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Sony to Release Its First 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Player This Spring

4 Jan, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player (UBP-X800)

Sony is a pioneer in Blu-ray and subsequent 4K-resolution technology. Yet, the consumer electronics giant only this year will launch its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player (UBP-X800) — well behind product launches from Panasonic and Samsung. 

Speaking Jan. 4 at Sony’s annual pre-CES presentation in Las Vegas, CEO Kazuo Hirai suggested the wait was necessary due to advancements in high dynamic range (HDR) display technology, which has been incorporated throughout Sony product lines.

“HDR is a remarkable advancement … making possible images that contain up to 100-times wider dynamic range compared to current broadcast TV standards,” Hirai said.

Indeed, the UBP-X800 provides video playback with wide color space BT.2020, which claims to offer twice the color range of existing conventional Blu-ray players. The player is also compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X — new types of surround sound increasingly incorporated in 4K UHD Blu-ray movies.

Upcoming 4K UHD theatrical releases with HDR include Spider-Man: Homecoming (debuting July 7), The Dark Tower with Matthew McConaughey (July 28), and TV show “The Last Tycoon,” for Amazon Prime Video, among others.

Hirai said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which last year launched 4K Ultra HD movie streaming service ULTRA, fields one of the largest 4K UHD libraries in the industry.

The executive reiterated that many Sony movies and TV shows would be released in 4K with HDR — content he said would be visually enhanced in the home on updated 4K UHD Bravia LED televisions with HDR and so-called “acoustic surface” audio technology.

Indeed, two new 4K HDR TVs include the flagship XBR-A1E Bravia OLED and XBR-X930E/X940E series — the latter featuring new LED backlight driving technology alongside the X1 Extreme processor, Slim Backlight Drive+. This further improves grid-array backlighting in a slim form factor, which Sony says allows for even more precise local dimming control.

“The result is a stunning vivid picture, satisfying the most discriminating viewers who are seeking optimized picture quality,” Hirai said.

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