During today’s announcement of the new PS4 Pro, we heard a lot about the enhancements offered by 4K and HDR, but there was one thing not mentioned: Ultra HD Blu-ray. Our reporters at the event asked and confirmed there is not an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive in the new console, although it will include 4K and HDR apps from Netflix and YouTube.
We’re waiting for the spec sheets to find out everything (update: here it is, and it confirms only Blu-ray and DVD support), but those who prefer archival copies, demand the best in uncompressed video or just don’t have an unlimited internet connection could be in for a disappointment. Sony did mention that even older PS4 consoles would be upgraded with HDR, and specifically highlighted the Ultra HD video apps built into the Pro.
It’s not clear exactly what explains the omission, although a BBC reporterparaphrased Sony’s response as wanting to focus on games and execs told Engadget the focus is on 4K streaming. It may be that to get the console out by this holiday season with upgraded graphics and storage for $399, something had to be cut. Another thought is that Sony has just fallen out of love with physical media. It wouldn’t be alone in that feeling, but considering the deep historical ties between the PS2 and DVD, the PS3 and Blu-ray, and even the PS4 with physical discs for gaming, it’s a surprising turn.
As it is, the capability to play 4K movies from discs is one thing Microsoft can claim as an advantage over Sony with its Xbox One S. Of course, if the PlayStation folks change their mind, then maybe Microsoft has a few oldHD DVD shells laying around that they can use for an add-on?