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.