Best 4K UHD Blu-ray Players

There's a player for every need and every pocket

by Steve Withers Sep 12, 2017 at 7:09 AM - Updated: Dec 19, 2017 at 2:18 PM


  • The launch of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray has been more successful than even the best industry forecasts.
    In a short space of time we have seen the release of nearly two hundred Ultra HD Blu-ray discs from every major studio and players from all the main manufacturers. Technically the format is impressive, with UHD Blu-rays including support for High Dynamic Range, specifically HDR10, and some even including Dolby Vision. The format also supports 10-bit video and Wide Colour Gamut (Rec. 2020), whilst many 4K discs include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks.

    MORE: A Guide to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray


    We have now reviewed every 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player that has been released to date, with models from Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, LG and Oppo, as well as Microsoft's Xbox One S which includes a UHD Blu-ray drive. There are players with features to suit everyone's needs and the prices of these players have dropped precipitously, with some now available for less than £200. This is a key psychological barrier and can only help drive the format to even greater success.

    MORE: 2017 OLED TV Best Buy Comparison


    Ultra HD Blu-ray might well end up being the last physical format, as consumers move towards a downloading and streaming future, but it offers a level of picture and sound quality that is quite simply unrivalled. So what are you waiting for – you've got that lovely new 4K HDR TV, don't you think it's time you bought an Ultra HD Blu-ray player to go with it? To help you choose which best suits you, we compare all of the currently available 4K players.

    Cambridge Audio CXUHD

    Reviewed 28th of November 2017 at £700

    Our Rating: 8/10

    Features: It's no secret that Cambridge Audio's players are made by Oppo and thus share many of the same features. However the CXUHD initially had a problem with its video output, which Cambridge Audio were quick to fix after feedback from AVForums. As a result the CXUHD delivered the same flawless playback of 4K discs as the Oppo and can also handle Blu-ray, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD and CD. It's nicely designed and extremely well made and provides plenty of on-screen disc information. There are twin HDMI outputs, an HDMI input, superb video processing, the ability to strip HDR metadata and even Dolby Vision support. In keeping with the Oppo players there is no app support, however the CXUHD also doesn't have any analogue outputs and it's remote is a mess of small buttons that are very hard to see in a darkened home cinema. Overall the CXUHD is a very good player in terms of performance but we really can't see any reason why you would buy this player when the Oppo UDP-203 offers more for less.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Flawless universal disc playback
    • Excellent build quality
    • Impressive video processing
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Dolby Vision support
    • Useful features
    Cons
    • No analogue outputs
    • Annoying remote control
    • No app support
    • Very expensive
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Cambridge Audio CXUHD is the ideal choice for those looking for a high quality digital transport.

    LG UP970

    Reviewed 22nd of August 2017 at £270


    Our Rating: 8/10 – Recommended

    Features: The big selling point of the UP970 is the inclusion of Dolby Vision, making it the cheapest available player to support this extension of HDR. This shouldn't come as a surprise as LG have formed a close partnership with Dolby, supporting both Vision and Atmos on their latest OLED TVs, but whilst the UP970 is capable of a flawless performance in terms of disc playback, it's also slightly disappointing. Although there are twin HDMI outputs, the build quality is rather flimsy, making it a bit noisy in operation and the user interface appears very dated. In addition there's no display, no analogue outputs and the feature set is limited, making the player feel very budget in operation. However, at least recent price drops have helped in this regard and, compared to the Oppo players, the UP970 is the best way to get Dolby Vision support without breaking the bank.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Dolby Vision support
    • Flawless playback
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Price
    Cons
    • Flimsy construction
    • Can be noisy in operation
    • No CEC or DNLA support
    • Limited apps available
    • No analogue outputs
    • No display
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The LG UP970 is the cheapest way of getting Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray support.

    Microsoft Xbox One S 500GB

    Reviewed 18th of July 2017 at £200


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Best Buy

    Features: Microsoft surprised many by including an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive in the Xbox One S, immediately making it the cheapest 4K player on the market. Recent price drops have meant there are now a couple of cheaper stand alone players but the Xbox One S still offers fantastic value when you consider it's also a games console. Despite this it makes for a very good 4K disc player, with support for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, as well as Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs, although it can be a bit slow and noisy in operation. In addition a games controller isn't ideal as a remote and there's only one HDMI output so make sure your receiver or soundbar supports HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. However on the plus side there are plenty of apps and features before you even consider that the Xbox One S plays games as well. It also includes a built-in hard drive that will affect the overall price but, whichever version you choose, the Xbox One S is a highly cost effective way of adding Ultra HD Blu-ray playback to your system.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Excellent disc playback
    • Good build quality
    • Built-in hard drive
    • Decent app support
    • It's also a games console
    • Price
    Cons
    • Noisy and slow playback
    • Game controller not ideal
    • No analogue outputs
    • Only one HDMI output
    • No display
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Xbox One S is ideal for those who want both Ultra HD Blu-ray support and a games
    console.

    Oppo UDP-203

    Reviewed 25th of January 2017 at £649


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Highly Recommended

    Features: It's fair to say that Oppo rushed the UDP-203 to market in order to meet their promise of having an Ultra HD Blu-ray player in stores before Christmas 2016. That initial release was hampered by numerous software bugs, playback glitches and unfinished features. However the company has been quick to respond and using the current firmware, the UDP-203 is amongst the best players available. Aside from flawless playback of 4K discs, it's also plays Blu-ray, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD and CD, making it a genuine universal player. It's attractively designed, well made, has an excellent remote and provides plenty of disc information. There are twin HDMI outputs, an HDMI input, superb video processing, analogue outputs, the ability to strip HDR metadata and even Dolby Vision playback. In fact the UDP-203 has everything you could want in a player and can even be easily chipped for multi-region Blu-ray and DVD playback, so the only feature it currently lacks is any app support. Of course all this doesn't come cheap but if you're looking for a high-end 4K disc spinner, then the Oppo UDP-203 should be at the top of your list.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Flawless universal disc playback
    • Excellent build quality
    • Impressive video processing
    • Dolby Vision support
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Analogue outputs
    • Useful features
    • Great remote control
    Cons
    • No app support
    • Price
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Oppo UDP-203 offers the most overall features including universal playback and Dolby Vision support.

    Oppo UDP-205

    Reviewed 27th of July 2017 at £1,399

    Our Rating: 9/10 – Highly Recommended

    Features: The Oppo UDP-205 arrived in the summer and was thus able to benefit from all the development work done on the UDP-203, which had essentially been beta tested in public. The result was a high-end player designed to offer an uncompromising level of performance in every respect. In terms of video and digital audio the UDP-205 is identical to the UDP-203, so if you're just looking for a player to use with HDMI, then you may as well go for the cheaper model. However if you're looking for an audiophile analogue source with state-of-the-art DACs and even XLR balanced stereo outputs, then the UDP-205 is the one for you. It's also built like a tank, so whilst it might be very expensive, you do at least feel as though you're getting a player that goes some way towards justifying its hefty price tag. The UDP-205 doesn't use fans for cooling, which means it's very quiet in operation, but it can get quite warm during use so ventilation is important. Aside from that minor point and the lack of any app support, it's hard to fault Oppo's flagship player but you will need deep pockets.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Flawless universal disc playback
    • Superb build quality
    • Impressive video processing
    • Dolby Vision support
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Audiophile analogue outputs
    • Useful features
    • Great remote control
    Cons
    • No app support
    • Can get hot in operation
    • Very expensive
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Oppo UDP-205 delivers superior analogue performance thanks to audiophile components.

    Panasonic DMP-UB300

    Reviewed 29th of June 2017 at £190


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Best Buy

    Features: Panasonic have released more Ultra HD Blu-ray players than any other manufacturer and they currently have four models available in stores. The DMP-UB300 was one of the most recent additions to the line-up and is their entry level model, designed to hit a specific price point – that psychological sub-£200 barrier. As a result the build quality is a bit flimsy, making the player slightly noisy in operation. It also lacks a display or any analogue or digital outputs and there's no built-in WiFi, just an Ethernet port, and only one HDMI output so make sure your receiver or soundbar supports HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. That aside the picture and sound quality, as well as most of the remaining features, are identical to Panasonic's other players, so over HDMI you will get the same level of performance. As a result the UB300 makes for a superb budget player and the ideal choice for anyone who fancies trying Ultra HD Blu-ray without a significant financial commitment.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Excellent playback
    • Great 4K upscaling
    • Plenty of features
    • Low price
    Cons
    • Only one HDMI output
    • No built-in WiFi
    • No analogue or digital outputs
    • No display
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Panasonic DMP-UB300 is one of the cheapest ways of adding Ultra HD Blu-ray support to your system.

    Panasonic DMP-UB400

    Reviewed 2nd of July 2017 at £299


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Highly Recommended

    Features: The Panasonic DMP-UB400 was released at the same time as the entry level UB300 and although it's slightly more expensive it does represent something of a sweet spot as far as price and performance is concerned. The UB400 has a more attractive design and a better level of build quality than the UB300 and it also has twin HDMI outputs, an optical digital output and built-in WiFi. Whilst there's no display or analogue audio support, the feature set is still impressive with extensive setup options and plenty of apps. The playback of Ultra HD Blu-rays is flawless and, thanks to some excellent video processing, Blu-rays and DVDs also look great. The UB400 doesn't automatically select the correct refresh rate when streaming video but apart from that it's hard to fault this player which offers a fantastic combination of performance, features and price.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Flawless playback
    • Impressive 4K upscaling
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Excellent features
    • Attractive design
    • Great price
    Cons
    • No analogue outputs
    • No display
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Panasonic DMP-UB400 offers the best all-round performance and features for the money.

    Panasonic DMP-UB700

    Reviewed 27th of October 2016 at £399


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Best Buy

    Features: When Panasonic first released the DMP-U700 towards the end of last year it was something of a bargain, offering an almost identical set of features and performance to their flagship UB900 for £200 less. The UB700 did drop the analogue outputs and fancy remote but, if all you needed were HDMI outputs, then the cheaper player was the obvious choice at the time. Since then the arrival of the UB400 has largely superseded the UB700 and unless you desperately need a display or a larger chassis, there really is no need to choose the older model. However if you do fancy a display and a larger chassis then the UB700 can be picked up quite cheaply these days and it remains a great disc spinner with a superb performance, a lovely level of build quality and an excellent set of features.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Impressive playback
    • Superb 4K upscaling
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Extensive features
    • Attractive design
    • Great build quality
    Cons
    • No analogue outputs
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Panasonic DMP-UB700 offers a higher level of build quality at a reduced price.

    Panasonic DMP-UB900

    Reviewed 16th of April 2016 at £599


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Highly Recommended

    Features: The DMP-UB900 was Panasonic's first Ultra HD Blu-ray player and it remains the flagship model in their extensive range of 4K disc spinners. The UB900 was just pipped to the post by the Samsung UBD-K8500 as the world's first Ultra HD Blu-ray player but the Panasonic was the choice of enthusiasts at the time. In fact, if you're not interested in Dolby Vision or universal playback, it remains the enthusiast's choice with everything you could want including THX certification at a price that's nearly £300 less than the Oppo UDP-203. The design is attractive and the build quality is very good, with twin HDMI outputs, analogue support, a display and an excellent remote control. The picture and sound quality are superb, the disc playback is flawless and aside from the inability to automatically select the correct refresh rate when streaming video, which applies to all Panasonic players, we really can't fault the UB900 making it a cracking choice for the money.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Perfect playback
    • Impressive 4K upscaling
    • THX certification
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Analogue outputs
    • Extensive features
    • Attractive design
    • Great build quality
    Cons
    • No Dolby Vision support
    • No DVD-A or SACD support
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The DMP-UB900 is the ideal choice for enthusiasts who don't want universal playback or Dolby Vision support.

    Samsung UBD-K8500

    Reviewed 14th of April 2016 at £429


    Our Rating: 8/10 – Recommended

    Features: The Samsung UBD-K8500 was the world's first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, just beating Panasonic's DMP-UB900 to market. Unlike the latter player, which was clearly aimed at the enthusiast, the K8500 was always intended to be a more mass market product to help push the nascent 4K disc format. The player had an attractive curved design and a decent level of build quality and was also very easy to setup, making it ideal for consumers who were new to the world of 4K and HDR. The player had twin HDMI outputs and although there was no analogue support, it did include built-in WiFi and was an excellent player for video streaming with the ability to automatically select the correct refresh rate. There is a bit of fan noise, no display and a fiddly remote but aside from that the K8500 is a cracking player with an impressive video and audio performance. It was quite expensive when it was first launched but, thanks to some heavy discounting, it's now the cheapest Ultra HD Blu-ray player you can buy, making it a real bargain.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Impressive playback
    • Excellent 4K upscaling
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Decent features set
    • Simple setup
    • Great video streamer
    • Cheap price
    Cons
    • No analogue outputs
    • Fan can be noisy
    • Fiddly remote
    • No display
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Samsung UBD-K8500 offers exceptional value for money.

    Samsung UBD-M9500

    Reviewed 5th of July 2017 at £349


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Highly Recommended

    Features: The Samsung UBD-M9500 was the Korean manufacturer's second Ultra HD Blu-ray player and it addressed many of the criticisms levelled at the earlier K8500. The design is essentially the same, with a curved front, but the build quality is slightly better and there's now a small display, along with a much improved remote control. There's less fan noise as well, whilst the player is quieter in operation, fast to navigate and responsive to commands. The feature set remains generally impressive and Samsung have added greater flexibility in terms of setup, although it still remains very intuitive. The player has twin HDMI outputs but no analogue outputs and, like most of the players currently available, it doesn't support Dolby Vision. Controversially Samsung have dropped playback of 3D Blu-ray, which means if you have a 3D TV or projector, the M9500 isn't the player for you. However in all other respects this is an excellent 4K disc spinner and also an impressive video streamer as well, automatically selecting the correct refresh rate. Our only real complaint when we first reviewed the M9500 was the price but Samsung responded to our feedback, immediately dropping it, and as a result the player is now more competitive – although still at the higher end of the price scale.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Great playback
    • Impressive 4K upscaling
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Excellent features set
    • Simple setup
    • Superb video streamer
    Cons
    • No 3D Blu-ray support
    • No analogue outputs
    • Price
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Samsung UBD-M9500 is an excellent player for video streaming services.

    Sony UBP-X800

    Reviewed 22nd of June 2017 at £349


    Our Rating: 9/10 – Highly Recommended

    Features: Sony were rather late to the 4K disc party, which is surprising when you consider that it was the Japanese manufacturer who developed Blu-ray in the first place. Sony were further embarrassed when Microsoft added a UHD Blu-ray drive to their Xbox One S, something that the PlayStation 4 still lacks. However at least their first stand alone Ultra HD Blu-ray player was worth the wait, with the UBP-X800 delivering an impressive all-round performance. The player boasts an attractive design and superb level of build quality – there's no display but otherwise the X800 is every bit the high-end player. It doesn't just support Ultra HD Blu-ray but also Blu-ray, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD and CD as well, making it a viable alternative to the UDP-203 – although if you want Dolby Vision or analogue outputs the Oppo remains top dog. The X800 includes twin HDMI outputs, flexibility in terms of setup and a great set of features, whilst playback is fast, quiet and responsive. The Sony X800 delivers an impressive performance in terms of picture and sound, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a sensibly priced universal Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Impressive universal disc playback
    • Excellent audio performance
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Decent features
    • Attractive design
    • Great build quality
    Cons
    • No Dolby Vision support
    • No analogue outputs
    • No display
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Sony UBP-X800 is the cheapest way to get universal playback support.

    Sony UBP-X1000ES

    Reviewed 12th of October 2017 at £725

    Our Rating: 8/10

    Features: The UBP-X1000ES is Sony's new high-end Ultra HD Blu-ray player, although it is largely similar to their earlier UBP-X800. The two players share the same design, build quality and remote control, but the X1000ES adds a front display. The new player also has additional connections, including stereo analogue outputs, and system control features for custom installers. The problem is that the X1000ES is more than twice the price of the X800 but in performance terms the two are identical. They both offer universal disc playback with support for DVD-Audio, SACD and Hi-Res audio and they both share the same apps and smart platform. Unfortunately, like the X800, the new player also doesn't support Dolby Vision, which is sure to disappoint many. The X1000ES is quiet and responsive in operation and it delivered a great performance with picture and sound but frankly it's just too expensive. It's hard to see who the X1000ES will appeal to, apart from custom installers, especially as you can buy Sony's X800 or even the Oppo UDP-203 for less.

    Full Specifications

    Pros
    • Superb universal disc playback
    • Impressive audio performance
    • Twin HDMI outputs
    • Custom install features
    • Attractive design
    • Great build quality
    Cons
    • No Dolby Vision support
    • No multichannel analogue outputs
    • Expensive
    Read the full review

    BEST FOR: The Sony UBP-X1000ES is perfect for custom installation and system control.

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