Are your eyeballs ready? Philips’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray hits stores next month

Philips BDP7501
Earlier this year at CES, Philips was one of three companies to unveil a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. The minimalist BDP7501 might have come out of the gates looking more like a set-top box than a traditional Blu-ray player, but touted all the features you’d expect from such a high tech player. At the time, Philips said the player would launch in the spring of this year, and it turns out the company may have been right, but just barely.

Today, the company’s exclusive North American licensee P&F USA announced that the BDP7501 will be making its way to store shelves starting next month. The player will sell for $400, putting it right alongside Samsung’s K8500 UHD Blu-Ray player released earlier this year.

In addition to the increased resolution 4K brings, the BDP7501 also supports HDR, allowing for vastly increased contrast and deeper color from supported content — provided you’ve got a 4K TV with HDR support, of course. Both HEVC and VP9 decoders are built-in to the player, so HDR content from most sources, including Netflix and YouTube, can also be streamed. On the audio side, both Dolby Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio Essential are supported.

“4K Ultra HD Blu-ray provides consumers with the opportunity to own and enjoy stunning 4K content without the glitches that can occur when streaming large 4K files,” P&F USA executive vice president of sales and marketing Karl Bearnarth said. “This is a significant step in the transition from HD to 4K Ultra HD, and one that we believe will quicken consumers’ adoption of 4K, especially as they see what the combination of 4K, HDR and Ultra HD Blu-ray’s wide color gamut can achieve.”

There will be two versions of the player available: the BDP7501, which is available in a brushed aluminum chassis, and the BDP7301, which comes in Piano Black. Both models feature HDMI 2.0a and 1.4a output, as well as a dedicated HDMI audio out. Internet connectivity is available via both Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and the device also supports playback of USB multimedia including HEVC, H.264, AVCHD, AAC, MP3, and JPEG.

Panasonic, the third company that debuted a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player at CES, released its player in Europe in April — the player is still not available in the US. Sony, on the other hand, took its time even announcing that it was working on one, and has previously said that it doesn’t plan to ship a 4K Blu-ray player until 2017.

You can get your hands on Philips’ new 4K Ultra HD player next month — presumably before spring makes its exit on June 21.

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