We’ve had 4K and Ultra HD TVs for years but now we’re about to get our first taste of true 4K content with the release next month of hit film The Revenant on 4K Ultra HD Disc.
The Revenant will be 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s first day and date release of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of a film along with the DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions on May 18.
The film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio in his Oscar-winning role, was inspired by true events about an explorer left for dead in the wilderness before battling through treacherous terrain to seek his revenge.
The Revenant features incredible cinematography by Emmanuel Lubeski (who won his third Oscar for this film) which will be showcased in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray like never before.
The 4K version of The Revenant will be have a resolution 3840 x 2160 so it will use every pixel on your 4K Ultra HD TV.
Viewers will also require a 4K Ultra HD player to play the disc with Samsung and LG set to release their players in Australia in 2016.
Other companies with plans to release 4K Ultra HD players include Sony, Panasonic and Oppo.
All of these 4K Ultra HD players will also be backwards compatible so they can also play Blu-ray Discs and DVDs.
4K content at the moment is only available on streaming services like Netflix but this requires a fast and reliable internet connection that not everyone has. And it will use up a lot of data.
Netflix requires a minimum speed of 15Mbps to stream 4K but it requires more like 25Mbps for a decent viewing experience.
4K Ultra HD disc offers several advantages over streamed 4K.
With 4K Ultra HD discs, the content is available at all times, it will always be in the same high quality, it doesn’t require a high-speed broadband connection and lots of data.
In terms of quality there also advantages for watching a 4K movie from a disc over 4K streaming.
Off a disc, the movie will have finer detail and textures as well as HDR (high dynamic range) which viewers will see with better contrast, brightness and colour.
HDR also provides more detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the screen.
Playing a movie off a disc will also have a higher bitrate compared with streaming.
The higher the bitrate, the better and smoother the picture will be.
In 2016, we can expect to see a flood of 4K Ultra HD titles including new releases and some older favourite titles including The Martian, San Andreas, Mad Max Fury Road, The Kingsman, The Expendables 3, Salt, Life of Pi and X-Men: Days of Future Past.