High definition has meant 1080p (1,920 by 1,080) resolution for years now, and it’s ready for an upgrade. That’s where UHD(ultra-high-definition) television or aka 4K comes in.
What is 4K?
4K resolution is a video specification that literally just means ‘4,000’. It gets its name from the approximately 4,000 pixels of width of the footage. Compared to earlier standards, 4K is significantly more detailed. If you look at 1080P footage, you’ll see that it has only 1920 pixels across while 4K has twice as many pixels horizontally, and four times as many pixels in total. There are three main 4K resolution standards:
UHD-1, or ultra-high-definition television (UHDTV), is the 4K standard for television and computer monitors. UHD-1 is also called 2160p as it has a resolution of 3840 × 2160 (16:9, or approximately a 1.78:1 aspect ratio), which is twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of 1080p, or three times the horizontal and vertical resolution of 720p. UHD-1 is used in consumer television and other media, e.g. video games.
UW4K is the ultra-wide 4K standard, with a resolution of 3840 × 1600, and an aspect ratio of 12:5 (2.4:1, or 21.6:9) This resolution is most commonly used on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and PC gaming monitors.
DCI 4K which has a resolution of 4096 × 2160 pixels (256:135, approximately a 1.9:1 aspect ratio). This standard is only used in the film and video production industry. The DCI 4K standard has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of DCI 2K.
4K resolution is gaining market share in recent years and is becoming more widely available online including on YouTube, Netflix and Amazon.
In 2014, Netflix began streaming House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and “some nature documentaries” at 4K to compatible televisions with an HEVC decoder. Amazon Studios also began shooting their full-length original series and new pilots with 4K resolution in the same year.
By 2015, 4K television market share had increased greatly as prices fell dramatically during 2014 and 2015.
In March 2016 the first players and discs for Ultra HD Blu-ray—a physical optical disc format supporting 4K resolution and HDR at 60 frames per second—were released.
In 2016, Sony and Microsoft released the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One S, respectively, both of which are video game consoles that support 4K streaming and gaming; the Xbox One S also features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive.
By 2025, more than half of U.S. households are expected to have a 4K-capable TV (2160p), which would be a much faster adoption rate than that of Full HD (1080p).
4K DVD Players Available on the Market
If you don’t have a 4K TV and you want to enjoy 4K at home, a 4K source video and a 4K player can still make that happen.
Thanks to Amazon and Netflix, there’s no need to worry about 4K source movies because they provide us a surprising amount of 4K content like Breaking Bad, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. If that isn’t enough, YouTube supports 4K video for anyone from studios to GoPro users. Besides streaming, you can actually buy 4K movies on physical media now. There are 4K dvds on the market for sale, and major studio releases are increasingly coming out on this new format. It is a very new format, though, so you’ll need a new player. Ultra HD Blu-ray players are still very rare and pretty expensive.
As for compatible players, we would like to recommend some excellent 4K dvd players for you:
Leawo Blu-ray Player
Leawo Blu-ray Player is the best all-inclusive media player software to play back quality-lossless Blu-ray movies on Windows, including Windows 8.1/8/7/XP/Vista.
As professional Blu-ray media player software, it could play back all Blu-ray discs in the market, Blu-ray folders and Blu-ray ISO files. It is also a totally free DVD player to offer lifelong free service for playing DVD discs, DVD folders, DVD ISO files and IFO files. Besides, this Blu-ray media player software is still a cost-free video player to play back common videos in AVI, MPEG, WMV, MP4, FLV, RMVB, MOV, Xvid, 3GP, etc. and up to 1080P HD videos in HD MP4, HD AVI, HD MOV, HD TS, HD TRP, HD VOB, HD MPG, HD WMV, HD ASF, etc.
Leawo Blu-ray Player could play back audio files with visualized interface for better music enjoying, in AAC, AC3, MP3, M4A, MKA, WAV, WMA, etc. For better user experience, it provides detailed navigation and full playback control and allows people to adjust subtitles, audio tracks and videos during playback, customize background picture and switch program skins, support multi-languages and multiple screen displays, etc. With Leawo Blu-ray Player, HD movie enjoyment on Windows would be greatly improved.
Guide on how to use it:
Step 1. Download and launch Leawo Blu-ray Player.
Step 2. Settings
Right click on the program interface, choose “player setting” on the pop up window. Then you will see a new window where you can set everything you would expect from a video player, playback buttons, subtitles, snapshot, skin, you name it.
Step 3. Add files.
If you have a 4K DVD inserted in your disk, the program would automatically detect it to play back. If not, you can click the left Open File box on the main interface of the program to navigate to 4K movies.
In this step, you can also change the file name, check the file reordering, file previewing, etc.
Step 4. Hit play button and enjoy your 4K dvd movie at home
Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player
The UBD-K8500 is Samsung’s debut 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. It’s also the most affordable way into the new disc format right now. Samsung’s stripped back 4K Blu-ray player is just what your Ultra HD TV needs. It has Impressive 4K HDR image quality, 4K Netflix and Amazon onboard and two HDMI outputs for AV receiver compatibility. However, it is not a great-sounding music player and its remote uses a coin battery.
Microsoft Xbox One S
The Xbox One S is a stellar value, especially now that it’s able to stream high-resolution bitstreams – including Dolby Atmos – to higher-end A/V receivers. It played every Ultra Blu-ray disc we threw at it without issue, and it delivered great video quality.
Oppo Digital’s UDP-205
If money is no barrier to your search for home theater nirvana, Oppo Digital’s UDP-205 deserves to be in your entertainment center. Packed with top-shelf components, including a 32-bit ESS Sabre Pro ES9038PRO DAC. Audiophiles will also appreciate the presence of XLR balanced stereo analog outputs and discrete analog surround-sound outputs. On the video side, there’s support for both HDR-10 and Dolby Vision, and an HDMI input so you can plug in another source—a media-streaming box, for example—and take double advantage of this player’s incredible video-processing hardware.
So why isn’t it at the very top of our list? Tthe UDP-205 delivers super-high-end features that many people will never take advantage of. But if you’re an audiophile or a home-theater enthusiast with the audio equipment to make the most of it, its $1299 price tag is fully justified.
Compare all features of the 4K DVD players mentioned above, Leawo Blu-ray players seems to be the best choice when it comes to price and quality. Have a try of the best and free 4k movie player then decide whether or not to keep it.