With more and more online movie streaming and download services becoming common place in Australia – it might seem like Blu-ray players are a bit like yesterday’s technology – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The latest specification is Ultra HD Blu-ray. But what is it and why should we care?
The new format supports a resolution of 3840 x 2160 picture resolution (4 times the picture detail of a stand Full High Definition Blu-ray disc as well as high dynamic range (HDR) and higher frame rates (up to 60 frames per second).
HDR pictures can be delivered in one of two ways: either using the BDA-developed “BD HDR” section of the new specification, or via compatible HDR formats such as Dolby Vision. Video will be encoded under the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard, and use 10-bit colour depth and the Rec. 2020 colour space. As for the discs themselves, the spec allows for discs in three sizes: 50GB with 82 Mbit/s, 66GB with 108 Mbit/s, and 100GB with 128 Mbit/s.
Although the first Ultra HD Blu-ray players are just appearing on the Australian Market and the discs available local are limited to around 70 titles - this is most certainly the future standard for movie discs and it holds distinct advantages over Ultra HD streaming services.
The Blu-ray player is still the best place to get visual source material for your HDTV or Projector and should be the starting point of inclusion for any modern home entertainment or theatre set up. Not only will a modern Blu-ray player handle all your disc-based media (Blu-ray, DVDs, CDs), they're also very capable streaming-media players, with support for apps like Netflix, Spotify and Pandora.
The real advantage of the Blu-ray player and a Blu-ray disc (or the new Ultra HD format) for playback is that you will get the maximum resolution, colour gamut, frame rate and audio track bit rate onto the screen - maximising your entertainment enjoyment.
What is a Blu-Ray Disc ?
Blu-ray or Blu-ray Disc (BD, BRD) is a digital optical disc data storage format. It was designed to supersede the DVD format, in that it is capable of storing high-definition video resolution (1080p). The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Conventional (pre-BD-XL) Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs (50 GB) being the industry standard for feature-length video discs.