We’ve been anticipating big new advancements to the Blu-ray format, both in audio and video, for a while. Now they’re both finally official. The first Blu-ray discs with Dolby Atmos surround sound will arrive later this year, and a new 4k Blu-ray video format is planned for next year. Given an either/or choice, which would you rather upgrade to first?
Of course, both of these new technologies will entail significant investments in new equipment. At the very least, for Dolby Atmos you’ll likely need a new A/V receiver and some additional speakers. 4k Blu-ray will require a 4k UHD TV or projector – specifically, a UHD display capable of accepting a 4k input signal. (Many early 4k TVs cannot do this, and will not be compatible with the new videodisc format.)
Obviously, it’s very possible that you could upgrade to both 4k and Atmos if you wanted. However, given the effort and expense involved, most people will have to prioritize one over the other. So, which is more important to you, video or audio?
I typically think of myself as a videophile more than an audiophile. Even so, I’m more interested in Atmos. The practical, visible benefits of 4k over the current 1080p standard are pretty marginal, even on reasonably large screen size. In my case, a 4k upgrade would involve not just replacing my projectors (I have two in current use), but overhauling my entire system to pass the 4k signal through a new video processor, HDMI switchers and other intermediary components. I find the prospect of that daunting, to say the least.
Not that Atmos will be too much easier, but I think the improvement in surround sound audio would be more immediately apparent.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you excited to upgrade your home theaters, or will you just sit out both new formats?