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Samsung’s electronics business — focusing on home appliances and home entertainment — was the star of the show at the company’s press conference at IFA in Berlin.
Shara Tibken/CNET
BERLIN — Get ready for some ultra high-definition DVDs.
Samsung talked up its first UHD Blu-ray player during an event Thursday at a press conference at the IFA electronics show here. The player is capable of providing four times the resolution and 64 times higher color expression compared to standard Blu-ray and can upscale content to provide UHD resolution for any disc. UHD streaming services are also available through the box.
Samsung didn’t specify any pricing or a release date for the device.
The sharp picture format, also called 4K, is the next optical disc format that will succeed Blu-ray. The format’s first players and discs are expected to go on sale by the end of 2015, but none had been officially announced before Thursday.

All of the big TV makers have been looking to UHD, also known as 4K, to get consumers buying TVs again. The market has stagnated for the past few years, and consumers have tended to hold on to their TVs much longer than their mobile devices and even PCs. The biggest drawback for UHD so far — aside from high prices — has been the lack of content available for the higher-resolution displays.

Samsung’s mobile business gets most of the buzz nowadays, but it’s really the television business that turned Samsung into a tech powerhouse. The company sells about three TVs every second. Samsung said in January that it has a 60 percent share of the market for UHD TV sets.
Offering a Blu-ray player capable of running UHD videos could help solve the content issue. Older DVDs will also look better than their original qualities, and consumers will be able to access new UHD content easier. Netflix, Amazon and others support 4K streaming over the Internet, but the quality of streamed movies likely won’t be as high as that of an Ultra HD Blu-ray. Still, disc-based formats like Blu-ray continue to decline in sales while streaming video, with quality that’s perfectly good enough for most viewers, surges in popularity.

Just as Blu-ray discs improved upon DVD, Ultra HD Blu-ray improves upon the original Blu-ray format. It allows the discs to have more storage — up to 100GB versus Blu-ray’s 50GB — and to support the latest picture quality enhancements. The improvements include sharper pictures, better contrast and richer, more natural colors. The new format also handles the next generation of home audio formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS, which have additional channels and speakers for potentially more realistic sound.
For the best of IFA 2015, see CNET’s complete coverage.
David Katzmaier contributed to this report.

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