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The PlayStation 4 Pro HDR console won’t play 4K UHD Blu-ray discs and here’s why

by on September 8, 2016
 

Stephan Jukic – September 08, 2016

We already reported on the final unveiling of what is now called the PlayStation 4 “Pro” instead of “Neo”, and amidst all the information about the new console’s arguably awesome specs, one thing was only mentioned in passing even though it’s definitely worth looking into a bit more. This of course is the odd fact that at least for now, the new PlayStation revamp won’t play 4K Blu-ray disc media. This is indeed surprising since the competitor gaming console from Microsoft, the Xbox One S, which came out just a little over a month ago does indeed play 4K Blu-ray discs in HDR.

Unlike the Microsoft Xbox One S, the PS4 Pro claims to be a full-blown 4K gaming console with considerably beefier processing specs and it does at least play HDR 4K content from streaming media apps in its own user interface (most notably Netflix as part of an agreement between Sony and the steaming movie giant). Additionally, the PS4 Pro also supports HDR gaming just like the Xbox One S.

Due to all these similarities between the consoles in this competitive landscape, and other factors, the lack of 4K Blu-ray support seems all the more mysterious, so let’s take a closer look into its details.

PlayStation Chief at Sony, Andrew House has publicly stated in comments to the Guardian newspaper that the absence of a 4K Blu-ray player in the PS4 Pro is something which was done most of all in an effort to match the console’s main objectives and hardware space with the market which Sony sees as the most in-demand for their current and potential content customer base. This market is streaming and according to House,

“Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming. Certainly with our user base, it’s the second biggest use case for people’s time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area.”

sony-playstation-4-pro-4-slim-047

The new PlayStation 4 Pro alongside the new compact version of the original PS 4 console

That said, the streaming options which the PS 4 Pro will have also hardly leave 4K content fans without options according to the Sony executive. People who buy the console will still be able to enjoy content in 4K and High Dynamic Range from Netflix and, soon, YouTube. This is of course a bbit of a limited selection as far as streaming alone goes, especially if Sony claims that their main effort will be in this direction, but it is better than nothing. However, for users who want a robust 4K content watching system that can also play games powerfully, the PS 4 Pro is looking less like a winner than it did during the anticipation of its arrival when we all did consider 4K Blu-ray capability to be a near given.

Sony is claiming that they expect other streaming content services to be available on the PS4 Pro down the road but that’s neither here nor there and for now, the new console’s 4K HDR chops are limited to games and to a very narrow range of content options in comparison to even the Xbox One S and even more so to other 4K set-top boxes on the market which at least already offer Amazon, Vudu and other 4K content sources in addition to Netflix.

If however you’re a gamer who doesn’t care about the PlayStation 4 Pro’s content range and just want the console for its beefed up gaming abilities, you can at least look forward to some seriously powerful 1080p gaming capacity from the device when it goes on sale in November for $400. Furthermore, there will be 4K gaming in HDR for select games which have been or are going to be optimized for both specs. Those games include or will include the following:

Spider-Man the console game will be available in HDR on the PS4 Pro

Spider-Man the console game will be available in HDR on the PS4 Pro

Spider-Man

For Honor

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Days Gone

Watch Dogs 2

Farpoint

Horizon Zero Dawn

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

FIFA 17

Battlefield 1

Mass Effect Andromeda

Dishonored 2

Final Fantasy XV

 

Story by 4k.com

19 comments
 
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  • Garret Laborde
    September 9, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Ok. This is dumb. Once those people start streaming 4K HDR they’re going to start hitting their monthly data caps real quick. Yeah, with 1080p streaming it is difficult to hit data caps, but 4k HDR is going to start smashing data caps even for moderate users.

    The PS4 Pro is DOA to me. I specifically bought the PS3 for the Blu-ray player. I *was* going to buy the PS4 Pro specifically for the 4k Blu-ray player, but now it looks like Sony wants me to buy the Xbone S. I’d much rather have the physical media (be it game or movie) than not. I’d rather not hit my data cap every month too.

    Reply

  • Jim
    September 9, 2016 at 6:57 am

    …and Sony Pictures makes 4K movie discs. I think this is a big misstep on their part.

    Reply

    • Julien
      September 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      Sony Electronics still has yet to release a 4k Blu Ray player… And I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t want the PS4 Pro to cannibalize the sales of their other divisions.

      Reply

  • Jane
    September 9, 2016 at 7:30 am

    This is a deal breaker. If I’m upgrading to 4K, I’m not going to buy a console that can’t play 4k uhd bluray discs. Instead I’ll just buy the Xbox that does both. Why would I buy a console and then go and spend another $300 on a 4k uhd bluray player?

    Reply

  • david
    September 9, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    agree – my only thought is they have a disc player in the pipe line and didn’t want to compete with themselves, Still, makes no sense.

    Reply

  • Ian
    September 9, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Very strange. I’m sure they knew the Xbox one s was shipping with UHD for $299. I’m considering buying it JUST for the UHD. Bad move by Sony. I also see no Dolby Vision chip.

    Reply

  • Chad
    September 10, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    What the hell? I’ve held off for about 2 months on a 4k disc player in anticipation of the new PS4. I still have a PS3 so I was really hoping the new PS4 would be two upgrades in one. Big mistake, I really don’t need a PS4 for gaming but it would have been a nice bonus to go with my 4k blu ray player.

    Reply

  • Mike
    September 11, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    The corporate mind eludes me. I’m very disappointed and will hold off on buying this unit till it supports 4K discs.

    Reply

  • Mike
    September 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    By the time 4K media is big if ever… The ps5 will be out. Some of you don’t get it.

    Reply

  • Bryan
    September 11, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Makes zero sense. One of the things that helped sell the PS3 was the fact that it was the same price as many stand alone bluray players. Do we know if it will be able to play uhd bluray via software update in the future? If it has the hardware to decode hevc for streaming and it has a Blu-ray Disc reader, why couldn’t they?

    Reply

  • Shwiggie
    September 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve had a Playstation since the first one rolled out, and I haven’t owned an Xbox since 2004. But that’s changed: I bought an Xbox One S this weekend first and foremost because I wanted a 4K BluRay player. I can’t stream with my rubbish internet connection, so this is the only way I can get 4K content.

    So, way to go, Sony, you just pushed me to your primary competitor. Don’t think I won’t go back and take a look at Xbox exclusives while I’m at it. And if Microsoft is doing what I think it’s doing with Scorpio (unifying the PC and Xbox markets), there may be a sea change in my default gaming/set-top box arrangement going forward.

    Reply

  • Romey Moore
    September 13, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    ..with all that said, Sony has its “OWN” 4K streaming service. Whaaaaa????? They are working with a deal with netflix before making a deal with themselves?? I sure hope that an understandable reason for the omission comes up, otherwise its another case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing.

    Reply

  • CLu
    September 14, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Hell, i am a male human and i want to HAVE the items i use, i want to own them, collect them. Movies on 4K-UHD-BlueRay, for example. Maximum quality, starts when i push the button, stops, fast forward, slow rewind, does what i want, when i want.
    Anybody sayin’ streaming? No. Dont want to suck on the dug of on uncontrolable non-motherlike beeing, er, sorry, meant: i dont want to depend on the availability of the media, of sustained bandwith, and everithing else neded to be delivered.And i absolutely hate to be confronted with commercial adveritising.
    Sony, not to include an 4k-UHD-drive was a bad move. A very bad one.

    Reply

  • Wabbit
    September 19, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I agree that Sony dropped the ball when not including 4K Bluray player in the PS4 Pro. For existing Ps4 owners, it would have been a no brainer to upgrade to PS4 Pro if 4K bluray player was included. Why upgrade to to PS4 Pro when you only get upgraded visuals and slight higher frame rates. For my hard earned money, I can purchase Xbox One S which gives me a 4K bluray player and HDR and Xbox game library. Or, purchase a Nintendo NX for Nintendo games. I don’t see any incentive to upgrade to PS 4 Pro when the Xbox Scorpio is on the way. PS4 Pro appears to be targeting gamers who don’t own a PS4 orhave to have the latest PS4. I’ll stick with my old PS4.

    Reply

    • Damien
      October 7, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Yup. I agree.
      I see zero reason to upgrade to the new PS4 Pro when I can get the Xbox One S. Then I also get access to 2 sets of exclusives.

      Reply

  • Damien
    October 7, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Funny that absolutely no-one is siding with you on this one Stephen.
    Including me…

    Reply

  • GI_SnakeEyes
    November 20, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Well lets just remember when the regular ps4 launched they did not support 3D movies, only games. After awhile there was an update and alas now it’s my primary 3D player. So let’s hope the same for the Pro.

    Reply

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