Despite 4K content being available in various forms in the UK already, such as on online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, physical 4K content has only just become available.
Launching on April 11 is a wide variety of new 4K Blu-rays, although users will need to own a 4K Blu-ray player to take advantage of the content – and currently only one is available on the open market.
A total of 12 Blu-rays launched on April 11, with the content varying in quality and age. Current titles include Mad Max: Fury Road, Life of Pi and even the poorly rated Fantastic Four.
Pricing for the 4K Blu-ray titles is significantly higher than a monthly subscription to Netflix however, with UK retailers such as Zavvi and HMV commanding a price of around £20-25. If that price is a little too hard to swallow, then news that 4K Blu-rays are not content locked will likely come as a nice surprise. That means anyone buying discs from the US or other nations will be able to play them in the UK.
Watching these 4K Blu-rays is currently a difficult process in the UK. The only manufacturer to offer a Blu-ray player capable of playing the higher resolution content is Panasonic and users will have to pay a higher premium for that player. Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 4K Blu-ray player costs around £600.
Samsung is also set to make its 4K Blu-ray player available for sale, but an exact release date has yet to be announced. That player is already up for pre-order for £429. So those earlier adopter clients that want the technology ASAP have a couple options, with more likely to come this year.
Many pundits have already claimed that 4K Blu-rays have already ‘died’ before their launch due to the proliferation of 4K streaming services. While lovers of physical discs will likely disagree, initial excitement surrounding 4K Blu-rays tends to be lukewarm at best.