4K UHD Blu-ray Players Hit Retail31 Oct, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
With domestic 4K UHD TV market penetration nationwide, availability of 4K UHD Blu-ray players has just begun. Following prolonged hype and public unveiling at CES, 4K UHD Blu-ray players this year finally hit retail shelves — spearheaded most recently by Microsoft Xbox.
After shunning Blu-ray, Xbox surprised some observers when it included 4K UHD Blu-ray, 4K video streaming and high dynamic range (HDR) functionality in the August launch of the $299 Xbox One S, which features a 40% smaller console than the 3-year-old Xbox One.
“It’s the only [video game] console with built-in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and 4K video streaming, including content from partners like Netflix and, coming soon, Amazon Instant Video,” Matt Lapsen, GM of Xbox devices marketing, wrote in an Oct. 24 blog.
Samsung was the first CE manufacturer to launch at retail a 4K-compatible Blu-ray Disc player — the UBD-K8500 — with a SRP of $399. Philips followed with the BDP7501, priced at $299. The Panasonic UB900 4K UHD BD player, which debuted overseas before reaching the U.S., remains the priciest at $699.
Sony plans to launch the UBP-X1000ES 4K UHD BD player in 2017, while Chinese CE manufacturer OPPO Electronics Corp. reportedly will launch the UDP-203 4K UHD BD player later this year at around $500.