Earlier this year, Sony watched from the sidelines while rivals like Samsung and Philips dove into the Ultra HD Blu-ray player market, announcing that it wouldn’t release its own player until 2017. That’s still the case, but at CEDIA 2016 in Dallas, the company is finally pulling the tarp off its first 4K UHD Blu-ray player alongside a brand new projector, both of which are aimed at upper-tier videophiles. In addition, Sony showed off new models in its ES line of A/V receivers.
UBP-X1000ES 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
The Sony UBP-X1000ES reference standard 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player not only handles disc playback, but also streams content in 4K along with HDR (high dynamic range) for richer colors and deeper contrast than 4K alone. In addition to the new UHD Blu-ray format, the new player handles a number of other disc types including HD Blu-ray, DVD, CD and SA-CD, with Sony Electronics director of home entertainment systems Yukio Ishikawa saying the player was “specifically designed to deliver the highest quality video and audio possible and will excite the most demanding A/V enthusiasts.”
The UBP-X1000ES features a dedicated picture mode created specifically for HDR content, according to Sony, as well as upscaling that is claimed to bring 1080p content up to near-4K resolution at 60p. As for audio, the player features a 32-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and support for high-resolution audio, including LPCM up to 192 kHz and DSD up to 11.2 MHz. Like some other recent players we’ve seen, this model features dual HDMI outputs — one for audio and one for video.
While other companies are aiming their products at all consumers, Sony is instead aiming at the custom install set with its new 4K UHD player. The company plans to have the UBP-X1000ES certified with vendors like Control4, Crestron, and Savant, and IP control via Wi-Fi or Ethernet is included out of the box. The player is also built to last, with a frame and beam chassis combined with its honeycomb top plate.
Available exclusively via custom installers, the UBP-X1000ES will start shipping in spring 2017, but so far Sony is keeping quiet about pricing.
VPL-VW675ES 4K Projector
Sony’s entry into the world of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray might be the big headline, but Sony also announced an uber high-end projector, the VPL-VW675ES. This model will be one of the first home projectors to support Hybrid Log-Gamma (HyLG), a relatively new standard developed for HDR broadcasting. The upgrade will be added via a firmware update after release. At launch, the projector will also feature support for HDR10, one of the most prominent HDR standards which is supported by Ultra HD Blu-ray players and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
The VPL-VW675ES features two HDMI inputs, both of which support HDMI 2.0a (again aimed at 4K UHD and HDR support) and HDCP 2.2. The lamp is rated to last for 6,000 hours in Low Mode, and is claimed to deliver an impressive 1,800 lumens brightness, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 350,000:1. To ensure ease of use after installation, an auto calibration function allows users to reset the projector’s colorimetry to factory levels.
The VPL-VW675ES will retail for an eye-popping $15,000, and will be available for purchase beginning in November.
New ES Series Receivers
Finally, Sony has announced four new models in its ES line of A/V receivers, which will join its flagship STR-ZA5000ES model: the STR-ZA3100ES, STR-ZA2100ES, and STR-ZA1100ES, as well as the entry level STR-ZA810ES. All of these models support 4K and HDR passthrough on the video side, as well as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D surround sound, and legacy audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
With the exception of the entry level model (which has five HDMI inputs) all models offer six HDMI inputs, featuring two HDCP 2.2 compliant inputs. The receivers allowing for 4K 60p (4:4:4) passthrough, set to support Ultra HD Blu-ray players. For now, detailed specifications aren’t available for the new models, though Sony says they will be available in early 2017.
These new ES receivers will be available in spring 2017, with preliminary prices set at $1,700 for the STR-ZA3100ES, $1,400 for the STR-ZA2100ES, $1,000 for the STR-ZA1100ES, and $800 for the STR-ZA810ES.