The new Ultra HD Blu-Ray spec offers some impressive features. It now supports 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K resolution), HDR with wider color gamut and frame rates up to 60 fps all on an optical disc that can hold up to 100 GB (or more) while transferring data at a maximum 128 Mbps. Impressive specs for what could be the last consumer optical disc standard. Unfortunately, as more and more consumers migrate to the Internet for streamed content the market for discs and players may shrink. A recent report from PwC predicts; “Physical home video revenue continues on a downward trajectory. Global total physical home video revenue will decline from US$30.78bn in 2014 to US$22.81bn in 2019 at a -5.8% CAGR.”
The first UHD BD player to hit the market is the $400 Samsung UBD-K8500. Although the price looks reasonable, the big question will be how many discs will be available and whether consumers who use the Internet to watch OTT streaming content will also pay for discs and a player. A handful of movies have gone on sale for pre-order and you can follow the rollout at Home Theater's Ultra HD Blu-ray Database.
Consumers may have to be wary of content that claims to be 4K but has been upscaled from 2K content which is how the vast majority of current content has been and continues to be produced despite that fact that eventually the industry will move to full 4K work flows using not only 4K cameras for production but also 4K post-production equipment and distribution methods.
As the industry makes the slow migration to 4K and HDR, consumers seekking to experience HDR-quality video on many current devices can look to technology from companies like Trusight who offers a “Dynamic Luminance Management,” (DLM™) that can turn SDR content into HDR-quality.