viernes, 8 de abril de 2016

Paramount launching into Ultra HD Blu-ray with Star Trek

Kirk and Spock are set to explore the strange new world of Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. Kirk and Spock are set to explore the strange new world of Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. Photo: Zade Rosenthal
Boldly going where no movie has gone before, Paramount is releasing Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness on Ultra HD Blu-ray in June as the studio's first foray into the new movie disc format.
The two-movie set will go on sale in the United States on June 14, selling for US$47.99 which includes UHD, Blu-ray and Digital HD copies of each movie along with several hours of behind the scenes content for both films including the IMAX version of Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Meanwhile Australians remain in Ultra HD Blu-ray limbo, we've had Ultra HD televisions for several years and prices are falling but we're still waiting for the home entertainment giants to unveil details of the first local Ultra HD disc players (word is that we might know more in May).
Ultra HD Blu-ray players are expected to be on Australian shelves this year and will be backwards compatible with Blu-ray discs with the added bonus of Ultra HD upscaling. As with previous disc formats the manufacturers will certainly coordinate with the movie studios to ensure that at least a handful of blockbuster UHD titles are available from day one.
The good news for Australians is that the new Ultra HD disc format is region-free, so discs imported from the US should play in Australian players. Keep in mind that the bundled Star Trek Blu-ray discs will be Region A for the US, whereas Australia is in Region B. Australians are better off buying Blu-ray discs from Europe, which is also Region B. Most region-free Blu-ray players sold in Australia are only region-free for DVD, not Blu-ray.
It's surprising that the movie studios are prepared to abandon region coding when it makes it easier for them to price gouge around the world, so it will be interesting to see how UHD discs are priced and what other roadblocks they put in the way. That US$47.99 price tag for Star Trek translates to about AU$64 – I'd expect it to be higher but they can't get too greedy considering that US Amazon doesn't seem to restrict shipping UHD discs to Australia, if The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is anything to go by.
In the US, streaming services such as Netflix and Sony's new "Ultra" movie store are expected to drive the take up of Ultra HD, but it will be a different story in Australia where Ultra HD streaming remains beyond the reach of many homes until the NBN reaches their doorstep. Right now only 8.2 per cent of homes have access to fixed-line broadband speeds of 15 Mbps, according to the latest Akamai State of the Internet report, which is barely enough to do Ultra HD justice (HDR-enabled content demands more).
Of course there's more to picture quality than resolution and 1080p streaming video doesn't look as good as 1080p Blu-ray discs. It will be interesting to see how Ultra HD streaming video stands up against the same content playing from disc. To sweeten the deal, Star Trek on UHD also features the high-end Dolby Atmos surround sound format.


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