With PC's popularity waning, the lack of Ultra HD Blu-ray support is unsurprising, but there are still a sizable group of people who use their PCs as their primary entertainment device, or use modified Home Theater PCs as their media hub.
Starting next month, these people will finally be able to upgrade their PCs to enable Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, thanks to the introduction of UHD Blu-ray optical drives and a new custom version of PowerDVD that will be able to play the latest 4K movies.
Cyberlink, the makers of PowerDVD, announced this week that a special custom version of PowerDVD that's not yet available at retail will ship with Pioneer's new UHD Blu-ray drives (models BDR-S11J-BK & BDR-S11J-X). The new UHD Blu-ray drives will be made available to buy at the end of February.
The other hardware and software requirements of Ultra HD Blu-ray playback on the PC, however, is extensive. Just like the requirement for Netflix 4K on PCs, a special combination of CPU and GPU is needed not only to support the enhanced resolution and HDR functionality, but to cater for the format's copy protection requirements.
The minimum requirement sees an Intel Kaby Lake S or H series CPU, and a GPU/motherboard that supports HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2. A GPU and monitor combo that supports HDR will also be needed to get the best out of UHD Blu-ray.
As for Pioneer's new UHD Blu-ray drives, these are capable of reading and writing standard Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs, and of course, capable of reading the triple layered Ultra HD Blu-ray discs a 4x speed.