Will 4K Blu-ray succeed as a consumer format? We're about to find out.
According to a number of sources, Samsung has just announced its first 4K (UHD) Blu-ray player.
The player, which will also support 60 frames per second and HDR (High Dynamic Range) content, will launch in early 2016.
We've been expecting this, but this is the first concrete commitment to a product launch and a date.
Will it take off as the new consumer format? There's certainly as much of a case for it as against it. In its favour: people like owning disks. They understand them and that their media is on them. They're easy to manage (you stack them on a shelf), and there's no massive download time.
And this could be the thing that makes or breaks the format. People also like the flexibility of downloading films. What might be the deciding factor is if by the time 4K Blu-ray becomes commonplace (if it does), will broadband speeds have reached the point where downloading 4K films is no longer an endurance trial?
So this is, in a real sense, a race between two formats: online and physical.
Another factor is how much 4K content is available. Apparently 20th Century Fox has committed to making a brace of films available in the higher quality format. But with upscaling HD Blu-ray players easily available, how many viewers are going to pay the extra for the new disks?
Some people love their favourite films so much, that they might. On the other hand, some people are still watching in standard definition, in the wrong aspect ratio. We're guessing that these won't upgrade immediately.