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New firmware update brings Dolby Vision to Philips UHD Blu-ray players

While 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players might be becoming more common, they’re still struggling to keep up with the pace at which TV manufacturers are introducing features. High dynamic range (HDR) support is slowly coming, but only a small number of players support Dolby Vision, which is an even more dramatic-looking take on the technology. Now, two more players can be added to the list, as Philips is rolling out a firmware update that brings Dolby Vision to two of its players.

One of these players, the BDP7502, was actually introduced at CES 2017 with Dolby Vision support as one of its key features but is only actually receiving the technology now. The other player receiving the update is the Philips BDP7302. Both players have supported HDR10 since their release, but while that only allows brightness metadata for the entire film, Dolby Vision metadata allows for changing brightness on a scene-by-scene or even per-frame basis.

Both players feature built-in HEVC and VP9 decoders, meaning that you’ll be able to watch Dolby Vision content from the built-in Netflix app in addition to UHD Blu-ray. Both models also feature 4K upscaling to make non-4K sources look sharper on your 4K TV. The HDMI 2.0a outputs are paired with HDMI 1.4a audio outputs, so you don’t have to worry about your legacy A/V receiver working with the player.

Dolby Vision initially required special hardware that meant a manufacturer would have to plan on using it from the start, and in this case, Philips had that hardware inside the players at launch. Early last year, Dolby announced that it was making the technology available in pure software, making it much easier for manufacturers to add support after their product was already on the market, so it’s possibly that in the future we’ll see players that didn’t launch with the intention of supporting Vision adding it via updates.

Other manufacturers shipping Dolby Vision in Blu-ray players include LG, Panasonic, and Oppo. Players supporting Dolby Vision started to become available in 2017, and while they have continued to come out, the rate has been fairly slow. As more TVs supporting Dolby Vision are released, we expect to see more UHD Blu-ray players supporting the technology to follow suit.

The update is available now for both the BDP7502 and BDP7302 players. For more information on UHD Blu-ray, make sure to check out our guide.

Updated on March 29, 2018: Edited to clarify that Philips’ players do contain hardware for Dolby Atmos support.

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