Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat - £600 is a lot cash to drop on disc-based media player. I mean, you can pick up a good quality 4K smart TV for that sort of money and, providing you have Netflix or Amazon Prime tucked into your belt too, then you can enjoy a large selection of 4K content for years to come for a similar outlay.
Because that is the real question right now isn’t it with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players, do you actually need one? All the major streaming services are now delivering 4K film and TV streams, so do you really need to invest in a piece of tech that plays said content but off optical discs?
After a preliminary month of testing the DMP-UB900 Ultra HD Blu-ray player from Panasonic, I would say yes, yes you do.
The primary reason for this is that player, which is actually more of an all-round multimedia centre, with support for CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, just absolutely knocks it out of the park in terms of 4K picture quality. Sticking in a spectacle film like Mad Max or The Amazing Spiderman 2 with 4K and HDR firing on all cylinders is just breathtaking. The colour gamut and clarity of the images, specifically in terms of textures and depth, is just out of this world and, unlike when streaming, the quality never drops and is higher (mainly because 4K Blu-ray content streams off the disc at 100Mbps, compared to 15Mpbs on Netflix).
Another thing I noticed immediately when watching content on the UB900 was just how rich the sound playback was too, across bass, mid tones and treble, everything was so clear and balanced. This observation was backed up by the player’s top draw audio CD playback too.
Bad first impressions? Well, the menu system and remote feel clunky and five years out of date, with settings difficult and not particularly intuitive to navigate.
Next month I’ll report back in on the UB900’s networking features, DLNA media player, connection options and, of course, more on its overall picture quality. However, from my quite extensive usage already, I feel totally comfortable recommending this player on a technical level, as the picture quality and build quality are superb.