The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has completed the specification for its new Ultra HD Blu-ray format and released the new logo that will delineate Ultra HD Blu-ray products. The move is seen a key step in the fight-back by the physical media industry against what is expected to be a sharp decline in physical media consumption as 4K/UHD gains adoption. In addition to delivering content in up-to 3840×2160 resolution, the Ultra HD Blu-ray format enables delivery of a significantly expanded colour range and allows for the delivery of high dynamic range (HDR) and high frame rate content. Next-generation immersive, object-based sound formats will also be delivered via the specification according to the BDA.An optional digital bridge feature is designed to enable the consumer to view their content across multiple in-home and mobile devices.The specification also mandates all new Ultra HD Blu-ray players be capable of playing back current Blu-ray Discs, ensuring that equipment can be used to view an extensive existing catalogue of content.Licensing of Ultra HD Blu-ray is scheduled to begin this summer. The BDA said it was working closely with industry leaders in the authoring, testing, certification and replication industries to develop the tools and process needed to ensure interoperability between players and software.Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will use the H.265 video format and will come as double- and triple-layer discs with 66GB and 100GB capacity respectively.“For years, Blu-ray Disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home. Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment,” said Victor Matsuda, chair, BDA Promotions Committee. “The technical capabilities of Blu-ray Disc, in particular its significant storage capacity and high data transfer rates, will enable the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable UHD experience.”
Altice France has unveiled a number of new value-added services to its TV offering.The group has launched a new catch-up TV interface and services for its BFM TV, BFM Business, RMC Story and RMC Découverte channels.Altice said that its new offering included an immersive interface that gives rapid access to video-on-demand services. Catch-up availability will be extended beyond the current seven-day limit and other features are to follow in the coming weeks, including the ability to take up viewing from the point where it was left off, favourite lists and series linking.Altice will also provide all episodes of certain new series immediately.In addition to being accessible via Altice’s SFR set-tops, the new service will be extended to Bouygues Telecom’s TV offering in the near future.Altice France remains at loggerheads with rival ISP Free, which has refused to pay for carriage of its channels on the model successfully fought for by national broadcaster TF1. The pair have been in dispute over the terms of carriage of the channels since March.Altice’s current contract with Orange is meanwhile set to expire this month, leading to a potential clash with that operator over the terms of carriage of its services.