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Ghostbusters, Spider-Man among first Blu-rays for 4K TVs

Ghostbusters, Taxi Driver and Spider-Man are on Blu-ray optimized for 4K Ultra HD TVs -- but they're not 4K.

Sony is launching the first films aimed specifically at 4K TVs. Ghostbusters, Taxi Driver and not one but two Spider-Man movies are appearing as Blu-ray films "Optimized for 4K Ultra HD TVs" -- but before you rush out and drop £35,000 on a new TV, they aren't really 4K.

The packaging screams 4K, but the discs contain 1080p versions of films that have been released in the cinema in 4K. Although based on each film's 4K cinema release, which was based on the original 35mm print, it remains to be seen if there's any appreciable difference between these sort-of-but-not-really-4K discs and the standard 1080p versions. 

Sony has plans for 15 faux-4K discs. The first batch mixes a couple of stone-cold classics -- GhostbustersTaxi DriverGlory -- with a bunch of recent films of, shall we say, varying quality: Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-ManBattle: Los AngelesAngels and DemonsTotal Recall (the remake), The Karate Kid (the remake), andThe Other Guys.

The discs play on any Blu-ray kit, including the PS3, and come with a digital copy of the film to watch on your tablet or computer via the Ultraviolet service. 

What is 4K? 

4K, also known as Ultra High Definition or UHD, is the next leap forward in eye-scorching detail for movies and TV. A 4K TV displays 3,840 pixels × 2,160 pixels, or four times as much as today's 1080p high-definition tellies.

All that detail means 4K movies simply won't fit on a Blu-ray disc. A 4K fillum takes up around 200GB of space, while a Blu-ray disc holds up to 25GB on a single-layer disc or 50GB on a dual-layer disc 

4K is becoming more common in cinemas, but still only only a handful of films have been presented in 4K. TVs are just hitting shops, at correspondingly eye-watering prices. Fortunately, Sony isn't charging over the odds on these fake-4K discs: UK prices are yet to be confirmed, but in the US they'll cost $20. US versions go on sale on 14 May.

The discs may not be too pricey, but the TVs ain't cheap: the Samsung S9 Ultra HD, for example, costs £35,000. Other 4K kit includes the forthcoming Sony PlayStation 4.

Are you excited about 4K? What do you think of the selection of films? And is 4K just another opportunity for marketing scams by slapping a new label on old stuff? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.