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It seems almost certain that we'll be seeing the first batch of 4K Blu-ray discs hit the shelves in time for the Christmas buying season after new standards for the next-generation discs were agreed.

According to 4K.com, "a more or less conclusive agreement" has been reached by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) that paves the way for the first Ultra HD-capable releases as early as mid-2015.

It's thought the BDA will support three separate High Dynamic Range (HDR) technologies in its 4K Blu-rays, including specs from Dolby Vision and the HDR system being developed by Philips.

MORE: CES 2015 – BDA confirms preliminary spec for 4K Blu-ray discs

A joint HDR standard from Technicolor is also expected to be supported, along with the concept of "better pixels" that are designed to improve the picture quality of 4K resolution screens in future.

The discs themselves are also set to change, with a 66GB dual-layer and a 100GB triple-layer Blu-ray disc expected to become the medium. Video will be encoded with the h.265 HEVC codec.

Speaking to What Hi-Fi? at CES 2015, the BDA's Victor Matsuda said the data transfer speeds will prove a big advantage for discs over streaming 4K – as high as 108mbps (dual-layer) or 128mbps (triple-layer). 

MORE: Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray spec is about "more than resolution"

More after the break

That compares with the 15mbps that Netflix claims will be sufficient for streaming 4K content using an internet connection – and it's only a year ago Netflix was skeptical that 4K discs would emerge.

Matsuda also revealed that the colour bit depth is set to increase from 8-bits to 10-bits per channel, with Ultra HD Blu-ray discs able to support resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 at up to 60fps.

And let's not forget that new hardware capable of supporting 4K Blu-ray discs is also in the pipeline – Panasonic's prototype 4K Blu-ray player witnessed at CES 2015 (above) is just one example of that.

MORE: How to watch 4K content right now


[via 4K.com]


simonlewis's picture

YAY          I have heard

YAY     Good     I have heard though that the first gen blu-ray players will be around £1000, i'm hoping thats just a rummer and they will be a lot less.

Andy Clough's picture

4K Blu-ray

No indication yet what 4K Blu-ray player prices will be - so far we've only seen the prototype Panasonic model, and we have no price for that.

AlexAtkinUK's picture

Yet no 3D support!

I expect you will have to buy ANOTHER new 4K player in a years time when they finally add 4K 3D to the specification.

Glacialpath's picture

I think this is beyond a joke

I think this is beyond a joke.

Yes the specs are far better but the BD market didn't really take off as well as DVD in it's 8-9 year life and now they want to throw another disc at us. Authoring housed barely managed to keep up with what little BD titles (against DVD) there are going through them. Mostly because of the stupid econamy that troubled the world.

As I've said elswhere on the site it's about time the industry were made to come up with a medium and a worthy res (which 4K is well worth home entertainment) and find a way to deliver it withough waisting discs. BD is very good but the video is still compressed and I've seen uncompressed HD video and it looks a lot better than compressed disc based content.

Then you've got the silly framerate issue that all the manufacturers have had to try and get round to give us a smooth picture. Digital may be very clean but the play back of DVD and BD are far from perfect no matter how much you spend.

If they address all that before flooding the market with 4K discs then they might be on a winner. I hate it that the average viewer puts up with or I guess just can't see all the jitter a flaws in HD delivery. 

As far as i'm concirned digital is either still not fully understood or the industry have to cut too many corners to save money. I not for one minute saying we need to go back to analogue though.

gagagaga's picture

No chance on uncompressed...

720*405 (SD 16:9) at 24 bit / 24p is 20MBytes a second for video only - that's 40 minutes on a full 50GB Bluray. 4K at 12bit /24p is over 800MBytes a second - or about a minute on a 50GB Bluray.

Better bit depth to stop colour banding and better chroma resolution might be possible though, but there's a limit to bandwidth, and there needs to be a compromises made to meet them.