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4K Blu-ray launching in time for Christmas

Katharine Byrne
7 Aug 2015
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Blu-ray Disc Association announces that it will be licensing the specification for UHD Blu-ray discs at the end of August

4K Blu-ray has been a long time coming, but the Blu-ray Disc Association has finally confirmed that it's about to start licensing the specification for Ultra HD Blu-ray at the end of this month. Licensing for the format will officially begin on 24th August, paving the way for hardware and content manufacturers to start filling shop shelves with 4K Blu-ray discs and 4K Blu-ray players, hopefully just in time for Christmas.

Using the UHD resolution of 3,840x2,160, the UHD Blu-ray specification will hold 66GB on dual layer discs and 100GB on triple layer discs (current Blu-rays only hold 50GB). It will support High Dynamic Range (HDR), expanding the range of colours between the blackest blacks and whitest whites, and run up to 60fps.

Everything you need to know about UHD and 4K TV

It also has an optional "digital bridge" feature, which theoretically allows customers to watch their UHD content across a wide range of home and mobile devices. It's not yet clear how this will work, but it should hopefully put an end to buying the same film several times if you want to watch it on your tablet or phone. More importantly, it will be backwards compatible with existing Blu-ray discs, so you needn't worry about having to replace your entire film collection.

"Ultra HD Blu-ray enables the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable experience that will set the standard for Ultra HD entertainment, the same way Blu-ray Disc did for high definition viewing," said Victor Matsuda, chair of the BDA Promotions Committee. "With the commencement of licensing we would anticipate product announcements from various companies as we approach the 2015 holiday season."

The licensing date occurs just before this year's IFA show in Berlin, so we expect to hear more about it then. With any luck, we might also see some 4K Blu-ray players (perhaps even a working model of Panasonic's CES prototype) and a few content announcements, so we'll be sure to keep you up to date as it happens. 

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