Sony’s 1st 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Won’t Be For The Masses

sony-ubp-x1000es-ultra-hd-blu-ray-playerSony has finally announced the release of a 4K Ultra HD player, but their first model won’t arrive until Spring 2017. That’s over a year after Samsung’s UBD-K8500 player hit stores. And, much to the chagrin of those waiting for a consumer-level UHD BD player from Sony, the X1000ES will be exclusive to professional installers.

In their press release, Sony Electronics describes the ES Series model (UBP-X1000ES) as being a reference standard that allows for full custom installation. The company’s Director of Home Entertainment Systems, Yukio Ishikawa, says the player will provide a “one-stop” solution for installers of premium home entertainment systems.

The X1000ES will play Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, and Blu-ray Discs, as well as stream 4K material from online digital video providers. And as expected, the deck will also support High Dynamic Range content on 4k HDR TVs.

In terms of innovation, the player uses a Sony-developed Precision HD drive to provide consistent playback of most optical discs including DVD Video, DVD Audio, CD and SA-CD among others. For streaming content the X1000ES supports popular video codecs used by Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube among other services.

What might make the Sony X1000ES unique from other players is a dedicated picture mode for HDR (something that may help viewers know when they are actually watching HDR content), but Sony didn’t provide any additional information on this feature.

However, according to the press release the player will “downsample” HDR content to the best image possible when playing on non-HDR TVs.

For audio, object-oriented formats Dolby Atmos and DTS:X will play through the X1000ES. And, like Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 the X1000ES will house dual HDMI outputs for separate audio and video signal paths. The unit also includes 2-channel analog and coaxial digital outputs that are gold evaporated for better conductivity.

The player’s 32-bit processing DAC is compatible with both native DSD (at up to 11.2 MHz) and LPCM (at up to 192kHz) Hi-Res Music files, available in a number of different formats.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet but Sony will offer a 3-year limited parts and labor warranty.

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Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot writes about technology, broadcasting, and digital entertainment. You can also find him on Gameverse, Gadget Review, and Google+.

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