BDA Is Developing 4K/UHD Blu-Ray Specification

BDA Confirms Ultra-High-Def Future for Blu-Ray

by Anton Shilov
01/20/2014 | 11:03 PM

The Blu-ray disc association (BDA), the organization responsible for standardizing the BD technology, earlier this month confirmed that it is working on a new specification of Blu-ray technology that will support ultra-high-definition video. It is unknown when the new spec is to be finalized, but it will support multiple innovations in addition to 4K video.


Virtually all 4K/5K ultra-high-definition televisions today from various manufacturers come with special media players that store limited amount of movies in UHD resolution on integrated hard disk drives and can access the Internet for additional content which should be bought and downloaded, or rented and streamed. For a lot of customers, such way of building a collection of 4K UHD movies is inconvenient and they would prefer optical media. However, currently used Blu-ray discs (BDs) are not suitable for ultra-high-definition movies because of limited (50GB dual-layer) capacity.

In a bid to distribute UHD content, Samsung Electronics earlier this month proposed to use more advanced Blu-ray media that complies with the BDXL standard that supports triple-layer 100GB RE (rewritable) and R (write-once) discs as well as quad-layer 128GB R discs for commercial applications. However, it looks like the BDA is already working on a new Blu-ray standard for UHD/4K content.

“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. 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,” said Andy Parsons, the president of the BDA, in an interview with Twice web-site.

As expected, the new Blu-ray 4K/UHD will support a lot of things in addition to 3840*2160 videos, such as high dynamic range, bit depth, color gamut, content protection and ability to watch BD movies on mobile devices using streaming.

“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. 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,” said Victor Matsuda, the BDA’s global promotions committee chairman.

One of the key things about Blu-ray 4K standard is that many consumer electronics need it now in order to sell more new TVs. Meanwhile, major Hollywood studios want to further advance standard in general in order to ensure its long lifespan.