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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past week we inched slightly closer to an Ultra Blu-ray Disc reality with several big announcements by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Today we’ll dig into the details and see what we should expect from the coming Ultra HD Blu-ray format.




Public image is everything and the BDA has officially released the new Ultra HD Blu-ray logo. For years, we’ve quickly identified Blu-ray discs by an aggressively sharp logo featuring a letter “b” cupped by the sweeping outline of a letter “D” that doubles as the edge of a disc. The new logo is a little less exciting and significantly blockier. As you can see in the above image, it clearly spells out the format, but misses on gracefulness and confidence points. Not to nit pick on a relatively insignificant issue, but it’s definitely a tad lackluster in appearance.

Logo aside, the technical details associated with UDH BD players look fantastic. Folks, we’re stepping way beyond a simple increase in pixels, which was the initial concern when 4K forced its way onto the market. Just in case you’re not aware, the official resolution supported by UHD BD players is 3840X2160. That’s a lot of pixels…nearly 8.3 megapixels to sooth your ocular needs.

As expected, High Dynamic Range (HDR) will be supported. This is great news for enthusiasts that will be lucky enough to have an HDR capable television. As we’ve discussed in the past, HDR capable sets need to have fairly significant brightness capabilities to make the detail-rich contrast factors of HDR possible. As of now, LCD sets with LED backlighting are the best candidates for immediate HDR compatibility, while OLED sets are reported to be less capable in the effective brightness department. The relevance of HDR in the projector world has been less discussed and will most likely need new lighting technologies (laser projection) to make it possible.

The BDA also reports that the new specification supports a significantly expanded color gamut (extending well beyond the current BT.709 HD standard) and frame rates up to 60fps. Both of these specs have been expected and will be welcomed additions to the BD physical format, as is the inclusion of object-based audio. Yes, Ultra HD Blu-ray players will support both DTS-X and Dolby Atmos. Toss in backwards compatibility with standard BD discs, and the new format’s specs are well rounded.

One unexpected add-on is an optional “digital bridge” feature that “enhances the value of content ownership” by allowing owners of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs to view content across a range of in-home and mobile devices. The BDA has been relatively tight-lipped about this feature, so take from it what you will. It would appear that this is a move to combat competition from streaming services, making disc ownership an attractive option for folks looking for mobility with their content.

Notably missing from the BDA’s announcement is any mention of 3D UHD support. Ring the death bell, this could very well be a sign that the industry has lost interest in 3D and is more interested in pushing the value of HDR and wide color gamut. Stay tuned.

Licensing is expected to begin this summer, and if testing stays on track we should expect to see Ultra HD Blu-ray players and titles hitting the market by the holidays.

Image Credit: Blu-ray Disc Association
 

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Thanks for the news. This is a step forward that is for sure. I wonder how much a new UltraHD Blu ray player from Oppo would cost??? :) Better start saving the pennies now. :)
 

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I wonder when the first TV's are going to hit the market to play Ultra HD Bluray's to the fullest.

I also wished that HD DVD won the battle just so we could have DVD, HD DVD, and UHD DVD.
 

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It will be a while. HDR will likely come first...then wide color gamut.

The trick is getting all of the standards in place for these technologies. Everyone will be attacking them from different vantage points (think Dolby Vision). So, first the specific companies pushing their on spins on the tech will fight-it-out, then we'll see it all come together.

My understanding is that Hollywood is way more excited for HDR and wide color gamut (as opposed to more pixels), so you can bet that they will continue to be pushed. Might take at least another year to see it all come together..

Tripple J - I'd bet Oppo will be coming to market in a year or so. Don't quote me on that, though. The price of admission will be worth it :T. I certainly wouldn't jump on the first versions of Ultra HD players. There's too much room for omissions in tech that might be viable in another year.
 

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Tripple J - I'd bet Oppo will be coming to market in a year or so. Don't quote me on that, though. The price of admission will be worth it :T. I certainly wouldn't jump on the first versions of Ultra HD players. There's too much room for omissions in tech that might be viable in another year.
Good point. With any new item, it will take some time to get all the bugs out and since this is a new standard, it will be interesting to see how it plays out that first year as well. Either way, got to save the pennies now. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good point. With any new item, it will take some time to get all the bugs out and since this is a new standard, it will be interesting to see how it plays out that first year as well. Either way, got to save the pennies now. :)
I think so. This time last year, I wasn't onboard. But if they truly follow through with products that can improve display qualities...well then...sounds like a good deal to me. :devil:
 

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When UHD BD are priced at current BD prices, it'll be worth it to me then...along with the investment cost for 4k pj and players. I can foresee waiting 3 years before I spend more money. Plus, I just began putting together my BD collection in the last 2 yrs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You know the drill... Prices will be high and then rapidly fall. So waiting probably isn't a bad idea.

I think your Blu-Rays will continue to look and sound incredible on 4K gear. The definition is already excellent and future gear will have chips to upconvert and fill in the gaps. The good news is that your BD collection looks killer on 1080p projector, so no rush there!
 

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Being backwards compatible is huge for me because I've also got a large collection of Blu-Rays. I've got my sound where I want it to be so I won't be upgrading that for years. I've been itching pretty hard on the video side of things and almost pulled the trigger on a 80" display but sounds like I should wait. Those 4K displays sure are pretty!
 

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You know the drill... Prices will be high and then rapidly fall. So waiting probably isn't a bad idea.

I think your Blu-Rays will continue to look and sound incredible on 4K gear. The definition is already excellent and future gear will have chips to upconvert and fill in the gaps. The good news is that your BD collection looks killer on 1080p projector, so no rush there!
Agreed. 1080p looks nice and sharp already...and I'm in no rush. Upscaling of BDs will look better, especially when it comes to projecters. Of course, I have to see an actual 4k pj demo and then I'll see if it's mind blowing enough where I can't wait...doubtful.
 

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Agreed. 1080p looks nice and sharp already...and I'm in no rush. Upscaling of BDs will look better, especially when it comes to projecters. Of course, I have to see an actual 4k pj demo and then I'll see if it's mind blowing enough where I can't wait...doubtful.
I don't know about "mind blowing" but it's noticeable. I can see the difference and it's what I'd go with if upgrading the video side of things.
 

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I am quite happy with 1080p but always on the lookout for something better. I will sit back a few years just to see what unfolds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree 100%. So far, this transition to 4K is looking pretty good. Although, the hiccup in gear alignment is a bit of a pain. Not sure how you're feeling, but this rollout is looking like a multi-year process to me.
 

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I agree 100%. So far, this transition to 4K is looking pretty good. Although, the hiccup in gear alignment is a bit of a pain. Not sure how you're feeling, but this rollout is looking like a multi-year process to me.
Give it a couple years. The UHD/4K gear (and content) as well as 3D/immersive audio gear (and content) should be readily available and less expensive. By then we'll have another round of new tech and media formats to lust after :devil:
 

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Completely agree
 
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