Home / Opinions / The PS4 Pro doesn’t need a 4K Blu-ray player – Head-to-Head

The PS4 Pro doesn’t need a 4K Blu-ray player – Head-to-Head


Sony caused outrage when the PS4 Pro was announced and didn't have an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. In this week's Head-to-Head, deputy editor Andy Vandervell argues it doesn't really matter, but home technology editor Ced Yuen begs to differ. Whose side are you on?

Andy says...

Was I disappointed when the PS4 Pro was revealed without an Ultra HD Blu-ray player? Sure. But I understand why it doesn't and, in the long term, I don't think it matters a huge amount.

Ultra HD Blu-ray is fantastic for AV enthusiasts, but for most of us it's a stop-gap to a more convenient 4K streaming future. It's telling that the likes of Netflix and Amazon started streaming 4K long before Ultra HD Blu-ray was ready for the mainstream. That's where the future lies.

The PS4 Pro is, first and foremost, a games console and what Sony is offering for the money is hugely impressive. It's vastly more powerful and will improve all the games you play on it. 4K Blu-ray would've hiked the price up and, I think, in a year's time we'll all be wondering what the fuss was about.

Ced says...

It was a mistake for Sony to leave out 4K Blu-ray in the PS4 Pro. For starters, it instantly makes the Xbox One S look like the better console. It doesn’t matter that the PS4 Pro is more powerful – on paper it does nothing new and gives little reason to upgrade.

It’s also bad form to release a machine and extol the virtues of its 4K and HDR capabilities, but then leave out the only existing format that guarantees both. Over the years, Sony PlayStations have pushed the boundaries of media – the PS2 had DVD, the PS3 had Blu-ray – and this is a step backwards.

Yes, people like Netflix and Amazon Video. But those services don’t have that much 4K and HDR content right now, and most people don’t have a good enough internet connection for that anyway. I want to see high-quality movies without buffering.

Want to make a games-only console? That’s fine, but there’s nothing "Pro" about it.

Have your say

Were you disappointed that the PS4 Pro was missing an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Scott Lee Clayton

September 28, 2016, 2:53 pm

They made a 4K focused console that can't play UHD (4K) disc's?, so dumb.

And yes people do watch a lot of streamed media now days but streaming the odd Netflix episode is one thing but streaming a fully uncompressed UHD movie with full High dynamic range & DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound is another.


September 28, 2016, 4:51 pm

It's also all the more unusual when you consider that Sony Studios are one of the key players in 4K UHD Blurays. Having already released numerous titles and lots more planned. They are pioneers of the format and yet the gaming part of their company has stuck two fingers up to their own studios.
It's very unusual and they have crippled their own bluray sales by doing this.
Microsoft probably can't believe their luck.

Scott Lee Clayton

September 28, 2016, 5:01 pm

I guess the way Sony see it is, why sell one device when we can flog you two! This is what happens when you become over confident in the popularity of your products & start biting the hand that feeds you.


September 28, 2016, 5:18 pm

True but from my personal point of view they have lost a customer. I have over 1000 Blurays and was ready to buy this Playstation if it had a 4k player. Now i won't be buying it and will be choosing to buy the Oppo UHD player which is coming out soon at a nice price. I prefer the physical media over streaming and as touched on in the debate video. Streamed 4K content is far too compressed and H.265 encoded material isn't great. Besides that the new codec has other issues as well. Admittedly mostly because of it's infancy and should improve but as of right now discs are far superior.
4k UHD discs are way, way better quality than anything streamed in 4K.
People seem very keen to dismiss physical media and see it as dead. I disagree. There will always be lots of others like me that like to own movies on disc.

I should probably add that there is a ceiling when it comes to quality. That ceiling is the source material. Many movies struggled to improve greatly to 1080p HD and others found their ceiling point was 2k rather than 4k when it came to remastering from the source material. So in these instances streamed versions *should* be able to achieve a quality on a par to disc eventually (or very close.) On the flip side there is a lot of 35mm source material that was remastered at 8k for the 1080p Bluray age that will give stunning results on a 4k UHD player and onward into the future. Those movies will never be comparable when compressed VERY heavily for streaming.

Ivan Johnson

September 28, 2016, 5:55 pm

Yea amazon and netflix stream some 4K content but netflix only have like 5 old movies, and their tv shows, and weird 15 minute 4k clips. Amazon has more movies but mostly old and yes you need good Internet. BUT I work in a store that sells movies and a lot of times new releases come in 4K now too. Like the new Warcraft and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. On release day it came out as dvd, bluray, 3d bluray combo, and 4k combo. UHD bluray is growing faster than streaming 4K. Every week theres a UHD Bluray movie to come out and never see the light of day on amazon.

Only way sony will make up for not having a 4k player is to have a dedicated 4K section in their PSN Store and to have all the new movies amazon app seems to not even have.


September 28, 2016, 7:42 pm

WOW! Really? Warcraft and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
Holy sh** Sony were totally wrong not including a 4K Bluray drive.

Ricardo Jackson

September 28, 2016, 7:48 pm

My take on this is that it's not even necessary for it to have a 4k Blu ray drive. First off the library for 4k Blu rays is no where near the same as regular Blu rays. Second of all the 4k Blu rays are pretty much upscales version of the the regular with hdr added to it. Without hdr we'd be looking at a near identical picture. Also the one s isn't doing the same upscaling as the ps4 pro. I do agree that price is the selling point of the pro and an additional hardware would had made it $100 more. Most people complaining don't buy 4k Blu rays on a day to day basis. Let's not forget the pro is not just targeted towards people with 4k screens. So to alienate one crowd over the other would have been a waste of the 4 Blu ray. As you would have one group who can't reap the benefits of 4k movies and the others who can. It really came down to how much they want to sell the system for especially considering that we're close to the end of a console cycle. It's a smart move on thier end but most people don't get it. The only thing they mess up on was not showcasing more of how it works in native 1080.

Ivan Johnson

September 28, 2016, 8:04 pm

Yup, as well as the movie that came out yesterday the The Shallows, Now You See Me 2, Revenant, the whole Divergent series. None of these are on Netflix or Amazon Streaming. Theres possibly like 100+ UHD bluray discs out there and netflix has none and amazon maybe have a 10 or 20 of those. Those folks who want to watch those movies and a lot of new releases on Ps4 Pro in 4K will not be able to. It will come down to spending $400 on ps4 Pro and $350 on an additional UHD Player.

Ivan Johnson

September 28, 2016, 8:06 pm

Yea what they are doing is having the PS4 Pro and releasing a separate UHD Bluray player that may be like $500 lol price wasn't released yet but they did announce a player.


September 28, 2016, 8:31 pm

Ivan :) Please excuse my sarcasm. The PS4 is a games machine and has never attempted to be anything else. I have a PS4 Pro on order. Would I be happier if I was getting a UHD player included in/with the console? Hell yeah! But I totally understand why Sony did this. Now Scorpio is a distant blip on the horizon right now. Sony are providing a native 4k (in some cases) or upscaled 4K gaming experience right now. People can say 'Ahhh it's not TRUE, NATIVE 4k...'. Which in many cases will be true BUT...is it any good? Just read some of the Eurogamer/ Digital Foundry feature on the PS4 Pro (and other gaming sites). I've frequently read about 'night and day' differences between the PS4 and the Pro. So if you want an obvious, tangible increase in the gaming experience whether it's higher resolution, better textures, better frame rate on the PS4 then it's a no brainer....go for the Pro if you can afford it.
As for UHD Bluray releases it comes down to price as to how important it is to me. I don't want to spend a fortune on discs I may only watch once or twice. By the time the Scorpio is out there will be more physical discs available and they will hopefully be a bit cheaper. I will buy a Scorpio anyway. I had the first Xbox, then the 360 and now the Xbone. I'm not tied to any one platform. So right now I'm more than happy with the PS4 Pro specs. I'm going to have a ball with it (and the PSVR when that arrives in a couple of weeks). When the Scorpio finally arrives I'll get that too. It's all about what's available now, what you really want and how much you can afford. I really don't understand the PC Master Race mentality...I get it when I go to my local independant PC store. You only have to mention console and they become hostile immediately. Why? They made their choices. I made mine and you made yours for reasons I stated above.
Whoa.....typed a bit more than I anticipated. Anyway, that's my thoughts on the PS4 Pro UHD Bluray omission. Nice to have but I can live without it :)

Enrique Lopez

September 28, 2016, 9:01 pm

For a PS4 fanboy that's good news, but the reality is another, sorry PS4, nice promo

Eddie Battikha

September 28, 2016, 11:57 pm

I can't wait for November, PS4 Pro and a LG B6. I can't believe there wasn't a PS4 Pro Patch for NBA 2K17.

Ricardo Jackson

September 29, 2016, 12:21 am

I was thinking about getting that TV if it's on sale black Friday or cyber Monday. Probably go with the 65 if i can get it for $2000. I'm waiting to play that Ff XV on the pro.

Eddie Battikha

September 29, 2016, 12:29 am

The price goes down every couple days, http://www.eastcoasttvs.com/LG...

Eddie Battikha

September 29, 2016, 12:39 am

Yeah man sounds good.

Console and PC Master Race

September 29, 2016, 12:57 am

I agree about all of what you said there, except the part about being close to the end of the current console cycle. PS3 released less than 3 years ago, won't even be 3 years old until November. We're mid generation. There's about 3-4 years to go until next gen.

Ricardo Jackson

September 29, 2016, 1:07 am

Yea I understand and it might be longer considering these updated systems. There has only been slim versions. Now with beef up hardware it will prolong the ps4 life cycle.

Console and PC Master Race

September 29, 2016, 1:14 am

I was thinking about it and I believe you're correct though. The base PS4 and XB1(S) are both too underpowered to last another 3 or 4 years, without the upgrades coming. Without Pro and Scorpio, this may have been one of the shortest cycles yet. Pro and Scorpio will definitely prolong this generation to last the normal 6 or so years.

Chris Moretz

September 29, 2016, 5:46 am

get an lg 65uh8500, 1600$ on amazon right now, ive had mine for a week and researched for about 5 months, not disappointed a bit and its not even running a pro yet. This set also has 3D and HDR10, and dolby vision to boot. So imo for awhile this is the best tv for a pro "in this price range" of 65 inch ones. Just check reviews, this thing has so many settings i had to play with it for two hours first picture wise. At first i was really pissed, didnt look better, now? I had a neighbor cry because one of the scenes in netflix was so pretty lol. Worth it!
The b6 is 4000$ so had to pass, but oled is awesome if u can afford it

Ricardo Jackson

September 29, 2016, 5:50 am

You the man! Definitely going to check into that TV. Yea oled is the best bet to go with hdr especially considering lg goes through the certification process.

Chris Moretz

September 29, 2016, 5:56 am

Glad it helped! Also the 3d is passive but the best part is with 2d to 3d. Not sure how much you know about 3d or if you care but these are the only sets that can 3d the images without any frame rate or resolution loss cause the ps4 wont be doing the work. My biggest gripe on 3d before i found this feature lol. They either cut to 20 fps, half resolution or both, not anymore!


September 29, 2016, 7:02 am

dont these suffer from banding?


September 29, 2016, 7:06 am

4k streams will not be anywhere near the bitrate of 4k discs shirley?

Chris Moretz

September 29, 2016, 7:17 am

pretty much any non oled/ non plasma at 65 for sure, cant say i ever notice it.


September 29, 2016, 7:17 am

Raising the price of the game console by $100 (or more) to include something not everyone wants would have been stupid. Pricing above the $400 mark for a game console s a known hard pill for consumers to swallow. People don't like having no choice in paying more for non game related features, they don't like being forced to buy shit. (xbox 1 with kinect and it's focus on tv not games when it was debuted shows that) they don't want to game consoles to cost more so they can be cable tv controllers/dvd players, they want it to play games. How 'awsome' 4k and 7.1 surround isn't the issue, the issue is there things cost money. Did you think they were going to give it to us for free?

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