The new logo for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs is part of a push to start releasing higher-definition movies, TV shows and other content on Blu-ray discs later this year. Credit: The Blu-ray Disc Association

Prices have dropped enough that buying an Ultra HDTV (or “4K,” for its higher resolutions) is starting to make sense. But there’s still a dearth of ultra-high-def stuff to watch, either via cable/satellite, or online, where downloading a sizable Ultra HD movie or TV show, or even streaming it from a service like Netflix, means you’ll need a very fast, reliable Internet connection. Are higher-definition Blu-ray discs the answer?

We may find out as early as later this year. A specification for the format was finally finalized this week, so we should see a new generation of Blu-ray players and discs out soon. Physical media may be on its way out, but until most Ultra HDTV owners have super-fast Internet or more options are available, it may be a decent stopgap. The new format will also support dynamic-range lighting and a feature called “Digital bridge” meant to make it easier to watch digital content on multiple devices. (More on that feature in this deeper dive.)

But would you have to buy your favorite Blu-ray movies again? Sadly, yes. Nobody said it’s a perfect solution for early adopters.

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