4K HDR Blu-ray in 2018: HDR10+ And Other Developments

Savage Clown

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Courtesy of 4K News

The 4K Blu-ray disc format has enjoyed some rather solid success since it first emerged for the consumer market in March of 2016. The combination of market timing that involved rising ultra HD TV sales, a dearth of broadly sourced 4K content options and easy accessibility for 4K Blu-ray discs themselves (partly due to a lack of the regional playback restrictions found in the older HD Blu-ray format) have all come together to make 4K Blu-ray disc releases into brisk sellers. Even Blu-ray Disc Association chairman Victor Matsuda was recently prompted to state that the format’s success has come as a “pleasant surprise” to many in his industry.

These were the words used by Matsuda in a conversation with the website HDTVTest during an interview at CES 2018 held in January of this year. During their conversation with the BD Association chief, numerous other interesting themes about the future of the format and its HDR prospects were also brought up.

Most importantly based on the HDTVTest report, UHD Blu-ray will also be getting support the recently unveiled HDR10+ high dynamic range format that has been developed through leadership by Samsung and other companies. This will be coming sooner or later in 2018. 4K Blu-ray already offers support for the widely used HDR10 format and some discs also come with Dolby Vision high dynamic range for the TVs that support it, but HDR10+ was until very recently a relative unknown in the high dynamic range format competition on the content and TV display market. The HDR10+ format was developed by Samsung and others to address deficiencies in HDR10 and thus more effectively compete with the superior Dolby Vision standard. It offers a cheap, open source and royalty-free method of integrating high dynamic range for color and contrast in 4K Blu-ray (or streaming media) content that it has been designated for consumer market release.

The older HDR10 standard has enjoyed wide popularity in both 4K content and 4K displays with HDR due to its ease of implementation and the low cost of adding it. HDR10+ will offer the same benefits but with the added bonus of superior visual specs for color/contrast in any content source or TV that adopts it. This will make it more of an effective competitor to Dolby Vision which, while better at HDR rendering, is also proprietary and thus expensive to use.

Matsuda and TV industry representatives are of course also hoping that HDR in a general sense gains more consumer familiarity in 2018. Findings by market research firm FutureSource have shown that while at least 75% of consumers on the U.S market know about 4K ultra HD resolution and TVs, only some 44% know about high dynamic range and what it means for digital video. To counter this lower level of familiarity, the BDA has started releasing videos that explain what HDR means on its own website and to major digital media platforms like YouTube.

Beyond HDR10, it’s cousin HDR10+ and the Dolby Vision HDR format (developed by Dolby Labs and now also supported by most brands of 4K UHD TV but few content sources) other high dynamic range standards also exist that aren’t quite as widely used yet. One of these is called Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and it’s being implemented as a broadcast-fed source of HDR mastering for select sources of content. Developed by the BBC and Japan’s national broadcasting giant NHK, the HLG format is designed to be mastered into content that can then be easily sent via cable or broadcast television sources as well as over the internet. Many of the 4K HDR TVs released by almost all of the major brands in 2017 and into 2018 offer or will offer HLG support as well.

Other even lesser known HDR formats include the Philips Technicolor standard, developed by both Philips and (you guessed it) Technicolor. Also called the SL-HDR2 standard, Philips Technicolor is actually also supported by Blu-ray Disc but barely used by any content makers or supported by many 4K TVs so far.

In addition to surprisingly good and growing sales of 4K Blu-ray disc titles, 4K Blu-ray players themselves have been getting lots of traction as well in 2017. Sales of these devices have expanded 133% for this last year and the range of different models has expanded a lot, with many brands offering multiple different models and extremely well-known media devices like the Xbox One S and One X consoles coming with built-in 4K Blu-ray players of their own. This of course increases awareness of 4K Blu-ray and as a result, awareness of the HDR that goes into nearly all UHD Blu-ray discs.

Finally, going back to the core of all Blu-ray talk, the movies themselves, talks between Matsuda and HDTVTest covered the expanding selection of content offerings that’s making this format so popular and as a result feeding the release of even more movies in 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray. This self reinforcing cycle has led to a growth in the number of available titles from 110 at the end of 2016 to well over 250 by the end of 2017. This is a far cry from the sheer number of HD content options available to anyone today but by the standards of 4K UHD content, these 4K high dynamic range disc options cover a nice chunk of available entertainment, especially for people without access to streaming broadband internet powerful enough for 4K UHD streaming from sources like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Also interesting is the quantity of 4K Blu-ray disc releases of older movies with new HDR and 4K formatting built into them. For one thing, these kinds of movies flesh out the overall selection of 4K Blu-ray titles available into something that can appeal to multiple tastes, not just fans of new release blockbuster titles. And secondly, that these films continue to be released moving into 2018 shows a wider purchase-justifying consumer demand for the quality of the 4K HDR BD format for old movies already seen on DVD or VHS.

Now almost all of the titles available via 4K UHD Blu-ray are also available through streaming media 4K content sources like Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Hulu and numerous others. The selection of streaming UHD entertainment is if anything even bigger than what a person can get via 4K Blu-ray. However, where this physical media format still has room for growth is among consumers who either can’t get access to a fast enough internet connection for 4K streaming or whose geographical location limits their access to streaming content options due to DRM restrictions by studios.

In the U.S alone, nearly 75% of internet users don’t have the minimum 25Mbps connectivity speeds recommended by most streamed 4K content providers for smooth viewing, and on the DRM side of things, 4K Blu-ray discs are playable worldwide, with no regional encoding, allowing, for example, a Pakistani tourist on vacation in NYC to buy all the UHD BD movies they like without worries about enjoying them back home.

On a final note, based on what we’re hearing from the BDA chair about the future of the 4K Blu-ray format, there are going to be plenty of new and exciting developments in 2018. These discs aren’t going anywhere forgotten quite yet.
4k.jpg
 

C.C. 95

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Courtesy of 4K News

The 4K Blu-ray disc format has enjoyed some rather solid success since it first emerged for the consumer market in March of 2016. The combination of market timing that involved rising ultra HD TV sales, a dearth of broadly sourced 4K content options and easy accessibility for 4K Blu-ray discs themselves (partly due to a lack of the regional playback restrictions found in the older HD Blu-ray format) have all come together to make 4K Blu-ray disc releases into brisk sellers. Even Blu-ray Disc Association chairman Victor Matsuda was recently prompted to state that the format’s success has come as a “pleasant surprise” to many in his industry.

These were the words used by Matsuda in a conversation with the website HDTVTest during an interview at CES 2018 held in January of this year. During their conversation with the BD Association chief, numerous other interesting themes about the future of the format and its HDR prospects were also brought up.

Most importantly based on the HDTVTest report, UHD Blu-ray will also be getting support the recently unveiled HDR10+ high dynamic range format that has been developed through leadership by Samsung and other companies. This will be coming sooner or later in 2018. 4K Blu-ray already offers support for the widely used HDR10 format and some discs also come with Dolby Vision high dynamic range for the TVs that support it, but HDR10+ was until very recently a relative unknown in the high dynamic range format competition on the content and TV display market. The HDR10+ format was developed by Samsung and others to address deficiencies in HDR10 and thus more effectively compete with the superior Dolby Vision standard. It offers a cheap, open source and royalty-free method of integrating high dynamic range for color and contrast in 4K Blu-ray (or streaming media) content that it has been designated for consumer market release.

The older HDR10 standard has enjoyed wide popularity in both 4K content and 4K displays with HDR due to its ease of implementation and the low cost of adding it. HDR10+ will offer the same benefits but with the added bonus of superior visual specs for color/contrast in any content source or TV that adopts it. This will make it more of an effective competitor to Dolby Vision which, while better at HDR rendering, is also proprietary and thus expensive to use.

Matsuda and TV industry representatives are of course also hoping that HDR in a general sense gains more consumer familiarity in 2018. Findings by market research firm FutureSource have shown that while at least 75% of consumers on the U.S market know about 4K ultra HD resolution and TVs, only some 44% know about high dynamic range and what it means for digital video. To counter this lower level of familiarity, the BDA has started releasing videos that explain what HDR means on its own website and to major digital media platforms like YouTube.

Beyond HDR10, it’s cousin HDR10+ and the Dolby Vision HDR format (developed by Dolby Labs and now also supported by most brands of 4K UHD TV but few content sources) other high dynamic range standards also exist that aren’t quite as widely used yet. One of these is called Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and it’s being implemented as a broadcast-fed source of HDR mastering for select sources of content. Developed by the BBC and Japan’s national broadcasting giant NHK, the HLG format is designed to be mastered into content that can then be easily sent via cable or broadcast television sources as well as over the internet. Many of the 4K HDR TVs released by almost all of the major brands in 2017 and into 2018 offer or will offer HLG support as well.

Other even lesser known HDR formats include the Philips Technicolor standard, developed by both Philips and (you guessed it) Technicolor. Also called the SL-HDR2 standard, Philips Technicolor is actually also supported by Blu-ray Disc but barely used by any content makers or supported by many 4K TVs so far.

In addition to surprisingly good and growing sales of 4K Blu-ray disc titles, 4K Blu-ray players themselves have been getting lots of traction as well in 2017. Sales of these devices have expanded 133% for this last year and the range of different models has expanded a lot, with many brands offering multiple different models and extremely well-known media devices like the Xbox One S and One X consoles coming with built-in 4K Blu-ray players of their own. This of course increases awareness of 4K Blu-ray and as a result, awareness of the HDR that goes into nearly all UHD Blu-ray discs.

Finally, going back to the core of all Blu-ray talk, the movies themselves, talks between Matsuda and HDTVTest covered the expanding selection of content offerings that’s making this format so popular and as a result feeding the release of even more movies in 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray. This self reinforcing cycle has led to a growth in the number of available titles from 110 at the end of 2016 to well over 250 by the end of 2017. This is a far cry from the sheer number of HD content options available to anyone today but by the standards of 4K UHD content, these 4K high dynamic range disc options cover a nice chunk of available entertainment, especially for people without access to streaming broadband internet powerful enough for 4K UHD streaming from sources like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Also interesting is the quantity of 4K Blu-ray disc releases of older movies with new HDR and 4K formatting built into them. For one thing, these kinds of movies flesh out the overall selection of 4K Blu-ray titles available into something that can appeal to multiple tastes, not just fans of new release blockbuster titles. And secondly, that these films continue to be released moving into 2018 shows a wider purchase-justifying consumer demand for the quality of the 4K HDR BD format for old movies already seen on DVD or VHS.

Now almost all of the titles available via 4K UHD Blu-ray are also available through streaming media 4K content sources like Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Hulu and numerous others. The selection of streaming UHD entertainment is if anything even bigger than what a person can get via 4K Blu-ray. However, where this physical media format still has room for growth is among consumers who either can’t get access to a fast enough internet connection for 4K streaming or whose geographical location limits their access to streaming content options due to DRM restrictions by studios.

In the U.S alone, nearly 75% of internet users don’t have the minimum 25Mbps connectivity speeds recommended by most streamed 4K content providers for smooth viewing, and on the DRM side of things, 4K Blu-ray discs are playable worldwide, with no regional encoding, allowing, for example, a Pakistani tourist on vacation in NYC to buy all the UHD BD movies they like without worries about enjoying them back home.

On a final note, based on what we’re hearing from the BDA chair about the future of the 4K Blu-ray format, there are going to be plenty of new and exciting developments in 2018. These discs aren’t going anywhere forgotten quite yet.
One thing that should be pointed out:
HDR 10 is the base layer upon which the other formats sit.
HDR 10+, DolbyVision, etc. sit on top Of the base layer of HDR 10.
(If you have a tv and Blu ray player that plays HDR 10 but not DV - and you buy a DolbyVison encoded disc - you will still be seeing the base layer of HDR 10, but not the DV layer.)

It is too bad we have another format war. (HDR10+ is largely being pushed by Panasonic and Samsung).
While HDR10+ has the economic advantage of not having to pay licensing fees, Dolby Vision was first out of the gate- and has an advantage of having the format out there already.
(And there really is no argument that DV is superior. HDR10+ is rendered by computer, and DV is done by a professional colorist. So the war will be economics vs. quality)
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Last edited:

Savage Clown

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Premium Supporter
I just want to reiterate what I said before in the Deadpool 2 UK thread for @psychoscot . I did a search for 4K Blu-ray sales percentages and the first thing that came up is what I posted below. So there you have it and that was in 2016 alone.

BDA: ULTRA HD BLU-RAY SALES SURPASSING EXPECTATIONS
The BDA’s Dan Schinasi (left) and Don Eklund (right) demonstrate HDR from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Ultra HD Blu-ray is bringing new life to physical media as sales of hardware and software continue to surpass expectations.

According to the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), 2016 marks the first time that 4K Ultra HD capability in a television set ranked as the No. 1 most wanted feature.

Ultra HDTV shipments are expected to increase by more than 80 percent this year and another 40 percent in 2017, according to research compiled by Futuresource. This will result in some 16 percent of the 124 million U.S. households having a 4K Ultra HDTV by the end of the year.

According to a forecast from Strategy & Analytics, 50 percent of U.S. households will be 4K Ultra HD capable by 2020.

Read more on the BDA’s state of the 4K industry report after the jump:


Sales of TVs overall in the U.S. are expected to continue to be relatively flat at 38 million units this year, but the biggest growth segment of that is coming in 4K Ultra HD capable sets, which generally have screen sizes of 50 inches or larger and smart TV functionality.

“Almost every time we see a forecast on Ultra HDTV, the numbers are being raised,” said Dan Schinasi, chairman of the BDA’s U.S. promotions group and a Samsung spokesman. “Not surprisingly, then, it’s getting harder and harder to find Full HD 1080p TVs. They are still there, but there are fewer and fewer models to choose from.”

From the BDA’s perspective, the quicker the 4K Ultra HDTV market grows, the better it is for Ultra HD Blu-ray prospects, Schinasi pointed out.

In the first year in the market, there are eight player models available around the world from: Panasonic (2 models), Philips (2 models), Samsung (1 model), and Microsoft (3 Xbox One S configurations). In addition, Sony and Oppo have announced players are on the way from their sales and marketing groups by year’s end or early 2017.

In all, more than 80,000 Ultra HD Blu-players from all makers have been sold since the first player was introduced by Samsung last February, Schinasi said.

As for software, more than 90 Ultra HD Blu-ray titles have been released so far, with more being added all of the time. In January the group predicted about 100 titles would be introduced by the end of the year, and the industry appears to be on the way to surpassing that goal.

As for software sales, the industry has generated more than $25 million in sales revenue and is on the way toward reaching the 1 millionth disc sales number. Ultra HD Blu-ray discs typically sell for between $22.95-$29.95. The numbers eclipse sales of standard Blu-ray Disc sales at a comparable point in the two formats’ rollouts.

“The attachment rate of content to players (which at its peak was 8 to 1) is significantly higher for Ultra HD Blu-ray than it was for regular Blu-ray,” Schinasi said. “The sales performance so far has exceeded a lot of the studios’ expectations.”

“Sony Pictures is very happy with the Ultra HD Blu-ray performance so far. It’s succeeded their expectations,” said Don Eklund, Sony Corp. new format promotion senior VP. “That doesn’t mean it’s been a windfall by any stretch, but it’s doing better than was forecast.”

Interestingly, Sony recently launched its first dedicated over-the-top 4K Ultra HD streaming service called Ultra, which has been receiving much of the company’s promotional attention.

“Sony’s been licensing and experimenting with over-the-top for years,” Eklund said. “They still see all of this being relevant, but OTT is still a fraction of the overall revenue compared to packaged media.”

Currently, six major Hollywood studios are engaged in producing and selling Ultra HD Blu-ray titles, in addition to some smaller specialty publishers producing IMAX releases and similar documentaries.

The most noticeable missing studio so far is Walt Disney Studios, which is a BDA member.

The biggest competitive challenge to Ultra HD Blu-ray today is over-the-top (OTT) streaming. Major streaming services carrying 4K Ultra HD titles today include: Netflix, Amazon, Ultra, UltraFlix, and Vudu.

Ultra HD streaming content selections are ramping up, but not all of those are offering high dynamic range (HDR) capability along with the 4K resolution, however, and selections are small for those that are.

In addition, the expanded data load necessary to stream 4K Ultra HD content limits the bandwidth available from most Internet service providers, making it difficult, if not impossible, to get 4K Ultra HD resolution in consistently high quality at all times of the day and from all titles.

The current average maximum broadband plan in the U.S. is delivering 15Mbps download speed, but many smaller services are still not providing more than 10Mpbs. In addition, many in-home Wi-Fi networks must overcome obstacles like walls and floors, which greatly reduce internet speeds to the receiving device.

All of these factors make it hard to get a consistently strong 4K Ultra HD experience via streaming, making Ultra HD Blu-ray players the best source devices for a state-of-the-art home theater experience.

Ultra HD Blu-ray is one of the few formats available to deliver up to 100 Mbps bit rates, for the most robust audio/video experiences possible. Many new releases in Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray now carry metadata for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X 3D surround sound.

The BDA is now engaged in consumer promotional efforts to get the word out about the new format. These efforts include producing a Retail Education Brochure for Ultra HD Blu-ray; interactive infographics on www.uhdbdinnumbers.com; a revamped Ultra HD Blu-ray centric website that is being revamped and updated now; new HD and UHD “sizzle reels” with short informational videos for online and retail use and distribution; and new social media outreach using educational video assets.

By Greg Tarr
 

BluSteel2012

Premium Supporter
Jan 4, 2012
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I just want to reiterate what I said before in the Deadpool 2 UK thread for @psychoscot . I did a search for 4K Blu-ray sales percentages and the first thing that came up is what I posted below. So there you have it and that was in 2016 alone.
That article seems to be at least 2 years old though.......

To quote from it.....

Sony and Oppo have announced players are on the way from their sales and marketing groups by year’s end or early 2017.

Where's the proof to say sales are still performing like this 2 years later?

Nothing really solid to go by in an article that's 2 years old......
 

DMD4k

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Mar 12, 2018
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If nothing else, this is a more balanced overview of the UHD market. The biggest naysayer I've come across on this forum makes it seem like some are actively fighting against the expansion of UHD media for really no good reason.
 
If nothing else, this is a more balanced overview of the UHD market. The biggest naysayer I've come across on this forum makes it seem like some are actively fighting against the expansion of UHD media for really no good reason.
I think it varies by Country. Cause in the USA, there is crap for choices in regards to tvs that arent 4k. So while one may be able to sit "on the fence" about upgrading etc the TVs of today and the last 5 years are not built as good as the tvs from 10 years ago. So when people's tvs crap out on them theyll have crap for choices but yet to upgrade to 4k ... so then its just a matter of if they are willing to drop another $150 for a uhd player.

Where as I know other Countries (some) have better options in regards to still having 1080p tvs pretty readily available. And im of course not talking of any "used" tvs as sure you can source those easily in the USA.

ie. those who can sit on the fence more easily can likely be bigger naysayers and studios porting a lot doesnt help. Where as those with less options to sit on the fence who more easily upgrade will like the deeper blacks and fuller brights that 4k hdr or dolby vision provide.

I think UHD is a great niche market, as Hollywood damn near considers all home media a niche market when we are talking about physical media. It can support itself and is doing so .... but as a collector and physical media lover and adopter of all tech and formats I actually really like where we are at right now. I dont have to have every title in 4k and while my new purchases of new releases may lean that way that isnt to say that there arent plenty of titles that I scoop up in the walmart or bb bin for 5.99/6.99 on regular BD. 1080p BD is still amazing quality to me and great when upscaled ... If i want to watch Major Payne with the kiddo i dont need 4k ... 1080p blu-ray is perfect and i like the budget price. Where as if i want to watch and experience Braveheart in all its glory im going to seek out the very best of quality.
 

darczap

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Aug 16, 2010
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If nothing else, this is a more balanced overview of the UHD market. The biggest naysayer I've come across on this forum makes it seem like some are actively fighting against the expansion of UHD media for really no good reason.

The biggest naysayer likes to spout a lot of hearsay. So take it for what it's worth.
 
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C.C. 95

The Snarky Assassin
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Sep 10, 2014
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I think it varies by Country. Cause in the USA, there is crap for choices in regards to tvs that arent 4k. So while one may be able to sit "on the fence" about upgrading etc the TVs of today and the last 5 years are not built as good as the tvs from 10 years ago. So when people's tvs crap out on them theyll have crap for choices but yet to upgrade to 4k ... so then its just a matter of if they are willing to drop another $150 for a uhd player.

Where as I know other Countries (some) have better options in regards to still having 1080p tvs pretty readily available. And im of course not talking of any "used" tvs as sure you can source those easily in the USA.

ie. those who can sit on the fence more easily can likely be bigger naysayers and studios porting a lot doesnt help. Where as those with less options to sit on the fence who more easily upgrade will like the deeper blacks and fuller brights that 4k hdr or dolby vision provide.

I think UHD is a great niche market, as Hollywood damn near considers all home media a niche market when we are talking about physical media. It can support itself and is doing so .... but as a collector and physical media lover and adopter of all tech and formats I actually really like where we are at right now. I dont have to have every title in 4k and while my new purchases of new releases may lean that way that isnt to say that there arent plenty of titles that I scoop up in the walmart or bb bin for 5.99/6.99 on regular BD. 1080p BD is still amazing quality to me and great when upscaled ... If i want to watch Major Payne with the kiddo i dont need 4k ... 1080p blu-ray is perfect and i like the budget price. Where as if i want to watch and experience Braveheart in all its glory im going to seek out the very best of quality.
Well said. i agree.
I feel absolutely no need to upgrade all movies to 4k. Certain films, to be sure - deserve it and demand it. (This is also highly dependend on the 4K transfer and the strength of the HDR application).
But (depending on the quality of the tv and 4K player) the 4K upconversion of 1080p (and 480p DVDs) is just fantastic. I watched my Criterion 480p DVD of NIGHT ON EARTH and I could swear blind I was watching a 1080p blu ray.
And the upconversion includes simulated HDR (if you so choose).
So 4K is NOT a "oh god- I have rebuy ALL my movies again!" situation at all.
 

BluSteel2012

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Jan 4, 2012
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No.
Samung just has issues. The 4K blu ray market is increasing not decreasing.
They may just want to spend all their capitol on their TVs instead of players.
@BluSteel2012

Like the article says. Samsung can't take enough of the market away from Sony and Panasonic. So it means that Sony and Panasonic will sell more players now.
Makes absolutely no sense to me from a business point of view.

Surely you have to try or you might as well let your competitors run you out of business?

Also, lots of people like to keep their equipment matching. So if there's no player available, they'll just get both elsewhere from a different manufacturer. Including the TV.
 

C.C. 95

The Snarky Assassin
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Makes absolutely no sense to me from a business point of view.

Surely you have to try or you might as well let your competitors run you out of business?

Also, lots of people like to keep their equipment matching. So if there's no player available, they'll just get both elsewhere from a different manufacturer. Including the TV.
So true.
You would THINK they would want to be making and selling players that support THEIR competing HDR10+ technology.
Unless they have already waved the white flag since DV has a larger foothold.
(HDR10+ in Blue)
656256A0-E094-471A-98F5-C800A1D4BD5A.jpeg
 
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