Ultra HD Blu-ray Spec Completed, Consumer Products Expected Later This Year

Consumer electronics makers will be able to license the technical spec starting in July.

The Blu-ray Disc Association has completed an Ultra HD Blu-ray technical specification that will lead to the release of players and discs that support the new format. Manufacturers will be able to license Ultra HD Blu-Ray beginning in July and, presumably, consumer products will begin to roll out later in the year.

The format supports Ultra HD 4K TV resolution (3840x2160), as well as enables high dynamic range (HDR), high frame rates and object-based immersive sound. HDR—a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks—could either be delivered using the BDA-developed “BD HDR” portion of the new spec or by using certain supported HDR formats such as Dolby Vision.

According to the BDA, an optional “digital bridge” feature “enables the consumer to view their content across the range of in-home and mobile devices.” The format is also backward compatible, meaning that any Blu-ray Disc can be played in an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player.

BDA revealed that the developing Blu-ray spec was nearing completion at January’s CES Show. At that time, Panasonic was the first manufacturer to announce plans to release an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

The roughly 100 BDA member companies include Panasonic, Dolby, DTS, Samsung, Sony Corp., Twentieth Centry Fox, Universal Studios The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. Entertainment.