Posts with tag blu-ray
An extension of Blu-ray makes it all happen
4K televisions (or Ultra HD, if that’s your thing) are amazing, with picture quality that often goes far beyond anything you can even remotely hope to find on now standard 1080p sets. The big problem, however, is that up until now, there just hasn’t been much to actually watch with these new, expensive, beautiful televisions. Netflix has helped fill the gap with a small library of shows streaming in 4K, but the selection is next to nil and support is limited to only select, Netflix sanctioned smart televisions. That’s all about the change however as The Blu-ray Disc Association has just announced at CES that they’re working on a new version of the existing Blu-ray technology that will bring 4K movies to your next home theater system, in convenient disc format.
The new discs, which will be branded as Ultra HD Blu-ray and will essentially be Blu-rays manufactured with a new process that allows up to 33GB per layer (up from 25GB), meaning that a single disc will allow for as much as 99GB. This is absolutely necessary given that 4K movies require an obscene amount of available space, way more than the average 1080p Blu-ray movie.
Manufacturer Panasonic is proving the concept with a prototype Ultra HD player, seen above. Sure enough, it works as you’d expect – this is just your average Blu-ray player with the added bonus of beautiful 4K video playback. According to Engadget, the new Ultra HD Blu-ray specification – which has yet to be finalized – will likely call for HVEC encoding, a next-generation encoder that allows for incredibly highly compressed file without losing quality.
These new Ultra HD Blu-rays are expected to hit market by the end of 2015, however a delay into early 2016 is still possible. While all this technology is cool and it’s fantastic that 4K will finally have an opportunity to invade the average living room, the real question is whether or not Americans are ready to invest in a next generation optical disc format. It seems like just yesterday that the industry tried to get us to ditch our old and busted DVDs for high definition Blu-rays. Can that same strategy be successful only a couple of years later?
Better colors, full backwards compatibility
If there’s one thing that bothers me about home media, it’s the color banding you’ll notice if you look realllyyy close at that favorite movie of yours on your television. The cause of this minor annoyance is that today, many televisions, projectors, and forms of media show content with just 8-bits of color – enough to give a beautiful, clear picture from far away, but little enough to notice some weird banding up close that’s caused by an inadequate supply of colors. While manufacturers have been working to develop screens and pictures with 12 and beyond bits of color, which would solve the issue, there have been little to no talk about improving the specifications of all of our favorite home media format – Blu-Ray – to deal with the issue.
Well, until now. A relatively unknown company called Folded Space has just announced a new encoding specification compatible with Blu-Ray discs that would deliver content with 12-bits of color, all while maintaining compatibility with all existing players and keeping file sizes the same. Of course, this is all fine and dandy, but now the company needs to convince content providers that this is worthwhile in an industry that has been notoriously slow to react; now years following the advent of consumer ready 4K screens, Blu-Rays are still delivered in a relatively puny 1080p image with no solution on the horizon any time soon.