Ultra HD Blu-ray Players at CES 2017

CES 2017 saw the launch of several new Ultra HD Blu-ray disc players from existing players and some new companies as well. According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, roughly 300K standalone Ultra HD Blu-ray players were sold in 2016 along with 2 million discs, which represents an impressive 6:1 disc/player attach rate. As of CES 2017, seven device manufacturers (LG, Microsoft, Oppo, Panasonic, Philips-Funai, Samsung and Sony) have announced players.

Dolby Vision

Another milestone is the introduction of players that support the optional Dolby Vision format. Players from LG, Oppo and Philips-Funai will also have this support. LG and Philips introduced their new players at CES 2017 while Oppo’s introduced theirs a month earlier.

In the Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray mastering process, HDR10 remains the base layer so this can be played back on HDR10 compatible devices. But in addition, Dolby Vision grades add dynamic metadata and an enhancement layer stream that are combined and delivered in the HEVC stream. This enhancement data is ignored if the TV is not Dolby Vision capable, but used to transform the HDR10 base layer if it is Dolby Vision capable.

Dolby Vision Blu ray block diagram

In addition, Dolby announced that three major studios have now agreed to author content in the Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray format. These studios include Lionsgate, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Titles should be available in early 2017. This will supplement streaming services of Dolby Vision content, such as Vudu, and the theatrical version of the mastering format: Dolby Cinema.


Panasonic Blu ray Player

Panasonic launched of a trio of new UHD Blu-ray players: the DMP-UB400, UB310 and UB300. All models feature dual HDMI outputs, 4K Netflix streaming support and compatibility with high-resolution audio formats such as WAV, FLAC, ALAC and DSD (5.6MHz/2.8MHz). The UB400 also includes ‘vacuum tube’ listening modes with 96kHz/192kHz upsampling. All players feature Wi-Fi connectivity except for the UB300, which has an Ethernet port.

Powering the players is the HCX (Hollywood Cinema Experience) processor, a 4K image engine developed by Panasonic Hollywood Labs. It upsamples native 4K/24p 4:2:0 Blu-ray discs to 4:4:4 4K/60p with 4:2:2 color upsampling. Panasonic says color accuracy remains high during upsampling, since it uses a “multi-tap process” to compare a number of pixels in additional to those in the upper and lower positions, creating optimal pixels.

Meanwhile a 4K Direct Chroma upscaling process produces 4K-quality images from 2K content, while a new viewing mode promises to “faithfully reproduce dark and bright areas regardless of viewing environment.” That means it is adjusting the image for bright or dark rooms. This feature will be implemented in the existing DMP-UB900 and UB700 models via a firmware update later in 2017.

Panasonic players should hit the market on Q2 2017 but no pricing is available yet.


At CES 2017, Sony Electronics announced what it said was its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBP-X800. However, at CEDIA 2016, it announced the UBP-X1000ES 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player as its first model. We have asked Sony to clarify this.

The UBP-X800 is compatible with Ultra HD Blu-ray as well as video streaming in 4K resolution and HDR. Further, it supports playback of the immersive audio formats Dolby Atmos and DTS:X through object-audio compatible receivers. Other supported formats include DVD Video and DVD Audio; CD and Super Audio CD; and Blu-ray 3D, and BD-ROM media, plus almost any format available via USB. The UBP-X800 integrated Bluetooth means it is possible to stream to a sound bar or to wireless headphones while the sound can continue to play from the TV.

Sony Ultra HD Blu ray player

Sony processing includes upscaling from SD or HD content to near 4K resolution. Additionally, when playing 4K HDR content on a 4K SDR television the UBP-X800 utilizes a unique Sony algorithm to reproduce the proper brightness and color gradations to provide the best picture possible. And it has two HDMI outputs to go to the TV and the receiver.

The UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player will be available in the spring of 2017 with pricing TBA.


Philips unveiled two new Ultra HD Blu-ray players at CES 2017: the BD7502 and the value BD5502. These join the previously released BDP7501.

The Philips BDP7502 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player will support Dolby Vision (via a future software update in the second half of 2017) but the BDP5502 will not.

The BDP7502 offers built-in HEVC and VP9 decoders for playing Netflix and YouTube 4K content and includes 4K upscaling for non-4K sources.

For the best possible sound, it offers both Dolby Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Connections include HDMI 2.0a HDR video output and 1.4a audio output to maintain compatibility with legacy AVRs. Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Ethernet and USB Multimedia connections are included too.

Both will be released this spring with the BDP7502 selling for $300 and the BDP5500 for $250.

LG Electronics

The LG UP970 Ultra HD Blu-ray player is LG Electronic’s first 4K Blu-ray player and will support Dolby Vision. Out of the box, the player supports HDR10 and the Dolby Vision capability will come later in 2017 via a software update.

LG Ultra HD Blu ray player

Like every Ultra HD Blu-ray player, it supports 10-bit color and Rec. ITU-R BT. 2020 color gamut, as well as playback of high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) content. It’s also compatible with a variety of leading sound formats, including Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio.

The UP970 has two HDMI ports, an HDMI 2.0a port for UltraHD video output and an HDMI 1.4 for audio output that can connect with hi-fi devices, such as AVRs and sound bars, to enhance sound output quality. With Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, users can stream online content via Netflix and YouTube, while the USB port allows for playback of movies, pictures and music.

Pricing has not been released but the unit is expected to ship this spring.


Samsung released its first Ultra HD Blu-ray play a year ago and it used CES 2017 to unveil its newest model the M9500.

Samsung Ultra HD Blu ray player

Samsung’s new UHD Blu-ray player automatically sets the TV screen and audio to the optimal level by analyzing the content source being played at the time, such as HDR10, Atmos or DTS-X. This means consumers don’t have to change their TV or audio settings.

New is Bluetooth support which streams audio to headphones from the player or from a connected AVR. In addition, the M9500 includes improved mobile integration, giving users the flexibility to enjoy their favorite Blu-ray titles on their mobile device. It is a little unclear exactly how this will work however (Could this be via Ultraviolet or Vidity? – CC Actually, VixS told us at CES that Samsung is now supporting Vidity, so that seems more likely. BR).

Also new is a ‘360-degree’ feature that allows this video or photo content that is captured or stored on a mobile device to be played back on the TV via the Blu-ray player.

The M9500 also adds dual HDMI outputs, one to carry Blu-ray surround sound to older audio/video receivers that lack HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2 copy protection. All Samsung TV remotes will also now control all Blu-ray player functions.

No details on price or availability were released at CES.


Oppo unveiled its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UDP-203 back at CEDIA 2016. Just prior to CES 2017, it announced and update to the player – it will now support Dolby Vision playback via a firmware update in the second half of the year. In the meantime, it will playback HDR10 encoded content.

Panasonic Blu ray Player

The Oppo UDP-203 features 2x HDMI outputs, one for video (HDMI 2.0a) and one for audio (HDMI 1.4). Additionally it features two USB 3.0 ports for connecting USB hard and thumb drives, a LAN port, and other ports as well. However, unlike its competitors, it does not offer video or music streaming apps.

The UDP–203 also plays both standard and 3D Blu-ray discs, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, and audio CD formats. The player can decode AIFF, WAV, ALAC, APE, and FLAC audio formats, as well as DSD64 and DSD128. In addition to Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, the player also supports the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround sound formats.

The UDP-203 is available for pre-order now for $549. A higher-end UDP-205 model is expected later in 2017. – CC