What is the best 4k player outside of the Oppo?

3 Stars

Just bought my first 4k display. It’s a 65″ LG OLED (2018 C8)

Arriving in the next day or so.

I am officially into 4k, though I won’t be watching much of it as it’s just a replacement for the living room television. The Home Theater is where I have the more elaborate sound and screen setup.

This was a simple replacement for my current LG display that finally died.

Anyway…

Trying to get my hands on a second Oppo 4k player. Waiting to hear back from the owner but I may be too late.

What is the next best 4k player to that Oppo?

Thanks in advance!

Published by

Ronald Epstein

administrator

58 Comments

  1. If you do not need high resolution audio playback — i.e. SACD and DVD-Audio — then the Panasonic models Robert mentions are your best bet. The UB900 will be about twice the price as the UB820, with the only major difference being better audio DACs. The UB820 is available now, and Panasonic just released a firmware upgrade providing Dolby Vision support. I don't think the UB900 is available until sometime this fall.

    I am strongly considering the UB820 as an upgrade to my current Sony X-800 in order to add Dolby Vision capabilities to my setup. It may wait a couple of months, though, as expenses have been high lately.

  2. Scott, the DMP-UB900 is Panasonic's FORMER flagship. The new player is the DP-UB9000 and I believe it will retail for $999 once released in North America.

    Ron, if Dolby Vision and HDR10+ aren't a factor for you, I've got a very nice used DMP-UB900 for sale. PM me if interested.

  3. The Panasonic 820 shipped without Dolby Vision capabilities, but it has now received its firmware update (ahead of schedule) that brings Dolby Vision to the machine.

    If you want a more reasonably priced Dolby Vision-capable player, the Philips 7502 and the LG 90 can do the job. The Sony X700 also does DV, but I believe it's a little more expensive than the Philips and the LG, and the DV must be turned on and off manually with it (the other two have automatic DV/HDR implementation). I have the Philips and have no complaints whatsoever with its handling of UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD discs.

  4. Ronald Epstein

    My new LG supports Dolby Vision so I would need a player supporting that.

    Before I bother, I am looking to buy on Amazon but it appears they do not sell it.

    I would expect Amazon to start selling the UB820 soon. Value Electronics was the first U.S. dealer to get units — about a month ahead of everyone else. I think Best Buy is slated to have them available around 8/26, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Amazon selling them around the end of the month, too.

  5. Months ago, I received a notice from OPPO to be on their waiting list; were they to crank out a few final more of their players.
    Doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Not a peep since.
    So, in moving forward with future planning, are any of the available or upcoming models region-free?
    And have any models now or on the horizon yet been deemed as OPPO's equal?

  6. Sam Posten

    The second best UHD player is unquestionably the Xbox 1 X.

    Unquestionably? What does the Xbox offer that trumps the tone-mapping capabilities, great image quality and excellent video upconversion of the new Panasonic players? I honestly don't pay much attention to gaming consoles, so I am not being sarcastic.

  7. PMF

    Months ago, I received a notice from OPPO to be on their waiting list; were they to crank out a few final more of their players.
    Doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Not a peep since.
    So, in moving forward with future planning, are any of the available or upcoming models region-free?
    And have any models now or on the horizon yet been deemed as OPPO's equal?

    Some Panasonic players can be modified to region-free, but only by purchasing and installing hacked firmware that locks you in to that particular version of the code. When Panasonic releases updates, you then have to wait for the people you bought the region-free firmware from to catch up, if they ever do. I did this with my first UB900 and while it worked, I was not happy with the source of the firmware. They were unprofessional and juvenile. I wouldn't go down that road again.

    I think for most folks who want a 4K UHD player AND region-free capability, the best option is to buy an inexpensive region-free Blu-ray player (of which there are many) to handle that duty and a 4K machine for everything else. Oppo really was the best game in town for the "one box to rule them all".

  8. Ronald Epstein

    Looking forward to my first 4k experience. I really haven't seen too much of it outside of the demos we saw in California.

    HDR is much more important than resolution. You can't base HDR off of projectors. FALD and OLED do HDR a million times better than a PJ.

  9. Scott Merryfield

    Unquestionably? What does the Xbox offer that trumps the tone-mapping capabilities, great image quality and excellent video upconversion of the new Panasonic players? I honestly don't pay much attention to gaming consoles, so I am not being sarcastic.

    I wasn't sarcastic, but I WAS being hyperbolic, as is my wont. =)
    Video quality is identical. X1X supports DV streams and will be upgraded to support DV disks eventually. There is no reason to use tone mapping unless you are outputting to a projector (Ron is going to OLED with this one). Upconversion can be handled by the end device as good or better than most boxes.

    Oh, and you get the best gaming console on the planet bundled in. For 2/3rds the price of Panasonic's box.

  10. PMF

    Months ago, I received a notice from OPPO to be on their waiting list; were they to crank out a few final more of their players.
    Doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Not a peep since.

    Same here. I thought it was very odd I never got a notification from their waiting list, as I did intend to purchase an Oppo player from their final batch. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

  11. Ronald Epstein

    Just bought my first 4k display. It's a 65" LG OLED (2018 C8)

    Arriving in the next day or so.

    I am officially into 4k, though I won't be watching much of it as it's just a replacement for the living room television. The Home Theater is where I have the more elaborate sound and screen setup.

    This was a simple replacement for my current LG display that finally died.

    Anyway…

    Trying to get my hands on a second Oppo 4k player. Waiting to hear back from the owner but I may be too late.

    What is the next best 4k player to that Oppo?

    Thanks in advance!

    I'm dying to hear your thoughts of UHD on a TV vs. Projection. I have a very difficult time deciding how to watch a new release: Sacrifice size for a perfect picture, or go with the fantastic immersion of projection. As much as I love UHD, it is probably 60/40 split in favor of projection. I just really like the cinematic feel of the big screen.

  12. Bryan^H

    I'm dying to hear your thoughts of UHD on a TV vs. Projection. I have a very difficult time deciding how to watch a new release: Sacrifice size for a perfect picture, or go with the fantastic immersion of projection. As much as I love UHD, it is probably 60/40 split in favor of projection. I just really like the cinematic feel of the big screen.

    Blessed are those with such dilemmas.
    Posts such as these keeps me going and inspired.
    One day…one day.

  13. dpippel

    I think for most folks who want a 4K UHD player AND region-free capability, the best option is to buy an inexpensive region-free Blu-ray player (of which there are many) to handle that duty and a 4K machine for everything else.

    That's certainly what I've done and I couldn't be happier.

  14. PMF

    Months ago, I received a notice from OPPO to be on their waiting list; were they to crank out a few final more of their players.
    Doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Not a peep since.
    So, in moving forward with future planning, are any of the available or upcoming models region-free?
    And have any models now or on the horizon yet been deemed as OPPO's equal?

    I reached out to the owner of Oppo via email two days ago. Usually, he gets back to me immediately.

    There has been no reply. My guess is that there are no units to be had anymore.

  15. Bryan^H

    I'm dying to hear your thoughts of UHD on a TV vs. Projection. I have a very difficult time deciding how to watch a new release: Sacrifice size for a perfect picture, or go with the fantastic immersion of projection. As much as I love UHD, it is probably 60/40 split in favor of projection. I just really like the cinematic feel of the big screen.

    I just wish it was a projector I was buying instead of a panel.

    The room with a panel has no sound system other than a Sonos playbase. No surround.

    The room was never set up for home theater viewing. The only reason I am even into 4k, partially at this point, is because my LG plasma finally died.

    At least I can say I have 4k capability at this point. Just wish it was a projector. Still waiting for those prices to drop. In the meantime I am hearing more about 8k on the horizon.

  16. Ronald Epstein

    I just wish it was a projector I was buying instead of a panel.

    The room with a panel has no sound system other than a Sonos playbase. No surround.

    The room was never set up for home theater viewing. The only reason I am even into 4k, partially at this point, is because my LG plasma finally died.

    At least I can say I have 4k capability at this point. Just wish it was a projector. Still waiting for those prices to drop. In the meantime I am hearing more about 8k on the horizon.

    Well we can keep hearing about it as far as I'm concern as 4K is probably the end of the road for me. I'm not saying I won't buy a 8K display years from now, but I'm done chasing technologies as that 8K display will be replacing a display that stopped working.

  17. Good Day Ronald. As you may know, I went with the Sony X700 for my first UHD Blu-ray player. Fair to say the jury is still out on how well it stacks up against the Oppos and Panasonics but I can say for my first 4K experience (teamed with the new Vizio P75), I was duly impressed. Grease (1978) 4K was about the best I’d ever seen it but when I screened Mamma Mia (2008) and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) 4K Blu-rays, I really got blown away. And that was with a slightly defective TV (just replaced but has to wait till I get home to install).

    Still have some tweaking to do but I’d say at this point, my Sony X700 has quite a bit of bang for the buck ($314 with the region free mods).

    I’ll be considering a second UHD player for the bedroom TV (Vizio M50 4K circa 2015) and probably will be another X700.

    Hope this proves useful.

  18. Sam Posten

    The second best UHD player is unquestionably the Xbox 1 X.

    What’s the UX?

    I tried my PS4 as a Blu-ray player and it was a f’ing disaster: the “remote” is the game controller which is a terrible (complete guess what button will do what; pick it up and accidental press an analog button and the movie skips to the next chapter). And during the movie, I’m getting gamer notifications on screen about everyone playing Destiny!

    It gave me the lesson to *never* use a game console for watching content.

    How does the XB handle the UI, remote control, and external notifications?

  19. PMF

    Blessed are those with such dilemmas.
    Posts such as these keeps me going and inspired.
    One day…one day.

    You can get a really good HD 3D DLP from Optoma for less than $800. And if you have a good sized wall in you living room or somewhere else in your house you're off to the races, plug n Play out of the box. And for that price the entertainment value is immeasurable. Building a home theater with seats, screen, sound system from scratch is still expensive though, and I envy those with such a set up.

    I still laugh when I think back to the late 90's trying to figure out how to afford an $8K projector that was SD(junk) and about a fraction of the contrast ratio of the projectors currently.

    We have come a long way in a very short time

  20. Sam Posten

    I wasn't sarcastic, but I WAS being hyperbolic, as is my wont. =)
    Video quality is identical. X1X supports DV streams and will be upgraded to support DV disks eventually. There is no reason to use tone mapping unless you are outputting to a projector (Ron is going to OLED with this one). Upconversion can be handled by the end device as good or better than most boxes.

    Oh, and you get the best gaming console on the planet bundled in. For 2/3rds the price of Panasonic's box.

    In my case, my Vizio 4K display doesn't do a great job upconverting 480i/p content, so I have my current Sony X-800 upconverting both DVD and BD content — it's identical to the Vizio for BD content, but this way I can leave the player on 4K output for everything. Tone mapping may help with a lower light output panel like my Vizio, as well (not as big an issue for OLED). And the gaming aspect is a meaningless feature to many of us.

    So, maybe your comment should have been "questionably the 2nd best UHD player". 😀

  21. Matt Hough

    And broadcast TV hasn't really moved to 4K yet, so even thinking about 8K seems like manufacturers' overkill.

    I don’t see 8K as being a standard format for content creation in the foreseeable future, if ever.

    The overwhelming majority of theatrical releases are still completed in 2K resolution without HDR. Most theatrical projectors are either 2K or 4K without HDR.

    It’s going to take a while for them to catch up to producing a majority of content in 4K with HDR.

    I see 8K as being useful for specialized applications like theme park attractions and giant commercial billboards but less so for moviegoing.

  22. Bryan^H

    Same here. I thought it was very odd I never got a notification from their waiting list, as I did intend to purchase an Oppo player from their final batch. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

    That's why I purchased mine as soon as I heard the announcement from Oppo. I honestly didn't know whether or not it would prove to be a wise decision but now I'm seeing the dearth and feel fully gratified.

  23. John Dirk

    That's why I purchased mine as soon as I heard the announcement from Oppo. I honestly didn't know whether or not it would prove to be a wise decision but now I'm seeing the dearth and feel fully gratified.

    You could also sell it for a healthy profit right now, if you so desired.

  24. Only thing I don't like about the Panasonic player is it's pretty much useless for playing network files. But as a UHD disc player, it seems to be the best, especially for use with projectors, because of its tone mapping capability.

  25. Scott Merryfield

    You could also sell it for a healthy profit right now, if you so desired.

    I've never owned a premium player like this so I don't have any comparative experience but the Oppo 203 is so awesome I doubt I would ever part with it. I have yet to purchase a 4K projector but when I do [hopefully within a year if prices drop as they should] I'll have to evaluate the potential tone mapping and black crush issues if they still exist. Panny made a landmark projector [my PTAE8000] so it figures they're premium UHD player will also be excellent.

  26. John Dirk

    I've never owned a premium player like this so I don't have any comparative experience but the Oppo 203 is so awesome I doubt I would ever part with it. I have yet to purchase a 4K projector but when I do [hopefully within a year if prices drop as they should] I'll have to evaluate the potential tone mapping and black crush issues if they still exist. Panny made a landmark projector [my PTAE8000] so it figures they're premium UHD player will also be excellent.

    Same here. I have the Oppo 203 (replacing and Oppo 93 that stopped playing blu-rays from Fox), and it's a wonderful machine. I actually use it a lot more for music, both regular CDs , and now I can play SACDs and DVD-A discs as well. With movies it's great, and I don't even have a 4K set yet, so when I do get one, it should be even more spectacular.

  27. Absolutely love my Sony X-800, which I snagged for like $150 on sale. Solid, substantial build, SACD playback, terrific Blu-ray and UHD (HDR10) quality, capable remote control (esp. compared to the worthless one that comes with the Samsung player). Only issue is that it doesn’t pass DV. Would love a firmware update for DV but doesn’t look like that will happen. That said, any disk with DV defaults to HDR10 if the player doesn’t support DV and, frankly, I haven’t seen that big of a picture difference in the two competing formats to get my undies in a bundle. Would I like DV? Absolutely. Does not having it ruin my UHD experience? Not even close. If you can get on sale, there’s no better bang for the buck.

  28. Matt Hough

    And broadcast TV hasn't really moved to 4K yet, so even thinking about 8K seems like manufacturers' overkill.

    I am/was very sceptical concerning 8K TVs too, but then I read John Archers's (fellow journo from Home Cinema Choice) article from Forbes yesterday. He has some very interesting observations…

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnar…-haters-gonna-hate-and-miss-out/#5871b4f3114a

  29. Martin Dew

    I am/was very sceptical concerning 8K TVs too, but then I read John Archers's (fellow journo from Home Cinema Choice) article from Forbes yesterday. He has some very interesting observations…

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnar…-haters-gonna-hate-and-miss-out/#5871b4f3114a

    Nobody is questioning its impressive picture quality, but many of us are questioning whether it's going to be affordably priced for the consumers and content providers.

  30. 8K will be far to expensive out of the gate and that keeps unaffordable for me even if I wanted to get an 75″ – 82″ 8K display! Not ruling it out because in about 3-4 years the prices may be down low enough especially for the screen size to take advantage of that kind of resolution. For now I will be happy with 4K and I am also checking out the Panasonic 4K blu-ray player!

    And for those looking at Amazon for the cheapest price be warned that some brands do not honor warranties from vendors that are not authorized dealers! For anyone looking for the Panasonic give Robert Zohn a shot at your business! Sometimes the cheapest price is not always the best deal!

  31. PMF

    Months ago, I received a notice from OPPO to be on their waiting list; were they to crank out a few final more of their players.
    Doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Not a peep since.
    So, in moving forward with future planning, are any of the available or upcoming models region-free?
    And have any models now or on the horizon yet been deemed as OPPO's equal?

    Just to let you know that I signed up in early April on the Oppo website and in July I was notified I could pick up an OPPO 205. So of course I did. Very happy with it.

Leave a Reply