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Star Trek: Discovery is a modern TV show and yet it's produced in 2K HDR. Yes, HDR makes it beautiful, but I don't find it as detailed as 4K videos.

Why isn't Star Trek: Discovery produced in 4K HDR?

2 Answers 2

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It was made for a channel that doesn't support 4K

Star Trek:Discovery was originally made for CBS All Access, although it's on Netflix in many countries outside of the USA. Unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime, and many other streaming services, CBS All Access does not support 4K streams and, if internet reports on its quality are to be believed, appears to run its streams at much lower bandwidth even in normal HD.

Since it was made specifically for a service that doesn't support 4K, the producers could save money by using cameras and CGI targetted at a lower resolution.

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The show was filmed on Arri Alexa XT cameras for various reasons. The maximum image quality that can be yielded from these cameras is 3.2K, hence the lack of a 4K or 8K option for viewers.

Note that the show was intended to be broadcast on its own internet streaming channel, so having the show be in 4K (or 8K) is basically unnecessary since the average viewer couldn't possibly tell the difference.

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    Your last paragraph doesn't make sense. I watch Star Trek: Discovery over Internet (Netflix) and yet I can tell the difference.
    – user931
    Oct 25, 2020 at 12:29
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    Must people don't care and can't tell the difference. If you're in the small minority that do care (and claim to be able to tell the difference) then bully for you.
    – Valorum
    Oct 25, 2020 at 13:59
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    You can easily spot the difference on big screens. And, don't generalize anything without having solid data. Netflix sells its Ultra 4K subscription tier pretty well.
    – user931
    Oct 25, 2020 at 15:53
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    @UmbrellaCorporation Except that most people either don’t have big enough screens, or have them set up in such a way that they can’t tell (for example, they have a viewing distance that is long enough that the difference is not noticable). Also, the Ultra 4k subscription tier on Netflix sells at least as much because of the fact that it allows the most devices to be simultaneously active (this is important if it’s a family account) as the 4k support. Oct 25, 2020 at 19:52
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    @Valorum / Austin Hemmelgarn : Can you please show some more objective data that 4K doesn't matter? With massive investments in bandwidth, storage and technology or the skip, your conclusion kinda needs a bit of support. Especially since the difference at higher bitrates and commonly sold TV sizes currently is visible.
    – Mavrik
    Oct 25, 2020 at 19:56

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