(Almost) 4K reasons why Ultra HD Blu-ray needs to succeed

According to the complete 4K Blu-ray specifications announced by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) earlier this year, the format will also have the capacity to display high-dynamic range (HDR) content, for truly stunning and vibrant images, as well as high-frame-rate (HFR) playback, allowing users to achieve the same fluid motion that Peter Jackson used for The Hobbit trilogy, and which James Cameron plans to use for his Avatar sequels, from the comfort of their living rooms.

"But what about streaming?" you may ask. Well, unlike 4K streaming, 4K Blu-ray will provide a rock-solid presentation of your chosen movie, completely free of incidental interruptions and with a bitrate that never, ever dips.

Physically digital

Needless to say, owners of films and TV shows in physical media formats don't have to worry about these kinds of problems, as simple and easy access to content is always a short stroll to the shelf away.

That isn't to say that we can't have the best of both worlds. Having access to 4K streaming content can complement physical media formats in a big way. After all, you're not going to want to buy certain movies sight unseen, and some won't even be worth owning at all.

While 4K Blu-ray is ostensibly a physical format, it promises to keep one finger in the digital pie with its Digital Bridge functionality, which will act like upgraded version of Ultraviolet that lets users view their content across all of their devices.

Many point to the death of music on CDs to back their theories about where movies are heading in the near future, but the truth is that CDs are still around and still sell (albeit it in smaller numbers), and have so far managed to survive both the MP3 revolution and the introduction of streaming music services. That's not bad for a 35-year-old format.

Though sales of Blu-ray discs will eventually slow, there's still a whole lotta life left in the physical disc format, especially for owners of fancy new 4K TVs. 4K Blu-ray will undoubtedly be the most accessible way to access 4K content for the foreseeable future.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.