Update: We’ve just reviewed Sony’s first UHD Blu-ray Player, which has duly earned a place on our list of the best players out there. Check it out at number three below.
Best 4K Blu-ray Player Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Players you can buy in 2017.
The fact that you’re here, looking for the best 4K Blu-ray player right now says something about you: you’re ahead of the curve. You like owning the latest and greatest technology or, if not owning, at least knowing about the best-of-the-best upcoming tech.
And why shouldn’t you? A day will come soon when everyone will want to watch their favorite TV shows and movies in an ultra crisp 3840 × 2160 resolution.
While looking at 4K Blu-ray players this early in the game makes you somewhat of a tech Nostradamus (congrats on that by the way), manufacturers don’t have the same sort of passionate drive to have the latest and greatest that you do.
While most manufacturers have one or two models on the market at the moment, the list of available Ultra-HD Blu-ray players is still a fairly short list.
The good news is that while there aren’t many 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players at the moment, content for these players is growing at an exponential rate.
Netflix has started to film many of its shows in 4K high dynamic range, and Amazon and Google Play TV & Movies have recently followed suit. The first batch of Ultra HD films have finally made their way to store shelves, too, and include The Martian, X-Men Days of Future Past and The Revenant.
But these are just the tip of the very high-resolution iceberg. Expect to see a few dozen more of these high-capacity discs make their way to an electronics retailer near you in the coming weeks and months.
What else do I need to watch a UHD Blu-ray?
In order to get a true 4K experience, remember that you’ll need a 4K Blu-ray player, a 4K Blu-ray disc and, of course, a 4K TV in order to watch it. Don’t have that last one? Check out our guide to the best 4K TV.
If you don’t have a 4K TV, your 4K Blu-ray player will still work, but it will only display images in 1080p. Buy a regular Blu-ray instead of a 4K version and it will still play in 3840 × 2160 resolution, but it won’t be a native 4K image and will be noticeably different than had you used an Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Enough with the caveats. Here are the the best 4K Blu-ray players in the world:
1. Panasonic DMP-UB700
The best bang for buck 4K UHD Blu-ray performance
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Yes | Dimensions: 430 x 61 x 199 mm | Weight: 2.3 kg | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: Yes | 3D support?: Yes | HDR Formats supported: HDR10
Outstanding picture performance
Hi-Res Audio file playback
4K Netflix and Amazon onboard
Not as sexy as the DMP-UB900
No Dolby Vision support
When it comes to 4K UHD image quality, the DMP-UB700 effectively sets a new benchmark for price and performance.
Streaming service support, with HDR-enabled 4K Netflix, is well worth trumpeting and the player does a swell job with 24-bit audio, be it with FLAC or DSD files.
If you’re prepared to spend slightly more then you’ll be rewarded with support for Dolby Vision and more universal disc support, but as it stands the UB700 offers the most balanced mix of price, audio visual performance, and features.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB700
2. Oppo UDP-203
A premium player for your high-end A/V needs
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Oppo OS | Dimensions: 16.9 x 12.2 x 3.1 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: Yes | 3D support?: Yes | HDR Formats supported: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Fantastic image quality
Supports numerous formats
No streaming services onboard
The Oppo UDP-203 is the most expensive Blu-ray player on this list, but depending on your needs it might just be exactly what you’re looking for.
The player supports a full suite of both video and audio formats, including the niche SACD, and features a total of three HDMI ports (one for video and audio, one for audio, and another to act as an HDMI passthrough).
It even supports the premium Dolby Vision HDR standard, which is still a rarity in players.
Unfortunately the Oppo doesn’t include support for streaming services such as Netflix, but if you want a premium disc player (at a premium price), this is the one for you.
Read the full review: Oppo UDP-203
3. Sony UBP-X800
Great video matched with exceptional audio
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: MediaTek platform | Dimensions: 17 x 2 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 8.4 pounds | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: Yes | 3D support?: Yes | HDR Formats supported: HDR10
Superb picture quality
4K Netflix and Amazon apps
SACD, DVD-A and Hi-Res audio
No analogue stereo output
No Dolby Vision
Sony might have been a little late to the Ultra HD Blu-ray party, but its first player is a great machine. It’s solidly made, and its overall image quality is superb.
As an added bonus, the player also supports a wide range of audio formats, can play SACDs, and even DVD-As.
So why does the player sit the number three slot in our list? Well, unfortunately it lacks support for Dolby Vision, the high-end HDR format that discs are increasingly offering support for, and which the Oppo UDP-203 does now support thanks to a firmware update. Its also more expensive than our top pick, the Panasonic DMP-UB700.
If you want a UHD player that also doubles as a very capable music player, then the Sony UBP-X800 is a great choice, but if you’re after something focussed solely on playing movies, then there are better or cheaper options out there.
Read the full review: Sony UBP-X800
3. Panasonic DMP-UB900
Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 is a must-have for AV enthusiasts
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Panasonic OS | Dimensions: 435 x 199 x 68mm | Weight: 5.29 pounds | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: Yes | 3D support?: Yes | HDR Formats supported: HDR10
4K Netflix and Amazon on board
First-class audio CD playback
Chassis is a fingerprint magnet
The DMP-UB900 will restore you faith in physical media. In full 4K HDR guise it offers a level of performance that will have new 4K TV owners gasping. Ultra-HD Blu-ray brings the experience of 4K digital cinema to the home, and rewards with brilliant colour fidelity, deep contrast and almost three-dimensional clarity.
Factor in solid file playback support, plus 4K iterations of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and you have a machine that’ll make your new 4K HDR TV look sensational.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB900
4. Samsung UBD-M9500
Samsung’s second-gen UHD Blu-ray deck embraces the curve
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Samsung Smart Hub | Dimensions: 45 x 406 x 226mm (H x W x D) | Weight: 4.19 pounds | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: Yes | 3D support?: No | HDR Formats supported: HDR10
Good picture quality
Great multimedia features
No 3D support
No Dolby Vision support
Looking back at it now, Samsung’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the Samsung UBD-K8500 (found further down the list) seems like a bit of a trial run.
Its build quality was rudimental as Samsung tried to undercut rival debut units on price. It didn’t carry any sort of built-in display. Its picture quality was OK as a starting point for a new format, but was soon overwhelmed by more heavy duty rivals. And while the deck did what it needed to, its feature count was soon exposed as pretty limited.
The new $399 (£450, about AU$500) UBD-M9500 feels like such a specific response to its predecessor’s limitations that you can almost imagine Samsung sitting down and ticking the old problems off one by one.
The result is a far more accomplished player that deserves a seat at the serious mid-range 4K Blu-ray player table – even though a couple of deliberate omissions might frustrate some quarters of the AV enthusiast market.
Read the full review: Samsung UBD-M9500
5. Panasonic DMP-UB300
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Yes | Dimensions: 193 x 320 x 45 mm | Weight: 1.3kg | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: No | 3D support?: Yes | HDR Formats supported: HDR10
Top notch video playback
Good compatibility modes
Build quality is lacking
You’ll make a couple of compromises if you want to take advantage of the DMP UB300’s budget price-tag – there’s no built-in Wi-Fi for example, and rear ports are incredibly limited – but thankfully the machine doesn’t scrimp where it matters.
Picture quality is excellent, it supports a wide range of audio codecs and formats, and there’s also streaming services built in if you’re willing to go down the wired ethernet route.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB300
6. Xbox One S
The Xbox One S might be primarily a video game console, but it’s also a stellar (and cheap) 4K Blu-ray player
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: New Xbox Experience | Dimensions: 17 x 11.4 x 4.4 inches | Weight: N/A | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: Yes | 3D support?: Yes | HDR Formats supported: HDR10
4K gaming limited to upscaling
Not holding the title of a “proper Blu-ray player” doesn’t stop the Xbox One S from being a great, cheap way to play 4K Blu-ray discs.
Sporting a Blu-ray disc drive and the capacity to run Netflix in 4K Ultra-HD, Microsoft’s latest iteration of the Xbox is a great ‘jack-of-all-trades’ machine that’s capable of satisfying your UHD disc needs as well as playing the latest console game released for the system.
The downside of it being able to do everything is that you’ll be working with an interface designed primarily for gaming. The controller that comes with the console isn’t the most efficient way to control movie playback, and the machine lacks support for Dolby Vision.
Regardless, if you want a machine that can handle both your gaming and your home cinema needs, the Xbox One S is the console for the job.
Read the full review: Xbox One S
7. Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player
4K playback on the cheap? Check out the UBD-K8500
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Samsung Smart Hub | Dimensions: 405 x 44.7 x 230 mm | Weight: 4.19 pounds | UHD Upscaling?: Yes | Wi-Fi?: Yes | 3D support?: Yes | HDR Formats supported: HDR10
Impressive 4K HDR image quality
4K Netflix and Amazon onboard
Journeyman build quality and noisy
Not a great sounding music player
The K8500 is currently the cheapest route into 4K Blu-ray. It’s also a useful hub for 4K OTT services from Netflix and Amazon, and while the design is a bit Marmite, you’ll be consistently impressed by its loading speed and colourful UI.
You can get better image quality, support for more formats and better build quality by spending more money, but if you want a cheap machine that covers the basics, then the Samsung UBD-K8500 is yet to be beaten on price.
Read the full review: Samsung UBD-K8500