The specifications for Ultra HD Blu-ray are expected to be formerly announced in mid-2015, but the chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association's global promotions committee has revealed some of the advantages the format will have over 4K streaming services.
Speaking to What Hi-Fi, Victor Matsuda revealed that Ultra HD Blu-ray, the name the BDA has adopted over the more commonly suggested 4K Blu-ray, will offer High Dynamic Range (HDR) video, and a wider colour gamut and bit depth.
In addition, because a physical disc format has a much greater bandwidth in which to transfer data, speeds can far exceed the 15mbps that Netflix is aiming for with its own 4K streaming service. Indeed, Ultra HD Blu-ray will offer data transfer speeds of up to 108mbps for 66GB dual-layer discs, up to 128mbps for 100GB triple-layer discs.
The discs will also be capable of playing 4K (3840 x 2160) video at 60 frames per second.
The only question that will remain though is does that matter to the normal consumer?
Purists and home cinema aficionados will be cock-a-hoop over the potential of enhanced visuals, but the difference to many could be almost imperceptible. HEVC (H.265) encoding is extremely efficient in ensuring quality at smaller file sizes. And Netflix is already promising high frame rate and HDR streamed content.
Also, with Ultra HD Blu-ray not due to hit the market until the end of 2015, the likelihood - based on former case examples - is that it will take considerably longer for a significant amount of content to be available on the format. Will Netflix, Amazon and other services therefore have already firmly established themselves in the 4K sector by then?
Matsuda believes there will be space for both. "[Ultra HD Blu-ray is] a closed environment and much more stable. We want to be the 'best of the best' for picture quality. Streaming can be quite unstable, it depends on your internet service and how many people are online," he said.