Samsung and Fox roll out the first 4K Blu-ray player and discs

The emerging Ultra HD/4K video format received a boost with the introduction of the first Ultra HD Blu-ray and associated packaged media titles.

Appearing at the IFA 2015 trade show in Berlin this week, Samsung introduced the UBD-K8500, which can not only play 4K-resolution disc titles, but can also stream 4K programming and up convert conventional Blu-ray HD titles to Ultra HD resolution.

The device also supports HDR content and can play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs at up to 60 frames per second. Samsung said it would introduce the player at retail as soon as early 2016.

Appearing at the same press conference, 21st Century Fox's home entertainment unit Chief Mike Dunn vowed to be the first studio to support Ultra HD out of the gate. He said Fox would not only release all of its new movies in the format, but would also issue recent hits such as Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Life of Pi and Fantastic Four

"Seeing is believing," Dunn said at the press conference. "When my colleagues and I at Fox first saw the side-by-side comparison of Ultra HD with High Dynamic Range versus HD, it was reminiscent of the difference between standard def and high def. This is a massive leap forward for the consumer experience."

Fox's introduction of recent theatrical movie titles is key to an overall 4K market that has seen a robust uptick in display shipments and sales, but little in the way of available content. DirecTV (NYSE: T), for example, launched the U.S. pay-TV market's first 4K service nine months ago. But the selection of available programming titles has not expanded from the handful of several-year-old Paramount theatrical films and K2 nature documentaries that were available when the service launched. 

For more:
- read this Variety story
- read this CNET story
- read this Hollywood Reporter story

Related articles:
HEVC Advance patent pool announces pricing, CEO; threatens to disrupt 4K market
YouTube experiments with 4K video at 60 fps
AT&T's DirecTV debuts new 4K set-top box, 4K Genie Mini