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4K Ultra High Definition Blu-ray Discs coming to a home theatre near you

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More and more people are buying 4K Ultra High Definition TVs and there’s even greater demand for native 4K content. The good news is it’s coming with a brand new Ultra HD Blu-ray disc format.

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has completed the specifications of Ultra High Definition Blu-ray and also released the new format’s logo to differentiate it from regular Blu-ray Discs.

It is expected to be available by Christmas.

These new discs will only be playable in Ultra HD Bly-Ray players which will be backwards compatible to play regular Blu-ray Discs and DVDs.

Ultra HD Blu-ray will have a higher storage capacity and be able to deliver content at the 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 – four times the 1920 x 1080 resolution of Blu-ray Disc.

A Blu-ray Disc can hold 25GB or 50GB of data on single and dual layer discs but the new Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs will be able to store between 66GB and 100GB on dual and triple layer discs respectively.

The new official logo for the Ultra HD Blu-ray format
The new official logo for the Ultra HD Blu-ray format

The BDA says the new format will deliver more than just a higher resolution but also expanded colour range, high dynamic range and high frame rate.

There will also be a “bridge” feature that will enable the content to be viewed on a range of in-home and mobile devices and enhance the value of that content.

Packaged media – DVDs and Blu-ray Discs – are coming under pressure from streaming services like Netflix which also offers content in 4K UHD.

But the issue with streamed content v native content is the bandwidth required for a stable stream and the resulting bit rate which is normally lower than native 4K.

Bit rate is the amount of data dedicated per second of video. The higher the bite rate the better the video quality.

Native content – like the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray – can provide a consistent higher bit rate and a repeatable experience while streaming 4K content consumes a huge amount of data and also requires a number of factors to perform well.

Expect to see Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players from the major manufacturers like Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and LG to hit the market later this year.