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Why PS4 Pro Doesn't Have a 4K Blu-Ray Player

"We see a trend on video towards streaming."


One of the big surprises about Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro is that it does not include a 4K Blu-ray player. Sony helped champion the Blu-ray effort with the PlayStation 3 and many scratched their heads when Sony confirmed the new system won't have the latest evolution of the technology.

Now, PlayStation president Andrew House has chimed in on the matter. He told The Guardian that ditching the 4K Blu-ray player was done to match up with what he's seeing currently on PS4 in terms of demand for streaming video content.

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"Our feeling is that while physical media continues to be a big part of the games business, we see a trend on video towards streaming," he said. "Certainly with our user base, it's the second biggest use case for people's time on the system so we place more emphasis on that area."

People who buy a PS4 Pro and want to watch 4K content won't be without options, however. During the PlayStation Meeting on Wednesday, House made specific mention of new Netflix and YouTube apps for the PS4 Pro that can stream 4K/HDR content. He called out Netflix's Narcos and Luke Cage in his speech as being two Netflix programs that would support the Ultra-HD format.

In a PS4 Pro FAQ published today on the PlayStation Blog, Sony said 4K streaming is only in its "early days." At launch, there won't be any 4K TV shows or movies in the PlayStation Store, though it remains to be seen if the new Netflix and YouTube apps will be out on launch day or later. The company expects that, in addition to Netflix and YouTube, other services and providers will offer 4K video content in the future.

By comparison, Microsoft's Xbox One S supports 4K playback for both streaming and disc-based media. It's unknown at this point if the Project Scorpio console will offer a 4K Blu-ray player, however. It seems doubtful that Microsoft would take a step back, however, as they're positioning Scorpio as the "most powerful console ever made." We'll see.

The PS4 Pro goes on sale on November 10, priced at $400. For more on the system, check out this video in which lead system architect Mark Cerny talks about the origins of the console.

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