Don’t expect any 4K Blu-ray this year

 4K Blu-ray mastered

If you’re in the market for a 4K Ultra HDTV and were hoping to be among the first to snag 4K Blu-ray movies, it looks like you’ll have to wait another year.

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) had assigned a task force made up of BDA member studios, electronics manufacturers and media companies last year to figure out the best way to make 4K content applicable to the Blu-ray format. Evidently, the task force’s findings through the first quarter of this year have led to a number of proposals that have yet to be publicized, but the main point is that 4K Blu-rays will not be manufactured and marketed this year.

The next move is to get input from content creators to better understand specifications and how the technology can be utilized in different ways. The findings would then be presented to the BDA board of directors later in the year. That process essentially kills any possibility of the format coming to market this year, as manufacturers look to capture early adopters itching to have the latest TV technology.

Interestingly, a key hurdle in 4K Blu-ray development is backward compatibility, with experts mulling over the merits of how to do it, and whether they should even bother in the first place. These next steps may determine if the format that ultimately hits retail is a dual 4K Blu-ray format or just 4K only.

Sony, which is pushing 4K hard, has already begun producing “Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray discs that are not actually 4K. Instead, they’re regular 1080p discs made from digitally re-mastered movies that are apparently optimized for 4K Ultra HD TVs. Think up-converting with a 4K twist. The first batch of 15 is expected to come out in just two weeks.

The lack of 4K Blu-ray this year leads to a content delivery gap that may only be filled by streaming services, like the one Sony teased about at CES in January. No details have been revealed about how such a service would actually work or what it would cost, but early 4K adopters will find that these are the only avenues to enjoying 4K content on that brand new Ultra HD TV.

Home Theater

Samsung will reportedly no longer make 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players

A report claims that Samsung, the first company to produce a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, is now exiting that market entirely. The move comes after Oppo Digital made the same decision last year.
Deals

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for February 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Home Theater

8K TV: Everything you need to know about the future of television

4K TVs may seem relatively new, but there's another even higher-resolution display technology already here: 8K TV. Should you upgrade? We've got the answers to that question and more.
Home Theater

Here’s why you’re not getting Netflix in HD or 4K, and how to fix it

Are you having trouble watching your favorite movies or TV shows on Netflix in HD or 4K? We explain why loading takes so long, why the picture quality fluctuates, and what you can do about it.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Outdoors

These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.
Product Review

Focal’s ultra-clear Sphear Wireless bring sexy back to banded Bluetooth buds

Focal’s Sphear Wireless are a sleek and simple pair of banded Bluetooth earbuds with exceptional sound and an affordable price, making them some of the only non-true wireless earbuds we’d consider buying right now.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Samsung 4K TVs during Presidents’ Day sale

With 8K TVs on the horizon, the cost of owning a 4K Ultra HD television has dropped pretty significantly in recent years, and this Walmart Presidents' Day sale is offering some great prices.
Home Theater

Apple will reportedly launch its new video-streaming service at March 25 event

The rumors about what Apple will announce at a March 25 event continue to swirl. A new report suggests that it will debut its much-anticipated video-streaming service, which will compete with Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video.
Home Theater

Bose’s technology patents could save an earbud’s battery life

Possibly taking a cue from Apple's popular AirPods, Bose filed a patent application for earbud IR technology that could save battery life, improve sound quality, and possibly help people locate lost earbuds.
Home Theater

ATSC 3.0: The next-gen TV update explained

ATSC 3.0 is the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today. Will this be the second coming of free, over-the-air TV? We're here to explain everything about the new standard.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.