Samsung’s UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player (above) has a curved design but no readout.
Since the introduction of the first DVD player, Samsung has sought to be first-to-market with all of the latest optical disc technologies to come along.
The company’s track record includes the introduction of the first DVD player, the first Blu-ray player and this year, the first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, all of which started out at relatively hefty price tags, in exchange for providing a convincing showcase of material for contemporary state-of-the-art television displays.
Samsung’s Ultra HD Blu-ray player, model UBD-K8500 ($397.99), is no exception. Those who have one of today’s high-performing 4K Ultra HDTVs with the ability to receive and display high dynamic range (HDR) metadata and a wide color gamut (WCG), will find this player presents the best quality pictures those TVs can deliver.
The up-to-100 Mbps bit rate the format supports blows away the look and sound of anything currently seen in 4K Ultra HD streaming media files. The latter lags behind at an average 12-15 Mbps. Discs also don’t suffer the problems with Internet congestion that cause buffering issues and force streaming media providers to periodically step-down resolution levels to avoid program stalls.
The Ultra HD Blu-ray format was designed to output up to 3840×2160/60p 4K Ultra HD resolution images, 10-bit color depth along with HDR metadata (only the HDR-10 format is mandatory and supported in this player), a color gamut encompassing the huge Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ (SMPTE) BT.2020 color space, 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, and a host of surround sound formats.
Of course, today’s Ultra HDTVs won’t be able to utilize all of the capabilities Ultra HD Blu-ray players were designed to deliver. The new disc format was developed to handle both current and forthcoming display capabilities so that the player you buy today should continue to play discs that output standards required in the future, like the aforementioned BT.2020 color gamut that no currently available TVs can fully support.
In effect, the Ultra HD Blu-ray format provides a bucket carrying a Holy Grail of picture quality specifications, which televisions can draw from to match the maximum level they were designed to display.
As a first-of-its kind player, it’s no surprise that the UBD-K8500 won’t support every voluntary specification that this new format is capable of handling, but it covers the most essential ones in dynamic quality.
Read more or our review of the Samsung UBD-K8500 after the jump:
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