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Will the New 4K Blu-rays Offer a Better Picture?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (May 2, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I was reading about these new Blu-ray movies that were supposedly mastered in 4K. What does that mean and will they produce a better picture on my regular HDTV? --- Tommy, Joplin, Missouri.

On May 14, Sony will release
10 Blu-ray movies that it says has been "mastered in 4K," the new format that purports to offer a resolution four times greater than today's 1080p sets. When Sony says the discs have been mastered in 4K, that means it took the original video source for the movies and then enhanced and modified them so they will more closely fit the specifications of a 4K video.

That movies, which include classics like Taxi Driver and Ghostbusters as well as modern day films such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Total Recall, range in price from $14.99 to $36.89 and can be played on any existing Blu-ray player. (
See this link
for more information on how to order them.)

When Sony introduced the 4K discs last January at the Consumer Electronics Show, it said they would provide a "near 4K picture quality" when upscaled on a Sony 4K Ultra HDTV, or presumably, any 4K TV.

But what about your question? Will they look better than a normal Blu-ray disc on your 1080p HDTV?

I am going to defer to CNET who recently had an opportunity to discuss the discs with the technical staff at Sony Pictures. According to CNET, the mastered in 4K disc will be regarded as offering the best picture quality of any Blu-ray disc yet.

CNET writes that the discs will have an enhanced bitrate because they will not include the usual extras like director commentaries. Most Blu-ray titles normally have a bitrate of somewhere between 24Mbps to 30Mbps, but the mastered in 4K disc will reach 35 to 38. CNET notes that should produce a clearer picture and one with less blurring in scenes that depict fast motion.

Blu-ray, of course, already delivers the best picture on the market, but the prospect of getting an even better picture is intriguing. I look forward to getting a first-hand look later this month when the discs are released.

Again, see this link for more information on how to order the 'mastered in 4K' discs.

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