Samsung outs 4K UHD Blu-ray player at IFA 2015, but format launch slips to 2016

posted on Monday, 7th September 2015 by Steve May

4K  Blu-ray  IFA 2015 

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4K UHD Blu-ray inched nearer to reality at IFA 2015, with the unveiling of a Samsung player. However, the BDA’s pre-Xmas launch plans have now slipped to spring 2016. The Samsung player, known as the UBD-K8500, is a slimline design clearly intended to be a mass market product. Slightly curved, it’s compatible with both the new UHD Blu-ray specification and existing Full HD Blu-rays.

It can also be used as part of Samsung’s wireless multiroom music system, and features dual-band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi. Connectivity includes Ethernet LAN, single HDMI output, USB and optical digital audio output. There’s also provision to export 4K Blu-rays via USB as part of the new format’s Digital Bridge functionality. The player is expected to be officially launched spring 2016. The company says it expects to be the first to market with the uprated disc format.

Similarly, 20th Century Fox is the first studio to commit to software support. The first wave of platters will comprise Kingsman: The Secret Service, Fantastic Four, Life of Pi, The Maze Runner, Wild, Exodus: Gods and Kings and X-Men: Days of Future Past. HDR UHD clips from the latter movies ran on the Samsung stand (but not from disc) and looked fabulous. Fox says it will release titles on Ultra HD Blu-ray day-and-date with regular Blu-ray releases.

Samsung Player Rear Small

Samsung Player Small (1)

Elsewhere, the format was less conspicuous. Panasonic had its familiar prototype, but offered nothing new. Indeed, in conversation with Inside CI, Panasonic UK marketing manager David Preece said the company would not be launching a first generation product, simply because this could not deliver a reasonable return on investment. The brand was still committed to launching a 4K Blu-ray player, he added, but only when it could produce a single chip mass-marketable proposition.

Victor Matsuda, chair of the BDA and spokesman for the UHD Alliance, told Inside CI that there would be further announcements at CES 2016. "We are currently testing logos for standard and premium 4K Blu-ray experiences," he said.

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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