An Overview of Sony’s Powerhouse 4K Media Players

by on August 14, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – August 14th, 2014

4K Pioneer and leader in the manufacturing of 4K electronics ranging from TVs to projectors to cameras Sony is the company that’s arguably most involved in the promotion and diffusion of the new Ultra HD resolution format today.

Given this, their 4K enabled media players should be products worth looking into as leaders in their own niche and we’re going to now do a quick overview of Sony’s two major 4K media units, the FMP-X1 and the FMP-X10.

The FMP-X1 was the company’s older generation media player, having come out on the still young 4K media market just over a year ago and the new FMP-X10 is its successor unit, having been released to buyers in just the last month, July.

Currently, Sony is not only the largest and most influential player in the 4K technology market but also the company with the absolutely most extensive collection of proprietary 4K video content thanks to the remastering and development work of its film subsidiary Sony Studios.

Thus, Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K service, to which both the X10 and X1 have access, gives consumers access to the most extensive library of 4K content available on the market today, assuming that the users are also using their media players from a Sony TV (A hubristic content enclosure flaw we’ve discussed here before).

Some of the content available to both media players includes rentable or purchasable 4K versions of movies such as Moneyball and The Amazing Spiderman, access to streaming 4K content from Netflix, featuring such show as House of Card and Breaking Bad in 4K resolution and a preloaded library of some 50 free 4K videos that have been preloaded into both the X10 and X1 media players.

One unfortunate limitation of both the FMP-X1 and the FMP-X10 is that they are not just compatible only with Sony TVs but specifically work only with the Sony Bravia series of 4K TVs and specifically the Bravia models: XBR-X850A, XBR-X900 and XBR-X900A. Whether Sony allows this strict limitation on its media players for technical reasons or not the bottom line is a very disappointing restriction.

Both the Sony X10 and the X1 are supposed to play a major role in the evolution of Sony’s 4K Ultra HD video ecosystem and of 4K video in general. The media players are essentially DVRs which also download digital content from a broadband connection for the sake of playing it on Sony 4K TVs as mentioned above.

However, without a digital service to download content from, the selection of video for the players is limited to what Sony has available specifically for them, which luckily isn’t too bad given Sony Studios 4k content creation work. And because there is not standard 4K disc format, playable video options are somewhat limited. One solution however is online content from sources such as Netflix and Amazon.

The lack of 4K content for the players also isn’t helped by the fact that they are only compatible with select Bravia TVs and that Sony’s native content service to which they connect to only contains video and movies owned by Sony Studios.

Nonetheless, both of Sony’s 4K media players represent a solid step towards a future with open, easy to use 4K media players and Sony is making efforts to broaden their content options as much as they can. Now if only they’d get rid of their proprietary limitations.

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