Earlier this year at IFA, Samsung showed off its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBD-K8500. The company didn’t share too many details at the time, but said that it was aiming for an early 2016 launch. Samsung Europe’s Michael Zoller didn’t specifically mention CES as he introduced the Blu-ray player, but it seemed a pretty safe bet that it would make a showing.
Pricing and availability
At Samsung’s press event today at CES 2016, it was announced that the UB-K8500 is available for pre-order right now, and will sell for $400.
As previously reported, the Ultra HD format features four times the resolution of the previous HD Blu-ray format and up to 64 times the color expression. The UBD-K8500 supports HDR content and framerates of up to 60 frames per second. In addition to 4K content, the player is backward compatible with existing 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, DVD and CDs. In case you’re not using it with a smart TV, the player features over 300 apps including Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and more, plus the UBD-K8500 will play your home movies and downloaded music.
For now, content is somewhat limited, but companies are quickly ramping up production in the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. Before the UBD-K8500 was even announced, Fox announced four titles it would release in 4K Ultra HD with HDR: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Life of Pi, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and The Maze Runner, and now we know that there will be 20 titles available for the K8500’s launch. In November, Sony Pictures announced its first batch of 4K releases, including The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Chappie, and Pineapple Express. Finally, last month, Warner announced four titles of its own: Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, The Lego Movie¸ and Pan.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn has previously said that moving forward, all of the company’s releases will be issued in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. Warner also has plans for releasing more films from its back catalog in the new format including Man of Steel and Pacific Rim.
4K televisions have steadily been gaining market share and streaming services are already churning out content to match. Now with Ultra HD Blu-ray headed to market, it seems that 2016 will be a big year for the 4K format.