UHD Blu-Ray playback on HDR10+ ?

toast0

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
2,183
I've got a Samsung 4k tv that does HDR10+ and I'll be getting a Samsung projector that does too. With the TV so far, I've only done regular blu-ray and Roku streaming and haven't noticed anything missing (but maybe I'm blind), otoh, the screen is going to be a lot bigger, so maybe it's time to upgrade to 4k discs? What do you all use to watch UHD discs?

Money isn't really a problem, but I do lean miserly (of course, my checkbook wouldn't know that given the theater room construction). I think the options are dedicated UHD Blu-Ray player (Panasonic UB820 seems highly recommended and UB420 seems almost as recommended if you don't need Dolby Digital); a computer with SGX etc to run official players, a libredrive capable drive (which I have) and VLC --- but I'm not sure what other specs are needed?, disc based ps5 / xbox series x, some sort of tv box but probably not a Roku?

I've generally been happy with the Rokus, but playing local content isn't great, and I understand some UHD discs peak at more than 100mbps, which means the ethernet can't keep up; I'd rather not transcode. I currently run MythTV on a server and two chromebox-ish htpcs, but I'd bet they don't have enough horsepower to decode UHD content, and MythTV isn't my dream interface either. I've got a Tivo Stream 4k and I don't know that I like Android TV. So I'm kind of leaning towards a Panasonic player, but they seem so spendy for something single purpose? Anyway, I value your opinions, so thanks in advance.
 

mvmiller12

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 7, 2011
Messages
1,331
Short Answer: A reasonably modern PC with a Libredrive-enabled 4K UHD reader, AnyDVD HD (DEFINITELY NOT FREE, but the lifetime license is absolutely worth every penny of it if you are ripping a large media collection from disk), MakeMKV (free), PowerDVD (paid) OR MediaPlayer Classic (free) with the MadVR plugin (free) AND having HDR enabled in Windows on your HDR-capable display... YES YOU CAN!!

Long Answer: This * can * be a lot more complicated than you would think it should be, and the dearth of info on the web regarding this subject really surprised me. The playback software part is pretty straightforward (about as straightforward as anything on PC I suppose), but the UHD drive part was a real pain in the @$$. I had to spend a couple of days reading in a bunch of forums how to get this to work, and it was very agitating. But, I will give you the fruits of my labor - 'cuz NOBODY should have to go through THAT bullshit for this :)

Now, about that UHD drive... Regular BluRay drives can read 1- and 2-layer disks. Each layer of a BluRay disk holds 25GB of data, and 2-layer disks are by far the most commonly used for commercially produced video BluRays. Late in the life of BluRay, the standard evolved to include 3- and even 4-layer disks holding up to 75GB and 100GB per disk respectively. This was called BD-XL, but not all BD-XL drives could read the 4-layer disks. BD-XL was intended for long-term optical storage of raw data (ie - serving as a backup for your PC), but few drives were released that could read or write these. UHD is just marketing shorthand for commercially produced BD-XL disks combined with mandatory support for the 4-layer variety containing 4K (usually h265 encoded) video and sporting a new full-bus encryption scheme. The older BD-XL drives could see the layers on the UHD disk, but could not read the data due to the new full-bus encryption requirement. That being said, there are 2 classes of PC UHD drives out there:

UHD Friendly: Drives sold as regular BluRay or BD-XL units that happen to work with UHD disks courtesy of patched firmware. The units sold as regular BluRay drives are almost certainly just late model BD-XL drives with the BD-XL support patched out of the firmware by the manufacturer. Because many of those regular BluRay drives have the exact same read mechanisms as the ones specifically sold as BD-XL, you can often just straight-up flash the firmware of a sister model of drive that has working BD-XL onto the drive to get the BD-XL support. This is why you will see a lot of model cross-flashing when you really start digging into this and also why it is SUPER IMPORTANT to make sure to triple-verify the specific make, model and revision of the drive you are working with before cross-flashing.

UHD Native: Drives that work with UHD disks out of the box - really just 4-layer capable BD-XL drives supporting the full-bus encryption. Most UHD Native drives are OEM drives for pre-built systems because "official" UHD support on PC requires a specific Intel processor with a specific Intel graphics driver for it's specific integrated GPU. Just another way The Man was trying to keep us from ripping our own media. :)

I have one drive of each class, so experience with both. And yes! I have both working with UHD disks.

The "UHD Native" drive I have is an HP branded LG BU50n laptop drive that I purchased from a guy here on the [H] for $40 and put in a $10 USB enclosure. I bought a 4K disk to test it, and it was obvious the DRIVE recognized the disk, but AnyDVD would not touch the encryption on it due to the Full-Bus Encryption. I had read that with reasonably popular drives, you could find a patched firmware that would make it work, so I started down that path...

I could find absolutely nothing about the the firmware for this drive. I DID find several forums that said it would just never work. But DVDFab advertised that it could check your drive and if available, locate and install the properly patched firmware. It was worth a shot, so I downloaded and installed DVDFab. The software confirmed there WAS a patch for this drive, but they wanted $90 to unlock DVDFab to the full version before they would give it to me. Everything on their website indicated this was free and could be done with the free version of the software suite, but NOPE. Further digging showed there were several sites that would happily sell you a firmware updater to patch your drive usually for $20 or so - but I could not find one for this drive other than DVDFab. Then, still plugging away at this, I did find ONE AND ONLY ONE forum post where someone thanked the MakeMKV devs for finally supporting this drive and confirming it now worked. This is how I learned that ALMOST ALL of these firmware patches are from the folks that make MakeMKV and they periodically roll out a bundle of these patched firmwares for free that you can follow a link to from their support forum. And sure enough, there is a Libredrive patched version of the firmware for the generic LG (NOT HP-specific) version of my drive.

I was sweating bullets for a minute with whether I wanted to risk trashing my drive or not, but I hedged my bets by purchasing a "UHD friendly" drive from eBay for $50 shipped, just in case. I installed MakeMKV (required) and downloaded their firmware flasher tool and then proceeded to flash that generic LG firmware to my drive. One reboot later and all of a sudden, AnyDVD is breaking the encryption on my UHD disk! All is good! So I uninstalled MakeMKV and learned the hard way that the Libredrive function needed by AnyDVD to decrypt the drive just won't work without MakeMKV actually being installed. MakeMKV really IS required. No biggie - I reinstalled it and then went out and bought 3 more UHD disks for further testing, saving some for the new drive I was getting in from eBay in a few days.

I got the new drive in and hooked it up, and it was seen as a regular plain-Jane BluRay reader. This particular model (HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH16NS40) is one of the more popular "UHD Friendly" drives, so there was a dedicated forum page to making this work. After confirming the drive revision and existing firmware matched up correctly, I patched in the recommended firmware... for an entirely different drive model (HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH16NS60). This worked fine as well all the way up until I found a single disk that it would always error out on, but the BU50n would read just fine. After a lot of digging, it turned out that that particular disk was a 4-layer disk, and the "UHD Friendly" drive was having none of that. So it will read most UHD disks. The BU50n is also still working great, so I am covered either way.

Side Note about encrypted firmware: Some manufactures caught wise to the fact that their firmwares were being patched to do Libredrive, so they started encrypting the drive firmware itself. No worries, there is a way to check for this AND MakeMKV's flasher tool has a setting you can enable to work around it. I did not have to worry about this with either of my drives so there is nothing else I can really say about it. Check the MakeMKV forums linked below for more info.

Sleep Bug: One other thing I should mention... The "UHD Friendly" drives (but not the "UHD Native" ones) have a firmware bug (the Sleep Bug) that causes the drive to "lock up" if it sits idle for too long after inserting a disk - usually just a minute or two. The drive must be reset to recover. This means unplugging and reconnecting in the case of a USB drive, or rebooting the PC in the case of a SATA one to recover. I've never personally run into this. Apparently AnyDVD works around it by just having the disks in the drives spin continuously at low speed so it never goes to sleep.

A word about Libredrive: Libredrive is basically exploiting an oversight in early UHD implementations. Apparently some debug vendor commands were left active in shipped versions of some drive's firmware. The "patch" that enables Libredrive to function just re-enables the now-disabled vendor commands and makes no other changes to the drive firmware. My understanding is that the vendor commands allow the bus encryption to be disabled and force an older (cracked) version of the regular BluRay data encryption to be used. You still need software that can decrypt the actual data from the disk - in my case AnyDVD.

Last, but not least - The MakeMKV forums are about the best resource you are gonna find if you are wanting to look into doing this yourself.

Edit 12/17/2022: I really expected more people to chime in on this subject with their experiences, but since that hasn't happened, I went back in and clarified some particulars with my experience and corrected some grammar and misspellings. It is my hope that with this post I can save someone else down the line some pain :)
 
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Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
1
Short Answer: A reasonably modern PC with a Libredrive-enabled 4K UHD reader, (NOT free) AnyDVD HD, (free) MakeMKV, (paid) PowerDVD OR (free) MediaPlayer Classic with the (free) MadVR plugin AND having HDR enabled in Windows on your HDR-capable display... YES YOU CAN!!

Long Answer: This * can * be a lot more complicated than you would think it should be, and the dearth of info on the web regarding this subject really surprised me. I had to spend a couple of days reading in a bunch of forums how to get this to work, and it was very agitating. But, I will give you the fruits of my labor - 'cuz NOBODY should have to go through THAT bullshit for this :)

Firstly, there is your UHD drive. There are 2 classes of PC UHD drives out there - those sold as regular BluRay ones that work with UHD disks courtesy of patched firmware ("UHD Friendly"), and drives that work with UHD disks out of the box ("UHD Native"). Most UHD Native drives are OEM drives for pre-built systems. I have one drive of each class, so experience with both. And yes! I have both working with UHD disks.

The Native UHD drive I have is an HP branded LG BU50n laptop drive I put in a USB enclosure. I bought a 4K disk to test it, and it was obvious the DRIVE recognized the disk, but AnyDVD would not touch the encryption on it. I could find absolutely nothing about the the firmware for this drive, and several forums that said it would just never work. I downloaded and installed the DVDFab software with the intention of checking my drive's firmware to see if it could patch it to work. Everything on their website indicated this was free and could be done with the free version of the software suite, but NOPE. The software confirmed there WAS a patch for this drive, but they wanted $90 to unlock the DVDFab to the full version to give it to me. Further digging showed there were several sites that would happily sell you a firmware updater to patch your drive - just none for this one other than DVDFab... but I did find ONE AND ONLY ONE forum where someone thanked the MakeMKV devs for finally supporting this drive and confirming it now worked. This is how I learned that ALMOST ALL of these firmware patches are from the folks that make MakeMKV and they periodically roll out a bundle of these patched firmwares for free you can get a link to from their support forum. And sure enough, there is a Libredrive patched version of the firmware for the generic LG (NOT HP) version of my drive.

I was sweating bullets for a minute with whether I wanted to risk trashing my drive or not, but I hedged my bets by purchasing a "UHD friendly" drive from eBay for $50 shipped, just in case. I installed MakeMKV and downloaded their firmware flasher tool and then proceeded to flash that generic LG firmware to my drive. One reboot later and all of a sudden, AnyDVD is breaking the encryption on my 4K disk! All is good! So I uninstalled MakeMKV and learned the hard way that the Libredrive function needed by AnyDVD to decrypt the drive just wont work without MakeMKV being installed. No biggie. I went out and bought 3 more UHD disks for further testing, saving some for the new drive I was getting in from eBay.

I got the new drive in and hooked it up, and it is seen as a regular plain-Jane BluRay reader. This particular model is one of the more popular ones, so there was a dedicated forum page to making this work. After confirming the firmware matched up correctly, I patched in the recommended firmware... for an entirely different drive model. This worked fine as well all the way up until I found a single disk that it would always error out on, but the BU50n would read just fine. After a lot of digging, it turned out that that particular disk was a quad layer disk, and the "UHD-Friendly" drive was having none of that. So it will read most UHD disks. The BU50n is also still working great, so I am covered either way. One other thing I should mention. The UHD Friendly drives (but not the UHD Native ones) have a firmware bug (the Sleep Bug) that causes the drive to "lock up" if it sits idle for too long after inserting a disk and requiring the drive to be unplugged and reconnected (USB) or the PC rebooted (SATA) to recover. I never ran into this. Apparently AnyDVD works around it by just having the disks in the drives spin continuously at low speed so it never goes to sleep.

A word about Libredrive: Libredrive is basically exploiting a bug in early UHD implementations. Apparently some debug vendor commands were left active in shipped versions of some drive's firmware. The "patch" that enables Libredrive to function just re-enables the now-missing vendor commands and makes no other changes to the drive firmware. My understanding is that the vendor commands allow the bus encryption to be disabled and force an older (cracked) version of the regular BluRay data encryption to be used. You still need software that can decrypt the actual data from the disk - in my case AnyDVD.
This is an excellent summary on the steps to get 4K UHD Blu-ray discs to play on your system.

AnyDVD/MakeMKV together make a great combo!

One additional note: You will probably need at least PowerDVD 20 Ultra and later to properly play 4K UHD rips properly. I've noticed that whenever I tried to play a 4k UHD rip (Always MKV, for the record) of my movie that I made from my 4K UHD Blu-ray, that PowerDVD Ultra wasn't playing the file correctly. However, when I played the same file with PowerDVD 20, PowerDVD 21, or PowerDVD 22, the file played correctly, including the video and audio.
 

kydsid

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
5,920
Plex for player, vlc as backup. Handbrake to reencode any raw mkv that won't play or buffers too much. TrueHD is a bandwidth hog and an issue with plex
 

staknhalo

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
3,705
Seeing as you're going all Samsung - you really wanna watch dynamic metadata HDR10+ whenever you can over static HDR10. But HDR10+ is less common on streaming sites but even less so on UHD (at this time at least) - just a downside of you going Samsung - they don't do Dolby Vision out of not wanting to pay licensing - and Dolby Vision is the much more popular dynamic metadata format - just giving you a heads up

I prefer Android TV myself, but your Tivo Stream 4K doesn't support HDR10+ anyway - the only Android TV device I have that supports HDR10+ is the Chromecast w/Google TV 4K - its interface is slightly different but similar to the Tivo (you can Google and see what I mean) - it's still all Android TV afterall. You could also try the latest Apple TV which came with HDR10+ support.

As for physical TV-side Blu-ray disc player, a Panasonic one with HDR10+

But rip your discs and go Plex Server > whatever devices' Plex Client

I bought 2x ASUS BW-16D1HT Blu-ray players back in 2018 and manually extracted + patched + flashed the firmware for both of them following instructions on MakeMKV forums - been using the first one since and second one still on cold storage as backup - if I can do it you can do it IMO save yourself the money but you'll need a separate physical machine with SATA ports to run Win XP specifically on for some of the software to do all of it IIRC (no idea if the process has changed in 4 years since just giving heads up from what I remember) - but if you don't wanna do it manually you can buy from people there (MakeMKV forums) who will sell you pre-flashed drives, it's legit

You'll also maybe wanna grab this: https://github.com/quietvoid/hdr10plus_tool

This way if you wanna compress any HDR10+ UHDs at all or whatever that tool will let you extract the HDR10+ metadata beforehand, you then do your encode with whatever software like Handbrake or such, and then reinject the HDR10+ metadata back into the encoded hevc stream with that tool as well

Just to show you the disparity between HDR10+ and Dolby Vision ATM - out of my 446 movies in Plex ATM - I try to get every title I have in every HDR format available - even if not on UHD - so if it's in HDR10+ or Dolby Vision disc or otherwise I got it for the most part, aside from a handful I've come across that have tech issues so I discard them - and this is where things stand between the two for me:

1671329434615.png




1671329928214.png
 
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Solhokuten

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Messages
1,460
Seeing as you're going all Samsung - you really wanna watch dynamic metadata HDR10+ whenever you can over static HDR10. But HDR10+ is less common on streaming sites but even less so on UHD (at this time at least) - just a downside of you going Samsung - they don't do Dolby Vision out of not wanting to pay licensing - and Dolby Vision is the much more popular dynamic metadata format - just giving you a heads up

I prefer Android TV myself, but your Tivo Stream 4K doesn't support HDR10+ anyway - the only Android TV device I have that supports HDR10+ is the Chromecast w/Google TV 4K - its interface is slightly different but similar to the Tivo (you can Google and see what I mean) - it's still all Android TV afterall. You could also try the latest Apple TV which came with HDR10+ support.

As for physical TV-side Blu-ray disc player, a Panasonic one with HDR10+

But rip your discs and go Plex Server > whatever devices' Plex Client

I bought 2x ASUS BW-16D1HT Blu-ray players back in 2018 and manually extracted + patched + flashed the firmware for both of them following instructions on MakeMKV forums - been using the first one since and second one still on cold storage as backup - if I can do it you can do it IMO save yourself the money but you'll need a separate physical machine with SATA ports to run Win XP specifically on for some of the software to do all of it IIRC (no idea if the process has changed in 4 years since just giving heads up from what I remember) - but if you don't wanna do it manually you can buy from people there (MakeMKV forums) who will sell you pre-flashed drives, it's legit

You'll also maybe wanna grab this: https://github.com/quietvoid/hdr10plus_tool

This way if you wanna compress any HDR10+ UHDs at all or whatever that tool will let you extract the HDR10+ metadata beforehand, you then do your encode with whatever software like Handbrake or such, and then reinject the HDR10+ metadata back into the encoded hevc stream with that tool as well

Just to show you the disparity between HDR10+ and Dolby Vision ATM - out of my 446 movies in Plex ATM - I try to get every title I have in every HDR format available - even if not on UHD - so if it's in HDR10+ or Dolby Vision disc or otherwise I got it for the most part, aside from a handful I've come across that have tech issues so I discard them - and this is where things stand between the two for me:

View attachment 535044



View attachment 535047
I have a ASUS BW-16D1HT and flashed the firmware on Windows 11. Not sure what the hurdles were in previous years, but its super easy now.
 

xXaNaXx

Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
954
I have a ASUS BW-16D1HT and flashed the firmware on Windows 11. Not sure what the hurdles were in previous years, but its super easy now.

agreed...i use DVDFab for ripping my discs to ISO as the first step, and there's a built-in tool in there that makes flashing the UHD-friendly firmware extremely easy, almost foolproof (i'm sure there will be some people out there who out-fool the "foolproof", LOL)
 

staknhalo

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
3,705
I have a ASUS BW-16D1HT and flashed the firmware on Windows 11. Not sure what the hurdles were in previous years, but its super easy now.

It wasn't just flashing, I extracted the original non-modified firmware from the drive, modified the firmware with a hex editor, then re-flashed the now modified firmware back onto the drive - I can't remember if one/all those steps besides just flashing (at the time or now too) required XP - but one thing did at least

And the only reason I really did all of it myself anyway is "never accept candy from strangers" "never flash a non-original bios that is modified by someone else"

If you trust it and just want to do the flashing, and that has no OS requirements, by all means go with the thing that's easier - and if they made all the above easier by updating whatever needed legacy requirements, even better 👍
 
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