Panasonic is showcasing an Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player (BDP) prototype at CES 2014 and is the only exhibitor with such a device at the show. Digitimes Research believes Ultra HD BDPs will wait at least until the end of 2015 before hitting store shelves, but demand may pick up in 2016.
Panasonic's staff at CES told Digitimes Research that the Ultra HD BDP supports content in Ultra HD resolution, 60Hz refresh rate and 10bit grayscale technology and is encoded via HEVC (H.265) codec. As for the storage media, the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc (BD) will have two formats: dual-layers (66GB) and 3-layers (100GB). Currently, Full HD BD has two formats: single-layer (25GB) and dual-layers (50GB).
Compared to the pace of announcing BD support for the 3D format soon after arrival of 3D TVs, the Blu-ray Disc Association's (BDA) move to support Ultra HD content has been rather slow.
The Panasonic staff confirmed that BDA will announce Ultra HD BD starndards in the second quarter, but the company has not yet had a firm schedule for Ultra-HD BDP's mass production and could launch the device at the end of 2015.
With Ultra HD TVs' production approaching maturity, the birth of 60Hz SoC solutions in 2015 with the integration of HDMI 2.0 and HEVC, will prompt inexpensive Ultra HD TVs to appear in the market. The only obstacle to the Ultra HD TV market is the content.
Digitimes Research believes more Ultra HD content should be available after the establishment of the Ultra HD BD standards since many digital movies are being filmed using Ultra HD resolution and movies filmed using traditional film can also be digitalized to Ultra HD quality.
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