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UHD Blu-ray players - feedback requested

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Todd Erwin, May 22, 2018.

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  1. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    With Oppo shutting down, it is getting difficult to recommend a reliable UHD Blu-ray player to friends, family, and potential clients.

    I am still recommending the Sony X800, with reservations. It is the closest "replacement" to the Oppo, as it is truly a universal player (plays CD, DVD, BD, SACD, DVD-A) and allows one to connect a pair of bluetooth headphones (very handy for late night viewing) but has very limited streaming options (Vudu is still HDX only), and does not support DolbyVision. Sony's stepdown player, the X700, omits DVD-A and bluetooth, is not as sturdy (more plastic in the chassis), but can stream Vudu in UHD (but no HDR, so I've heard), and is supposed to support DV thru a future firmware update (I'll believe it when I see it, as that is what Sony reps had originally said about the X800). Both players, unfortunately, still have buggy firmware that causes freeze-ups, although those are becoming less frequent (at least on my two X800 players). In the sub-$300 category, both are likely the best bang for your buck.

    From what I've heard, the LG models are poorly built and have a clunky interface, and have had some firmware issues as well, bit I think they finally got a working update that enabled DV playback. Although their budget end model, the UP875, lacks a secondary HDMI port for audio, DV support (HDR10 only), and streaming options (this is a disc-only player and must be connected via ethernet for firmware updates).

    The newer Samsung players seem to have better streaming options than the Sony's, but likely will never support Dolby Vision, since Samsung TV's do not. I also don't like the curved design of the chassis or the AppleTV-like remote.

    Panasonic seems to be overpriced for what it is (although I've heard it has slightly better processors than the more mainstream models).

    Philips is a brand I just can't bring myself to recommend, although it is a player that supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision and even includes 2 HDMI outputs (all for under $200). The downside is that it only offers two streaming options - Netflix and YouTube, which is hard to believe since Philips is a name you are likely to only see at retailers such as Wal-Mart (which owns Vudu) and Target, and as Black Friday specials at Best Buy.
     
  2. gadgtfreek

    gadgtfreek Supporting Actor
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    I am actually going to be selling my 203 as soon as the UB820 hits retail. From what I have seen so far, the internal tone mapping setting it has is doing an excellent job (has a projector, OLED, lower nit LCD and higher nit LCD setting). It takes into account your display brightness top end, and does some internal tone mapping for the display, which is especially useful on the 4000 nit discs if you have an OLED, cheaper LCD or Projector. Someone in Spain posted on/off images at blu-ray.com with their 2016 LG OLED and it was pretty amazing. Basically APL stays the same between the two images but it allows the higher specular highlights to retain more detail, vs being a bright blob of light. Since Panasonic has been getting plenty of applause for HDR to SDR conversion in their current UB900 player and HDR tone mapping in their OLEDs, it is no surprise the new player does such a good job.

    I do not need universal and all that, just reference quality playback and software update reliability, and that has been Panasonic with the UB900.
     
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  3. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    If you don't care about Dolby Vision then the Xbox 1 S/X are the best UHD players you can get. If you want DV or user profiles for a projector do whatever you can to get a 203 or 205.
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Personally, I wouldn't concern myself with a UHD player's streaming ability and would just focus on other features which are important to you. There are so many other ways to get better streaming functionality, whether it be a dedicated device such as an Apple TV or Roku, or through a smart display.
     
  5. gadgtfreek

    gadgtfreek Supporting Actor
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    I would use nothing else for streaming right now other than my ATV4K. For Netflix, Vudu and Amazon, I love that thing. Excellent PQ, frame rate matching, dynamic range matching...
     
  6. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I just acquired an ATV4K a few weeks ago, as my Roku Ultra 4K box has been a frustrating experience since the start due to the lack of quality control with their software. So far I have been pleased with the Apple device -- it hasn't given me a single problem, and having access to some attractive prices on 4K films via iTunes has been an added benefit.

    We still have Roku boxes on our other three displays, though, and will continue to do so for a couple of reasons. (1) The Apple product is too pricey for me to replace all three of our remaining Rokus (I actually got the ATV4K at no cost using some Amazon credits), and (2) there is no Xfinity app for the ATV4K, which we use on two of the $30 Roku Express boxes instead of renting a cable convertor from Comcast at $10 per month each. The software platform on the 1080p Express units has been very stable -- it's their 4K models which have been problematic.
     
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  7. gadgtfreek

    gadgtfreek Supporting Actor
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    Yep! I had the Roku Ultra before, what a mess it was. The ATV4K had a bumpy start, but was quickly an excellent device.
     
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  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I never had any trouble with my Roku Ultras. I have three ATV4K units without any issues either. The one thing I prefer the Roku Ultra over the ATV4K is Dolby Atmos.
     

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