At the IFA tech show in Berlin this week, Samsung showed off its first UHD Blu-ray player, the UBD-K8500.

According to CNET, the 4K UBD-K8500 can play at four times the resolution of a standard Blu-ray. with 64 times higher color expression. Additionally, 4K streaming services will be available through the player.

The UBD-K8500 will be the first actual product of its kind, although Panasonic did announce a prototype at CES this year.

The exact pricing hasn't been announced yet, but Samsung says it will cost less than $500, and will be available in the US and Europe in early 2016.

Ultra high definition TVs are beginning to release now, we just have to wait a few more months before the players come out.

The new player has a curved front, matching the new curved screens from Samsung. “The Ultra HD Blu-ray Player is set to launch in Europe in 2016, but we are still hopeful we may see a U.S. version in time for the holidays,” said Michael Zoller, vice president of visual displays for Samsung Europe.  One interesting addition mentioned at the press conference is Samsung’s intention to allow side loading content from the player, or future players to other types of devices with a “digital bridge”. 

 This will be done in cooperation with the studios and undoubtedly will be locked down securely with DRM.

A new disc format will be required for the 4K UHD movies, and the format specifications have already been established earlier this year.  20th Century Fox was at the press conference with Samsung and provided a preview of the the 4K experience with a clip from the movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Many older films will be reworked and released in this 4K format, as well as newer releases.  It appears that at least some of the studios intend to release 4K discs and also include a regular Blu-ray disc and a digital download for portable devices with each Ultra HD movie.

Many people have already shifted focus to streaming movies rather than physical discs, so this type of player and the UHD Blu-ray discs may remain a niche product, but there is no doubt that they will provide a superior picture to what is currently available for streaming online.  Netflix “4K” tops out at 50-60Mbps.  The new UHD discs will roughly double that bit rate.

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