Panasonic DMP-UB900 review
|Review: June 2016|
In a nutshell: The Panasonic DMP-UB900 UHD Blu-Ray player is the first of a new breed. UHD Blu-Ray offers significantly enhanced quality compared with conventional Blu-Ray, with 4 times the number of pixels, plus much greater detail thanks to HDR. The UB900 is expensive compared with ordinary Blu-ray players, but if you have a high-end TV, this player will unlock its true potential.
Design & looks
The UB900 is larger than your average Blu-ray player, and quite heavy. It's very solidly built, and handles like a premium device. The stylish finish of the UB900, with its gloss mirror front and brushed-metal-effect top means that it will pair up nicely with any modern TV, not just a Panasonic model. We particularly like the digital display on the front panel.
UHD disks for ultimate quality
If you have a new generation UHD (4K) TV, you'll want to feed it with UHD content. So far, Netflix, Amazon and YouTube have offered some 4K content for streaming, but to unlock UHD in all its glory, nothing beats UHD Blu-Ray.
Physically, Blu-Ray disks look just like ordinary disks, but contain far more information. When paired with a top-quality UHD HDR TV, the results are spectacular. UHD Blu-ray disks contain 4 times the resolution of a normal disk - 3840 x 2160 pixels. It's what your 4K TV has been crying out for. In addition, the new format brings HDR (High Dynamic Range), which means brighter whites, deeper blacks, and 10-bit colour, for a truly cinematic experience. The impact of HDR shouldn't be underestimated. It brings scenes to life, with sparkles that will make you gasp, and new detail that you've never seen before. The Chroma processor includes THX certification, reproducing an acurate cinema-like experience.
Audio quality is excellent too, with High Res sound, and support for Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. Full 7.1 channel output is supported. High-end components keep the sound pure and clear.
With the UB900EB, Panasonic has delivered an extremely impressive player. It's a significant step up from 1080p Blu-Ray players. We'd say that when combined with one of the latest high-end TVs, this player produces the best audio-visual experience possible. It's noticeably superior to 4K streaming.
As well as supporting the new UHD Blu-Ray standard, the player can also play a very wide range of older formats - standard Blu-Ray disks (including 3D), DVDs (with 4K upscaling) and audio CDs.
The UB900 supports a range of Smart apps, including 4K Netflix and 4K YouTube.
The DMP-UB900 has 2 HDMI outputs - one for connecting to your TV, the other to an audio system. There's also an optical audio output, a coaxial output, 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs and 2-channel outputs.
Dual-band Wi-Fi and ethernet connections are included, and you can share content from a compatible phone, tablet or PC using DLNA or Miracast. A USB port lets you display content such as photos or videos from a camera, USB-drive, or similar device. There's also a slot for plugging in an SD card.
Conclusion - the best player, but very expensive
This is the first of a new breed of UHD Blu-Ray players, and its premium pricing reflects that. But if you've invested in one of Panasonic's high-end TVs (DX750 or better), then it's worth investing in this player too.
UHD Blu-Ray brings a level of detail and realism to home cinema that's not been seen before. And while Netflix 4K has convenience, compression in streaming means that it simply can't match the quality of a UHD disk.
If you have a lower-end TV, especially one that doesn't support HDR, the case for buying the UB900 is less clear. A slightly cheaper option is the Samsung UBD-K8500.
Panasonic DMP-UB900 features include:
- Playable disks: Blu-Ray (including UHD, 3D, BD-R/ BD-R DL, BD-RE/ BD-RE DL), DVD (including DVD±R/DVD±R DL/DVD±RW), CD (including CD-R/-RW, CD-DA)
- 1080p & 4K upscaling
- 4K JPEG playback
- Smart TV: 4k Netflix, 4k YouTube
- Audio: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, ethernet, HDMI output x 2, digital optical audio output, coaxial output, USB 2.0, SD memory card slot, VIERA Link, DLNA, Miracast
- Power consumption: 26W
- Size (W x H x D): 435 x 68 x 199 mm
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