Consumers with some insider knowledge might have seen this coming, but for most Victor Matsuda, Chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee’s confirmation on the 5th of September at IFA 2014 in Berlin of 4K blu-ray in 2015 has proved a somewhat divisive development.
With the specs for the new format, already being dubbed “ultra blu-ray” in film circles, scheduled to be finalised in the first half of next year, most of us can realistically expect to see the products on our shelves in time for Christmas 2015. 4k blu-ray resolutions will jump to 3840 × 2160p and support a higher frame rate of up to 60fps, with a host of additional benefits including a diversified colour spectrum and better compression rates. There’s also talk of expanding contemporary blu-ray’s disc capacity to 66 or even 100GB. The question is; is there really an appetite amongst today’s consumers for this kind of technology, given the increased pricing that it is likely to incur?
We live in an age of constantly evolving technology, and as that rate of evolution accelerates, so the financial strain on film enthusiasts the world over increases. Less than 10 years after we replaced our trusty 1980s’ VCRs with DVD players, we found ourselves upgrading to blu-ray players. Now it looks like those who want to own the very best in home entertainment are looking at forking out again for a new generation of blu-ray 4k players.
There’s also the question of how much of an improvement we’re actually likely to perceive; there is a limit to the amount of detail the human eye can actually see. Whilst some of us might be a little ahead of the curve in that respect, the general feeling is that in order to really reap the rewards of 4K blu-ray we’re going to need bigger TVs, MUCH bigger TVs, to the point where they become intrusive / obstructive to the average family living room.
On the other hand, with so many people turning towards digital services such as Netflix or Hulu for their film needs, others are glad that physical media continues to be championed and improved by the industry. Whilst streaming services have come a long way in the last few years, there is still undoubtedly nothing quite like owning your favourite releases in disc format, ready to play on demand without the need for an internet connection subscription fees.
With all that in mind, just how excited are you about the notion of 4K blu-ray? Will you be rushing out to grab all the new equipment 2015 has to offer, and upgrading all your favourite titles? Or is this likely to simply become the norm for future releases? Penny for your thoughts people…