The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is about to look a lot more impressive to owners of HDR capable 4K UHD TVs and UHD Blu-ray players.
Recently, Warner Bros. announced plans to release all eight Potter films on Ultra HD Blu-ray during 2017. According to Warner, each film in the franchise will be released separately, enriched with 4K resolution and bathed with eye-catching High Dynamic Range (HDR).
This marks the fourth video format for the incredibly popular film series based on J.K. Rowling’s bestselling book series, which chronicles the life of a young Wizard and his friends as they navigate their way through the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The planned 4K release and its HDR treatment will undoubtedly unlock Rowling’s world in a way never seen before. Fans should expect to experience brighter and more vivid colors, subtle details hidden among the shadows, and a visual vibrancy not capable of being delivered by DVD or standard Blu-ray. These kinds of performance factors will play well to many of the films’ low light level scenes, which are especially prevalent in the final two movies of the series.
If a visual change isn’t exciting enough, Warner Bros. is also boosting each film’s audio prowess with a DTS:X encode. DTS:X is one of three available immersive audio codecs, but has the unique claim of possessing the ability to adapt to non-specified speaker layouts. Using encoded object oriented metadata, a DTS:X processor is able to place sounds in specific areas of space, creating a sense of realism and immersion. Potter fans were treated to solid surround sound experiences on original Blu-ray releases of the series, so the addition of DTS:X and the prospects of even better sound is certainly enticing.
Each film will be released as a Blu-ray Combo Pack. That means buyers will receive both Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray disks, in addition to a Digital HD version of each feature film. Warner says the disks will contain the same special features that were included on the films’ original Blu-ray releases.
Oddly, the last four movies of the series (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2) will make their way to store shelves first (March 28). The other films will be released at a date later in the year. Fans should expect to pay up to $44.95 (SRP) for each release, which means purchasing the entire collection could cost close to $360. That's a hefty chunk of change, but these releases are must-buys for hardcore fans.
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