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Sony plays down PS4 Pro's lack of 4K Blu-ray disc support

"We see a trend on video towards streaming."

Last night Sony announced its PlayStation 4 Pro. As the name suggests, it is being marketed as a high-end device for players with 4K kit already in their homes.

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So it was a surprise to find out, after the conference, that PS4 Pro doesn't actually support 4K Blu-ray discs.

The console will, of course, support 4K media via streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube - although 4K TVs will likely have such Smart TV services already baked into their firmware.

But marketing PS4 Pro as the choice for 4K enthusiasts and then leaving out UHD Blu-ray support still struck many as odd.

"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," PlayStation boss Andrew House told The Guardian.

"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."

There's no doubting the slow pace of uptake so far for physical 4K media players. Still, it's an unexpected move for Sony after it based both the PS2 and PS3 around being cut-price ways to play DVDs and Blu-Ray respectively.

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Sony has a stake in UHD discs, too. Its movie studio arm signed up to release its biggest films on the format.

One reason to omit an UHD drive may be the console's price. At 349/$399, the PS4 Pro is cheaper than many expected (although you also need an expensive telly to make the most of it). The lack of a UHD drive may have helped Sony keep that price so low.

Microsoft's Xbox One Scorpio machine, due a year from now, will be undeniably higher powered (6 teraflops to 4.2) but may also launch at a more premium price point.

But such comparisons are a year away - for now, there's the small matter that Xbox One S already offers a UHD Blu-ray drive and is already on the market. Even if Sony had wanted to include one, it wouldn't snap up any sales from being the first.

Digital Foundry has now spent three hours in the company of PlayStation 4 Pro - you can read Rich's detailed appraisal right now.

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