Excited about HD Blu-ray? What about 4K Red-Ray?

Posted by Theo Valich

Las Vegas (NV) – Since the high definition format war has been decided and Blu-ray is slowly but surely moving into more and home homes, video enthusiasts may be looking for the next thrill: Red just announced its Red-Ray player, the only “Beyond HD“ playback device we are aware of - supporting movies with a resolution of up to 4096 x 2048 pixels.  


Have you ever wondered why Blu-ray players are marketed as “Beyond HD” devices? This phrase has always bothered us as one of those deceiving marketing phrases. High Definition is defined as 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions (1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080i, 1920 x 1080p pixels) and since Blu-ray reaches up to 1080p, it is “just” HD.


If you want to go “beyond” HD you will have to increase the specifications of the standard and especially its resolution. RED has done just that and has become the only Beyond HD company we know of.   


RED just announced its Red-Ray player, a media playback device for DVDs and DL DVDs holding content 4K (4096 x 2048), 2K (2048 x 1024) and regular 16:9 4K (3996 × 2160) formats, as well as 1080p, 720p and regular DVD (480p). Blu-ray discs and HD DVD discs are not supported, while you can play videos from SD and Compact Flash memory cards. The player is expected to debut sometime in 2009 and of course it will not be cheap: Pricing has not been announced, but don’t expect to get this player for less than $1000.


But then, the player is almost useless, if you don’t have any 4K movies: The Red-Ray is intended as a playback device for content that has been created especially with its Red One camera and that alone may limit its usability. But if you can drop $25,000 for this camera, this 4K player surely will impress your friends and customers. Now all you need is one of those Quad-HDTVs (3840 x 2160 pixel max resolution), which unfortunately are also quite rare (and expensive: Westinghouse actually sells such a TV for about $50,000).  Or, you can choose to watch 4K content on a 30” or upcoming 32” computer screens via a SDI interface that is integrated in the Red-Ray player.