The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has confirmed that a task force is evaluating proposals for adding new features such as 4K playback to the format.
In all the discussions around the arrival of Ultra-High Definition (UHD) and 4K televisions and projectors, there is still a gap in the delivery system for watching 4K content on these screens. Blu-ray Disc is the one current disc platform with the capacity to contain such content, but, to date, no official word has been released on when we could expect any update to the platform to support 4K playback.
Today, the BDA, in a statement given to CNET, has confirmed that format extensions have been under consideration for some time, with a final recommendation expected later this year.
As part of its ongoing responsibility to maintain Blu-ray Disc as the premium platform for watching movies and other content at home, the BDA established a task force last year to study a range of possible format extensions, including those that potentially enable 4K content playback on Blu-ray.
Through the first quarter of this year, the task force solicited and received numerous proposals, and is now evaluating the various technologies.
The task force, which is comprised of representatives from BDA member studios, consumer electronics manufacturers and media technology companies, looks forward to sharing with and receiving input from content creators, and is expected to make specification and technology recommendations to the Blu-ray Disc Association board of directors later this year.
A format update would require a number of changes to the standard Blu-ray video format used to distribute HD video today. Apart from the larger file sizes required to store 4K content, decisions must be made to agree on codecs, bitrates and colour bit depth standards and options, as well as exactly what resolution will be supported. In cinema, 4K is 4096x2160 pixels, while in home entertainment, the UHD and 4K labels are being used to describe a television at 3840x2160 pixels (exactly four times a standard HD frame).
With the entire film industry now behind the Blu-ray video format, it seems we should expect to see any platform changes this year, but should hope to see Blu-ray introduce a UHD/4K delivery platform in 2014 to go with the televisions hitting the market this year.