Disney’s first UHD Blu-ray discs came without Dolby Vision, then it was included, and now it is missing once again. The new Star Wars and Avengers movies will only be available in Dolby’s HDR format online.
Is Disney committed or not?
Disney is behind some of biggest movies in recent years with Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Black Panther, and a number of Pixar movies. Many of these titles are considered collectibles.
The studio released its first movie on UHD Blu-ray in 2017 with Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. It offered almost everything that a fan could hope for except Dolby Vision HDR. After weeks of confusion, we learned that Dolby Vision had been reserved for the online version – almost as if Disney wanted its fans to buy it online rather than on disc.
That changed in early 2018 with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It included Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision both online and on disc. Disney has later released Black Panther in Dolby Vision. Fans could finally get the premium HDR format on the premium medium.
Disney has never commented publicly on the matter but one possible explanation relates to the technical difference in how Dolby Vision is implemented on disc and online streaming, respectively. On disc, the format is layered on top of the HDR10 version as an enhancement layer to ensure compatibility, whereas it is a separate version on a streaming server, which can store as many versions of a movie as required (SD, 720p, 1080p, 4K HDR, 4K Dolby Vision etc.).
Once again, Dolby Vision will be reserved for the online version
Unfortunately, it appears that Disney is now backtracking, perhaps due technical complications or strategic reasons. The studio has confirmed that Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story will both be released on UHD Blu-ray without Dolby Vision. Once again, Dolby Vision will be reserved for the online version. The same appears to be the case for The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- “Sorry, we don't have anything more specific to comment/share at this time. Disney is committed to providing the best quality consumer experience, and constantly looking at new technologies in this ever-evolving market. Disney continues to assess Dolby Vision hardware and technology specifically for the home, and is currently only including it in Digital product offerings,” Disney said in a statement to Forbes
Disney’s latest movies are available in 4K Dolby Vision on Vudu in the US but the studio has yet to reach a deal with Apple iTunes where the movies remain in HD resolution. This situation prevents consumers in many countries from watching Disney movies in Dolby Vision.