Panasonic Flagship 4K Blu-ray Player Coming to US?

Panasonic has revealed plans for a flagship Blu-ray player, the ‘reference class’ DP-UB9000, which is rumored to become available in the US later in the year. Not to be confused with the UB900, nor any of the company’s announcements at CES 2018, the new player will boast ‘unparalleled sound’ as a result of a newly-developed vibration-reducing chassis.

The universal player, clearly being positioned to go head-to-head with the Oppo UDP-203, will include support for both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, and will play back Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, Video on Demand, and USB sourced content. The UB9000 will also offer high quality audio due to its analogue audio circuits, dedicated power supply, high-performance D/A converters and balanced XLR output. A 7.1 channel gold-plated audio output for direct connection to an AVR, much sought after by some home theater enthusiasts, will be included.

Combined with the player’s Hollywood Cinema Experience (HCX) Processor, developed by Panasonic’s  southern California-based team, the company claims the new model will raise the bar for AV enthusiasts with the ‘highest-ever picture and sound quality in the history of  Panasonic Blu-ray disc players’.

All of Panasonic’s 2018 Blu-ray player offerings will also support voice control from Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (both to become available soon), allowing users to fast forward or pause a movie without the need for a remote control. As has been the norm for other players in the Panasonic range, the DP-UB9000 will include THX certification, guaranteeing ‘finely nuanced colors and rich, detailed images required to reproduce the filmmaker’s intentions precisely’.

Although the player was announced at Panacon, Panasonic’s annual product launch event in Europe last week, according to HDGuru, it looks like this model will also be added to Panasonic’s US product portfolio when it becomes available later in the year. Pricing is also yet to be disclosed, but HDGuru suggests that there are a number of reasons why the launch has not included an announcement for the US just yet, one of which being that other markets have been receiving more Panasonic 4K Ultra HD players per capita, paradoxically as a result of greater price competitiveness stateside. As more news starts to emerge, we will report back here.

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Martin Dew

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69 Comments

  1. Yep, way back when. I just find it interesting that Panny decided to forgo their usual glossy plastic design elements for the same brushed aluminum finish that Oppo has been using, specifically for this player.

  2. Oppo tried to support everything and got quirky lasers, Sony has freezing problems (related since they both use Sony lasers?).

    It's funny that you can't get reference UHD disc playback from a UHD disc player, without baggage.

    Oh wait, there is the Panny UB900…

  3. I've explained Dolby Vision's Low Latency protocol to my Panasonic BD engineer friend in Japan and told him that Sony is using it. I made it clear that if they want to be compatible with Sony X1 Extreme equipped processor HDR TVs they need to include this DV standard in all of the upcoming UHD/HDR BD players.

  4. I am interested in the UB820, depending on the pricing. I had planned on getting an Oppo 203 this summer as a Dolby Vision upgrade to my existing Sony X800, but will probably go in a different direction with Oppo getting out of the business.

  5. Robert_Zohn

    I believe you ^ might be seeing Panasonic's UB900, $399 on my site. The UB9000 will launch in September 2018 and no price is announced yet.

    You are correct. I shouldn't look up stuff when I'm sleepy.

    Sorry

  6. Will be looking at both the new models from Panasonic and Pioneer when I am ready to upgrade my Samsung 8500 4K Blu-ray player. And that is if I do not end up with a Oppo 4K player despite the company ending production of new equipment soon. If the player doesn't handle SACD and DVD-A then I will look at a used audio only player option.

  7. Just received our 1st UB820. Panasonic USA received a few units for review and included me as the only retailer with a sample! Here's my very early impressions:

    – Very nice all metal build quality. All connection ports are high-grade and the overall fit and finish is very good. *Note, not up to the build quality of OPPO's players, but better than most others.

    – Exceptional video quality. You can see the advantages of Panasonics well respected video and chroma processing. The HCX Hollywood tuned processor renders the images from UHD/HDR BD discs beautifully.

    – Lots a very cool set-up configurations, see some of my pics below, with more to come.

    – Love the HDR Optimizer controls. I was able to set the UB820 up on a few TVs with varied peak luminance capacity and it's easy to dial in the best HDR value for each TV's ability.
    [​IMG]

    I'll be doing more testing, including Dolby Vision HDR over HDMI for Sony X1 Extreme TVs and HDR10+ (once a disc comes out) as I get more time with this player, but for now I can tell everyone with confidence this is a very well engineered advanced UHD/HDR BD player.

    We set the price at $499, double boxed and delivered Nationwide.

    Here's a few pics, with more to come:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's our dedicated page with more detailed information.

    Here's a couple photos of the HDR optimizer. What it achieves is a smooth roll off of the HDR peak luminance (specular highlights) that matches your TVs peak luminance capability.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

  8. Robert,

    Can you confirm if this player supports SACD playback, as opposed to just DSD hi-res file playback? I don't think I have seen a straight yes/no answer to this question in any Panasonic threads here or over at the blu-ray forums.

    Thanks.

  9. @RobertR, I can't say for sure as I have not done an a/b side-by-side evaluation, but the video performance looks identical in my viewing the UP900 and moments later the UB820 on the same displays with the same content.

    @YanMan, Yes to FLAC and DSD Hi Res audio files, no to SACD.

    @atcolomb, Video performance looks the same, the advantage of the UB820 would mostly be Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+ compatibility.

  10. Robert, if you could let us know if the player comes with Dolby Vision support out of the box, or will be added later via a firmware update, I would appreciate it. If it's the latter, there will be no rush for me to buy one, as my Sony X800 does everything I require except Dolby Vision.

  11. Scott Merryfield

    Robert, if you could let us know if the player comes with Dolby Vision support out of the box, or will be added later via a firmware update, I would appreciate it. If it's the latter, there will be no rush for me to buy one, as my Sony X800 does everything I require except Dolby Vision.

    https://www.panasonic.com/uk/consumer/home-entertainment/blu-ray-and-dvd/dp-ub820eb.specs.html
    These specs off of Panasonic's UK website say it will be "Enabled by software update". I imagine it will be the same for the USA. Above in that pic of the outer box there is some fine print underneath the Dolby Vision logo but I can't make out what it says.

  12. View attachment 46544

    I’m concerned about the statement:
    “When “On” is selected, tone of the high brightness scene is displayed smoothly depending on luminance information (static meta data) of the contents.”

    The problem with using static meta data for anything is that it isn’t very accurate. It often just reflects the peak luminance of the mastering monitor and not the peak luminance of the actual content (which is the only thing that is relevant). And sometimes this info is simply absent. Dynamic scene by scene analysis and mapping based on the actual content being played would be preferable.

    I’m looking forward to user feedback on this. Now that some seem to be getting out into the wild im sure it will be forthcoming.

  13. Pics have been posted at another from by a user from Spain, using HDR Optimizer on the OLED setting, with his 2016 LG. It seemed to add more plus 1000 nit detail back into the scene, without reducing APL. In other words, I think it could be great for OLED and Projector owners to keep some detail but not have to dim the image overall, especially on 4000 nit discs.

    Someone stated, and I am not sure about this, that the tone mapping function was similar to what the Panny OLED's do, and it has been very popular with reviewers.

    Some displays dim down to keep all the highlights, which is not popular by some, others (Sony) just clip what they cant show and stay bright, Panny kinda hits in between.

  14. Not sure what's happening, but we just received a few call and emails saying the UB9000 is not confirmed to be available in the USA.
    Just to be 100% clear and as I said before, we are getting the UB9000 in the USA, but it will be later than the EU and Asia's launch. Likely October and hopefully mid-late September.

  15. After watching that video and reading gadget's comments, I think the 820 would be a wise upgrade for me to pair with my 55EF9500 OLED. I'm using the Samsung 8500 and I'm pleased with 4k discs now, but I'm all for upgrading the picture quality even more.

    I know Robert said the video section is identical to the 9000, does that include the 820 also being 3D capable?

    When it comes to audio, what am I losing going with the 820 if I just use the player for movies (4k, bluray, DVD) and streaming, and very rare occasions of playing a CD?

  16. gadgtfreek

    Yeah, I think I am just gonna go with the 820 when it releases. The 820 vs 9000 is kinda like 203 vs 205 for me, I just dont need anything audio related.

    That's my plan, too. I have an old Oppo 980H DVD player that plays SACD and DVD-Audio, and so does my Sony X800 UHD player. I just want something that has Dolby Vision support, top notch video quality for UHD, BD and DVD, and doesn't have any major bugs/issues.

  17. OMG, my engineering production UB9000 sample is in transit to me as I write this post! :dancing-banana-04:

    If all goes as promised by the carrier I'll receive the player this Wednesday!

    We established a very compelling launch price, $999, double boxed and delivered Nationwide. The UB820 is $499 and is scheduled to arrive the end of next week.

  18. I already spewed my unhappiness in another forum (which Robert kindly replied to, thank you) but for those here in HTF…

    Unbelievably, the Panasonic UB820 is being released for sale without Dolby Vision support (yet). The support is promised for October or sooner but Robert still hasn't gotten Panasonic to officially confirm that it will support the low latency Dolby Vision profile (DV profile 5) that is needed for Sony's X1 series of high-end TVs. Robert seems confident that profile 5 support *is* coming, but we still don't have anything official.

    It boggles my mind that a company is willing to release a new 4K player 7 months into 2018 and NOT already have DV support onboard at the time of release. Apple solved the issue with the Apple TV 4K in less than 2 weeks. Granted, Apple's engineers were probably already working on the update but, still, Panasonic has had MONTHS. Heck, the initial player design probably dates back to sometime in 2017 if not earlier. How on earth can it take so long for something so obviously necessary to compete in today's market?

    Mark

  19. I'm with you, Mark. I have no intention of buying another player until it actually has Dolby Vision support, and not just a promise for that support in the future with a firmware update. I already have a quality UHD player that lacks DV support (Sony X800) — I don't need another one.

  20. Apple was amazing getting Dolby Vision HDR profile 5 updated so quickly. However, one item to consider is that Apple TV is limited to streaming and it's the disc playback that takes more engineering and a diligent approval process from Dolby Labs.

    I am 100% confident we'll see the Dolby Vision update and very optimistic that it will include profile 5, low latency protocol.

  21. Matt Hough

    Can't wait to read your opinions on the machine, Jason.

    Same here. I have the LG 55EF9500 and I remember him saying the Samsung UBD- K8500 wasn’t a good match for the tv, which is the player I have.

    The tone mapping has me very intrigued.

  22. @Robert_Zohn , forgive me if this has been addressed. How (and if) is playback on the UB820, downscaling UHD discs to 1080p, for those of us who still have 1080 displays, waiting for OLED to come down a bit more, but would like to start collecting some UHD discs?

  23. Robert,

    While we wait for Dolby Vision to actually be supported by the UB820 (it boggles my mind that every article I read, including information on Value Electronic's site, suggests it ALREADY supports Dolby Vision when, in fact, it doesn't… yet), please comment on how "quick" it feels with regard to loading streaming apps and general movement from menu to menu. To me, my DMP-U900 seems kinda slow in that regard. Too slow.

    Mark

  24. @Mark Booth, first and foremost thanks for your comment about my UB820 web page not clearly stating "Dolby Vision HDR" requires a future update. We had it listed in a disclaimer at the bottom of the page in small text and after reading your post I immediately updated the UB820 page and moved the disclaimer directly under the Dolby Vision HDR feature listing.

    In regard to the speed of the app navigation I agree it's not as fast as I'd like. I passed my comment onto the engineers and requested any help they can provide with the next firmware update to speed up the Smart navigation. BTW, at launch we only have Netflix streaming in addition to several special interest apps. Many more apps will be added shortly.

    Most importantly, this is an excellent BD player with the very valuable and exclusive HDR Optimizer feature. Panasonic UB820 HDR Optimizer is the only way to properly tone map HDR10 to match your TV or projector's peak luminance capability.

  25. Robert, I absolutely plan to purchase a UB820 or UB9000. If the UB820 already supported Dolby Vision (and profile 5) you would already have my money. I've got an Apple TV 4K for streaming apps and It's unlikely I'd use the Panasonic for such purposes, I was just curious if it was snail slow like my current U900. Disappointing that it apparently is but definitely not a deal breaker.

    Mark

  26. Panasonic engineers have confirmed to me personally the UB820 and UB9000 will support Dolby Vision Profile 5 w/low latency protocol. You will love the HDR Optimizer feature, which BTW, is only active with HDR10 content.

  27. I may be very well be buying this 4K blu-ray player next year. This year is a Marantz SR-8012 and next year this player then I need to decide if I am going with a projector or just moving to a 80" – 85" 4K display.

  28. Robert_Zohn

    Love your receiver choice. It one of the three receivers that can be hardware upgraded to HDMI 2.1 with the full 48Gbps bandwidth and all of the specs and features of HDMI 21.

    What are the other two receivers and do you carry them?

  29. Yes, we are factory direct Marantz and Denon Showcase Reference dealers.

    The only receivers that I know of that are hardware upgradable are Marantz's SR8012, 11.2 channel receiver, Marantz's pre-pro processor the AV8805 and Denon's AVR-X8500H 13.2 channel receiver.

    Marantz will begin to offer HDMI 2.1 hardware upgrades as soon as HDMI chipsets become available and have passed q/c, which is expected by the end of this year.

  30. gadgtfreek

    Got my tracking. Updated and shows Wed delivery. Looking forward to trying the Oled tone mapping.

    dpippel

    Mine is scheduled for delivery today, and I'm looking forward to taking for a test drive this weekend.

    Any impressions?

  31. Robert_Zohn

    Yes, we are factory direct Marantz and Denon Showcase Reference dealers.

    The only receivers that I know of that are hardware upgradable are Marantz's SR8012, 11.2 channel receiver, Marantz's pre-pro processor the AV8805 and Denon's AVR-X8500H 13.2 channel receiver.

    Marantz will begin to offer HDMI 2.1 hardware upgrades as soon as HDMI chipsets become available and have passed q/c, which is expected by the end of this year.

    I'm seriously looking at the SR8012 receiver right now for an upgrade over my Yamaha 3060 receiver.

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