Good news for owners of 4K TVs: Today, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) announced that is has solidified details on the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification, finally clearing the way for the commercial release of discs and players capable of delivering 4K content by the end of 2015.
“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. “The technical capabilities of Blu-ray Disc, in particular its significant storage capacity and high data transfer rates, will enable the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable UHD experience.”
The new Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, like their standard Blu-ray cousins, are capable of delivering video content or simply holding large amounts of data. Movies are stored in 3840 x 2160 resolution (four times the resolution of standard HD), with an expanded color range and high frame rates. A dual-layer disk holds up to 66GB of data; a triple-layer holds a whopping 100GB.
The market has made great strides in the price and availability of 4K TVs over the last few years – Vizio, for example, now offers a 4K TV for as little as $599. But while hardware is readily available, many 4K TV owners have been left wanting for content to display. Both Netflix and Amazon offer (limited) video streaming in 4K, but you need a home Internet connection of at least 25 Mbps for problem-free viewing. The availability of Ultra HD Blu-ray means anyone will be able to enjoy 4K content regardless of Internet speeds and data caps.
The new Ultra HD Blu-ray format will be licensed this summer. You can expect to see backwards-compatible Ultra HD Blu-ray players in stores by the holiday season.
[Image credit: BDA]