                                                                    







October 2016

Check out the latest issue of Installation Magazine with an interesting article on AV over IP.   


While new AV over IP solutions are hitting the market daily, how far along really is the technology and what challenges are holding back full adoption?  
Read more



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