The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has revealed that specifications for 4K Blu-ray discs are almost complete, and that movie lovers will be able to purchase 4K Blu-ray players by holiday 2015.
The BDA made the announcement at the IFA electronics trade show, and also provided some details about the technical aspects of the format.
In addition to offering four times the number of pixels as current 1080p Blu-ray movies, the new 4K specifications will also add other picture quality improvements including a wider color gamut (using the BT.2020 standard, which ups the visible color spectrum from the current 30-35% to 70-80%) and a greater dynamic range (with bit depth increasing from 8-bit to 10-bit). 60 FPS content will also be supported, at 4K resolution.
Further technical details include the fact that existing 50GB Blu-ray discs will be used, but a new codec, HEVC/H.265 will be used instead of the current AVC/H.264 standard. The new more efficient codec will allow 4K movies to be stored without greatly increasing the need for larger capacity discs. The data transfer rate for 4K Blu-ray discs is also expected to rise to up to 100 Mbps.
Larger capacity discs are also under consideration, with 66GB and 100GB discs all being considered for future use.
New DRM schemes will also be introduced on the new 4K discs to prevent unauthorized copying.
The BDA plans to start licensing the new 4K standard in early to middle 2015, with consumers products expected to be available in time for the 2015 holiday shopping period.