4K Blu-ray Discs Unlikely To Arrive This Year

Mike Wheatley

Earlier this year, the Blu-ray Disc Association set up a task force in order to consider ways in which they could extend the Blu-ray format to allow for the delivery of 4K content. Now this week, the association has announced that its received a final set of recommendations on how to do that, raising hopes that we could soon see 4K discs hitting the shops. The bad news? It probably won’t happen till next year.

Oppo BDP-103
4K Blu-ray discs unlikely to arrive this year

“Our task force solicited and received numerous proposals regarding 4K,” said the Association in a statement to CNet. “Now, we’re evaluating the various technologies proposed to study their validity.”

We’ve been following the evolution of 4K TV over the last few months here on HDTV Test, and as we’ve pointed out on several occasions, one of the biggest problems with adoption (aside from the cost) is the lack of a delivery system for native content. Blu-ray is of course an obvious solution, given that these discs have plenty of capacity to hold 4K content, but until now we’ve seen little indication of an update that would allow the platform to support 4K playback.

Unfortunately, while the Association’s statement is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t suggest that a solution is going to be devised anytime soon.

“The task force, which includes representatives from media technology companies, electronics manufacturers and BDA member studios, is looking forward to collaborating with content creators, before making technology and specification recommendations to the Association’s board later this year,” continues the BDA.

Several changes would be required to update the Blu-ray format from the standard that’s used to distribute HD content. It’s not just that 4K requires much larger file sizes, but there are also issues with bitrates, codecs and color bit depth standards that need to be addressed, as well as the issue of exactly what resolution Blu-ray would support. For example, most cinemas use a 4096X2160 pixel resolution, while 4K TVs designed for the home support 3840X2160 pixels.

We’ve seen some developments in this area outside of the BDA, notably with Sony, which is producing an initial batch of 15 digitally remastered in 4K Blu-ray discs, but these will not be true 4K. Instead, they’ll just be 1080 HD discs that are “optimized” for 4K viewing.

Source: CNet