Blu-ray is taking on internet streaming with 4K discs next year

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For a long time now, the gradually growing collection of 4K content needed to fill out all those glorious pixels of 4K/UHD (Ultra High Definition) TVs has been promised to land in your living room from the Web. Netflix, Amazon, Sony, and a few other services have helped pioneer the compression of the massive 4K files to beam them to your TV. However, this week at IFA, the Blu-Ray Disc Association (not surprisingly) had something to say about that.

Much of the world is shifting to streaming video delivered over the Internet, but don’t count out optical discs just yet. The Blu-ray Disc Association is most of the way done defining a version of its optical disc technology that can handle high-resolution 4K imagery, the group said Friday at the IFA electronics trade show here. It will start licensing the technology in the spring or summer of 2015, and the first 4K Blu-ray players should arrive by the holiday-shopping season of that year, said Victor Matsuda, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association global promotions committee. Using physical media instead of relying on fallible and often limited Internet connections means Blu-ray discs can provide the best possible image quality, he said. But there’s more to 4K Blu-ray than just four times the number of pixels as in today’s prevailing 1080p video, he added. The new specification also will improve color gamut dramatically and offer a higher dynamic range so details in shadows and highlights are visible. The new format also will be able to show 4K video at 60 frames per second, he said.

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