Blu-ray Disc Association Settles on 8K Format

Our meeting with the Blu-ray Disc Association was to provide a review of the year’s activities and plans going forward. Perhaps the biggest news is that in December 2017, the specification for an 8K Blu-ray format was completed, which means products should be in place in time for the 2020 Olympics in Japan, which NHK has promised to broadcast in 8K.

The spec is for Japan only however, as it applies to next generation recording. The spec identifies how to transfer a hard disc recording to a Blu-ray medium or for direct recording to a Blu-ray disc. Over the air recording to hard disc or Blu-ray recorders is the predominant recording method in Japan. Licensing of the approach to record 4K/8K content at up to 100 Mbps to BD-R or BD-RE discs has now begun for the Japan market. More than two hours of 8K content (@ 100Mbps) can be recorded on BDXL discs (128GB – quad-layer, 100GB triple-layer).

The new standard supports the HEVC video codec of up to a maximum of 8K/60P as well as HDR (hybrid log gamma method). Furthermore, the MPEG4-AAC and MPEG4-ALS audio codecs are also supported. The new 4K/8K Satellite TV recordings will be protected by the AACS2 system.

The BDA is working closely with industry parties to develop tools and processes required to ensure the interoperability between recorders, players and software.

As for HDR, the HDR10 format is mandatory as the base layer for UHD Blu-ray discs. But the format allows optional formats as well. In December, the guideline went from revision 3.1 to 3.2 to formally update the way Dolby Vision and Philips/Technicolor are authored. Also adopted was information about HDR10+.

The other mission of BDA is consumer education. Based on some recent consumer survey data, they have identified a big gap in knowledge and awareness of UHD/4K (very good awareness) and HDR (not so great). As a result, they have an updated web site with videos created in coordination with the UHD Alliance, with similar themes.

Coming as no surprise, the BDA says sales of 4K TVs has been very strong – up 30% year-over-year. Global penetration should reach over 33% by 2020 and over 50% by 2020 in the US and Europe.

Blu-ray player platforms with UHD have increased from one model per company to multiple models per company. At the end of 2016, there were about 100 Blu-ray UHD titles. By the end of 2017, it had reached 250. Now Disney has finally joined the rest of the major Hollywood studios putting out UHD Blu-ray discs. (Disney Releasing First 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)