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Panasonic Debuts 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player

7 Oct, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Panasonic Oct. 7 debuted the world’s first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player, slated to hit electronic retailers in Japan beginning Nov. 13. The DMR-UBZ1 Ultra HD 4K BD player was unveiled at CEATEC Japan in Tokyo, and reportedly will retail at a pricey $3,300. It weighs an equally hefty 18 pounds.

The device, which was first announced in January at the CEA confab in Las Vegas, supports high dynamic range content and 4K video, in addition to featuring 3TB storage for recording TV programs. The player supports HEVC (H.265) video codecs, in addition to traditional Blu-ray Disc formats (MPEG-4 and H.264).

Samsung, which in September announced plans for a 4K BD player (UBD-K8500 UHD), plans to bow the device in the United States next year priced around $500.

Going forward, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment plans to release all its new movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray disc the same day as standard Blu-ray and Digital HD. The studio also plans to re-release recent films on Ultra HD discs, including Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Life of Pi and Fantastic Four.

Perhaps underscoring the fledgling 4K media market, Panasonic plans to manufacture just 500 players a month. The company also unveiled new HDMI cables capable of transmitting 4K video at 60 frames-per-second (four times the resolution of 1080p) and 18Gbps of bandwidth. A compatible 4KTV is not included.

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