Panasonic teases 4K Blu-ray player

Panasonic's prototype of next generation Blu-ray disc player

Although only a prototype, the new player could soon solve the problem of finding and watching native content on ultra-high definition television sets.

Panasonic claims that the new technology is a true breakthrough in that it represents the world's first capable of supporting playback at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels and at 60 frames a second and as such is a major step towards simplifying how consumers watch 4K Ultra HD content in their homes.

However, there is a catch. The player might already work but it's built on principles and standards that are yet to be officially confirmed. The development of the technology behind each generation of the Blu-ray Disc is overseen by the Blu-ray Disc Association and it is yet to finalize the standards that the next iteration of the disc will adhere to.

But Panasonic isn't some eccentric tech maverick, rather it is a founding member of the association and like Sony has been one of the driving forces behind the format's continued development over the past 13 years.
The sooner the standards can be agreed upon, the better because even two years after ultra-high-definition televisions came to market, finding native content -- either via legal downloads or streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or DirectTV -- is still a challenge, especially for consumers with less than top-notch internet broadband connecting their homes.

According to data published by the Consumer Electronics Association -- the organization that hosts the International CES, the market for 4K Ultra-high definition TVs and computer displays is poised to grow by over 200% over the coming year. One third of US consumers are expected to snap up a TV or computer monitor that supports the technology over the next three years, and in 2015 alone, four million UHDTVs or displays will ship.

"4K UHD is our future, and the future is now," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "Consumers recognize that 4K Ultra HD is the next step forward in a long line of outstanding high-definition televisions and displays."

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