Multiple Ultra HD Blu-ray players made their debut at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, and now early adopters can start ordering the disks that will play on these devices. Amazon recently made numerous 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray films available for pre-order, heralded by the home video release of The Martian, which has a release date set for March 1.
The latest format supports high dynamic range (HDR) technology to provide a much higher contrast between the light and dark images on screen, as well as more vivid colors. Matching that technology with Ultra HD resolution makes for the best picture quality available in a personal home theater system. Pricing is slightly higher than a standard Blu-ray, as one might expect. However, it's not the super-premium you might expect: The 4K Ultra HD version of The Martian, for example, is set at $30, compared to $20 for standard Blu-ray.
Other films currently available for pre-order on Amazon include Kingsman: The Secret Service, Exodus, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Each of the titles are priced at just $30, and set with a March 1 release date, lined up dangerously close to the expected release of the new line of Ultra HD Blu-ray players, such as the $400 Samsung UBD-K8500, available for pre-order now.
The release briefly flew under the radar, with select titles offering a new category in the ordering pane, simply marked "4K."
As HD Reports points out, all of the new releases available on Amazon so far appear to be from 2oth Century Fox, with Wild, The Maze Runner, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Hitman Agent 47, and Fantastic Four also available.
While 2oth Century Fox's collection is the first we've seen available for pre-order, Warner Bros., Sony, and Lionsgate have all announced a slate of Ultra HD Blu-ray releases. From Warner Bros., we can expect action films such as Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, and Man of Steel. Sony Pictures has slated The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Salt, Hancock, Chappie, Pineapple Express, and The Smurfs 2. And for its part, Lionsgate has announced Sicario, The Last Witch Hunter, Ender's Game, and The Expendables 3. So far, only 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate have announced March 1 release dates. Sony and Warner Bros. may follow suit in the near future.
With 4K Ultra HD televisions becoming more popular (not to mention more affordable) and Ultra HD Blu-ray players on the way from Samsung, Panasonic, and Phillips, it will be interesting to see if viewers bite on the fancy new optical format, or settle for the convenience of streaming and other digital options.