In his recent Home Theatre Forum review of Kino’s forthcoming 4K Bluray of Michael Winner‘s Death Wish (’73), restoration guru Robert Harris has used a kind of double-edged sword.

One one hand he describes it as a substandard 4K release that’s not worth the price, and says that the 40th anniversary Bluray version (released in 2014) is a better deal overall. On the other hand he’s calling the 4K version something new on hi-def market — 2K UHD.

Harris: “I’ve been giving the 4K Death Wish situation some thought, and the answer is simple — it represents a new format.

“It’s a 4k UHD release derived from a 2k master. [It therefore doesn’t] in any way take advantage of an actual 4K resolution, but rather simply [goes] for the HDR/DV ‘pop’ that will be seen on OLED panels.” In HE terminology, Harris is referring to a “4K bump.”

Kino is distributing the 4K version, but the actual work has been performed by Paramount.

“The question is that since [the 4K Death Wish] doesn’t actually carry true 4K resolution, what to call it? I’d go with ‘2K UHD’.

“How to market 2K UHD releases? First, try and explain [what they are] to consumers. How to price them? A few dollars above Bluray.

“The 2K UHD variant already exists, but has not been recognized as such.

Continuing: “I’ve now compared the Bluray variant with the 4K, and they’re quite different.

“While they both seem derived from the same master, which appears to be an older image harvest from an interpostive and not the original camera negative, the Bluray disc has a more natural grain structure.

“The 4K UHD disc has highly reduced grain, and a very awkward digital grain pattern that seems to clump, and at times appears to have mold embedded in the film element.

“The 4K [version] has very little relationship to film, while the 2014 Bluray has a more natural appearance.

“I’d be equally happy with a Bluray derived from the same newer master, but those who purchase 4k should be on notice before they place an order, that they are not receiving true 4K, and merely the HDR pop.”