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The Ultra HD Blu-ray? We respond to everything you need to know

While streaming is much more practical for the vast majority, who is looking for the best possible image and sound quality for their system home theater You must necessarily have the Ultra HD Blu-ray. It offers more stability and better fidelity than traditional streaming and is a quite significant advance from the Blu-ray HD 1080p. That is especially obvious when you add HDR (High Dynamic Range) and WCG (Wide Color Range), which produces better contrast and higher color volume. As with all technological updates, doubts immediately arise: Do you need a new player? Be compatible with previous versions? Do you need to change cables, another receiver or any other device? Here we answer all your questions.

What's so great about Ultra HD Blu-ray?

It's true that movie services and TV shows like Netflix, Amazon and Vudu are the future and although streaming has also advanced a lot in recent years, the discs still lead when it comes to performance. The reason is reduced to a very simple but important factor: the bit rate.

Simply put, the more information you can deliver, the better the image and sound quality, and an Ultra HD Blu-ray can deliver a large amount of data. Even with relatively fast connections, we have noticed visual defects and other problems with the transmission of 4K content, which are further aggravated when it comes to HDR. It is definitely improving, especially for those with fast internet connections, but the difference persists.

Perhaps most importantly, streaming is behind when it comes to Dolby Atmos, the object-based surround sound format that is most readily available. While Atmos is arriving at these services, it is currently only available from some of them, with Netflix at the forefront.

As such, Ultra HD Blu-ray an technology offers significantly better image and sound quality than any other available format.

Do I need a new player for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs?

Yes, you need a new player, since the standard Blu-ray players cannot read the new discs. Fortunately, Ultra HD Blu-ray players will read almost any disc, such as DVDs, Blu-rays and even some old CDs you have.

Another good news is that, although they debuted in the range of $ 300 dollars to $ 400 dollars, you can find a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player for an incredible price. Even if you have the new Xbox One S or the Xbox One X, you already have an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

While it is likely that you must exceed $ 100 dollars to get a solid model, for those who care about the quality of sound and image is something worthwhile. For a list of available devices, see our updated list of the best Blu-ray players.

What kind of 4K UHD TV work with Ultra HD Blu-ray?

All 4K UHD TVs will work with Ultra HD Blu-ray, including older models with HDMI 1.4 inputs, although there are some warnings. When connected to a TV through HDMI, an Ultra HD Blu-ray player can determine what that TV is capable of and act accordingly.

The problem is that the benefits for the owners of older 4K UHD TVs will be limited to the Ultra HD resolution. To obtain the HDR and WCG features, the TV must be able to produce the added colors and High Dynamic Range content. These features generally also require an HDMI 2.0a for optimal performance, but fortunately in many TV models it can be added through a firmware update, assuming there is no HDMI 2.0a or higher port available.

Panasonic DX900 Ultra HD Premium LED TVPanasonic DX900 Ultra HD Premium LED TV

Television manufacturers are also catching up quickly. Any 4K TV with Ultra HD Premium certification include support for HDR, while many cheaper models are adding HDR and WCG at a good pace. The Ultra HD Premium standard requires a series of functions that include HDR and a minimum color depth of 10 bits, so as long as the TV includes this logo, it is guaranteed to be compatible with everything Blu-ray players offer. Ultra HD ray.

If you are looking for an update to take advantage of all the benefits of 4K and HDR, check our ranking with the best available TVs.

Are Ultra HDBlu-ray players compatible with previous versions?

Yes, Ultra HD Blu-ray players play Blu-ray discs, DVD, SACD, audio DVD and Redbook. Both 1080p Blu-ray discs and DVDs will be converted to UHD resolution for playback on 4K UHD TVs.

Ultra HD Blu-ray players can also reduce the scale of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs to work on 1080p HD TVs, so if someone gives you a new player and some discs, even if you still don't have a 4K UHD TV, you won't have problems.

Need some other new equipment?

That depends on your system. You may need new HDMI cables if yours do not support faster data transfer. In the world of Ultra HD Blu-ray, some cheaper cables cannot properly manage data performance. Test your cables and if you have problems, buy new ones. We suggest the HDMI cables of Monoprice.

As for your A / V receiver, the same criteria applies to your 4K UHD TV. Older receivers with HDMI 1.4 may support a higher resolution, but probably not HDR or WCG. If your receiver supports HDMI 2.0, it is possible to update it to make it compatible with HDMI 2.0b (the current standard). However, Ultra HD Blu-ray requires HDCP (High Definition Copy Protection) 2.2 and that could mean that you will need new hardware, since this cannot be solved with a simple firmware update.

There is also an audio processing component to think about. New surround sound formats, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, but to enjoy them, you need a newer receiver with updated processing Incorporated, as well as up-firing or ceiling speakers. Here is a list of our favorite A / V receivers that you can buy.

What movies can I watch?

Some of the first available titles were Mars, Mad Max: from Fury on the Road Y X-Men: Das of the Past Future. Since then, most releases are available in Ultra HD Blu-ray format. A series of old movies like Salem’s Lot, An American Werewolf in London Y His Girl Friday They have also been reissued in this format. Here is a list of available Ultra HD Blu-ray titles, as well as a list of televisions so you can make the most of the experience.

Samsung Ultra HD Blu RayRich Shibley / Digital Trends

In this last one there is a detail that the most fantastic of the cinema detect quickly: many of these titles are not true Ultra HD Blu Ray 4K. How can it be? Simply because they were not filmed in 4K initially. For a movie to have a native Ultra HD resolution, you must use a 4K camera. Many of these titles were recorded with the so-called 2K resolution, which is good, but then it must be scaled to 4K, which means that not all the pixels that are seen were captured by the camera and some of them are “digital conjectures”.

Even so, even with a 2K transfer you will get a better quality image than the one available in a standard Blu-ray. High dynamic range and wide range of colors means that these new albums will look closer to what the director wanted you to see and, brakes, make a big difference.


S. Like UltraViolet, which will soon become extinct, in standard Blu-ray, Blu-ray Ultra HD discs support digital copies, allowing users to access content “across the entire range of mobile devices in the home” according to Blu-ray Disc Association. One of the easiest ways to use your Ultra HD Blu-ray is to store it in any of the service-compatible vaults Movies Anywhere from Disney, which allows you to store movies from multiple studios (and services) in one place.


If you are confused about what all this new material is officially called, you are not alone. It's confusing. The reality is that disc players are called Ultra HD Blu-ray disc players: the term 4K is not officially involved. Even so, the discs have the 4K Ultra HD seal on the top.

As for televisions, they are officially 4K Ultra HD, but manufacturers sometimes do what they want. Sony uses 4K more frequently, but you can be sure that Ultra HD is implied.


For you, technology lovers, here are some interesting facts:

Ultra HD Blu-ray mainly uses 66GB dual layer discs (although 100GB triple layer discs are part of the specification) and is capable of delivering up to 108 Mbps of data. To put this in perspective, consider Netflix 4K Ultra HD broadcasts to be delivered at approximately 16 Mbps and represent an average of 14 GB of total data for two hours of entertainment.

Blu-ray Ultra HD discs are encoded using the relatively new HEVC cdec (also known as H.265).

all about the ultra hd blu ray 1

Ultra HD Blu-ray can support several different types of HDR metadata, including Dolby Vision and HDR10, an open standard backed by the Society of Image and Television Engineers (SMPTE). However, HDR10 is a requirement for the creation of Blu-ray in Ultra HD. The rest depend on individual content creators and will require TV compatibility with a specific type of HDR metadata. Certain Vizio and LG TVs are compatible with HDR10 and Dolby Vision, while other TVs currently only support one format, usually HDR10.

Dolby opened its license kits for Ultra HD Blu-ray players with Dolby Vision capability in July 2016, so any player presented before is not compatible. Some players support both Dolby Vision and HDR10, but it is a more rare phenomenon than you would expect. As more televisions begin to support both formats, we expect Ultra HD Blu-ray players to follow suit.

How long is the Ultra HD Blu-ray standard compatible?

That is a difficult question to answer precisely. As mentioned at the top, it is true that streaming services are beginning to offer movies and programs that compare favorably with Ultra HD Blu-ray. They have 4K resolution, HDR and, increasingly, also support advanced surround formats such as Dolby Atmos. It is possible that this technological invasion is the reason why Samsung decided to leave the market for Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray players in the US. UU., After a similar Oppo movement.

However, it is worth noting that, although the transmission of eclipse media for DVD quality has long been, these discs are still produced and still find an audience that is willing to buy them. In fact, most disc-based sales are still in DVD format. If the longevity of the DVD is an indicator, Ultra HD Blu-ray may be available for a decade or more.

So there you have it: everything we know about Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players so far. We will make sure to continue updating this article as things evolve.

* Updated by Mara Teresa Lopes on May 28, 2019.

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