Although you can’t buy a a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player just yet, you can buy the super-high-resolution discs that work in them. 20th Century Fox is the first movie publisher with 4K Blu-rays already in Australian stores, with six movies already available — and there are plenty more on the way.
AU Editor’s Note: We’re going to be using the terms ‘4K’, ‘Ultra HD’ and ‘4K Ultra HD Blu-ray’ pretty interchangeably in the future, but rest assured you’ll always find our coverage of the new 4K Blu-ray standard by checking the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray tag on Gizmodo. Cheers! — Cam
As far as we’re aware, currently only JB Hi-Fi and Sanity stores around Australia are stocking the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, although that’s sure to change soon as they become more widely available. 4K Ultra HD players themselves will be on sale over the next few months.
The ticket price for an Ultra HD Blu-ray seems to be set at $50, a bit of a bump from the $35 or so that we’re used to seeing a regular Blu-ray disc at. You do get more, though — as well as the 4K Blu-ray disc that contains four times the resolution of 1080p, you get a regular Blu-ray and an Ultraviolet digital download/streaming code in the box.
There’s also another important distinction to make with the new generation of 4K Blu-rays — and that’s which discs support high dynamic range video (HDR), and which don’t. A non-HDR 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will still have the same 4K resolution, but won’t support the extra Rec.2020 colour-space and 10-bit colour, as well as per-frame luminance information, that HDR discs have.
Fox’s titles, at least, have a silver ‘HDR’ badge on the retail box — claiming “brilliant brights, deepest darks!”. And they’re right — the extra detail requires a larger disc size, with Ultra HD Blu-rays supporting up to 100GB disc sizes with 128Mbps video bit-rates, while the 66GB and 50GB 4K Blu-ray disc capacities support 108 and 82Mbps respectively.
The six 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies you can currently buy are Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service (pictured above), Life of Pi, Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, The Martian and X-Men: Days Of Future Past. These are all HDR discs, so will look utterly stunning on your brand new HDR-capable 4K LED-LCD or OLED TV — trust us, we’ve seen them in action.
Already slated for imminent release are The Revenant (18 May) and Deadpool (25 May) by 20th Century Fox, as well as The 5th Wave (12 May) and The Amazing Spiderman 2: The Rise Of Electro (12 May) by Sony, and Mad Max: Fury Road (18 May) and The Lego Movie (18 May) and San Andreas (18 May) by Roadshow. We’ve confirmed that both Fox’s and Roadshows early-release discs both include HDR, and we’re checking with Sony. [JB Hi-Fi]