Panasonic 4K Blu-ray player unveiled
The prototype 4K Blu-ray player from Panasonic is the world's first working next-generation Blu-ray player.Panasonic

Panasonic has launched a 4K Blu-ray player prototype as manufacturers and content providers announce UHD alliance to help drive the creation and delivery of 4K content to consumers.

Owners of Ultra High Definition (UHD) televisions - also known as 4K televisions - have been calling on manufacturers, industry bodies and content providers to increase the amount of content that will take advantage of the crystal clear resolution on their expensive TVs.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday 5 January, Panasonic took a major step towards that by unveiling the world's first working prototype of a 4K Blu-ray player.

Ultra HD Blu-ray is set to be the new standard for the physical delivery of high-quality video as well as a wide colour gamut (WCG), high dynamic range (HDR) and immersive 3D audio.

At IFA last September, a spokesperson for the Blu-ray Disc Association said he expected the first products to be in shops before the end of 2015 and the announcement by Panasonic is set to be the first step on that road.

While services such as Netflix have been sating consumer desire for 4K content through streaming services, this is still limited by bandwidth and the compression technologies used by the providers. A physical disc will be seen by those with 4K TVs as a much better solution.

As well as announcing the 4K Blu-ray player, Panasonic - along with a host of other manufacturers - announced it would be partaking in the UHD Alliance, an industry body that aims to "set the bar for next generation video entertainment by establishing new standards to support innovation in video technologies including 4K and higher resolutions, high dynamic range, wider colour range and immersive 3D audio".

Television manufacturers LG, Samsung and Sony will be joining the UHD Alliance with Panasonic, as will content providers such as Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros Entertainment and Netflix.

The group said in the coming months it will present "an outline on a technology roadmap for the rapid evolution of UHD technology, worldwide".