My Two Cents
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 20:06

BREAKING from CES – Samsung says 4K Blu-ray may be on the way

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Here’s something interesting: A report from CES via The Australian says that Samsung Australia’s vice-president for consumer electronics, Philip Newton, has told the paper that Samsung has developed the technology to produce 4-layer Blu-ray Discs compatible with 4K content.  The discs apparently deliver 25GB per layer, for a total of 100GB.  Newton tells The Australian that the discs could be available as early as the end of 2014.  The BD spec for 4K is apparently still in a “state of flux,” but once the details get worked out, the disc tech will be ready.  [Read on here…]

More than a year ago we reported that the BDA was working on ways to adapt the Blu-ray format to accommodate 4K-resolution content.  It looks like that process is within months of being finalized.  If so, that is certainly good news, in that it provides a physical media choice for those who are interested in purchasing and viewing 4K content in the home.  That’s admittedly likely to be a niche market of a niche market for the foreseeable future, but still… since there really is no “next big thing” on the home video horizon at the moment, other than ever higher resolutions and (eventually) autostereoscopic 3D, it will certainly make things more interesting.

We should note that at the moment, while the terms are frequently used interchangeably, 4K and UHD are not the same thing.  Technically, 4K refers to a pro cinema production standard, while UHD is a consumer broadcast/display standard.   There’s a great primer on this over at ExtremeTech for those who may be interested.

Obviously there are many questions about this news and few answers at the moment.  An obvious question is: Will this be a widely supported movie release format for consumers, marketed by the studios, or will these discs simply be used by display manufacturers to support content delivery to their UHD line-ups?  We’ll have to dig into it and post more as it comes in.  Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt


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