UHD Alliance announces Ultra HD Blu-ray player certification (and Apple yawns)

The UHD Alliance (UHDA), the inter-industry group charged with fostering the Ultra HD ecosystem and promoting the benefits of Ultra HD entertainment technology, has expanded the range of products that can bear the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo with announcement of certification and logo licensing for Ultra HD Blu-ray Players. Don’t expect Apple to care.

The Ultra HD Blu-Ray format supports Ultra HD 4K TV resolution (3840×2160) and enables high dynamic range (HDR), high frame rates and object-based immersive sound. It’s not clear how much demand there will be for the new format, the BDA, citing data from the IHS research group expects Ultra HD TV-owning households will grow from 11.7 million last year to 95.6 million by 2019.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray format will deliver high dynamic range content that significantly expands the range between the brightest and darkest elements and gives the consumer a more life-like viewing experience, according to Victor Matsuda, chair, BDA Promotions Committee. Additionally, the format provides expanded color range, high frame rate (up to 60fps) and up-to 3840x2160 resolution. 

The Ultra HD Blu-ray format will also deliver next-generation immersive, object-based sound formats. And, with the optional “digital bridge” feature, the specification enhances the value of content ownership by embracing the notion that a content purchase can enable the consumer to view their content across a wide range of in-home and mobile devices, says Matsuda.

The ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo, which was unveiled at CES 2016, helps consumers identify televisions, content, content services, and now, playback devices. The UHDA says the Ultra HD market “is expected to grow eightfold by 2019.” The organization says there are already 30 televisions already certified with the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo, and “many more anticipated throughout the year.”

“The certification of Ultra HD Blu-ray players is a natural first expansion, because the Ultra HD Blu-ray format was built with premium performance in mind and a growing number of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc titles released by Hollywood also bear the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo,” says UHD Alliance President Hanno Basse.

In follow up to the addition of Ultra HD Blu-ray players to ULTRA HD PREMIUM family, the UHDA is currently studying live broadcast of UHD content with an eye toward identifying key technical issues and developing a premium standard for live broadcast content.

Apple was once part of the Blu-Ray Association, but never offered Mac support for Blu-ray discs. The company it wants you to rent and buy all your media at the iTunes Store, not buy physical discs. On the flip side, no ultra HD or 4K movies are available at the store. Let’s hope Apple gets behind the 4K movement, even though it won’t support Ultra HD Blu-ray.