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Sony Announces 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player for Spring 2017 Release

Posted on Thursday, September 15th, 2016 and updated on Thursday, September 29th, 2016 12:40 PM

Sony UBP-X1000ES Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

Sony announced that their first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBP-X1000ES, will be shipping in spring 2017. The news was announced at the CEDIA Expo, which is an electronics show geared to custom installers, but has become the best opportunity for home theater enthusiasts to see and hear about what's coming to market (moreso than CES).

According to the press release from the company, this player will be geared toward the custom installer market with features that will appeal to them and their customers. While no pricing is mentioned, it will likely be much more than the sub-$400 prices that we've seen for the Samsung and Philips players, and probably even more than the $600 price tag on the Panasonic player.

Yukio Ishikawa, Director of Home Entertainment Systems for Sony Electronics, is quoted in the press release as saying:

“The new UBP-X1000ES player has been long awaited by custom installers who desire a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player that provides a “one-stop” solution for their clients’ premium entertainment needs. Our new reference model has been specifically designed to deliver the highest quality video and audio possible and will excite the most demanding A/V enthusiasts.

Some of the features touted in the announcement include:

  • Precision HD drive to help maintain consistent performance with virtually every optical disc format, including DVD Video and DVD Audio; CD and SA-CD; and Blu-ray 3D, and BD-ROM media
  • Support for video codecs that can deliver 4K streaming from video streaming services like Amazon Video, YouTube and others
  • A dedicated picture mode for HDR content
  • Upscaling of 1080p content to "near 4K" 60p resolution
  • Frame and Beam (FB) chassis to increase structural rigidity and a "honeycomb top plate, sf heat sync, and offset insulator feet" to reduce the effects of both airborne and mechanical vibration
  • Mounting ears (sold separately)
  • Dual HDMI outputs with separate audio and video paths
  • Gold-plated 2-channel analog, coaxial digital, and HDMI outputs
  • Plans for certification by Control4, Crestron, Savant, et al.
  • Control via CAT 5 cable or Wi-Fi networks (IP Control and web browser interface), RS232C two-way control, infrared, and ihiji
  • 3-year limited parts and labor warranty

Consumers hoping for a lower-priced option should take heart, however. Some of these features will likely be included should Sony release a consumer-level model, and the fact that they are entering the Ultra HD Blu-ray player market at all is a sign that perhaps their previous stance of streaming-and-downloads-only isn't working out as well as they'd hoped.

Sony was a huge factor in getting the Blu-ray standard developed and eventually winning the HD format war with HD DVD back in 2008. Including Blu-ray playback on the PlayStation 3 was one of the primary inroads to getting the format accepted by the masses (both because of having gamers with a Blu-ray capable device and because the PS3 was a great Blu-ray player). Many were disappointed when Sony rolled out their latest Playstation 4 Pro without Ultra HD Blu-ray support, but this news may quell the whispers that Sony was proving that physical media was dying.

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