Panasonic revealed most of the details about the new Ultra HD Blu-ray format at CES 2015, but a leaked slide has shed some light on what the new format cannot do. It will not support 3D at 4K resolution and it will not support 48fps, which was used for The Hobbit movies.
No 4K 3D and no 48fps
The slide appears to be from an internal Panasonic presentation and was leaked by Japanese AV Watch. It contains all the technical details of the Ultra HD Blu-ray format and confirms everything that was said at CES.
However, it also confirms that there will be no support for 3D at 4K resolution. One of the reasons is that no such standard exists, but if the working group really wanted it, it could probably have made it happen. Instead, 3D will only be supported at Full HD resolution like your current Blu-ray players. This is a hard pill to swallow for fans of 3D who had hoped to see a boost from the higher resolution.
The slide also appears to confirm that no 48fps (frames per second) mode is supported. Traditionally, movies have been shot at 24fps, but Peter Jackson shot all three The Hobbit movies at 48fps – also called high frame rate (HFR). The next Avatar movies will also be shot at 48fps. The lack of native 48fps support means that there is no way to enjoy these movies in the original format. Ultra HD Blu-ray is intended as a next-generation format, so it seems counterintuitive to the goal the group set out to accomplish.
Lastly, the slide reveals that 10-bit depth is used for HDR and SDR (standard dynamic range) and that 4:2:0 sub sampling is used in all instances. The HDR data is based on the open SMPTE ST 2048 standard, but Dolby Vision HDR is optional for manufacturers.
The first Ultra HD Blu-ray players are expected to launch in late 2015.