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Blu-ray disc association working on standard for 4K/UHD video

The Blu-ray disc association (BDA), the organization responsible for setting up Blu-ray standards, has confirmed that the work on a specification of Blu-ray disc for ultra-high-definition (UHD) video had begun. While representatives for the BDA did not reveal any actual details, they confirmed that the new standard will feature a host of new technologies in addition to UHD video support.

One of the key problems for mass adoption of UHD/4K technology is the lack of available content. There are some movies that can be obtained along with a TV, some other movies are offered by video streaming services, but it is impossible to visit a nearby store and buy a recent movie in 4K resolution on an optical disc. But that is going to change since the BDA has confirmed plans to develop a new Blu-ray spec specifically for distribution of movies in 3840*2160 and similar resolutions.

“The BDA recently approved the addition of 4K/UHD to the Blu-ray disc specifications, and the effort to get this done is moving forward in earnest,” said Andy Parsons, the president of the BDA, in an interview with Twice. “It is too soon to know any of the details yet, as this all needs to be sorted out by the BDA technical groups. But we are excited to have a decision in hand, and are looking forward to sharing more news about it once the specification process has been completed.”

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Earlier this year Samsung Electronics called to use multi-layer Blu-ray discs to record movies in ultra-high-definition resolution. Unfortunately, the spokespeople for the BDA did not share a lot of details about the future Blu-ray spec for UHD movies, but clearly said that the new standard will feature not only support for 4K video along with new codecs, but a number of other improvements over existing Blu-ray specification. Among the key things are support for deeper colours, high-dynamic range, new content protection technologies and a way to enjoy UHD content on mobile devices.

“As with the original specs, we need to make sure that we will deliver 4K/UHD performance that’s second to none, as this is what everyone will expect from Blu-ray,” said Victor Matsuda, the BDA’s global promotions committee chairman. “This means not just looking at delivering the requisite number of pixels, but at the range of features that contribute to the overall consumer experience – factors such as high dynamic range, bit depth, color gamut, content protection and mobility and digital bridge opportunities that encourage content ownership and collection and enable flexible enjoyment of that content in mobile environments. We’re looking at the entire range and will be prepared to talk about those features as the specification approaches completion.”

It remains completely unknown when the new specification is expected to be completed. Since the Blu-ray has no rivals, the BDA can focus on creating a standard that would satisfy all 100+ members of the organization, which will naturally take a long time. Meanwhile, consumer electronics companies want the spec to be finalized faster in a bid to sell more 4K/ultra-HD equipment.

KitGuru Says: Believe it or not, but the Blu-ray is among the fastest-developing standards ever. In less than a decade, the technology was significantly updated at least twice to bring-in new features as well as add support for stereo-3D technology.

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