Ultra HD Blu-ray is still very much in early-adopter territory, with only a few models available at all, and even fewer available in the United States. Even so, UHD Blu-ray is about to become open to more people with Panasonic’s announcement of its new, more affordable DMP-UB700 player at IFA 2016 in Berlin.
Not only does the DMP-UB700 player feature support for 4K resolution, but it also offers HDR (High Dynamic Range) video at up to 60p with a brightness range of up to 1,000 to 10,000 nits. If you’re worried about cut corners, Panasonic says that the player has received Ultra HD Premium certification from the Ultra HD Alliance.
While playing UHD Blu-ray discs is the main advertised feature of the DMP-UB700, it also functions as a full-featured media player will support for 4K content from Netflix, YouTube, and others. The player can also stream video in up to 4K resolution from DLNA servers on your home network, and the 4K Direct Chroma feature can upscale 2K content to 4K, making it look as crisp as possible on your 4K TV.
The player’s main focus is on video, but the DMP-UB700 also supports audio formats like WAV, FLAC, MP3, AAC, and WMA. High-resolution audio is also featured, with built-in DSD (5.6 MHz/2.8 MHz) and ALAC support. The player features Digital Tube Sound which Panasonic says simulates the “warm and comforting sound characteristics” of traditional tube amplifiers, and is also capable of upsampling sound to 96kHz/192kHz.
The DMP-UB700 features twin HDMI outputs, which Panasonic says helps keep both the video and audio signals more clean and accurate by keeping them separated. Finally, the player also packs in a number of handy other features, like a built-in web browser, smartphone/tablet mirroring, and Viera Link for easier operation with Panasonic TVs.
There is no specific word on pricing, so for now all we know is that the new player will cost less than the $900 you’ll need to spend to get your hands on the DMP-UB900. Considering the relative rarity of UHD Blu-ray players at this point, we wouldn’t count on a massive discount.
The DMP-UB700 is available in Europe starting today, but there is currently no word on when the player will arrive in the U.S. If you’re feeling impatient and willing to spend more, the DMP-UB900 player finally goes on sale in the U.S. in September. That player originally went on sale in Europe in April, so if that’s any indication of when the DMP-UB700 will hit U.S. store shelves, you might be in for a wait.