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While the Blu-ray disc (BD) format has been on the market for seven years now, it looks like it has enough potential not only for today’s movies in 1920*1080 resolution in 2D or stereo-3D, but maybe even for the forthcoming movies in 4K quality (3840*2160). According to the head of the Blu-ray disc association (BDA), the organization is currently exploring possibilities to add 4K to the BD specs.

“We created a task force three months ago to study the prospects of adding new technologies to the format. We will evaluate three criteria, starting with the technical feasibility of doing 4K, which is four times the picture quality of 1080p,” said Andy Parsons, the chairman of BDA, in an interview with TechHive web-site.

Big movie studios nowadays make master copies in 4K quality; hence, the movies seem to be available.

There is also HEVC/H.265 codec that supports maximum resolution of 7680*4320 and therefore can support both incoming quad-FHD (3840*2160, QFHD or 4K) as well even beyond ultra high-definition resolutions (7680*4320, UHD, UHDTV or Super Hi-Vision [SHV]) video. HEVC/H.265 is, according to some experiments, is 51% - 74% more efficient than today’s MPEG4-AVC/H.264.

Several manufacturers currently produce BDXL standard media, which provides customers with triple-layer 100GB RE (rewritable) and R (write-once) discs as well as quad-layer 128GB R discs.

All-in-all, the content in 4K is available, adding capacity to Blu-ray media as well as improving efficiency of coding do not seem to be the main problem for the BDA. What the organization should keep in mind is whether the forthcoming Blu-ray 4K will be compatible with existing players in a way Blu-ray 3D movies are compatible with 2D BD players (they just playback 2D versions of the movies).

Perhaps, the most important thing that BDA will have to consider before standardizing Blu-ray technology with 4K support is marketing. Blu-ray discs have dropped their prices in the recent years, but are still more expensive than DVDs. Theoretically, movie studios might want to charge even more for 4K movies. However, a price of $30 or more per disc seems to be too high for the mainstream market. Whether or not BDA and movie studios want to segment the market of packaged movies further is something they will have to consider on the first place.

Tags: Blu-ray, 4K, HDTV, UHD, UHDTV, HEVC, BDXL

Discussion

Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 01/15/13 05:47:44 PM
Latest comment: 11/27/13 01:57:16 AM
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1. 
Considering I can easily fit two 1080p bluray movies onto a single DVD at no image quality loss with a placebo Hi10 10-bit x264 encode, there is still a lot of untapped potential here. The problem is with retail disc players which aren't powerful enough to decode such streams (desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones playback fine).
0 0 [Posted by: mmstick  | Date: 01/15/13 05:47:44 PM]
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Yeah well you will always run into unsupported codec issues before you run into not enough processing power on DVD, Bluray, xbox360, PS3
nothing beats a PC hooked up to the TV or DNLA though a PC to the TV or PS3 with the decoding done on the PC
0 0 [Posted by: vid_ghost  | Date: 01/15/13 09:04:34 PM]
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You'd be amazed at how much processing power one of my 10-bit x264 High10 placebo encodes requires to decode (A full 4Ghz desktop core, less if your player has proper 10-bit x264 h/w decoding support).

I really doubt HEVC/H.265 codec is any better than x264. From what I read it is merely a small jump from H.264, incorporating features x264 already supports. x264 still has a lot of features H265 doesn't, and there are only a few things H264 specifies that x264 doesn't do currently. Even being 50%-70% better at compression than H264 is still a relatively small jump compared to a modern 10-bit x264 encode with best settings.
0 0 [Posted by: mmstick  | Date: 01/16/13 06:42:53 AM]
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Broadcomm already has a chip called the BCM7445 which can go into such devices. The retail disc players will start getting smarter now, atleast at the mid to higher end models.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 01/16/13 08:12:48 AM]
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2. 
This is crazy. Blu Ray has serious limitations, but instead of addressing them they choose to address non-existent but trendy problems.

Blu Ray can only display 1080p content at 24p. It cannot do 25p, or 30p, or 48p, or 60p.

1080/24p has great detail, but the frame rate is far too low to be anything near smooth.
0 0 [Posted by: CSMR  | Date: 02/02/13 04:16:25 PM]
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3. 
vipin
Its amazing, looking at the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you provide. I'll bookmark your blog and visit it weekly for your new posts.
0 0 [Posted by: Emiley Smith  | Date: 11/27/13 01:57:16 AM]
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