With 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Players now readily available, we thought it would be a great time to explain the new technology and answer some common questions.
First off before we explain the new technology we are going to answer the most common question we've seen asked online recently.
Isn't physical media dead? Why should I not be solely concentrating on internet streaming for my 4K movies?
Well, this is a fair statement but one of the biggest things currently holding back 4K streaming is the current internet speed due to the massive bandwidth needed. Yeah sure the NBN will make a large difference to this as it is slowly installed around the country, but still the majority of people still do not have it.
Also currently streamed 4k content does not offer the same quality audio and video which will be available on the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray's.
4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Format Explained
The new format will offer 4K Ultra HD resolutions which are 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. This is four times the resolution of 1080p.
Support for frame rates up to 60fps. Currently, most films are still shot in 24 frames per second, so it will really depend if this changes in the future or this feature may just be used for sporting event releases, which are now commonly filmed in 60fps.
Will support new audio formats Dolby Atmos and DTS-X, tho these are also supported on some new blu-ray movies.
Digital Bridge support, which allows you to make a bit for bit copy of an Ultra HD Blu-ray on either an authorised media drive or a mobile device. It will be interesting to see how the Ultra HD Blu-Ray manufacturers make use of this new feature.
Will Ultra Blu-Ray Players play standard Blu-Rays?
Yes they will be backwards compatible, but the standard does not say that 3D Blu-ray support is required, so this will be up to each manufacturer to make a decision if they will support current 3D Blu-Rays. We could see no reason why thy would choose not to support them tho at this stage.
Can I play an Ultra HD Blu-Ray on my 1080p HD TV?
Yes you will be able to as the HD Blu-Ray Player will detect that you are using a 1080p TV and scale down the picture to suit. But you will not see any advantages over a standard Blu-ray player.
Is there currently plans to release 3D movies in 4K resolution?
No there is currently no plan to release any 3D movies in 4K and add 3D support to the standard at a later date. We wouldn't be surprised if over the next few years we see 3D fade out of new movie cinema releases and it will be remembered as a fad, which didn't last.
What equipment do I need to take advantage of a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player?
At a minimum, you will need a 4K Television, a 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player and a 4K Blu-Ray Movie.
But we would strongly suggest you also look into an AV Receiver which supports Dolby Atmos and DTS-X to take advantage of the new audio formats, as once you have listened to a system which is playing either of these formats you really will not want to go back. You will also need the home theatre speakers which go with your receiver.
Will the 4K Ultra HD format be aimed towards the mainstream market or toward the home theatre buffs?
Now this will be interesting but we believe that the 4K Ultra HD format will be aimed towards the home theatre enthusiasts at least initially. As unless you have a new 4K TV or projectors you are not going to be interested in this new format.
A lot of people these days are looking to the convenience which streaming offers, you only need to have a look at the music formats to see how popular services like Spotify and iTunes are for the mainstream. Enthusiasts will tell you that the quality of CD's is still a lot higher but that is quickly becoming a forgotten media for the mainstream market, especially the younger generation.
That being said we believe the 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray format will still be successful and if you have or plan to purchase a new 4K screen in the near future you would be silly not to purchase a player and at least have a few movies to show off your system.
When will the players be available?
The expected Australian release date of these has been put back a few times now, Samsung released their first player in the US in March. So we were expecting these to be launched locally shortly after. The latest suggestion from our Samsung distributor is that they should be available sometime in May.
If you have any other questions about the new 4K HD Blu-Ray format just put it in the comments below and we'll have them answered for you.