Home Theater Ultra HD Blu-ray spec finalized, brings 4K video to discs

Scorpus

Posts: 1,992   +231
Staff member

While 4K Ultra HD televisions are becoming more widespread, more popular, and cheaper across the board, 4K content can still be hard to come by. Streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon are currently the best sources of 4K videos, but often the bandwidth requirements can be too steep for a user's limited internet connection.

That's why, for many people, discs are still the best way to access high-resolution content. Unfortunately the current Blu-ray standard can't cope with the high requirements of 4K video, which is why a new standard has been finalized: Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Ultra HD Blu-ray, as the name might suggest, is a new specification for discs and disc players that supports 4K video (3840 x 2160), as well as object-based sound formats like Dolby Atmos, an expanded color range, HDR video, and high frame rate content. By supporting such a wide range of features, Ultra HD Blu-ray should be reasonably future proof.

One new feature that's particularly interesting is the "digital bridge", which is an optional addition that allows a consumer to view their content on phones and other devices. It's not completely clear how this will work, but it sounds quite similar to Ultraviolet.

As is usually the case for new disc formats, Ultra HD Blu-rays won't be compatible with existing Blu-ray players, due to the use of new 66 and 100 GB discs. However, all new Ultra HD Blu-ray players will support the playback of existing Blu-ray discs.

The Blu-ray Disc Association will begin licensing for Ultra HD Blu-ray products this summer, so we can expect discs and players to hit the market towards the end of this year.

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G

Guest

Never even owned a single bluray movie or player remind me how long has bluray technology been out ?
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,285   +4,556
It is strange for such articles not to even mention anywhere about the codecs to be used for the new standard. Is it finally set to be x265 by default or are we back to the old x264 crap again?
 

amstech

Posts: 2,643   +1,806
I have a massive blu-ray collection and while most of them are glorified up-scaled cannonballs the sound quality with blu-ray discs and a digital receiver is superior to the movies we stream online from Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. I've compared them and its quite noticeable, although I am an audiophile.
Overall watching blu-rays provides a better theater like experience so I will definitely be getting a 4K HDTV and Ultra BRD player my next go round.

The title I chose for my comparison was The Hunger Games (The forest fire scene from this film was selected by DTS for its annual Demo Disc in 2013.) Spoiler alert: The clear winner was Blu-ray. The full DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray disc sounded clearer and more dynamic, with better surround usage and deeper bass. Compared with the streaming services, the image looked much more detailed, with no macroblocking or posterization artifacts.
http://hdguru.com/blu-ray-vs-hdtv-streaming-services-a-quality-comparison-review/
 
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TheBigFatClown

Posts: 833   +318
I was expecting at least 3 trolls to have already posted saying, "too little, too late". Even with high-speed internet and streaming services I never think it's a bad thing to have alternative methods to get things done. Power to the People. Having a 4k blu-ray in the palm of your hand is what I define as a "movie-on-demand". So, I welcome 4k movies to the world for choice and because they will happen to be using BDXL media for distribution.

This should drive the price of BDXL media down at the same time. I'm sure hoping for that. I haven't been able to justify the purchase of one BDXL discs yet. Get them down to $5 or less and I'll start buying.
 

Badvok

Posts: 318   +163
I have bought blu-ray discs but only because I had a blu-ray player as a side effect of having a games console, I.e. a PS3. Since the latest generation of consoles, to which I have already moved, is still fairly new I probably will not be getting a Ultra HD Blu-ray player for quite some time, perhaps another 5 years or so.
 

EEatGDL

Posts: 762   +483
I'm with amstech, streaming services are OK; but in some movies penalized by video compression, BDs are quite clearly superior in both video and audio quality. I guess HD streaming is more comparable to upscaled DVD, but nowhere near what we see with BD. The system in our family is: movies you'll watch again and again -buy them-; one-time movies, stream.

Internet bandwidths aren't in the right spot yet for the average Joe to achieve a decent 4K streaming.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,578   +3,763
My guess is that BDXL drives will read the new UHD Blu-ray disks since the spec is calling for 66MB and 100MB disks that BDXL drives should accommodate. So, anyone using a HTPC with a BDXL drive should be able to play these new disks (I hope since that includes me) with only a software upgrade. I've got SlySoft's AnyDVD HD. Hopefully SlySoft will update it to handle 4K Blu-ray disks.
 

lipe123

Posts: 962   +545
Stop making optical media its stupid!!!! It's slow and very easy to damage.

Why cant they just put movies on memory sticks/cards instead?
 

WangDangDoodle

Posts: 199   +70
I'm getting sick of all these new formats coming at me all the time. I kept my DVD-Roms for a long time waiting to see which of the new contenders (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) won the war. When it finally became clear that Blu-Ray was taking over, I bought myself a BRD-Rom for one PC and a BRD-Writer for another. Within the year, there was suddenly a new format called BDXL, which neither one of my players supported.

On the software side, I've been using the antiquated versions of PowerDVD that came bundled with the hardware. There were always new versions of the software, new copyright protection and then suddenly I couldn't play new Blu-Ray discs anymore. I just got a black screen and a pop-up asking me to upgrade to a newer version of PowerDVD, conveniently ON SALE RIGHT NOW... and it only cost an arm and a leg!

I'm not going through this Sony circus ever again. The players are expensive, the (re)writable discs are expensive and the player software is ridiculously expensive. I'm just gonna stick with Netflix.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,234   +2,984
TechSpot Elite
I'm getting sick of all these new formats coming at me all the time. I kept my DVD-Roms for a long time waiting to see which of the new contenders (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) won the war. When it finally became clear that Blu-Ray was taking over, I bought myself a BRD-Rom for one PC and a BRD-Writer for another. Within the year, there was suddenly a new format called BDXL, which neither one of my players supported.

On the software side, I've been using the antiquated versions of PowerDVD that came bundled with the hardware. There were always new versions of the software, new copyright protection and then suddenly I couldn't play new Blu-Ray discs anymore. I just got a black screen and a pop-up asking me to upgrade to a newer version of PowerDVD, conveniently ON SALE RIGHT NOW... and it only cost an arm and a leg!

I'm not going through this Sony circus ever again. The players are expensive, the (re)writable discs are expensive and the player software is ridiculously expensive. I'm just gonna stick with Netflix.
what are you talking about? we haven't had new a consumer disc format that also needs new hardware in about a decade with the exception of BDXL which almost nobody uses because of it's really high price (BDXL should not even matter for a normal guy). even a few months is a long time in IT. and why are you even using PowerDVD (not to mention a very old version)?

if you don't like progress then it's time to retire and go live at the countryside or something ^_^
 
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WangDangDoodle

Posts: 199   +70
what are you talking about? we haven't had new a consumer disc format that also needs new hardware in about a decade with the exception of BDXL which almost nobody uses because of it's really high price (BDXL should not even matter for a normal guy). even a few months is a long time in IT. and why are you even using PowerDVD (not to mention a very old version)?

if you don't like progress then it's time to retire and go live at the countryside or something ^_^
I'm saying there's probably gonna be another Blu-Ray format coming within the first couple years following the first one, just like BDXL, just to milk a little more money. I'm saying Sony takes full advantage of the fact that they pretty much have a monopoly on their hands, and that everything Blu-Ray is slow and overpriced.

Now, I have already retired, and I'm living happily "at the countryside" with my fiber connection. Progress? Are you kidding me. This is 2015 and we're still futzing around with discs! My NZXT S340's don't even have 5.25" drive bays. It's time you moved out of your mom's house and bought yourself a smartwatch, buddy. The 90's are over! Hail to the king, baby. :cool:
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,234   +2,984
TechSpot Elite
I'm saying there's probably gonna be another Blu-Ray format coming within the first couple years following the first one, just like BDXL, just to milk a little more money. I'm saying Sony takes full advantage of the fact that they pretty much have a monopoly on their hands, and that everything Blu-Ray is slow and overpriced.

Now, I have already retired, and I'm living happily "at the countryside" with my fiber connection. Progress? Are you kidding me. This is 2015 and we're still futzing around with discs! My NZXT S340's don't even have 5.25" drive bays. It's time you moved out of your mom's house and bought yourself a smartwatch, buddy. The 90's are over! Hail to the king, baby. :cool:
then why do you even care, discs are pretty much dead anyway.
and yes I did move out of my mom's place. but it's not relevant to this post

PS: I consider smartwatches to be things that people who have no idea what they are doing throwing money out the window. both ugly and useless pieces of tech. buying a good smartphone (like a xiaomi note or something similar) is much better.
 
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WangDangDoodle

Posts: 199   +70
then why do you even care, discs are pretty much dead anyway.
and yes I did move out of my mom's place. but it's not relevant to this post

PS: I consider smartwatches to be things that people who have no idea what they are doing throwing money out the window. both ugly and useless pieces of tech. buying a good smartphone (like a xiaomi note or something similar) is much better.
Just expressing my general dissatisfaction with modern day consumerism, is all.

PS: I couldn't agree more about smartwatches. That was just a clever part of my joke, see? ;)