The PlayStation 4 Pro HDR console won’t play 4K UHD Blu-ray discs and here’s why
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.”
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:
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Watch Dogs 2
Horizon Zero Dawn
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Mass Effect Andromeda
Final Fantasy XV
Story by 4k.com