The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced the finalisation of the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification, complete with shiny new logo designed to delineate discs containing consumer 4K content.
Launched as the follow-up to the hugely successful DVD format, Blu-ray fought a bitter war with rival HD-DVD for the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers. Backed by Sony, Blu-ray won out - one of the very, very few instances of Sony winning a format war - and has become the de facto standard for physical distribution of high-definition content. With increasing prevalence of high-speed broadband internet access, however, consumers are turning away from physical media to streaming and downloads of High Definition content - which is where Ultra HD is coming to the rescue, requiring as it does a considerably faster connection to stream than the four-times-smaller High Definition.
With consumer-ready Ultra HD displays - based on a variant of the 4K resolution standard running at 3,840 x 2,160 (2160P) - now becoming affordable, demand for content to support such displays is high. As a result, it's no surprise to find the Blu-ray Disc Association launching Ultra HD Blu-ray as the go-to physical standard for high-resolution media.
'For years, Blu-ray Disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home. Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment,
' claimed Victor Matsuda, chair of the BDA Promotions Committee, at the announcement. 'The technical capabilities of Blu-ray Disc, in particular its significant storage capacity and high data transfer rates, will enable the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable UHD experience.
The new standard, which will be labelled on discs via the pictured logo, includes support for 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), and high frame-rate (HFR) content, alongside what the group describes as 'immersive, object-based sound formats
.' The updated standard also includes a new feature dubbed 'digital bridge,' allowing content to be transferred between devices in a similar way to the Ultraviolet codes provided with current-generation DVD and Blu-ray releases.
Licensing of the new standard begins this summer, but the BDA is currently silent on when devices and discs will hit the open market. It has, however, reassured consumers that all Ultra HD players will be entirely compatible with existing Blu-ray discs and content. Details of the standard have not yet made it to the Blu-ray Disc Association's website
, which was last updated in 2010.