New Blu-ray format brings 4K to your lounge

This week, the Blu-ray Association (BDA) announced specifications for its new media, Ultra HD Blu-ray. Licencing for this format will begin later this year. That’s right, you’re going to have to re-purchase Star Wars for the umpteenth time.

The new format has been created in order to accommodate Ultra HD content. Ultra HD is marketed as 4K UHD (2160p) and 8K UHD (4320p), though this new format will not natively support 8K. Along with the resolution upgrade the format will also be supporting higher frame rates, a wider range of colours, and new sound formats.

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will be able to hold 66GB (dual layer) and 100GB (triple layer) worth of data. This is an improvement over standard Blu-ray, which holds 25GB (single layer) and 50GB (dual layer) respectively.

All Ultra HD Blu-ray players will be capable of playing current Blu-ray discs, so don’t throw away those movies just yet. Along with digital content, the format will push DVDs ever further into an obsolete state.

The first commercial Blu-ray device launched in 2003 and beat out its direct competition, the Toshiba-backed HD-DVD in 2008. Sony‘s own PlayStation 3 has become one of the best-selling Blu-ray players, often receiving software updates to improve playback and adding features to the medium. Both Sony and Microsoft’s current consoles, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, have adopted Blu-ray as a video game storage format.

While streaming content still isn’t a viable option for most South Africans, and Netflix streaming being classified illegal by the company’s terms and conditions itself, physical media continues to be an attractive medium. Local suppliers have started selling off stock of certain DVDs, such as the Star Wars: Clone Wars TV series, and offering lower prices of slightly older Blu-rays.



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