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4K Blu-ray player prototype revealed by Panasonic

Panasonic prototype 4K Blu-ray player

We get one step closer to being able to buy 4K movies on disc, thanks to Panasonic's prototype player reveal

Ever since 4K video became an accepted standard, we’ve been eagarly anticipating the point where we would be able to buy 4K films to watch at home. Sure, 4K streaming from Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video is great if you have a compatible TV and fast internet connection, but it’s difficult to beat the convenience of a Blu-ray disc. Panasonic brought us a little closer to that dream today at CES, when it revealed a prototype 4K Blu-ray player on stage during its press conference.

Panasonic revealed the player alongside news that it was a member of the newly founded UHD Alliance, a group of manufacturers, content creators, film studios and distributors looking to advance video standards beyond 1080p resolutions. The Alliance has put its weight behind 4K resolution video, as well as wide colour gamut (WCG) and high dynamic range (HDR) content, meaning we could be getting much closer to actually seeing such content available to buy.

This is the second big jump for 4K Blu-ray in less than six months, as the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) confirmed at IFA in September it had approved a draft specification for the discs themselves. We were told at the time that everything should be finalised by the summer, with hardware arriving by the end of the year, although names, logos and exact technical details still have yet to be finalised.

Unfortunately Panasonic wasn’t willing to go into details about the player or what standards it would support during the press conference, meaning we’ll have to wait until CES opens officially tomorrow to get more information. That means there’s no indication whether it will support Rec.2020 colour standards or 120fps high frame rate (hfr) video, although we did at least learn that it will definitely support high dynamic range (HDR) video.

Hopefully we’ll get some more details when CES kicks off, as several other UHD Alliance members have yet to reveal their 2015 announcements. We’ll be sure to bring you the latest as soon as we get it.

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