Sony & Panasonic Unveil New 4K Blu-ray Players at CES 2019

Mike Wheatley

Japanese electronics firms Sony and Panasonic have both announced new Blu-ray players at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that will be released later in the year.


In the case of Sony, its new UBP-X800M2 UHD Blu-ray player is a refresh of its existing UBP-X800 device, with the most notable upgrade being support for the Dolby Vision high dynamic range standard.

Meanwhile Panasonic announced no less than three new Blu-ray players that all support the HDR10+ standard, with the most expensive version also supporting Dolby Vision.

Sony’s UBP-X800M2 also supports HDR10 in addition to the new Hybrid Gamma Log format that was created to solve the problem of a lack of compatibility with HDR content and non-HDR displays. HGL, as it’s called, combines standard dynamic range and high dynamic range images into just one video signal that can play as SDR on SDR screens, or HDR on HLG HDR-compatible screens, ensuring viewers won’t be left in the dark, no matter what TV they have.

Sony’s new Blu-ray also handles Hi-Res Audio, which is a feature that’s not currently supported on any of its other Blu-ray players. In addition, the UBP-X800M2 also comes with support for SACD and DVD-Audio as well as 4K streaming via Netflix and YouTube.

“The X800M2 supports 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray playback and HDR formats including HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma to deliver stunning picture quality to your home,” Sony said in its press release. “4K upscaling is also possible with the X800M2, transforming everything you watch so you can enjoy highly detailed pictures even with non 4K content.”

As for Panasonic’s new Blu-rays, the best of the bunch is the DP-UB450 UHD Blu-ray player, which the company says is a more affordable option for consumers seeking wide support for both common HDR formats. As such, the DP-UB450 can handle both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as the older HDR10 format, which is a capability it shares with Panasonic’s new 4K GZ2000 OLED TVs that were announced at CES yesterday.

Another useful feature of Panasonic’s DP-UB450 is its twin HDMI outputs, which include one for video/audio and a second that’s dedicated to audio only.

Panasonic highlighted that UB450 has twin HDMI output, one for video/audio and a separate dedicated to audio. The player handles Dolby Atmos and DTS:X as well as hi-res audio formats. The player also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X as well as other high resolution audio formats, the company said.

The other, more affordable UHD Blu-ray players in Panasonic’s 2019 lineup include the DP-UB159 and the DP-UB150, both of which support HDR10+ but not Dolby Vision. The main difference between these two players is that the DP-UB159 provides a twin HDMI output, whereas the DP-UB150 does not.

As is usual at CES, both companies were a bit vague on the exact pricing and launch dates. Sony said its UBP-X800M2 will go on sale in May but the price was not announced. Panasonic was even less clear, saying its new Blu-ray players would go on sale later this year, with prices to be confirmed.