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4K Blu-ray discs set to arrive by Christmas


Ultra HD resolution coming to Blu-ray players this year

The Blu-Ray Disc Association has agreed on the specification for 4K Blu-ray discs, with films likely to be released in the ultra-high resolution by the end of the year. The Association has been working on the 4K Blu-ray disc spec since last year, but has finally nailed down the details, according to the 4K website.

The new spec doesn’t only see the maximum resolution of 4K discs bumped from 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) to 4K (3,840 x 2,160), but also includes a number of other picture quality enhancements. These include high dynamic range (HDR) technologies, which bring a wider colour gamut, potentially increasing detail in light and dark areas of the picture. 

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Some manufacturers have already jumped the gun on 4K Blu-ray, announcing players before the standard was even formalised. Panasonic unveiled a 4K Blu-ray player at this year’s CES conference in Las Vegas, although reports suggest the demo device was nothing more than a empty case. The company didn’t announce details or a price for the player. 

The new discs will reportedly have a 66GB dual-layer and a 100GB triple-layer. Video will be encoded in the h.265 format, whilst audio will be delivered via lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA.

The television manufacturers will be hoping that the arrival of 4K Blu-ray, along with increasing support for 4K streaming from video-on-demand services such as Netflix, convinces consumers to upgrade their hardware after the abject failure of 3D. Current Blu-ray players won’t support the new discs, so those who want to watch movies in top notch quality will have to upgrade both the TV and the box underneath, if they haven’t already been tempted by a 4K set. 

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