This year, we’ve been talking a lot about Ultra HD (4K) TV. If you’re still sort of confused, you may want to read Grant Clauser’s “Almost Everything You Need to Know About Ultra HD 4K TVs” before you go any further. However, if you’re already a proud 4K TV owner or about to be one, it’s time to accessorize.
You’re absolutely going to need a 4K-capable receiver if you want to pass a 4K source through your receiver before it hits the TV. Luckily, there are a lot of those on the market already. A 4K-capable Blu-ray player is probably not something you’re thinking about—but you should be.
Before we continue, let’s get this out of the way: There is no such thing as a 4K Blu-ray disc. At least, there’s no such thing now.
Maybe you saw Sony’s “Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray releases last year. These are not 4K Blu-rays. According to Sony, each of the titles were “sourced from pristine 4K masters and presented at high-bitrate 1080p resolution.” So, it’s basically a Blu-ray. However, when paired with one of Sony’s 4K TVs (or any 4K TV, for that matter), the image promises to be near-4K, without any other special equipment.
Just know that 4K Blu-rays are something that’s in the works. That doesn’t do you a lot of good right now, though.
What does do some good is a Blu-ray player that can upscale to 4K. That means that the player has processing power inside that can take full HD and SD content and tweak it to look very close to the type of quality you’d expect from a 4K viewing experience. Several of the TVs have 4K upscaling inside, so maybe you don’t need a player. As Clauser says, “Some players will do the job better than the TV, and you just don’t know until you try.”
Thankfully, all of the current 4K-capable players out there work with standard HDTVs and are very similar to other Blu-ray players, offering playback of Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs, as well as smart TV features. Many also throw in 3D effects (all 4K TVs are 3D TVs, of course), others add in SACD and DVD-A, and some even have high-resolution audio DACs. That 4K processing power is key, though—and needs to be paired with a 4K TV to be noticeable.
You probably already have a Blu-ray player, and if it’s a new one, it may have upscaling features. If not, take a peek at our slideshow of 7 Blu-ray Players for Your 4K Home Theater.
Also Check Out:
Almost Everything You Need to Know About Ultra HD 4K TVs
LG to Start Selling 105-inch 21:9 Curved Ultra HD TV
10 Top Home Theater Receivers for Under $1,000
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.