The new Ultra HD Blu-ray format is off to a great start compared to the original Blu-ray format in 2006, according to a report from Variety. Both Hollywood and consumers are embracing the format.
Strong start for UHD Blu-ray
Since March 2016 studios have released 45 movies on UHD Blu-ray and consumers have bought more than 228,000 discs as of June 24, according to market research by Home Media Magazine.
For comparison, consumers bought 57,000 discs during the same period when the original Blu-ray format was launched in 2006.
However, it is worth remembering that back in 2006 there was a format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray, which the latter ultimately won. Today, there is no competing disc format to UHD Blu-ray but streaming has emerged as an alternative. So far, film studios have preferred to release new 4K/HDR titles exclusively on disc.
Sales of discs have been in decline for several years now but UHD Blu-ray has apparently helped the market return to growth. For the year, sales are tracking up 3% in units and 6% in dollars.
The new UHD Blu-ray standard combines HDR (high dynamic range), wide color gamut and 4K resolution to elevate the viewing experience. HDR is by many considered a more important improvement than 4K. The format also supports object-based audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Additionally, the industry has created the 'UHD premium' logo to ensure an optimal picture experience.
- “4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range is the next generation of TV technology and is a major priority for us here at Fox. We believe 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range has redefined the premium entertainment experience and is the ultimate in content presentation,” said Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Strong support from film studios
Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros. and Paramount all back the UHD Blu-ray format. This means that all major Hollywood studios, with the only exception being Disney, are on board.
The industry expects more than 100 titles to be available on UHD Blu-ray before the end of the year.
At the moment only two UHD Blu-ray players are available on the market from Samsung and Panasonic, respectively. Microsoft will soon launch Xbox One S that has a UHD Blu-ray drive built-in. Sony and Oppo have both confirmed that they will launch UHD Blu-ray players soon. Rumor goes that a new version of PlayStation 4 will support UHD Blu-ray, too.
FlatpanelsHD recently took a closer look at UHD Blu-ray by pairing a player with six TVs in different price classes. Read our review here.