Originally Posted by Manni01
Thanks for the vote of confidence Chris, but these are meant for business use and the BDA has confirmed they were not expecting to use these for movie distribution.
Although I probably shouldn't disclose this before Mark decides what he wants to bet, I guess a full disclosure of my sources would be more fair so here goes.
Until last February, the BDA wouldn't say a word because they didn't want people to stop buying bluray once they knew a new format was on its way.
While I always hoped that the Bluray 4K was closer than Mark did, I wouldn't have bet anything then.
But at the IFA in Berlin the BDA confirmed for the first time that a task force had been set up about a year ago and was working hard on Bluray 4K
. They even detailed their goals and promised an "imminent" announcement
, which meant at the time by the end of this year, but I don't think we have much chances to see anything before Q1 2014. This info was published by many other sources
The second thing that was holding us back was that while we already had drives able to archive up to 128GB on bluray with BDXL (and that's the key thing, the technology for the Bluray 4K hardware, up to 128Gb with 4 layers or 100Gb with 3 layers and back compatible with standard blurays, already exists
and might even be included in the PS4), there was no mastering devices able to serialise the generation of mass-produced bd-roms, which is needed for commercial movies distribution.
This was announced more recently by Singulus
and again was published by a few sources
. This means that 100Gb blurays holding commercial movie content can now be mass produced.
Apart from HDMI 2.0 which was announced at Cedia, and along with updated content protection delivered by HDCP 2.2 (both thankfully present in the VW500ES), the final piece of the jigsaw for Bluray 4K was HEVC (x265), the new compression which is due to replace x264 used for blurays and which is twice as efficient. The HEVC standard has been officially submitted for approval in August 2012 and was approved in January 2013
. It is already implemented in some devices and can easily be updated by firmware should it be needed, provided the device has enough processing power.
If you add to all this 1) the fact that the internet bandwidth in the US is just sufficient to allow downloads of high quality 4K content (certainly not streaming), which means that people using say the Sony 4K server will have to wait for A DAY or more in many cases for the download of their movie to complete (and that's if just one movie doesn't explode their monthly download limit), and 2) that along with some rights issue the reason why Sony is not distributing its 4K server in the rest of the world is because internet bandwidth is not ready for the 45-60Gb files you need to download (even compressed using the Eye-IO technology which uses x.v.color), and 3) that most analysts don't expect the world pipes to be up to scratch for a decade, they desperately need a Bluray 4K to provide content (not limited to Sony movies) to most parts of the world, or they simply won't sell their UHD TV sets and projectors to more than a handful of people.
This is why I believe - just my personal opinion - that contrary to what most of us would hope for, which is a fixed and significantly wider gamut for Bluray 4K like rec2020 or DCI, we'll end up for Bluray 4K with the only options that most current consumer displays (including this year's Sony models) can support today and in the near future - at least until we get OLED for large TV sets and possibly Laser/LED for projectors - and that is either rec-709 or xvycc (x.v.color as part of Sony's Trilluminos). Sony probably has the clout to push x.v.color for Bluray 4K and most other manufacturers can support it (it's part of the HDMI specs since V1.3) even if it means in most cases that we'll get barely more than rec-709 on displays using current technologies.
Also, UHDTV is not expected before 2015 in most countries, and at the moment no consumer display or projector (including the VW500/600ES and the Sony VW1x00ES) is compatible with the standard drafted in ITU-R BT.2020
, primarily because of the 10.2Gbits/ limitation of the early HDMI 2.0 implementations at the HDMI 1.4 max speed of 10.2Gbits instead of the full HDMI 2.0 18Gbits (which limits 60p to 8 bits 420 when the requirements are 50 or 60p at 10 or 12 bits) and their limited native gamut which is not able to support rec2020.
So IMHO the whole industry - as well as us enthusiasts - desperately needs Bluray 4K, as it's not only the main source of commercial 4K content that is likely to be able to be distributed in the whole world before 2015, it's also the only one that projectors like the VW500ES are likely to be able to accept in the next couple of years, unless the ITU revises the UHDTV BT.2020 recommendations to accommodate more displays and makes some requirements (like the gamut and colour depth) optional or replaces them with less demanding ones.
Sony might just get away this year with offering no 4K commercial content outside of the U.S. but I don't think they'll be able to pull that off next year, or people will - rightly - start to wonder if any 4K commercial content is to come at all.
Here you go. I still believe the odds are strongly in Mark's favour, but at least you know why I volunteered to be a sucker