Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Prices Come Down As Xbox One S Release Nears
The Philips BDP7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player.
We’ve only seen two in the U.S. market so far, but Ultra HD Blu-ray players are already starting to appear from leading retailers at reduced prices, and not so ironically, just before the retail launch of Microsoft’s new Ultra HD Blu-ray supporting Xbox One S gaming console next month.
In addition the new Philips BDP7501 player has just started to arrive, bringing competition to Samsung’s highly rated UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, which hit the market last winter at $399.99.
In recent days the Samsung player has started appearing on Amazon at a $317.99 street price. That’s a 21 percent savings over the originally announced price. It was even sold by some retailers for more than $400 when the player launched and supplies were limited last winter.
Meanwhile, the Philips BDP7501 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, which was also unveiled at a $399.99 suggested retail, is now offered on Amazon at just $299.99. The Amazon site said BDP7501 player supplies will be in stock on July 30th.
Both units play back content at four times the resolution of HD Blu-ray players and support new HDR-10 metadata, for expanded contrast, detail and color to support new 4K Ultra HDTVs with HDR display capability.
Read more on the Ultra HD Blu-ray player price reductions after the jump:
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), 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 the latest surround sound formats.
The disc-based Ultra HD Blu-ray platform produces gold-standard picture and sound quality through the use of high bit rates of up to 100 Mbps, compared to streaming bit rates that reach only into the low double-digits.
Ultra HD Blu-ray will also support higher frame rates of up to 60 fps compared to the 24/30 fps available through most streaming and pay-TV services.
Consumers will also soon have additional options to consider in a high-performance premium player from Panasonic, due in September at a $699 suggested retail. The first Xbox One S gaming console will be released at $399 in August, but additional models will follow close behind at $350 and $299.
Meanwhile, Oppo has also said it is working on a premium Ultra HD Blu-ray player, which could possibly reach the U.S. market by the end of the year, but nothing definitive has been announced yet.
The Philips BDP7501 is manufactured and sold by P&F USA, a unit of Japan’s Funai Electric.
Until September 30th, the Philips BDP7501 player will include a copy of the recent box office release Creed. The movie, which is available with 4K Ultra HD resolution and HDR-10 high dynamic range, is the next chapter in the on-going Rocky franchise developed by Sylvester Stallone.
The player also features a compact design, built-in streaming of 4K Ultra HD with HDR-10 and other resolution levels from Netflix and 4K Ultra HD and other resolution levels from YouTube. The player’s full-size remote includes two prominently positioned buttons for fast access to Netflix and YouTube streaming.
The BDP7501 comes with a matte black real brushed aluminum finish, with a square ultra-compact design. A gloss-black version is also available. The player will support a wide assortment of disc formats including: AVCHD, BD, BD R / BD RE, 3D Blu-ray, CD, CDDA, CD-R/CD-RW, DVD, DVD +R/+RW, DVD -R/-RW, SVCD, VCD, Audio CD, and DTSCD.
None of the players yet introduced include support for the SACD or DVD-Audio high-resolution multi-channel audio disc formats.
Video files supported by the Philips BDP7501 include: AVI, Divx, m2ts, MKV, MP4, and MPEG (mpg).
Surround sound support includes: Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio; and supported music files include: AAC, MLA, MP3 and WMA.
Supported still image files include: GIF and JPEG (JPG).
Inputs/outputs include: one HDMI 2.0a out with HDCP 2.2 and one HDMI 1.4a out (for audio receivers), Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO, Ethernet, and USB 3.0 Multimedia.
Like all Ultra HD Blu-ray players, the Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player will support 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with HDR-10. The Samsung UBD-K8500 will play many legacy audio and video optical discs. Supported discs include: UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVDs, as required by specifications. It also supports the optional audio CD and 3D Blu-ray Disc formats.
Supported file formats include: MPEG-2; MPEG-4; JPEG ; HD-JPEG; AVCHD 4.1; MKV; WMV; MPO; MP3; LPCM; AAC; WMA and FLAC.
The Samsung UBD-K8500 also features a front-panel USB port to accept thumb drives and external hard drives to playback most common music files, and many SD, HD and Full HD video files, in addition to Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Other features include: built-in Wi-Fi for streaming video and music from dedicated apps, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, and Pandora; HEVC for watching streamed 4K content from sources like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video; AllShare to share and mirror screens from compatible Samsung smartphones and tablets; BD-Live and BonusView support for added bonus features; support for external storage via USB; Multiroom Link for syncing wirelessly with Samsung Shape wireless speakers; ripping of CDs to MP3 files with a USB storage device; on-board web browser; remote control; built-in audio decoding for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, and DTS-HD Master Audio; 2 HDMI outputs for separating audio and video signals with the main HDMI output supporting HDMI 2.0a for HDR and HDCP 2.2 content protection. The sub-HDMI output supports audio only.
In September, Panasonic will ship the third Ultra HD Blu-ray player for the U.S. market in the DMP-UB900, which will carry a $699.99 suggested retail price. Positioned as a premium model, it will feature THX-certification and is built with high-quality audio/video component parts for premium playback fidelity. It will also support very high quality upscaling of lower resolution content to 4K Ultra HD, and down scaling to play 4K Ultra HD content on Full HD, HD and SD displays with minimal artifacts. It will also offer high quality standard dynamic range to those displays.
Other features include: a 4K High-Precision chroma processor; 4K direct chroma upscaling; 4K networking; Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc playback; twin HDMI “Pure AV” isolated outputs; 7.1-channel analog audio output; HDMI low clock jitter; digital tube sound with up-sampling; high-resolution audio playback (DSD (2.8MHz/5.6MHz), ALAC, FLAC, WAV); 192 kHz/32bit DAC x 5; 192 kHz/96kHz Surround Re-master; internet apps; DLNA support; Network Drive Access; external HDD playback; Miracast connectivity with mobile devices; and a web browser.
The Panasonic DMP-UB900 will launch in September through Best Buy’s Magnolia departments, and shop.panasonic.com.
Microsoft’s Xbox One S gaming console with Ultra HD Blu-ray movie support.
Microsoft’s new Xbox One S gaming console is due to hit retail August 2nd, bringing playback support for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with HDR among other things.
However, the player will only support 4K Ultra HD resolution in movie discs. Next-generation 4K Ultra HD gaming will have to wait for Microsoft’s more powerful “Project Scorpio” Xbox console slated for 2017.
The new Xbox One S consoles will be available in several versions differentiated by internal hard disc drive capacity. The largest one, due out first on August 2nd, has a 2TB hard drive, a slimmer profile than the previous generation Xbox One, new controller and “robot white” body color.
The new consoles will be 40 percent smaller, including a new internally mounted power supply.
The first Xbox One S will include a special 2TB Launch Edition, priced at a $399 suggested retail. Slated to follow are a 1TB version at $350 and a 500GB version at $299.
The Xbox One S 2TB Console – Gears of War 4 Limited Edition Bundle is slated for release October 7th at $449.99.
By Greg Tarr
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