Finally, a Sony 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player is on the Way
Stephan Jukic – January 4, 2017
After a whole year of waiting and wondering when Sony would join the ranks of Samsung, Panasonic, Philips and even Microsoft with a consumer market 4K ultra HD Blu-ray player of its own, we finally get the big reveal of their version of these devices at CES 2017. The technology leader’s new UBP-X800 4K UHD Blu-ray playback machine is on the way for early 2017.
Before the Sony PlayStation 4 Pro 4K HDR gaming console went on sale in November of 2016, there was a lot of speculation that the new game console would itself come with a 4K Blu-ray playback capacity, as was the case with Microsoft’s Xbox One S device but this turned out not to be the case and many believe that the reason for the omission was due to Sony deciding to wait for a more impactful release of a stand-alone consumer 4K Blu-ray disc player. This seems to have indeed been the case from what we’re now seeing. Furthermore, it’s possible that Sony was waiting to see what sort of specs and features refinements they could add to their UBP-X800 as the 4K content market matured into 2017.
It’s also worth noting that the UBP-X800ES is not in fact Sony’s first ever 4K Blu-ray device. In September of 2016, Sony released an earlier and similar machine called the UBP-X1000ES but this other device was part of Sony’s pro ES series of devices and could only be ordered for custom technician-performed installation, making it impractical for the most people in the wider consumer market. The UBP-X800 will on the other hand be a true retail model that’s going to hit stores and online shopping websites when it goes on sale.
As for its performance chops, the UBP-X800 delivers pretty much what you’d expect from a 4K Blu-ray player at this point in the technology’s development. It will offer playback of UHD Blue-ray discs with HDR enabled in the HDR10 format that Sony is sticking to so far through its 4K HDR label that appears on the X800 and all premium Sony 4K TVs for 2016 and 2017. The new player will be capable of streaming HDR ultra HD media from apps like Netflix, and Sony’s own Ultra service.
The UBP-X800 is also capable of playing back discs in the HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD and CD formats and also comes with a USB port for other sources of digital content. As for its audio capacities, they’re nothing stunning but robust enough, with support for 192kHz/24-bit and DSD 11.2MHz1 as well as support for wireless audio through Bluetooth.
This new 4K BD player comes with what we’d definitely call a highly minimalist black box-type design but it should discreetly fit right next to, above or below any 4K TV unobtrusively and owners of Sony’s range of excellent HDR 4K TVs like the X940D or Z9D will probably want to pick this model above some others for its easy compatibility.
There’s no word yet on the pricing for the X800 4K Blu-ray player but we’re guessing that it’s going to retail for a price that’s competitive with the existing offerings on the market, so look forward to spending something between $250 and $350 for the device. Sony also hasn’t given a specific release date though we do know that the machine is going to hit the shelves in the Spring. We’re leaning towards a March or even late February release date.
Story by 4k.com