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Blu-ray Association: ‘4K UltraHD in consideration for Blu-ray’

Posted at 18 January 2013 16:25 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

While optical discs like CD and DVD might lose popularity over streaming media, the Blu-ray format is thriving.  That’s thanks to the fact that the discs named after the blue laser beam that reads the digital information from the round plastic slices are able to hold high definition content. Many users around the world still don’t have access to high-speed internet connections, so Blu-ray is a good way for them to watch HD content. But the world is moving on and 4K or Ultra High Definition is rapidly gaining popularity.

Ultra HD promises two times the resolution of HD which means increased picture quality, especially on large screens. It also means that more storage capacity is required to store the content. Blu-ray currently offers about 50 GB per disc, but discs up to 128 GB are commercially available. That could be sufficient for Ultra HD movies and therefore it would make sense to put Ultra HD content on Blu-ray discs. The Blu-ray Association (BDA) also had this idea and they have said in an article on that Ultra HD on Blu-ray is in consideration. To move forward, the BDA has created a working group that has to find out if it’s really technically feasible, if there’s a market for it and how it would impact the existing installed base of Blu-ray players when an Ultra HD movie is inserted.

All with all points to consider and that’s exactly what they do. In the meanwhile Sony Pictures has announced on CES that it will start selling Blu-ray discs that are labelled as mastered in Ultra HD. These discs are in the HD format but Sony claims that you’ll see extra details due to the fact that Ultra HD equipment is used.

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There are 20 comments

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 18 Jan 13 18:12
    4K is yet another example of hardware makers attempting to drive the marketplace, while software makers respond with: "Um - huh?"
    MyCE Senior Member
    Posted on: 18 Jan 13 19:12
      Standard BluRay movies retail between $20 and $40.
      3D BluRay movies retail between $40 and $60.
      That would put a 4K BluRay movie at somewhere between $80 and $100.
      (Studio greed being what it is)
      Somehow I don't see a huge market at that sort of pricing.
      Blank disks of sufficient capacity will probably sell for $30 each and take 4 plus hours to burn. Again I don't see a huge demand.
      Streaming 150+ gigs for a 4k movie also isn't a viable option, and even if you compress the heck out of it you're still at 100 gigs, not either practical or economically viable. Especially when your ISP charges $2.00/gig over your monthly limit.
      4K is a nice idea and I can get you a very nice 84" XBR for 25 grand (it's a stunning TV!) but until internet speeds move up to the gigabit/second range and ISPs set much higher monthly data limits, it's going nowhere.
      MyCE Resident
      Posted on: 18 Jan 13 20:36
        Early indications are that they will go with newer MPEG-4 compression codecs to get the bit rates down. But that doesn't change the fact that new hardware will be needed to play it, even if they do manage to cram it onto a standard BD disc. There's no way to make 4K backwards-compatible with 1080p BD players.
        Blown to smitherines
        Posted on: 19 Jan 13 01:45
          Bring it on!

          CDs were developed in the 1970s, and didn't really catch on until the mid-late 1980s.

          If everyone had said, "but cassettes are too expensive now, and everyone already owns expensive cassette players now", then everyone would still be pushing the fwd and rwd buttons now, and pulling chewed up tapes out of their giant boom-boxes.

          That said, I don't think bluray is going too cut it for UHD. Assuming that they make a 6 layer disc, 150GB, the transfer rate of the discs isn't increasing proportionally.

          Btw, UHD is 4x the resolution of HiDef, - 2x vertical resolution, 2x horizontal resolution.
          MyCE Senior Member
          Posted on: 19 Jan 13 02:16
            Let's not forget the fact that Hi-Definition hasn't completely replaced standard definition. Plus, I doubt that the difference between 1080p and 2160p will hardly be noticeable... that is unless you're TV is the size of a multi-story building.
            MyCE Resident
            Posted on: 19 Jan 13 05:37
              I agree. I find that alot of people that have upgrade to HDTV's still haven't upgraded the source of their video yet. IE they use the new tv's to watch SD cable and dvd's.

              To have a really significant impact 4k needs to be used on really big tvs. 70" or bigger.

              I guess I don't see it catching on. Bluray was somewhat necessary because of the jump from smaller SD tv's to bigger HDTV's. Most of these has only been done in the last 5 years.

              I'm generally bullish on new tech, but I don't think the word is ready for it yet. Especially because you need really big TV's to get an advantage of it. You've to assume that after 50 or 60" people run out of room to put the TV's in their living rooms. 4k's success needs peope, to adopt really big tv's.

              I think 4k will end up being like 3d and a nice product. Something better will probably come along before the masses were ready for 4k.
              MyCE Resident
              Posted on: 19 Jan 13 20:02
                Of course 4K will come to blu ray, its a given. There are already you tube videos at 4K, and they look incredible on a retina iPad!
                48 fps fims (yuck) will also come to blu ray I'll bet.
                Any new format they can resell us will come to blu ray
                Old dancer your prices are exaggerated a bit, or you're quoting list price.. If you shop around BRs are much cheaper. I got the complete 1st season of game of thrones for 38 bucks on BR last year. I find deals like that all the time.

                It won't be long before 70" TVs are cheap and we all have 100" + TVs and can easily afford 200" if we want. We'll sneer ar 1080p and brag about our 4K screens. That's the future I want, bring it ON
                MyCE Member
                Posted on: 20 Jan 13 00:56
                  I'm lucky enough to have a blu ray player, but I now avoid buying blu discs. I find with my nice big TV and a really good player, DVDs are fine with good quality up scaling. The difference in price vs picture quality isn't worth the extra. When I first saw a Blu ray I thought it was great then I bought an OPPO BDP 83, then the difference was so small I stopped wasting my money. I guess we will get used to 4K, then 8K, then maybe blu ray will be good enough if DVDs are phased out. enough is as good as a feast.
                  I guess we shal just have to wait and see. (Or not)
                  Blown to smitherines
                  Posted on: 20 Jan 13 06:17
                    Bluray players are down to $70au at cheap sites, DVD players are about $30au.

                    Bluray playback is certainly within the affordability realm of most people in western society.

                    Bluray's are still ludicrously priced here. Some bluray's are debuting at up to $45au, but typically $30-35. Many "catalogue title" blurays are in the $10 bargain bins.
                    Some DVD's are still debuting at $35, but typically $25-30, and catalogue titles are in the $5 bins.
                    Given the rediculous price gouging in Australia, / can 1/2 the above prices.

                    Knowing that the future is HiDef, the bluray is certainly the better purchase.

                    I can only assume people are buying ludicrous quantities of movies, for the price difference to be affecting them.

                    4K & 8K are currently gimmicks, much like 3D was several years ago, but now 3D is pretty much mainstream and nearly every TV on retail shelves can do 3D in some form, whether you use it or not.

                    4K and 8K will take over. My only concern is Bluray transfer rates. Forcing 4K/8K UHD video onto bluray will limit the quality you can get out of your movies.
                    4x or 16x the 1080p resolution, even with a 2x improved compression ratio (good luck with that) still means you need 2x (8x) the storage & transfer rates of 1080p. Noting that *most* decent HQ movies do not fit on a 25GB disc, but overflow upto 35GB, that means that 4K (with a much improved compression algortihm @ 2x) will need 70GB & 2x .. ok, so that's do-able with a triple/quad layer Bluray.

                    And now the reality check. a 2x increase in compression ratio, while maintaining the same quality as current 1080p is very unlikely!
                    MyCE Member
                    Posted on: 20 Jan 13 10:32
                      4k is ridiculous, it's pure marketing. What do you want to see beyond 2k, I bet you can't even appreciate the difference?
                      I'd rather prefer improvement on other technologies, like bitdepth, HFR, etc.
                      4K, as 8K, Stereoscopy, etc are superfluous gimmicks.
                      MyCE Member
                      Posted on: 20 Jan 13 19:55
                        Naaa, 4k is great. However it would be a lot better if they instead introduced 4k blu-ray standards and players FIRST, and then released movies and stuff in that format, even though most people would still be on 1080p.

                        But this is nothing new, it was the same thing when HDTV 1080p was new, took about 5-7 years before blu-ray players, movies, HDTV channels etc where available to the large public in general.

                        Dogway, naaa, that's incorrect. A standard 35mm gives you about 3 to 3.5 of maximum information, so it does not reaching up to full 4k. So this will give us the maximum information in each frame, and then displayed on the screen. No need to go any higher than that.

                        8k should be for either digital projectors or cinema. And that is where 8k will do it's magic, but that requires you either record digital or use the OMNI max format because 35mm will not do, holds to little information. And going to omni max format for film etc, that will cost a lot of money.

                        So probably reserved for the cinema, plus the problem of putting 8k movies onto blu-ray like formats. If there will ever be a optical disc format after that, since most things go the download way now a days. Otherwise the 4k format (or blu-ray standard) will probably have to go to "dual layer" or "quad layer" as standard. Standard blu-ray will hold to little data as there would be to many optical discs. And people are used to a movie to fit on ONE single optical disc.

                        On the plus side 4k will require h264 and from what I know the standard only does progressive.
                        Posted on: 20 Jan 13 20:06
                          ^I thought they were going to use H265/HEVC for 4K? 35-50% reduction of bitrate for equivalent picture quality compared to H264 AVC.
                          Blown to smitherines
                          Posted on: 20 Jan 13 22:46
                            Originally Posted by Dogway
                            4k is ridiculous, it's pure marketing. What do you want to see beyond 2k, I bet you can't even appreciate the difference?
                            I'd rather prefer improvement on other technologies, like bitdepth, HFR, etc.
                            4K, as 8K, Stereoscopy, etc are superfluous gimmicks.
                            640K is enough for anybody ........
                            MyCE Member
                            Posted on: 20 Jan 13 23:57
                              Kerry56, they might, as it's not been any standards set. But it depends on if h265 will be ready in time, probably, as 4K will take a while to hit the mainstream market.
                              MyCE Member
                              Posted on: 21 Jan 13 02:52
                                Originally Posted by debro
                                640K is enough for anybody ........
                                We should start painting colors in ultraviolet

                                Originally Posted by Dennis_Olof
                                A standard 35mm gives you about 3 to 3.5 of maximum information, so it does not reaching up to full 4k.
                                Do you know what you are talking about? 3 to 3.5 of what? maximum information? how do you measure that. FYI in order to start releasing videos in 4K, the industry has needed to start using specific 4K cameras, which until not long ago there were only a handful of sets worldwide.
                                What you read from here is that 1080p is the maximum measured resolution you can gain from a 35mm film. This has been stated numerous times.

                                You all guys care for superfluos numerations that actually don't do any much better, but instead we still keep with crappy reduced color gamuts and a prehistoric bitdepth that hasn't changed any bit after all these years.
                                MyCE Resident
                                Posted on: 21 Jan 13 03:21
                                  Ha, good one Debro

                                  No Dogway, anyone with decent eyesight will see the benefit of 4K on a good enough screen. And it doesn't have to be big if you sit close enough. As i said above the 4K videos on YouTube look amazing on a retina iPad. Amazing detail.

                                  If 4K is a gimmick then so is every digital camera over 8.3 mega pixels. Last time I checked they're up to 16 MP these days on some cameras, even higher on pro cameras.
                                  MyCE Resident
                                  Posted on: 21 Jan 13 03:29
                                    BTW, need to clarify some things

                                    35mm is ~ equivalent to 2K

                                    Ultra 4k (8.3 MP) is 4 x the resolution not double 1080p (2.1 MP)
                                    MyCE Member
                                    Posted on: 21 Jan 13 03:41
                                      Originally Posted by ivid
                                      BTW, need to clarify some things

                                      35mm is ~ equivalent to 2K

                                      Ultra 4k (8.3 MP) is 4 x the resolution not double 1080p (2.1 MP)
                                      ha, good one ivid. Welcome to the world.

                                      Last time I checked they're up to 16 MP these days on some cameras
                                      I bet only a very few set of cameras have that real resolution, do your tests with res. charts. All of them add crappy trickery to fake the numbers (either dropping chroma resolution, doing software scaling, etc)

                                      All this 4k, 8k, thing is placebo fanfare. It's like having a two lane highway with 500kph permited speed, instead of having 4 or 5 lanes @ 200kph max. The traffic will be safer and in the end the car volume will be same if not better.
                                      Just read from renown people in the field, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Spielberg... They all have stated that over 2K res. is stupid.
                                      New Member
                                      Posted on: 15 Feb 13 02:27
                                        Wrong, 35mm IS 4K equivalent. Only really old 35mm isn't. But 4K isn't the future either (is 8K).
                                        MyCE Member
                                        Posted on: 15 Feb 13 02:50
                                          Seems that 4K could somewhat be an improvement -> link
                                          But still, something I would call a placebo improvement. I keep my word on my previous posts.
                                          8K is the future, in the same way I could say the CD is the past. Nothing to do about what should be done first.

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