Samsung, Panasonic and Philips announced UHD Blu-ray players at CES 2016 but what about the rest of the pack? We spoke with some of them during CES.
More UHD Blu-ray players coming in 2016
Samsung and Panasonic will release UHD Blu-ray players in the US and Europe, but Philips’ first player will only be available in the US. But where is Sony? Where is LG? And all the Hi-Fi brands? And what about Dolby Vision-enabled players?
At CES 2016, Sony’s Motoi Kawamura, Head of TV Product Planning for Sony Europe, confirmed to FlatpanelsHD that Sony has plans to bring a UHD Blu-ray player to the market before the end of its “fiscal year 2016”, meaning before the end of March 2017. However, we would be surprised if it did not show up before Christmas 2016.
LG has the best displays for 4K and HDR with its impressive OLED TVs but no UHD Blu-ray player to feed them with content. LG has partnered with Netflix to bring Dolby Vision content to its TVs and with YouTube and Amazon for HDR content. None of the announced UHD Blu-ray will support Dolby Vision but UHD Blu-ray discs still have the potential to raise the bar based on a significantly higher bitrate level. At CES, we asked LG about its plans for a UHD Blu-ray player but they had nothing to announce.
Philips will probably bring a UHD Blu-ray to Europe at some point to but be aware that Philips in the US and Philips in Europe is not the same company so it will most likely look different from the compact design of the US model.
So what about Hi-Fi brands such as Pioneer, Oppo, Marantz etc? Oppo reportedly hopes to launch its first UHD Blu-ray player “in time for the holidays”. No announcements have been made by the other Hi-Fi manufacturers.
None of the announced Blu-ray players support Dolby Vision. They do support the HDR10 format, which is mandatory. Dolby Vision is optional and it is worth noting that Samsung, Sony and Philips are not Dolby Vision partners. LG is, and if LG intends to launch a UHD Blu-ray player there is a good chance that it will be the first to support Dolby Vision to complement the company’s OLED TVs.