4K and HDR video arrive on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs

Even in the age of Netflix, work continues on newer and better optical media formats. The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced that it's finished the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification.

Ultra HD Blu-rays will store 4K video, but that's not all there is to the story. The new format will provide support for high-dynamic-range and high-frame-rate video content, plus a wider color gamut. The Blu-ray body says that UHD BD will also deliver "next-generation immersive, object-based sound formats." (For a little bit of information on object-based sound, check out this Dolby blog post.)

The new discs will store 66GB on dual-layer media or 100GB over three layers. UHD BD players will maintain backward compatibility with existing Blu-ray discs. Licensing for the new standard is expected to begin this summer.

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    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    I think you overestimate the adoption of Netflix.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 4 years ago

    I was waiting for this. To those who actually care about the quality of their video content should know that streaming has not yet caught up with old blu ray disc quality. Skipping, stuttering, flat color rendition, poor gray scale, all apparent in leading streaming services. Only rental service that has good quality is sony’s playstation network but you have to download a massive file and at that its still not a full blu ray quality, though close… Still without downloading we can’t seem to get streaming right and huge local files is sort of in opposition to the whole point of streaming and digital content.

    I’m just excited for this move. I only have probably 50-100 movies I care to own. I haven’t collected them all yet in traditional blu ray so will likely hold out and begin, re collecting them in this new format. I just hope that we see faster adoption of this format than with blu ray (still waiting on several great films from james cameron to make the jump to blu ray, Abyss for one!)

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 4 years ago

    Does this mean we will need new players???

    • Duct Tape Dude
    • 4 years ago

    Did anyone else notice that this really isn’t an improvement over existing Blu-ray disks?

    (format below is [number of layers] => [capacity])
    Existing Blu-rays: 1 => 25GB, 2=>50GB, 3=> 100GB
    Ultra HD Blu Rays: 1=>???, 2=>66GB, 3=>100GB

    The main difference is the specified format, but other than that we’re left with the same decade-old technology.

    Edit: Ok I’m curious… why the downthumbs? Was it the way I said it? Or do people not like me presenting facts? Or not like me?? I don’t get it. I’m trying to point out the density isn’t much bigger than current BD discs.

      • the
      • 4 years ago

      I thought existing 100 GB discs used 4 layers.

        • Duct Tape Dude
        • 4 years ago

        I had to consult Wikipedia beyond 2 layers, and it seems BD-XL 4-layer goes to 128GB.

        [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc#Physical_media[/url<]

      • mcnabney
      • 4 years ago

      Correct. Current BD tech is 25GB per layer. They actually developed 4 layer 100GB discs a few months after launch. H.265 will allow 133GB to hold 2.5 hour movie at 4k24pHDR. Not sure if 48p can be added as well though.

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 4 years ago

    In for one so that I can once again buy a full set of Star Wars movies at yet another resolution.

      • UnfriendlyFire
      • 4 years ago

      You mean VHS tapes weren’t good enough?

        • psuedonymous
        • 4 years ago

        Laserdisk Master-race (filthy CED peasants).

          • UnfriendlyFire
          • 4 years ago

          I still have a Laserdisc player! Along with some old Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks singalong Laserdiscs.

        • Krogoth
        • 4 years ago

        >implying that original theatrical cut isn’t superior to special edition remakes

          • Milo Burke
          • 4 years ago

          I’ve got the best of both worlds: VHS tapes of the Special Edition remakes!

            • Krogoth
            • 4 years ago

            I’m mildly impressed, but if you managed to have an original copy of Holiday Special on VHS then I would be very impressed.

    • beck2448
    • 4 years ago

    I’m hoping for at least a 500 gb disc in the not too distant future as that would be a better storage solution for me than drives or cloud.

      • Sam125
      • 4 years ago

      Well aside from the issue that a 500 gb optical disk is pure fantasy, a hard drive would be a better solution with four fold the capacity of your size needs and would probably be around the same cost per gigabyte.

      So there, ditch optical and your problem already has a solution.

      • xeridea
      • 4 years ago

      Deleted

    • ozzuneoj
    • 4 years ago

    So I wonder if these will be more successful than 3D blurays. 3D totally flip flopped at retail. I work at a retail store that carries over 60 mainstream TVs from your basic Emerson garbage to Samsung curved 4k screens, and we don’t carry a single 3d TV any more and we only stock 3d blurays for the first couple weeks after they are released, and the only people who by those are a local movie rental shop.

    I know this is a bit different with an actual new disc format, but it still two requires several prerequisites to use, and that makes it a niche product IMO.

      • UberGerbil
      • 4 years ago

      Well, considering 4K TVs don’t require me to put on stupid glasses and then give me a headache while I’m using them, I’d give this a better chance than 3D. But it’s going to be tied to 4K market penetration, and the problem there is that (a) those screens are expensive and (b) they don’t really offer the same kind of “wow” improvement that the transition from CRT to flatscreen HD did. I mean, sure, you can see it — especially at the larger screen sizes (but then the price dragon really raises its head) — but it’s not anywhere near as dramatic as the step up from standard def. And a lot of people bought their HD screen not that long ago and expect TVs to last 10 years or more. It’ll be a long, slow road (even when 4K prices drop, which they will eventually).

        • blastdoor
        • 4 years ago

        I agree with all your points.

        Instead of video, I wonder if displaying photos could help nudge 4k adoption forward. That’s not nearly as strong a driver as HD vs SD movies, of course, but you notice imperfections in a still photo more easily than in video. And people have increasingly powerful digital cameras at their disposal. When I was a kid my parents would drag out the slide projector from time to time and we’d look at our 35mm slides from past vacations. Maybe this could be a modern analog to that.

        • Meadows
        • 4 years ago

        I actually like the current solution to 3D and I’m not bothered by the glasses or have a headache either.

        It’s the bloody dimmed images.

        Sure, PCs have an answer in the form of Lightboost and maybe others, but theatres have no equivalent as far as I’ve seen. (After a while you can sort-of get used to it, but it’s jarring each time you remove the glasses.)

        • psuedonymous
        • 4 years ago

        [quote<] (b) they don't really offer the same kind of "wow" improvement that the transition from CRT to flatscreen HD did.[/quote<]Which is a shame. Having full rec.2020 colourspace, 12bit colour by default, high dynamic range backlighting, and high refresh rates as a default part of the spec rather than as individual optional extras would mean a baseline UHDTV set WOULD have as dramatic an impact as the move from SD to HD was. It would have resulted in UHDTV sets being delayed for an extra one, maybe two, years, and having a higher initial pricepoint. Whether dropping quality for a faster race-to-the-bottom pricing game will turn out to be a good or bad decision in driving UHD adoption? Who can say yet.

      • the
      • 4 years ago

      The 3D standard should have piggy backed off of the standard 2D format by requiring additional disc layers for the 3D version while simultaneously maintain the 2D movie on the same 2 layer discs used for movies. The result is that 3D discs would only be read by 3D players which inherently can read the extra data layers. One disk for multiple versions.

      I’m also disappointed that they didn’t do this for UHD Blu-ray movies.

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      4K is going to be videophile-tier through and through.

      The masses aren’t going go out their way to upgrade their 1080p HDTV units unless they got a large unit (50″+). The apparent jump from 1080 to 4K isn’t as large as the jump from 480i/480p(TV) to 1080p on smaller HDTV units.

      4K will at least sale better than overhyped 3D non-sense.

      • Airmantharp
      • 4 years ago

      I think that 3D would be useful at home if it was as effective as it is in theaters. But the choice of headache-inducing active glasses, or half-resolution half-brightness passive ones just isn’t a good one.

      I do hope that they continue to work on it. The effect is good when properly produced for!

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 4 years ago

    “Even in the age of Netflix, work continues on newer and better optical media formats.”

    My ISP still has the 250 GB data cap. I recall getting a “You’re at 99.8% of your data usage” after purchasing and downloading some games from Steam. After that, I always use the public library’s WiFi for large downloads, including when reinstalling Windows and having to download all of those updates and drivers.

    A 4K, 60 FPS Youtube video would burn through my data cap, assuming the ISP doesn’t throttle my connection.

    EDIT: The best part was when my ISP attempted to justify the data cap, claiming that it was meant to reduce excessive traffic during peak times and that 94% of the customers will be unaffected by the cap.

      • blastdoor
      • 4 years ago

      Indeed.

      I really thought optical was dead, but maybe not. As it stands now, the only way most people will be able to get content for 4k TVs that makes the 4k worthwhile is through optical media.

        • Sam125
        • 4 years ago

        I’m not sure about other countries but in the US, it’s more than likely going to be 4k OTA TV that makes 4k mainstream. Just like with the switch from analog to digital spurred the sale of 1080p televisions.

        Optical disks OTOH are a dying medium much like the vacuum tube after the invention of the transistor.

          • blastdoor
          • 4 years ago

          Ironically, OTA TV existed at the same time as vacuum tubes.

          I’m skeptical that OTA TV will drive 4k adoption. There’s just not enough OTA content. Will people really buy a 4k TV so they can watch Sesame Street, the Today Show, and American Idol in 4k?

          Maybe if HBO were OTA, but I don’t see that happening…

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      Same. I love how AT&T advertises all these fast U-Verse speeds for streaming/downloading when you can burn through thier whole data cap in a day.

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      4K is just silly for small computer screens for media consumption and gaming. The human eye starts becoming a limitation. Unless you got decent eyes or go up to the screen. You are going to be hard-pressed to find a significant difference from 2560×1440 to 4K. 4K is useful for real work where having more screen resolution = more workspace.

      It is just hype build by monitor vendors trying to get people to upgrade from existing units.

      4K is meant for larger HDTV units were the benefits are more noticeable in a living room/rec room environment.

      • squeeb
      • 4 years ago

      Yup, not even close to dead. Streaming video + Steam = blown data caps. Google Fiber save us !!!

    • shess
    • 4 years ago

    Hopefully they’ll add support for more unskippable content and new ways to break the Play button on my remote controls. These are areas where the existing Bluray standard are woefully inadequate.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      Oh yeah, I love being unable to skip the copyright and anti-piracy warnings on the discs I bought legally.

      Pretty sure no pirate DVD/Blu-ray rip ever had those delightful “features”….

      Dinosaur industry, constantly shooting itself in both feet and then being too stubborn to call an ambulance because they “meant to do that”!

        • UnfriendlyFire
        • 4 years ago

        Oh, you can’t skip those? How about 5 minutes of pre-movie advertisements that you can’t skip? That’s already happened with current Blu-Rays, and I believe some of the DVDs had something like that as well.

        • Meadows
        • 4 years ago

        I recall that back in the DVD days, pressing Stop twice (or something) would skip everything before the film.

        Did they not carry that over to Blu-ray?

      • squeeb
      • 4 years ago

      Yea, seriously. It would be one thing if they added these only to rented discs…but to have to sit through that nonsense on a purchased disc is ridiculous.

    • paulsz28
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]UHD BD players will maintain backward compatibility with existing Blu-ray discs[/quote<] So I understand that to mean the UHD BD players can player regular BD disks. But, will existing BD players be able to play UHD BD disks, or is a hardware upgrade required?

      • Concupiscence
      • 4 years ago

      A hardware upgrade is necessary – whatever DSPs are present in modern Blu-ray players aren’t built to handle HEVC, expanded colorspaces, 4K, framerates > 30 fps, or the other niceties the new format offers.

      I must say, 66 gigs for dual layer or 100 for triple layer leaves me feeling a little underwhelmed, but then HEVC comes along to double video encoding efficiency, so it still gets them where they need to go. Something tells me this is going to be a very niche medium nonetheless… and I say that as someone who owns dozens of Blu-rays and still picks up a few every month.

        • Topinio
        • 4 years ago

        Less niche in locations lacking availability of (affordable) high bandwidth network links, but yeah.

    • mmp121
    • 4 years ago

    No mention of enhanced encryption?

    How long before this gets hacked like BluRay?

      • xeridea
      • 4 years ago

      Well they predicted it would take 10 years to crack BluRay and it took less than a year. There is the secure processor thing which if used would make it harder but not impossible to get keys.

      • A_Pickle
      • 4 years ago

      I’m sure UHD BD players will be utilizing the new HDCP 2.2 standard.

        • XTF
        • 4 years ago

        It’s about the disc encryption I think, not really about the display link encryption.

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    What’s a disc?

      • ImSpartacus
      • 4 years ago

      Those things that you can get for free at your library.

      I’m happy to let my tax dollars support my entertainment needs.

      • UberGerbil
      • 4 years ago

      The thing I purchase “used” to get music and video at cheaper-than-download prices, with a lossless backup already included.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 4 years ago

      It is those fuzzy pictures of things flying in the sky.

        • psuedonymous
        • 4 years ago

        No, those are toasters.

    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    wow amazing timing! it took them how long long to figure out that they can use dual layer blurays and call it ultra HD bluray? what an amazing advancement!

      • xeridea
      • 4 years ago

      I would just say use H.265 and lower their quality setting a bit. BluRays are encoded at ludacris quality, you can easily reduce file size by 10x and not be able to reasonably tell the difference. The higher resolution would make it even harder. Then just cut out some extras, or leave them @ 1080p and they could use existing discs.

        • Vrock
        • 4 years ago

        The whole point of blu-ray is ludicrous quality. The higher the bit rate of encodes, the better. Especially for large format films being displayed on large high quality TVs.

          • xeridea
          • 4 years ago

          My point is that it is ludicrous beyond perceptibly. You could do like 75% of the quality setting of existing blu ray on existing disks at 4k res, and it would be impossible to tell with the naked eye without still frames and zooming in.

            • jensend
            • 4 years ago

            xeridea is right. Blu-rays use up to 40Mbps for H.264 1080p (though most videos on the market are more like 25Mbps). Youtube 1080p H.264 is 4Mbps.

            You do get perceptible quality improvements using 8Mbps rather than 4. But unless you’re using an awful encoder there’s negligible improvement beyond that.

            20Mbps is adequate for delivering 4K H.265. At that rate a standard dual-layer Blu-ray could fit a 5-hour long video.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 4 years ago

      Dual-layer BD have been out for a while. I think the advancement is the third-layer…for which they will use to store the warnings and thirty minute advertisements, before you can access the content, along with the rootkit for your BD player so they can monitor your activities.

      • Concupiscence
      • 4 years ago

      HEVC and expanded colorspace are the non-trivial improvements made. I’m a little underwhelmed by the dual/triple layer unveiling and was hoping they’d push it closer to 150 or even 200 gigs for the high end of storage… ah, well. I’m not upgrading from my 1080p set or Blu-ray player for a while yet.

    • anotherengineer
    • 4 years ago

    Meh, I will wait for an upscaling, upscaling DVD player.

    So I can upscale, upscale my dvds to Ultra HD!!!!!!!!!!

    Or maybe wait for an upscaling blu-ray that’s backwards compatible with DVD’s!!!

      • LostCat
      • 4 years ago

      You won’t be happy til you can upscale a VHS tape.

        • anotherengineer
        • 4 years ago

        Sigh so true

        One can dream though……………

        • wimpishsundew
        • 4 years ago

        Convert to DVD. Then upscale to 720p. Then upscale to 1080p. Then upscale to 4k.

        Now your video is still blurry but at least the blur is sharp.

          • ClickClick5
          • 4 years ago

          [url<]http://alltheragefaces.com/img/usercreated/4fe02d43a1535.png[/url<]

        • Concupiscence
        • 4 years ago

        Having seen what VHS looks like on my HDTV: please reconsider. Everything is so damned [i<]fuzzy[/i<].

          • Topinio
          • 4 years ago

          Heh, obviously the 0.2 MPixel res of VHS doesn’t sit well on a 2 MPixel screen, but I’ve read in the past that a part of the issue is the thermal- and value-engineering that gives a modern TV or VHS/DVD combo an ADC which typically can’t deal well with (the inherent) noise and doesn’t have the horsepower required to digitize an analogue VHS signal well in real time. Then there’s the scaler which is also usually too feeble to do a good job.

      • chuckula
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<]So I can upscale, upscale my dvds to Ultra HD!!!!!!!!!! [/quote<] YO DAWG!!

      • xeridea
      • 4 years ago

      It is called “upconvert”

        • Meadows
        • 4 years ago

        Either word is fine.

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