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IFA 2015: New Samsung 4K Blue-ray Players unveiled, now where’s the right content?

by on September 5, 2015

Stephan Jukic – September 05, 2015

Samsung has gone ahead and unveiled what they claim to be the world’s first 4K Blu-ray player at this year’s IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin this week, according to reporting from Arstechnica and other sources. Now the only thing missing from the neat new device is a source of content that you can play on it in full 4K at 3840 x 2160 pixels.

The device was shown off recently at the IFA show and electronics conference in Berlin, Germany this week and is capable of playing back content at more than four times the resolution of normal Blu-ray HD players and discs. Considering just how good conventional HD Blu-ray looks, particularly when upscaled on a 4K TV, we can only imagine the awesomeness in store for viewers who try the first 4K Blu-ray discs on this new Samsung player.

And that’s also where the main problem with these pieces of entertainment electronics comes into play. There are so far still no 4K Blu-ray discs that they’re good for on the market!

Blu-ray 4K is definitely on the way, the Blu-ray Disc Association has made clear that they’re developing the new advanced ultra HD format for a release near the end of this year and studios like 20th Century Fox are also apparently behind the effort as well along with –we assume—other BDA board of directors members like Disney, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers and Sony. However, as far as a usable 4K Blu-ray disc goes, we’ve still got nothing but promises in our hands.

The BDA is determined to release their new 4K Blu-ray disc format in late 2015/early 2016

The BDA is determined to release their new 4K Blu-ray disc format in late 2015/early 2016

Nonetheless, the new Samsung UBS-K8500, as the Blue-ray 4K player is called, is a major step up from all previous 4K-friendly Blu-ray players, all of which up to now offered only 4K upscaling of their native HD Blu-ray disc media. The UBS-K8500 is thus the world’s first true native 4K Blu-ray player and it also features a host of other powerful specs, like support for high dynamic range (HDR), rich next-generation 10-bit color for a 1.07 billion color gamut that goes way beyond the current standard of 8-bits and 16.7 million colors in 4K visual media.

Of course, the K8500 isn’t available for sale yet. Samsung is merely showing off its tech prowess and engaging in a bit of indirect marketing for its existing and well-rated line of SUHD 4K TVs with their own HDR capabilities and enhanced color gamuts. The UBS-K8500 itself will only go on sale as of early 2016.

However, when it does (along with the other native 4K Blu-ray players that will certainly also emerge in the coming months), it will offer a very convenient solution for the current scarcity of native 4K content sources and it will be a useful way for consumers who can’t stream 4K video from OTT/streaming sources like Netflix to get some studio entertainment in ultra HD to their own 4K TVs.

Once 4K Blu-ray establishes itself on the market, we can also look forward to a sort of race between UHD via purely digital OTT streaming sources and 4K provided by hard copy media (Blu-ray discs and media players with pre-loaded content). If access to high-bandwidth internet connectivity continues to be a problem for a majority of potential 4K UHD TV owners, then native UHD Blu-ray discs might be a saving step for the new resolution standard.

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