BDA Task Force Studies Adding 4K to Blu-Ray Format

Mike Wheatley

Ultra HD TV might be all the rage at the minute but until someone comes up with an efficient way of delivering native 4K content to users, consumer adoption of the new display tech is likely to remain low, irrespective of whether or not the astronomical prices ever come down.

Oppo BDP-103
BDA task force studies adding 4K to blu-ray format

We’ve already seen tentative steps by Sony to make more 4K content available for its users, while hi-tech Japan already has one (albeit limited) 4K TV broadcast channel in the pipeline, but by and large there’s a long way to go before networks and movie studios can deliver anywhere near enough content to justify buying a device.

With this in mind, the Blu-ray Association (BDA) has quietly setup a new task force to look at the viability of expanding the Blu-ray format to include 4K TV. No major announcement was made, but BDA President Andy Parsons recently confirmed the creation of the task force during an email exchange with HDTV Magazine.

According to Parsons, the task force is a “relatively recent development” within the BDA that was created late last year. Parsons admitted that it took quite some time for the task force to understand its overall aims, hence it has refrained from communicating them outside the BDA until recently.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, the Format Extension Study Task Force, is happy to outline its ultimate goal, which is to evaluate ways in which new technologies such as 4K and high frame rate might be added to the Blu-ray format. Specifically, the task force has established three main criteria which these new technologies must fulfill:

1. Feasibility: Is there a practical way in which the technology can be added to Blu-ray?

2. Demand: Is there sufficient demand for the new technology to justify its development?

3. Impact on existing technology: Supposing the new technology is added to Blu-ray, how would this impact older Blu-ray players if a user attempted to play a new disc on the device? The task force will need to study if it’s possible to make the new technology compatible with older devices, and if not, decide whether or not its justified to introduce the new tech, given that it would likely make existing devices redundant.

Supposing that all three criteria can be satisfied, the task force would then be able to make an official recommendation to the BDA that it work towards integrating the new technology with the Blu-ray format, explained Parsons.

Parsons didn’t enlighten us as to how the BDA might actually be able to extend the Blu-ray format to incorporate 4K. To do so would require some pretty groundbreaking innovations, but the fact that they are at least thinking about doing so is an encouraging sign, and perhaps even an indication that progress is already being made in this area.

Source: HDTV Magazine