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Your wait for an Ultra HD Blu-ray player is almost over

Andy Vandervell

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Panasonic DMP-UB900

UPDATE 1/3/2016: The UB900 will go on sale with a suggested retail price of £600 in the UK, and $800 in the US.

Panasonic has confirmed the European release date for its UB900 Ultra HD disc spinner and it's good news for AV fans.

While we still don't have a price, which is kind of annoying, Panasonic today confirmed that the UB900 will go on sale in mid-April.

This is better than expected news as many feared it wouldn't arrive until later in the year, which wouldn't have done anyone any good.

Better yet, it will also come with two free Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, six-time Oscar-winner Mad Max: Fury Road and San Andreas – so that's one useful film, at least.

Price could be a sticking point, however. While Samsung's effort is selling for $399 (~£299) in the US, what we've seen of the UB900 suggests it could command a higher price tag.

We hope it's not too much, however, as it would be really nice if we could enjoy top-quality Ultra HD films without a ruinously high price to boot.

We live in hope.

Conor

February 29, 2016, 2:33 pm

Sorry to say this, but I can't see Ultra HD Blu-Ray taking off in the mainstream. Blu-Ray itself didn't end up replacing DVD because a vast majority of people weren't prepared to pay extra for a better picture. If they weren't going to pay £3 more to get a full HD version of a film, I cant see them paying nearly £10 more (looking at the pricing structure) to get a 4K version. Why aren't Blu-rays the same price as DVDs?

Bugblatter

February 29, 2016, 5:54 pm

You may be right. I've got a 4K TV and I'll still choose 3D HD over 2D UHD most of the time.

Also the picture quality improvement is far more subtle than the move from DVD to Blu-Ray, especially since most 4K TVs do a decent job of upscaling.

In terms of pricing, DVDs have always cost more than VHS and CDs have always cost more than audio cassettes even though the discs were always far cheaper to produce. It's more about what people will pay.

Ganon255

March 7, 2016, 11:20 pm

Have you seen 4K movies in 10bit with rec 2020, HDR, a high bit-rate, and chroma 4:4:4 yet? I bet that will change your mind.

Bugblatter

March 7, 2016, 11:58 pm

I've only seen clips with HDR so far, excepting the rubbish Amazon Prime version of HDR. It's good, but you kinda have to look for the difference over a non-HDR version. Oh, that flame isn't whited-out, and that gradient's a little bit smoother.

Even UHD blu-ray will still be 4:2:0 from what I've heard, which is disappointing. Rec2020 and 10 bit will be good, but even with lesser sources don't underestimate the power of good dithering on a UHD screen where the pixels are smaller than the eye can distinguish.

My screen calibrator said it's going to be at least a year or two before they figure out how to make decent HDR content. Right now it's a mess.

On balance I think I'd still go for the 3D. Have you seen passive 3D on a 4K OLED yet? I bet that will change your mind ;o)

Ganon255

March 8, 2016, 1:32 am

UHD Blu-ray will(is?) probably be 4:2:0. I have a 4K HDR set and some of the high-bit rate, HDR clips I've downloaded have been pretty spectacular. I agree the amazon HDR is iffy. No OLED for me, I have active 3D, I like it, but not a huge draw for me. Dolby Vision HDR needs more time for the home market and will be 12bit at up to 10,000 nits, so I'm sure there is still more room to grow in that area. My TV is 'barely' HDR and doesn't quite hit the full rec2020 spec either, but it's still pretty sweet. I usually buy a new set every 6 years and will probably get another one when Dolby Vision is affordable. I don't think anyone needs to rush out and buy a UHD, but next time you upgrade, I'd make sure it did it could meet the new bluray specs.

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