How is 4K Blu-ray different from regular Blu-ray?

Blu-ray is a digital optical disc storage format that was released in 2006. It got its name “Blu-ray” from the blue-colored laser used to read the disc. This blue laser allows the Blu-ray disc to store more information as compared to the red laser used by DVD disks. 4K Blu-ray Disks, also known as Ultra HD Blu-ray or UHD-BD, is a variant of the Blu-ray disk format. We know the differences between 4K Blu-ray because the difference is huge but what about 4K Blu-ray and the regular Blu-ray?

There are several differences between 4K Blu-ray format and the regular Blu-ray format. If you’re wondering which one is better for your movie, check out what makes 4K blu-ray superior:

Resolution

Resolution is a not so obvious difference between these two formats, especially when you do not have a large 4K TV. However, if we are speaking technically this difference has a very huge gap since 4K Blu-ray, in both vertical and horizontal directions, has twice the regular Blu-ray’s resolution. The regular Blu-ray has a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, while 4K Blu-ray has 3840×2160 pixels, UltraHD.

Newer and More Efficient Video Codec

The video codec used by 4K Blu-ray format is the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) or H.265 while the regular Blu-ray format uses the Advanced Video Coding (AVC) or H.264. Both codecs store information by comparing different parts of a video frame to find the redundant frames among the consecutive frames. Macroblocks, units used by AVC coding, can process a maximum of 16×16 blocks, while Coding Tree Units (CTU), units used by HEVC, can process 64×64 blocks at most. This processing of 64×64 blocks in one go gives HEVC the ability to compress information more efficiently. HEVC gives us a better visual quality at a lower storage while also encoding motion vectors at greater precision.

Newer Version of AACS Security Facility

AACS or Advanced Access Content System is a standard for content distribution and digital rights management. This restricts people from copying or replicating videos from DVDs. AACS has a new version called the AACS 2.0. It has an enhanced DRM that requires the playback device to download the decryption key through the internet. Unlike the regular Blu-ray which uses the older version of AACS, the 4K Blu-ray is much more protected as it uses the AACS 2.0. Some films in 4K Blu-ray, like Fury and Zombieland use the AASC 2.1 version.

New Color Model

The new color model is based off of the ITU-R Recommendation BT.2020 commonly known as BT.2020 or Rec.2020. This was released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It defined the aspects of UltraHD televisions which mostly focused on its system of colorimetry. It gave a wide range of color gamut and added real colors to make the viewers’ experience better. This BT.2020 was especially made for 4K Blu-ray format.

Supports HDR

HDR or High-dynamic-range video implies wide color gamut as it is capable of capturing and displaying brighter whites and darker blacks. It gives more depth to the scenes visually as it allows bright scenes to be brighter and dark scenes to be darker. 4K Blu-ray has a mandatory support for the HDR10 Media Profile video and optional support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Philips/Technicolor’s SL-HDR2. The regular Blu-ray, on the other hand, does not support HDR.

Higher Storage Capacity

4K Blu-ray format has a higher resolution and additional technology, therefore needing a higher storage capacity. It has 50 GB for dual-layer with 92mbps, 66 GB for dual-layer with 144 mbps, and 100 GB for triple-layer with 144 mbps. On the other hand, the regular Blu-ray format has 25 GB for single layer and 50 GB for dual layer.

Compatibility

4K Blu-ray format is not compatible with just anything. You need to have a 4K Blu-ray player in order to play your discs. If you don’t, and you only have a Blu-ray player then your film or game will not play. You also need to have a 4K television or monitor to view the film or game in full 4K resolution. If you do not, it will just be a waste of money buying the 4K Blu-ray discs. Regular Blu-ray discs, in contrast, will be compatible with these equipment.

Price

This is a given already, especially if you do not have the compatible equipment. You will have to buy the 4K Blu-ray player, which is pricier than regular Blu-ray players, and the 4K tv or monitor. Since it is a better version of the Blu-ray format, it costs more compared to the regular Blu-ray.

Here is a list of optical disc manufacturers in case you want to know more about the best options if you want the best disc for video. You can’t deny that 4k Blu-ray is more badass compared to the regular bluray but in order to see and feel the difference, you have to have the right players and systems. Consumers will have the high visual quality they will surely enjoy. Film and game distributors get to protect their content from rippers and they can have more information put in one disc. Another benefit they’ll have would be the consumers’ satisfaction which will boost the 4K Blu-ray disc sales. Two disadvantages would be the last two differences as it involves money, but that’s just a one time problem. If you already have those equipment, then you won’t have any problems in the future.