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New PS4 Pro console won’t play Ultra HD Blu-ray

From lens to living room but Sony doesn't want PlayStation 4 Pro or Slim to play UHD Blu-ray

by Mark Hodgkinson Sep 9, 2016 at 8:48 AM

  • Sony has announced two new PlayStation 4 consoles with the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.
    The PS4 Pro – previously known as the Neo and colloquially as the PS4.5 - features a 1TB hard drive, and significantly upgraded processing that will allow it to play games in native Ultra HD (4K) while, as the name suggests, the PS4 Slim is a scaled down version of the existing console with the same processing capabilities and a 500GB hard drive fitted.

    Sony also confirmed that all PlayStation 4 consoles would soon support High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging technology and the ability to display wider colour gamuts for more striking and colourful gaming. Unfortunately, depending on how you look at the situation, neither of the new consoles is equipped with an optical drive able to play the next generation in home video, Ultra HD Blu-ray. For video enthusiasts this is quite a big deal, especially when you consider the new Xbox One S is UHD Blu-ray ready and, almost certainly, so will be the Xbox One ‘Scorpio’ when it launches in 2017.

    In actual fact, looking back to the launches of the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, the companies now seem to be in full strategic reverse to when Sony used the PS3 as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to get Blu-ray players in to the homes of the masses. Since Sony has so much at stake – at every level of the chain of UHD from content creation to delivery, it is an extremely surprising decision.

    Sony did have a prototype Ultra HD Blu-ray player on show at the recent IFA event in Berlin, with rumours of an imminent launch announcement so they definitely have the technology but perhaps they think including it in the new consoles will dilute sales of the dedicated players but, for the format in a wider sense, we can only see the omission as a blow.

    The PS4 Slim is priced at £259 and will be available from 15 September 2016, while the PS4 Pro will launch on November 10 priced at £349.99.

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