Blu-ray finishes the UHD Blu-ray, expect 4K BDs next year

Getting 4K content on a 4K screen is proving to be one of the most difficult things you can do, outside of 4K Netflix which itself requires a super fast 21Mbps connection that no one has.

So what can we all do? Wait for Blu-ray to come through, it appears.

This week, we’re one step closer with the Blu-ray Disc Association sending word that it has finalised a specification for “Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs”, providing a 4K UHD picture of 3840×2160 on a Blu-ray disc, along with a larger colour range and high-frame rates.

We’re also hearing that better sound is coming, which could hint at Dolby Atmos sound given that it’s “object-based”, suggesting more lifelike immersion.

“For years, Blu-ray Disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home. Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment,” said the Blu-ray Disc Assocation’s Victor Matsuda.

“The technical capabilities of Blu-ray Disc, in particular its significant storage capacity and high data transfer rates, will enable the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable UHD experience.”

Something is better than nothing, mind you, or not much as the case certainly is for Australia. Locally, there is virtually nothing for owners of a 4K UHD TV to find and buy, with Netflix the only solution currently delivering commercial TV programmes and movies to 4K TV sets, and only if you have a high bandwidth internet connection, with over 20Mbps recommended, a speed that few Australians can currently achieve, at least until the National Broadband Network arrives in full.

Download sizes and the speed needed to acquire the files appear to be one of the problems, with a 4K movie fetching between 20 and 50GB minimum for a film, and a much faster download speed than the 6-11Mbps the average Australian manages being required to make those large movie sizes a possibility.

Until better internet connections arrive, discs make the most sense, and while a current Blu-ray disc can hold between 25 and 50GB of data, the Ultra HD Blu-ray discs can hold up to 66 and 100GB, essentially providing more space for the bigger files necessary for Ultra HD.

The discs are only one part of the equation, that said, and you’ll need a new Blu-ray player to tackle these new discs, from what we hear. That said, they should be backwards compatible with the current type of Blu-ray discs, providing compatibility for the current crop of media out there.

As for release, it’s probably safe to expect both the 4K UHD BD titles and the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player next year, with texting for the discs and hardware happening this year.

By then, though, we’re sure that owners of the Ultra HD TVs will be craving something, anything to play on their 4K TVs, beyond the few demos, music videos, and odd spot of Netflix that exists.