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4K Dolby Vision/Atmos LOTR & Hobbit Extended Edition 6 Film Bundle ($69.99) / LOTR Theatrical ($34.99) @ iTunes

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Appears that Apple have upgraded all their LOTR movies to 4K Dolby Vision and Atmos

You can get either LOTR or Hobbit theatrical set for $35 or all 6 movies in Extended Edition bundle for $69.99

Can’t link to iTunes Store properly so go direct instead of hitting link
See individual titles for 4K confirmation

https://itunes.apple.com/au/movie-collection/middle-earth-ex...

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  • Here before the physical media collectors attacks this post .

    • Yes sure they will have an opinion not to compromise on 4K quality but on ozbargain you don’t compromise on cheap/cheaper!

      • If you have 4K and Atmos, you don't need to care about $60 or so to get the better quality.

        People are reviewing the LOTR disc set saying its reference quality.

        Even an Atmos soundbar will set you back around $1k, let alone an Atmos home theatre setup

        • That may be true, that streaming 4k with atmos is good enough. But it can always be better. If you sit really close to your TV you can see the compression way more, not the pixels bit like in a dark scene there's more banding on standard blu ray vs mots 4K masters.

    • +21 votes

      The problem with this type of digital media is you don't really own it. If something happens to your account for whatever reason and you can't get it back. Then you lose said media.

      If you have a physical disc. Its yours. Its tangible. Same thing with consoles. Physical discs can be resold. Cant do that with digital media.

      • Also , you only own a license to watch it indefinitely on iTunes until such a time as the content provider ends their deal with iTunes and removes their product from the store. #physicalmediaforever.

        • That's exactly what happened to me. I bought the LOTR extended editions bundle a couple of years ago then it just disappeared from my account as the content owner removed it from itunes - so there is some form there, especially with this studio. I had to fight to get a refund from Apple.

      • You used to be able to copy your files off itunes, can you not do this anymore?

      • I don’t have a strong opinion here on “which one is better than the other”as it’s entirely up to anyone what they want to do. There’s pros and cons to each side for sure.

        As someone who owns a decent blu ray library and now has a 4K tv - discs don’t get upgraded in quality.
        How much are you REALLY going to sell you old bluray set for to fund purchase of a new 4K disc set?
        If you’re going to be all physical media then you’ve got to be prepared to rebuy your entire collection in the next format. I certainly replaced my DVD collection with bluray.

        People who went in on streaming like iTunes are now seeing their original SD or HD purchases upgraded to 4K. Although you have no say on when this happens or if it ever will - although it seems more common that iTunes copies are getting upgraded alongside physical releases now.

        • Upgraded to compressed 4k. Still 3 to 5x less quality to a physical 4k disc. You can see the difference. So it's still worth while buying physical even if you do get a free upgrade in digital. Just got the Hobbit 4k from the JB hifi post. LOTR shipping was delayed. It's amazing on the LG CX.

          • @Sammyboy: It’s not 3-5x less quality. It’s 3-5x compressed, big difference. Compression technology these days means you barely lose any quality. I’ve downloaded plenty of REMUX’ed full Blu-ray Discs and the difference to a 1/5th size x265 encode is so minimal these days, almost impossible to tell unless you have huge blown up stills next to each other. If you’re saying there is a big difference in quality you’re flat out just lying.

            • @TightTerry: On a large OLED you can see a difference. Even my kid can see the difference between streamed 4k, a compressed downloaded 4k 20gb to 30gb "linux iso" and a 4k disc. Audio too with DTS-HD MA. Out of interest, if quality is that marginal, I wonder why the manufacturers don't use compressed 4k and put a whole trilogy on 1 blu-ray disc?

            • @TightTerry: Depends on the movie and the encoder settings in every case. Sometimes a movie can have heavy grain, and a good encode can clean it up, leaving a cleaner picture. Other times you can notice the difference with it being a 40gb encode to 50gb remux. The better the TV the more you'll see the difference in each case. Unless it's a big action film, majority of the time an encode that is 25%-50% of the size you won't be able to tell the difference as the bitrate isn't needed to go above a certain point for it. Bitrate is needed for fast moving scenes so it doesn't pixelate. The slower the setting on encoding: the better detail, less banding and closer to the original it will be

          • @Sammyboy: Sure you can see the difference on a LG OLED. Less so on cheaper TV but difference is there of course

        • I think its important to remember updated versions of old shows arent always the best when it comes to preserving the original vision (prime example being the starwars "remasters"). I certainly prefer to watch the fan edit which removes all the new content, something not possible with a perpertual update. Itunes has also been known to include questionably mastered versions of current shows that can be cropped or have incorrect colouring (eg mlp fim).

        • I wouldn't worry about 1080p blurays on your 4k TV, if the 2k scan was done well you're not going to notice much difference going to 4k media.

          it makes a difference at the cinema, but no matter how big your TV is and how uncomfortably close you sit to it, while their might be a slight bump in perceived sharpness there's really not going to be much difference in terms of quality. Basically everything shot prior to the last 3 or 4 years (or less) was either shot on film and scanned at 2k, or shot on a 2k digital camera in the first place. Even stuff shot at native 4k still goes through a 2k effects pipe in most cases and gets scaled back up from there - I've compared bluray sources to 4k playing off a USB on my TV and the differences are non-existent.

          there are lots of reasons to shoot and scan at higher resolutions, but at home there's little reason to go beyond 1080p, unless you have a massive home theatre setup on a projector.

          would highly recommend checking out these two videos from Steve Yedlin (Last Jedi, Knives Out, Looper) if you'd like to know more about any of the above, or even just want to see some good examples of why you don't need 4k media for film and television:

          https://yedlin.net/ResDemo/index.html
          https://yedlin.net/DisplayPrepDemo/index.html

          • @diamondd: Except with 4k comes HDR…

            I'd agree, I was lucky enough to win a 4K TV and after watching a few things I thought I was glad I didn't pay for it. Yes, I'm sure a $2k+ TV would perform better. However, some movies have absolutely popped compared to 1080p (Mad Max Fury Road for one), so it definitely varies

            • @spackbace: HDR I could take or leave, like capture resolutions its more important for the people on set, makes their lives a hell of a lot easier.

              for distribution it doesn't really seem necessary, and I actually find it kind of jarring - print film has always had abysmal dynamic range, so not only is there little to be gained from re-scanning that material, lower dynamic range is part of the cinematic look, like 24 frames per second. I'm sure HDR and 48 or 60fps is great for hyper-realistic nature docos and the like, but for heavily stylised cinematic imagery its not all that important IMO.

              my typical reference film is 2001, and comparing the 1080p version to the 4k UHD, while the titles are certainly far sharper, much of the rest of the film shows little difference seeing as it can only be as sharp as the lenses it was captured with, and in some cases the FX shots almost appear too sharp in the 4k version, with even some slight haloing IMO. Its not like there's a stunning valley of tonal gradations to explore since they're not in the neg to begin with. Both versions of course look absolutely stunning, which should come as no surprise.

              of course we don't know how new films might choose to take advantage of all this, but I'd be willing to bet in the narrative realm for the most part they probably won't. We know how well everyone reacted to The Hobbit for instance, and I think keeping reality at arms length is good for cinema at the end of the day.

              • @diamondd: I agree with a lot of what you're saying. HDR is only as good as a studio releasing the Blu-Ray let's it be. Seen plenty of huge differences with the same movie from different regions. Iron Man 3 German version is bright, saturated and far more detail. USA version is dim, dark and awful but it has Atmos with it. Older movies need so much time and care put into the remaster that you'll rarely see a big enough difference to be worth it. Going through the negative frame by frame to clean up individual grain is tough, the algorithm used by some studios barely makes a difference, so manually is what's needed. Then add in HDR on top of that where they need to brighten the highlights wanted too and it's usually lacklustre. HDR as implemented by the studios right now is a joke. It's not mastered in 1000 nits or more, that's only the highlights. The actual movie is still mastered at 100 nits.

          • @diamondd: and this, my friends, is why the orphan 3D bluray product is still the best product on the market

              • @Not Applicable: I was responding to this comment: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/comment/9757269/redir

                You actually get a perfectly good resolution from the ground up and something extra with the 3d. It makes no sense apart from people are too lazy or didn't want to invest in the hardware stack for 3d that it was not preferred. That and the companies making televisions simply wanted to make more money by pushing people over from already perfectly good TV's to 4k ones that also didn't have the additional cost of having a 3d processor while having something else shiny for people to shell out their hard earned on

      • never mind that, the company providing the service can just withdraw it an anytime if they wanted to, and while it may seem as though it could never happen now, if Apple goes under you're also screwed.

        plus they can't guarantee the service's 24/7 availability, and there are other forms of DRM they can introduce as well.

        some relevant examples:
        withdrawal of a product: https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/k4iwd3/whats_going_...
        service outages: https://eminetra.com.au/people-cant-vacuum-or-use-their-door...
        otherwise restricting your content (Amazon Prime): https://i.redd.it/crv5ha1r3o261.png

      • does this also happen on Google Play Movies?

      • Discs are great until they're dropped or scratched

        • So then don't drop or scratch them. I have a substantial collection of Bluray/UHD discs all without even a single scratch. It's not really hard, put them straight back in the case when you finish and never lend them (other people simply aren't as careful with your belongings as to will be).

        • Which has happened to me, never.

    • For those wondering, JBHiFi has the discs for extended ultra 4K LOTR only at $99 but not available online
      https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/lord-of-the-rings-trilogy...

      No sign of the Hobbit yet if you care.

  • Middle-Earth Extended Editions 6-Film Collection by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

    https://itunes.apple.com/au/movie-collection/middle-earth-ex...

  • For anyone that has been around this site for a few years and got the LOTR trilogy for $10 on iTunes, congratulations, that purchase has now been upgraded to 4K for free.

    • Should have invested in iTunes movie rather than Google or blurays :-(

      • It is certainly a feature of iTunes and the streaming compression quality is particularly good. There is always the risk though that the deal Apple has with the distributor ends and you lose access to the film.

      • Sign up for a US iTunes account and 'Movies Anywhere' so you don't have to choose. Any film in your Google library will sync to US iTunes, Microsoft store, Amazon video and Movies Anywhere libraries. It's a great free service and such a shame they still haven't rolled it out for AU iTunes accounts yet.

        • Been waiting so long for this. I woud get a US itunes acc, but the payment method is too much effort

  • What is a Theatrical version compared to a normal version?

    • The version that was released in theatres is the Theatrical Version

      The extended editions are much longer versions with more detail and world building. Kinda like directors cuts but not just a few minutes extra, more like an hour of extra content per movie.

      • "Kinda like directors cuts"

        I get what you mean, but that might give the wrong impression in this case. Jackson doesn't actually like the extended editions, said they're only there for the hardcore fans of the books as all the extra content upsets the pacing of the films.

        The extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring isn't bad, because it was the shortest film to begin with and has far less added than the other two. The Two Towers and The Return of the King are much harder to recommend though, the latter especially is already a bit of a slog at its theatrical length and they added another hour to it…

        • im surprised he feels that way, they add so much needed depth to quite a few characters

          • @perfectlydark: well the problem is with film as a medium, adaptations are forced to omit important aspects from the book.

            in the classic Hitchcock/Truffaut interviews, Hitchcock was asked why he'd never make a film version of Crime and Punishment: "In Dostoevsky's novel there are many, many words and all of them have a function, to really convey that in cinematic terms, substituting the language of the camera for the written word, one would have to make a six- to 10-hour film. Otherwise, it won't be any good."

            which is basically what Jackson was up against in making The Lord of the Rings. I agree some characters miss out a bit in the theatrical cuts, but its a question of how long is a piece of string at the end of the day and stuff has to be cut.

  • Really hanging out for a comparison of the Itunes 4k versions of these vs the UHD BRs. Obviously the UHD BRs will be better due to the much higher bitrate. But if the difference is minimal I want to grab these. Less than half the price for the 6 movies and the main reason is that a collectors edition UND Br set is coming out next year. Want to wait for that. Don’t want to double dip.

    • Unless you have an absolute eagle eye and compare blown up stills next to each other, chances are you wont notice the differance at all.

      • I've watched a bunch of Dolby Vision / HDR 10 movies on an OLED (where artifacts are visible quite easily, esp. in dark scenes) and I haven't been able to tell the difference, totally agree with this comment.

      • Awesome. Will grab these for $70 then and pick up the collectors edition discs next year. Best of both worlds then.

      • You had a chance to say Elvish eye and you wasted it.

    • unless they've tweaked the colour grades you're unlikely to see the difference between the 1080p BR and the 4k BR at normal viewing distances, nevermind compressed 4k vs the UHD BR.

      HEVC (h.265) is extremely good at what it does.

      but I'll just add that the 1080p bluray is pretty much the film format equivalent of what the CD did for music, its as good as any human being needs on their TV (at the cinema you can make a stronger case for 4k projection). That hasn't stopped "higher resolution" formats like SACD and 192khz/24bit from emerging, or people from buying 20 thousand dollar speaker cables, and the bluray won't stop TV companies pushing 8k TV's and players, but they need something new to sell you.

      • HDR is the biggest impact

      • I can definitely see a difference between my blu ray version of movies vs the ones I’ve re purchased on UHD BRs. And as another poster said, HDR makes a massive difference.

    • I expect it comes down to what tv you have. If you have a low-end LCD with poor HDR, perhaps you won't notice - the slowness of the panel will hide whatever the compressed video cannot display. But on a 65" OLED, the absence of fast & clear motion will be obvious. But in all fairness, some 4k HDR shows I have watched have looked pretty good.

      The thing is, many streaming providers have reduced quality to avoid using up too much bandwidth during lockdowns around the world. So not sure how easy it is to compare. Prime Video seems to have dropped Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos altogether (I thought my setup was broken until I read they switched it off).

      • Have a 77CX. The Apple bitrate is excellent. Have Apple TV+ and a number of itunes purchases. Out of all the streaming options they are definitely the best. With both DV and atmos audio. I think these digital copies should look pretty great and I’ll get the collectors discs next year.

  • Of all the streaming platforms iTunes does it best in terms of compression quality. Don't forget you can also use discounted iTunes cards to purchase which adds some value.

  • I have the HD version and it is not upgraded to 4K version.

    • iTunes can be funny with that. It's not always good between the various apps - AppleTV, iTunes, Movies - at showing what quality it exactly is.
      Some movies in my library have started upgrading - Disney/Marvel have mostly had 4K upgrades - but some of them took time to show up properly. You could try signing out / in to iTunes?

    • It takes time for the changes to roll across different clusters, same thing happened with the Marvel upgrades a few weeks ago, it will happen 👍

  • Bloody finally. Been waiting to rewatch these with all the bells and whistles. Though I only want to rent, really.

  • Has anyone seen the 4k ATMOS HDR versions on any other streaming service to purchase?

    Reddit seems to think that's it's on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, but I can't see it on either in UHD. Just wondering if it's because there is some distribution rights in Aus that are different…

  • I went looking at this last night, like others have mentioned here, I don't see the 4K version upgrade of my HD purchase

    I purchased the HD extended version bundle, I also posted the deals here and here just under 2 years ago…

    Via Apple at: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT207949

    Check the quality of your previous purchases

    If you previously bought an HD film from the Apple TV app, you might have access to the 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos enhancements on a compatible device. If your purchase doesn't have a high-quality version now, it might be added later.

    I guess "I might" get upgraded to 4K versions some day, but that day is not today

    • I purchased this bundle last time it was posted. It hasn’t been upgraded to 4K and as far as I can tell, has been removed from iTunes entirely. I’m in conversation now with apple support to see why it won’t transition to the newly released bundle in 4K - ironically enough, the Hobbit extended edition trilogy has been upgraded to 4K in my library. So far, the response has been “it is up to the content distributor to update to 4K”. I was under the impression that Apple had a policy to never charge extra for a resolution upgrade - this has certainly been the case with other titles including the Matrix trilogy and all Disney films that have been in my library for years. I’m going to keep pushing to at least get some iTunes credit to go towards a paid upgrade.

      • Thanks, I just checked, and the Hobbit extended and Matrix Trilogy have all been upgraded to 4K, maybe some patience is in order that this will come soon, but…..

        I use CheapCharts app to notify me of good deals, and I hide movies I’ve purchased in the app, so recently theres been a few new releases of movies I already I own and the versions I do own are no longer available, but the new versions are the same quality and same length, same extras etc (none are 4K, just HD) and from what I can tell no discernible differences in the release, except when I go to access them in the store it shows I have to buy them again, yet they do play fine from my library, so Apple and/or the distributors are up to some (profanity) here…

        Some that I’ve notice thus far are:

        Pulp Fiction
        Jackie Brown
        Kill Bill 1 & 2
        Good Will Hunting
        Sin City

        • Just saw this on reddit:

          Have you tried logging out of your ATV and logging back in? Seems to refresh your library and apply any upgrades. I had to do it yesterday for the LOTR movies to show in 4k.

          Going to have to try this…

          • @oz-stef: Yes I did but it didn’t work for me. I have a feeling it’s due to the fact we bought the extended edition box set that no longer exists on the iTunes Store… I’ll be very surprised if we ever get the upgrade to 4K. Probably would be fine if we’d bought the individual films separately.

            In the end I might have to “high seas” it seeing as I’ve already bought the DVD extended collectors edition, the bluray one, and then I double dipped the iTunes version thinking that it would eventually unlock the 4K version 😢

    • Thanks Aragorn…rousing speech

  • downloaded the 4k uhd atmos torrents of the first 3 movies and they look and sound the goods!

  • I saw 75gig torrents per disc. so roughly 450gig for all 3 movies.

    • Thankfully I found remux rips that were already merged :)

    • I hoped youre stocked up on WD 10TB drives!

      • Start downloading now, they'll be ready for the boxing day weekend!

        • Mine was done in about 6hrs
          250/20 and private tracker

          • @spackbace: all three movies? Thats awesome. This trilogy is my only Christmas plans this year.

            • @DarthAntz: All 6 movies were done overnight (LOTR and Hobbit)

              Originally was downloading relatively slowly through public tracker given the strict upload/download ratio of the private, but was counted as a 'free' download on the private one (doesn't affect download quota) so smashed my internet :P
              (PrivateHD for those playing at home!)

              Have already sat through most of Fellowship. Dammit I want Atmos lol already have 5.1 at least

  • Am I the only one who wayyy prefers the theatrical releases?
    The Extended versions are just too long for me.

    • When you have read the book, the theatrical versions just feel like they leave out too many details that explain the story. Things you would otherwise never have guessed.

      • .
        the Harry Potter movies are like that as well and they could all do with an extended versions release IMHO

  • Damn it my appletv is not 4k , no point for me buying it.

  • I have an Amazon Firestick 4K hooked up to my Panasonic OLED, the iTunes Dolby Vision movies amazing. If you have a decent connection, there's almost no banding visible (this is after you look really hard). Recent movies which looked gorgeous were the new Terminator and Venom. I bought the Middle Earth set, thanks OP!

  • Showing as $69.99. Anyone else seeing the same?

  • Doesn't say 4K on the LOTR bundle for $34.99? Only on the 6 film bundle

  • Anyway to stream this via the new Google tv in 4k? I don't have an Apple TV

  • 4K extended editions are about $40 for 3 movies at the Microsoft store.