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The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has completed the technical spec for Ultra HD Blu-ray. Consumer electronics manufacturers will be able to license it from July. The news means that Ultra HD Blu-ray, and compatible players, could be released by the end of 2015.

The new format will support a 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160, as well as high dynamic range (HDR), higher frame rates and object-based immersive sound, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

HDR pictures can be delivered in one of two ways: either using the BDA-developed “BD HDR” section of the new specification, or via compatible HDR formats such as Dolby Vision.

The BDA has also announced an optional digital bridge feature that would allow “consumers to view their content across [a] range of in-home and mobile devices", meaning any purchased content can be viewed over multiple devices.

It’s also been announced that the format will be backwards compatible, so regular Blu-ray discs will work in Ultra HD Blu-ray players

UPDATE: Ultra HD Blu-ray price and release date details

More after the break

“For years, Blu-ray Disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home. Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment," said Victor Matsuda, chair, BDA promotions committee.

Licensing is expected to begin in the summer, and the BDA is working with "industry leaders in the authoring, testing, certification and replication industries to develop the tools and process needed to ensure interoperability between players and software and to facilitate the development of a robust ecosystem to support the hardware and title launch of Ultra HD Blu-ray". Well, that certainly sounds complicated.

The BDA revealed at CES 2015 a preliminary spec for Ultra HD Blu-ray, after previously stating the higher resolution discs would be available by Christmas 2015. Going by today’s announcement, it certainly seems to be sticking to its promise. 

The introduction of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs would give a larger number of consumers access to 4K content. Currently, streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon offer around 90 hours each of 4K content, but this requires a high-speed broadband connection and compatible TVs.

MORE: How and where to watch 4K content

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


Pottsey's picture

HD Blu-ray capacity

I had previously read about various capacities for the HD Blu-ray. Just out of interest, do you know what it is?

iMark's picture

Disc sizes

Disc sizes will range from 66GB (dual layer) up to 100GB (triple layer). 
Read more at http://www.whathifi.com/news/ces-2015-bda-confirms-preliminary-spec-4k-blu-ray-discs

shadowoflight's picture

Bound to be expensive.

If they're serious about quick mainstream adoption, they better not do a Sony and charge a premium for the 'new' technology.

Bah. who am I kidding.

our martin's picture

Colour depth

Does this mean they will have 10 bit colour depth?

afs_nj's picture

What about non-Ultra?

Where is the non-ultra format used? Broadcast?

afs_nj's picture

What about non-Ultra?

Where is the non-ultra format used? Broadcast?

bombayteddy's picture

existing "4k" machines

Will existing Bluray players, such as the Oppo 103, which are said to be "4K-ready" be able to play the new Ultra HD discs?

Tropi's picture

Well done BDA - it's "UHD", not "4K"!

I am delighted to see that the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is one of the few organisations with the honesty (and common sense) to refrain from using the seriously misleading "4K" term. I wish What Hi-Fi and others would follow the BDA's lead. It's easy to be honest - just drop that "4K" lie and say "UHD".

"UHD 2160" would be even more informative as to the true maximum resolution

themovierooms's picture

10 bit

@ our Martin.

I have been told that the initial run of 4K players will  be 10 bit