We have been waiting a while for this, but now pleased to report that 4K Blu-ray players and movies are now available.
What is Ultra HD ‘4K’ Blu-ray?
Ultra HD ‘4K’ Blu-ray discs are a new format of media that support a resolution of 3840 x 2160 as well as high dynamic range (HDR) and higher frame rates. In English… this means a better picture, with better sound, better colour – and basically… better everything!
What do you need to be able to watch a 4K Blu-ray?
Firstly you will need an Ultra HD ‘4K’ TV. The prices on these have come down considerably and are very affordable now in a range of sizes and brands.
Then you will need an Ultra HD ‘4K’ Blu-ray player. There are still limited options on the market right now. We went with the latest Microsoft Xbox One S as it doubles as a console and a 4K Bluray player. These start from around $350 for a standalone console but can cost much more depending on specs and bundled games. If games arent your thing then your next option is a Samsung HDR Blu-Ray player. These retail around the $600 so are not cheap considering they can really only do one thing.
Then finally you will need a movie on a 4K Bluray disc. These are also still quite expensive and vary from $25- $50 depending on how new the movie is. The selection of movies that we found at local stores was quite dismal and we would suggest that looking online might be a more feasible option for now.
We opted for an Xbox One S bundle with a “free” Ultra HD 4k movie – and chose Xmen: Apocalypse. We already had the 4K TV (a Sony that we are very happy with) so sat down last night to see if it is worth the hype.
If you have been addicted to Netflix/Stan/Presto (as we have) then the first thing you will notice that is significantly improved, aside from the picture, is the sound quality. When you get used to the average sound quality on the streaming services you almost forget how good the sound can actually be. Using a Sony soundbar the quality was great – though not sure our neighbours would have agreed on this!
The colours and detail were better. Better colours, blacker blacks, more clarity in the image.
Was it a noticeable improvement? Yes. Is it worth the extra for a Ultra HD 4K Bluray over the price of a HD Bluray? For now, I am not convinced. The 4K Bluray for xMen: Apocalypse retails at JB Hi Fi for $44.98 while the normal bluray comes in at $29.98. That’s 50% more expensive and I’m not entirely convinced it is 50% better.
For me, when the price drops some more than Ill be more tempted to pick up some Ultra HD blurays – and surely as they get more popular this will happen. Until then, its back to Netflix and Stan for me!