Panasonic UB900 4K UHD Blu-ray deck gets UK price and street date, bundled with Mad Max Fury Road and San Andreas

posted on Wednesday, 2nd March 2016 by Steve May

home cinema  Blu-ray  Panasonic  4K 

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Panasonic will launch its first 4K UHD Blu-ray player in the UK mid-April. Priced at £599, the UB900 (pictured below) combines UHD playback with audiophile performance and extensive audio file compatibility. It will also be the first 4K source device certified by THX.

The company has inked a deal with Warner Home Video to bundle UHD Blu-rays of San Andreas and multi-awarding winning Mad Max Fury Road discs with the player. These will not be via redemption but actually packaged in the box. The discs also have Dolby Atmos soundtracks and are HDR encoded. The UB900 shares a number of audio components with the current DMP-BDT700 Blu-ray player, renowned for its sonic performance, but according to chief engineer Kazuhiko Kouno the new UB900 significantly outperforms the BDT700. “We have reworked the power supply. It’s completely different,” he told Inside CI. “The UB900 is compatible with both DSD 2.8MHz and DSD 5.6MHz, as well as ALAC, WAV, FLAC and other formats,” he added.

The player uses proprietary chroma and gradation video processing, refined by Panasonic’s Hollywood Laboratory.

Mad Max

As it happens, Kouno-san was responsible for initiating a Master Grade Video Coding program in Japan to retain the full 10-12bit clarity of studio master recordings, beyond the 8-bit Blu-ray specification, back in 2013. This significantly improved the gradations on animated content. To achieve the greater bit depth, additional data was encoded separately to the standard 8-bit standard. The two packets were then processed together for output over HDMI.  A number of 12bit Blu-ray titles were released in Japan, including My Neighbour Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies and Kiki's Delivery Service, playable on 12-bit capable Panasonic Blu-ray players. The UHD Blu-ray specification supports 10bit clarity as standard.

The first 4K UHD Blu-rays are now available to pre-order in the UK. Online retailer Zavvi is listing X-Men Days of Future Past, Kingsman, Exodus Gods and Kings, Maze runner: The Scorch Trials; Fantastic Four, Hitman Agent 47 and Life of Pi, all at £24.99. They are scheduled for release on April 11.

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Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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