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Sony finally announces its own 4K UHD Blu-ray player with high dynamic range

by on September 14, 2016

Stephan Jukic – September 14, 2016

Months after Samsung, Panasonic and then Philips announced their own 4K UHD Blu-ray players around the beginning of 2016 (with Panasonic having in fact also unveiled two different models for different budgets), Sony has now also entered the same market. This late 2016 announcement of their own 4K Blu-ray player comes after months of speculation about why the company was delaying on such a product.

We now also have a plausible reason for why Sony’s also very recently released PlayStation 4K “Pro” gaming console didn’t come with 4K Blu-ray capacity even while its competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox One S, did come with the feature despite being the generally less advanced console.

Most of the rumors around Sony’s version of an HDR 4K Blu-ray player speculated on a 2017 release for such a device and Sony itself lent credibility to these assumptions with public statements by its executive officers about 2017 release dates. Now we can see that those rumors were at least partly true. The new Sony UBP-X1000ES at least got a late 2016 unveiling but the first models won’t be going on sale until the spring of 2017 at a still undetermined date and with a still unknown retail price.

That said, the Sony UBP-X1000ES will support full 4K playback and will also include high dynamic range formatting support. The HDR for the Sony 4K BD player will for sure include compatibility with the HDR10 format since Sony’s entire line of 4K HDR TVs is also formatted for HDR10 but we might possibly also see the Dolby Vision HDR standard present in the upcoming media device, even though Sony has already previously state that they’re holding off on Dolby Vision HDR until they see it become more dominant in the 4K content market.

All of Sony's 2015 and 2016 HDR 4K TVs are designed to display HDR from only HDR10 standards in content

In any case, the X1000ES player also supports CD, DVD, HD Blu-ray and streaming media playback and will of course come with its own internal upscaling engine for non-4K content media. We’re assuming that the player will offer the sorts of streaming media apps for ultra HD and other content types that are also found in the company’s Android TV platform for their 4K TVs of all 2015 and 2016 types.

We’d also like to note here that the Sony X1000 4K Blu-ray player comes with the ES at the end of its name, making this device part of Sony’s ES lines of products, which also includes all Sony 4K UHD projectors, which are the only consumer models on today’s market to deliver real native 4K UHD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels in their internal projection sensors. Additionally, as a premium ES device, the UBP-X1000ES will probably be designed to support custom A/V setups in a home, possibly making this a more robust 4K Blu-ray player that sells at a correspondingly steeper price.

In other words, fans of 4K UHD Blu-ray who want to save a dollar will likely want to opt for a much more affordable UHD Blu-ray disc device like Microsoft’s Xbox One S console or Samsung’s UBD-K8500 4K Blu-ray player or whatever other economical 4K Blu-ray devices there are on the market in spring of 2017.

On the other hand, the lack of 4K Blu-ray inclusion in the Sony PlayStation “Pro” is a shame despite the planned release of this Sony UHD Blu-ray player. The company could have easily made the PS4 Pro UHD BD disc compatible and given consumers a budget Blu-ray option of its own. Dual options are something that Microsoft is essentially doing, with the current Xbox One S and the 2017 device known as Project Scorpio, which will also offer 4K Blu-ray even if it will almost certainly be a more expensive console.

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  • Cnorth
    September 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I agree. A lot of people were disappointed with the PS4 Pro not including a 4k UHD player, including myself. I don’t want to get into that discussion again! Lol. Sony could have priced the Pro at $499 (with a trade in promotion) the Slim at $299 and the 1000ES at $349.


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