BDA begins licensing Ultra HD Blu-ray, products due on sale by Christmas

With the number of 4K TVs in households predicted to grow from 11.7 million units in 2014, to 95.6 million in 2019, there's set to be a serious dearth in Ultra HD content to make the most of them.

Netflix and Amazon have small libraries of 4K films and TV shows, and BT Sport is now broadcasting an Ultra HD channel in the UK, but if you'd rather rely on a spinning disc than a seriously speedy broadband connection: Ultra HD Blu-ray is the answer. And it is coming.

MORE: How to watch 4K content

We’d already heard that the official spec from the BDA for Ultra HD discs and now the format is taking its next step, with the BDA announcing the start of product licensing - necessary before manufacturers get products into stores.

Victor Matsuda, chair, BDA Promotions Committee, said: "With the commencement of licensing we would anticipate product announcements from various companies as we approach the 2015 holiday season." So that's good news. And in line with what we'd heard from Panasonic about Ultra HD Blu-ray product launches at IFA.

And what's so good about them? "The new discs will deliver high dynamic range (HDR) content for improved contrast between the darkest and lightest parts of the picture, as well as an expanded colour range and higher frame rate of 60fps. They’ll also offer a resolution of 3840x2160," said Matsuda.

“Ultra HD Blu-ray enables the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable experience that will set the standard for Ultra HD entertainment, the same way Blu-ray Disc did for high definition viewing."

What’s more, the new discs will fully support object-based audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and a “digital bridge” feature will allow purchased content to be watched on mobile devices as well.

It's also been announced that Ultra HD Blu-ray players will be backwards compatible with regular Blu-ray discs, so there'll be no need to replace your entire collection.

MORE: Ultra HD Blu-ray - everything you need to know

Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.