Vice-president for consumer electronics at Samsung Australia Philip Newton told The Australian today that Samsung had the technology in place to produce high-capacity four-layer Blu-ray disks for distributing 4K movies.
Mr Newton said he expected theses disks would become available “by the end of the year”. He said it also would not be a problem for Samsung to make available players than can read four-layer Blu-ray disks.
The 4K movies contained on Sony’s 4K playback device are coming in at around 50GB, so a 100GB disc should be able to hold a high-bandwidth version comfortably, with plenty of room left over for additional audio tracks and bonus materials. We know that the process for replicating these discs is already in place. Assuming the likely event that 4K Blu-ray launches, BD4k will be the first industry-wide consumer video format to launch without a direct competitor, at least in the physical realm. VHS had Beta, Blu-ray had HD DVD, and heck, even Laserdisc had RCA CED Selectavision.
I don’t think anyone is really thinking that BD4K is going to be a huge mainstream format, that is, unless they can use a rider stream like Blu-ray 3D to ship both formats on a single disc. This is certainly possible, and in my opinion, they’d be wise to do so to maximize a single SKU in the ever shrinking space at retail. Whatever they decide, the issues of Internet bandwidth capacity around the world aren’t likely to be solved any time soon, and with video game manufacturers unwilling to chance a digital-only system for 20-30GB games, it’s unlikely the studios will throw all their eggs in the digital basket in the near future either. We’ll probably get our first real look at BD4K at CES 2015, with players first appearing on shelves in the spring.