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Blu-ray wants to take on 4K streaming with UHD discs



Back in 2008, a Blu-ray disc was the height of media consumption technology, but it’s soon to be replaced.

That’s because the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has announced a new, improved spin-off standard called Ultra HD Blu-ray.

While standard Blu-ray shows off content in 1080p, the new UHD Blu-ray is good for 4K-resolution playback.

According to the BDA, not only will customers get 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution content, they’ll also be on the receiving end of improved colour range and HDR footage.

The new format will also be able to cope with high frame-rate content, purportedly up to a maximum of 60fps.

Each UHD Blu-ray disc will hold up to 66GB of content on dual-layer discs, or 100GB of content on triple-layer discs.

Currently, Blu-Ray discs take up to 25GB of single layer, and 50GB of dual-layer, so this is a pretty huge increase.

“For years, Blu-ray Disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home,” said Victor Matsuda, BDA’s chair.

He continued: “Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment.”

The new technology will soon begin licensing out to third-parties this summer, so we can expect UHD Blu-ray to land on store shelves towards the end of the year.

Related: Netflix vs Amazon Prime Instant Video

Of course the real question is whether or not we actually need physical disc media anymore.

Netflix, for instance, is already streaming 4K content digitally, a feat made possible by ever-increasing home broadband speeds.

The advantage of physical media, of course, is that you don’t need an internet connection to view the content.

You will, however, need somewhere to store all those physical discs; that’s a problem not encountered by those who store content on their hard-drives, or stream it from a company’s servers.

Can physical media still compete with digital downloads? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


May 13, 2015, 4:04 pm

Netflix isn't really streaming 4k though is it? It's mega-compressed super-flattened and so-so-sounding isn't it? Still bog standard 5.1 sound and lots of colour banding? Even normal Blu ray still looks and sounds much better from what I've seen. Streaming 4k looks nothing like the native 4k you see on demos. Such a shame that I can't be bothered to load a blu ray disc anymore because Netflix, Sky and Apple TV are so much easier!


May 13, 2015, 7:28 pm

I always buy my music on CD and films on Blu Ray. I like to listen to music the old fashioned way. And watching Blu Rays with a decent player and on a good HD TV is good enough for me. Physical media should still compete with digital downloads. All my music gets ripped to iTunes then synced to my (now old fashioned) 4th generation iPod Nano. You then have the CD for either your collection, or for resale. Having said that some less commercial music can only be obtained as a digital download. You try finding a physical copy of Jon Hopkin's score for the film Monsters! Storing content on hard drives or in the cloud is not foolproof. Accidents happen. Streaming has it's appeal, IF you have a reliable internet connection or unlimited data plan.

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