4K movies already exist and many more are coming in the new few years but how do we get 4K into our coming Ultra HD TVs? Blu-ray only supports up to Full HD today, but the Blu-ray Association (BDA) has now started to evaluate if 4K Blu-rays make sense.
Blu-ray group starts evaluating 4K Blu-rays
BDA President Andy Parsons has confirmed that a working group for 4K Blu-rays has been set up. This is still a very early initiative and before looking at possible solutions, the group needs to determine if there is demand and how backwards-compatibility could work.
The group will not only explore 4K but also higher frame rates, such as 48 fps (that was used for The Hobbit) and 60 fps (expected for Avatar 2 & 3).
Redray Player is one of the only 4K players announced so far. But it ditches physical media and instead allows users to stream 4K movies over the internet
Today, Blu-ray movies come in Full HD resolution at 24 fps (frames per second). To support 4K resolution the pixel processing needs to be quadrupled and to support for example 48 fps the frame rate processing would have to double. In other words, 4K Blu-rays at 48 fps would need to be capable of storing 8 times more data and be able to output the same. This is before we even start to consider adding the wider 4K/Ultra HD color gamut and 3D. This is not possible with todays Blu-ray discs that cap out at 50 GB (for a two-layer disc).
So unless the Blu-ray group takes far more effective compression (such as H.265/HEVC) into consideration and creates Blu-ray discs with more capacity it seems almost impossible.
Ohh, and you would have to buy a new Blu-ray player again. The third in a few years. Are you prepared to do that to support yet another physical format that will likely have to be replaced again a few years from now?
The first step was taken late last year, according to HDTV Magazine.