FAQ

Technical Support

I’m seeing references to 4K on your website. Do I need a 4K player to play your films?

You will need a 4K player to watch our 4K Ultra HD discs. Select Criterion Blu-ray and DVD releases may feature either 2K or 4K digital transfers or restorations, and those discs are presented in a 1080 HD (Blu-ray) or 486 (DVD) resolution.

What do I need to watch a Blu-ray?

You need an HDTV and a compatible Blu-ray player.

Will DVDs play in my Blu-ray player?

Yes. Blu-ray players are fully backward compatible with DVDs.

Will Blu-rays play in my DVD player?

No.

Do your Blu-rays play in all Blu-ray players?

No. Some of the first-generation Blu-ray players will not play Criterion Blu-rays. A known example is the Samsung BD-P1200. Additionally, the following players have initial loading times of 2 to 3 minutes: Samsung BD-P1400, Sharp BD-HP20U, and Panasonic DMP BD10. This is normal for these players.

What should I know about handling Blu-rays?

Blu-rays are extremely sensitive to dirt and fingerprints, so be sure to handle them carefully and avoid getting fingerprints on the playback surface. Even a small, partial fingerprint has been known to cause problems.

If you do need to clean a Blu-ray, here are some helpful tips: Be sure to wash and rinse your hands thoroughly before cleaning the disc. Hold the Blu-ray under cool running water (don’t use soap!) and use your thumb or fingertip to clean the surface by gently rubbing from the center outward. Don’t use a back-and-forth motion or rub the disc in circles (the motion should be like rays extending from the sun, not the hands of a clock turning). After washing, it is important to dry the disc thoroughly or it will gather lint. Sandwich the disc between several layers of high-quality paper towel and very gently pat dry until all the water has been absorbed from the surface. Do not rub the disc with a paper towel!

Do you sell your discs outside the United States? In which regions do they play?

Our discs are encoded Region 1 for DVD and Region A* for Blu-ray. 4K Ultra HD discs are region-free. As our rights are limited to the United States and Canada, we are unable to sell outside these territories on criterion.com.

We publish select Region B Blu-ray releases for the UK market that can be purchased at amazon.co.uk, hmv.com, and other retailers.

A complete list of Criterion Region B Blu-ray releases can be found here: UK Releases

*There are a select number of Blu-ray releases that are encoded for other regions:
Come and See - regions A/B
The Complete Films of Agnès Varda - regions A/B/C
Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema - regions A/B/C
The Irishman - regions A/B/C
Marriage Story - regions A/B/C
Roma (2018) - regions A/B/C
War and Peace - regions A/B

What audio codec do you use on your Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD discs?

We encode monaural and stereo sources using PCM, and we encode surround sound sources using DTS-HD Master Audio. Select releases also include Dolby Atmos.

What is 4K Ultra HD?

4K Ultra HD (UHD) is an ultra high-definition screen resolution of 3840x2160 pixels for home televisions, monitors, and projectors, which result in a standard 16x9 frame.

What is a 4K UHD disc?

A 4K UHD disc is a larger capacity Blu-ray disc that can hold greater amounts of data, making it possible to put an entire 4K movie on one disc.

What is HDR?

HDR (or High Dynamic Range) offers brighter highlights and higher contrast ratios than were possible using standard dynamic range displays. HDR is often used in conjunction with a wide color gamut, which allows for a greater range of saturated colors than were previously available. There are several HDR formats including generic HDR (aka HDR10) and the specialized formats HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.

What are Dolby Vision and HDR10+?

Not all HDR displays are created equal. Some are capable of deeper black levels and higher peak brightness than others. The Dolby Vision and HDR10+ systems use additional metadata prepared during mastering to optimize the picture to the exact capabilities of compatible displays.

Do I need anything special to play 4K UHD HDR discs?

Yes. You must have a UHD TV, monitor, or projector and a UHD disc player connected by 4K-capable HDMI cables to take advantage of UHD images. In order to watch movies in HDR, both your player and display must support the format.

Can I play a 4K UHD disc in my standard Blu-ray player?

No. You will need a 4K UHD-capable player. All 4K UHD players can play HD Blu-rays and DVDs.

What if I have a UHD TV, but it doesn’t have HDR?

The 4K UHD Blu-ray player will down-convert the picture from HDR to SDR so that it will look correct on your SDR TV.

What if I have an HDR-capable TV and 4K UHD Blu-ray player, but they don’t support Dolby Vision or HDR10+?

Dolby Vision and HDR10+ discs are backward compatible with the open HDR10 standard so they will playback as if they were HDR10 discs.

Will I see a difference from HD to 4K and 4K with HDR?

The larger resolution of 4K is best viewed on bigger TVs or projectors but will still look better on any 4K television. HDR pictures contained on a UHD disc will have a larger range from black to white and will show additional information held in a 35mm negative that might not be seen in standard dynamic range or HD.

What is the difference between watching a 4K restoration on a standard Blu-ray vs. a 4K UHD Blu-ray?

While a film may have been restored at 4K resolution, it must be downscaled to standard HD resolution for presentation on a standard Blu-ray, whereas the restoration is presented at the greater UHD resolution on a 4K UHD Blu-ray.