What is Ultra HD Blu-ray?

Blu-ray – long preferred by movie buffs – gets its long-awaited 4K UHD upgrade. Find out what all the fuss is about…


Home cinema enthusiasts love Blu-ray for its fantastic picture quality and impressive audio, but the arrival of 4K TVs have left original Blu-ray players and discs behind. Now we have Ultra HD Blu-ray and 4K discs – the Blu-ray player your 4K TV deserves…Panasonic DMP UB900K

Ultra HD Blu-ray – why do we need it?

When Full HD was the sharpest TV resolution around, Blu-ray was the perfect complement. But now 4K TVs have arrived and upped the game, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players are the way to go.

Is 4K Blu-ray better than the original?

In a word, yes. It’s far superior to both 4K streaming (from Netflix and Amazon Prime) and original Blu-ray discs in terms of picture quality. Of course you have to pair it with a 4K TV, but to get the best from it we recommend a newer 4K HDR TV. That’s because Ultra HD Blu-ray players and discs make use of HDR, a video format that takes a 4K picture and makes it even better. 

What is HDR TV?

Expect to notice layers of subtle detail in dark scenes, with nuanced shading and textures. Brighter scenes pop from the screen, while colours are incredibly vibrant and plentiful, with shades much closer to what you see in real life.HDR TV

Everything feels more lifelike and crisp thanks to…

  • 4 times the resolution of regular Blu-ray means more detail, depth and sharpness
  • HDR dramatically improves colour and contrast with layers of extra detail between bright and dark
  • Better colour with support for 10 or 12-bit colour depth and much wider range of colours
  • High frame rates make fast-moving action much more exciting (up to 60 frames p/second)


How does it look in action?

20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures are among the studios releasing 4K Blu-ray discs. The Revenant for example has been hailed for the incredible detail, vibrant colours and high levels of accuracy when played in the format. While the greater sense of depth gives you an immersive viewing experience you just wouldn’t get on a regular Blu-ray disc.


Can I still play my old Blu-ray discs?

Yes. Ultra HD Blu-ray players are what’s called ‘backwards compatible’. So if you’ve got an existing Blu-ray collection, you’ll still be able to watch them on a 4K player.HD Blu Ray

What Ultra HD Blu-ray players can I buy?

Panasonic and Samsung make 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players. The Panasonic DMP-UB900 is a premium model that won a 5-star rating from What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision. The Samsung UBD-K8500 is a lower priced option but still offers excellent picture quality and sound. Then there’s the Xbox One S which also has a built-in 4K Blu-ray drive. 

Browse our 4K Blu-ray players


What movies can I watch in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray?

There are heaps of 4K Blu-ray movies to buy from the biggest film studios in the world, including:

  • 20th Century Fox: The Martian, The Revenant, Deadpool, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Fantastic Four, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Life of Pi
  • Sony: The 5th Wave, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Angry Birds Movie, Pineapple Express, The Da Vinci Code, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
  • Universal Pictures: Jason Bourne, Warcraft, Everest, Lone Survivor, Lucy, Oblivion, The Secret Life of Pets
  • Paramount: Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness

Lionsgate: The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, The Expendables 3, Sicaro and The Last Witch Hunter

Want to get the best movie experience? Find home cinema, Blu-ray players and soundbars with us.