Sony Pictures to Release Titles on UHD Blu-ray Disc in 2016

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) will release a slate of films in the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format in 2016, becoming the second studio, after Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, to do so. As sales of Ultra HD television sets soar, so does the need for Ultra High Def content making Sony Pictures movies a natural fit. Some experts say that growth in Ultra HD may lead to an uptick in sales of Blu-ray Disc players as the best way to watch UHDTV. Lionsgate also announced plans to remaster its top 100 movies in UHDTV.

Variety notes Sony’s deep catalog of Ultra HD content, from new films/TV shows to classic titles remastered from film elements, and quotes SPHE president Man Jit Singh that, “by some estimates, consumers will own over 100 million Ultra HD television sets by 2019.”

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The Digital Entertainment Group reported Ultra HD TV set sales jumped 494 percent in Q3, accounting for almost 2 million sets sold in 2015 thus far. Ultra HD TVs can be found in 2.8 million U.S. households and nearly 80 million households own Blu-ray Disc playback devices.

“Networks struggle to provide the real deal, whereas the disc has the capacity to do it,” says entertainment industry analyst Tom Adams. “So I expect people upgrading to 4K will be looking to Blu-ray as a way to get more content.” Among the first Sony titles to be released are “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Salt,” “Hancock,” “Chappie,” “Pineapple Express” and “Smurfs 2.”

In September, Samsung announced its intent to produce “the world’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player. Twentieth Century Fox also announced then that it would release new movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc the same day as its Blu-ray and Digital HD releases. The studio plans to reissue several recent releases in Ultra HD, including “Kingsman: The Secret Service, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “Life of Pi” and “Fantastic Four.”