CyberLink Joins Working Group Developing UHD-BD for PC

Because computers love 4K too.

Although the next generation of Blu-ray disc, now officially called Ultra HD Blu-ray, has taken way longer to become a consumer reality than it really should have done (certainly the makers of 4K UHD TVs would have liked to see it at least a year ago), it does now seem to be gathering a real head of steam.

As I reported previously, Panasonic recently announced the launch of the world’s first working Ultra HD Blu-ray player; the DMR-UBZ1 went on sale in Japan on November 13. Samsung showed a UHD-BD player at the IFA technology show in Berlin in September, promising a spring 2016 launch. And now we have PC multimedia software giant CyberLink announcing that it’s joined the Ultra HD Blu-ray Development Group (UHDG) with a clear focus on making sure that PCs don’t miss out on the next generation disc party.

Focused on Making UHD-BD a Success

The UHDG is a global focus group established by professional Blu-ray Disc authoring system developer Scenarist, and consists of professional authoring facilities, technology companies and service providers all working on developing the Ultra HD Blu-ray format. The UHDG’s ‘mission’ is to ‘ensure the successful launch of UHD-BD through a collaboration that allows members to gain expertise in the new format, create test titles and provide feedback during the development phase”.

In announcing its joining of the UHDG, CyberLink also revealed that its role in the workings of the UHDG will be to provide its members with PC-based player software both for testing 4K H.265 and High Dynamic Range (HDR - explained here) video titles and developing Ultra HD Blu-ray’s intriguing-sounding Digital Bridge functionality. (The idea behind the Digital Bridge feature is that it should allow people who buy UHD Blu-ray discs to share their content across all - or at least most - of their in-home and mobile viewing devices.)

Full UHD-BD/PC Compatibility

Clearly the idea behind CyberLink’s activities in the UHDG is to make sure that Ultra HD Blu-ray titles will be compatible across PC-based playback environments as well as consumer electronics devices from the moment the first of these titles start to appear. Which is a big deal, actually, as it shows that even in the world of computers there’s still an apparently substantial interest in supporting another disc format, despite the huge surge in video streaming we’ve seen in recent years.

In fact, the mention of high dynamic range in CyberLink’s UHDG announcement shows an admirable commitment to making sure that the PC world doesn’t just support Ultra HD Blu-ray titles, but is able to unlock the next-gen disc format’s full picture quality potential.

The Quality Attraction

This commitment is echoed by CyberLink Chairman and CEO Dr. Jau Huang: “The PC is the main entertainment platform for millions of movie watchers worldwide,” he says, “so it makes sense for us to support Ultra HD Blu-ray, which will offer viewers the opportunity to enjoy their entertainment in greater colors, better resolution, and across a wider range of devices.”

“Engaging with Scenarist and the members of the UHDG,” Huang adds, “is the perfect way to ensure a high degree of compatibility from the launch of the format, and we look forward to working closely to develop a rich UHD-BD ecosystem.”

The muscle now going into making the UHD-BD format part of the PC universe is surely another indicator, too, of how the computing world is now targetting 4K UHD resolution rather than HD as the new benchmark for both video and gaming scenarios.