CES 2018: Panasonic launches UHD Blu-ray players with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision

Four new players announced including first models to support HDR10+ and Dolby Vision

by Steve Withers Jan 7, 2018 at 1:00 AM


  • Panasonic has announced the launch of its latest 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Players, with the DP-UB420 supporting HDR10+ and the DP-UB820 supporting both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
    At a launch event in Los Angeles, Panasonic announced their new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray line-up for 2018, which comprises four players that include the aforementioned UB820 and UB420, along with the DP-UB330 and DP-UB320. All of these new models are Ultra HD Premium certified and powered by the HCX Processor, which was developed in conjunction with Hollywood specialists. The new players will also support voice control from both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (both coming soon). Once added you'll be able to simply speak to an existing Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device, and conveniently fast forward or pause your favorite movie without having to use the remote control.

    The UB820 and UB420 will both support HDR10+ dynamic metadata technology, although the UB420 will require a firmware update first. HDR10+ will offer additional benefits to viewers by optimising the tone mapping on a scene-by-scene basis. HDR10+ is an open, royalty-free dynamic metadata platform created by 20th Century Fox, Panasonic and Samsung. However in response to demands from enthusiasts, the UB820 will also support Dolby Vision, which is a competing form of HDR with dynamic metadata that is supported by almost all the major studios and is used by Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc.

    The 4K engine powering the new line-up is Panasonic’s proprietary HCX (Hollywood Cinema Experience) processor for Ultra HD Blu-ray. This has been improved by applying unique chroma and gradation processing to the video technologies which were developed at the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL), the R&D facility for enhancing Blu-ray picture quality. Launched last year, the HCX Processor reproduces Ultra HD Blu-ray and internet-streamed 4K video images with precise colours and optimal brightness. All four players will also have a 4K Direct Chroma Up-scaling feature that up-converts Full HD to 4K resolution.

    In addition to having a wide range of contrast, images from Ultra HD Blu-ray players must be reproduced with fine detail in both dark and bright areas. To achieve this, Panasonic's new players include proprietary technologies to offer three HDR adjustment functions:

    HDR Optimiser – HDR-compatible TVs use tone mapping to match the brightness range of images to the static metadata within the content, but optimal results are sometimes not possible due to the manufacturer or specific model. By conducting the tone mapping on the player, a stable HDR picture quality is delivered regardless of the TV's capabilities. Panasonic's original image analysis and processing technologies achieve HDR images with better definition while tone mapping is used to adjust the brightness level of the content.

    HDR to SDR Conversion (Optimised Tone Mapping for SDR TVs) – Dynamic Range Conversion reproduces images that have been optimised for standard dynamic range TVs, thus maximising the benefits of Ultra HD Blu-ray as much as possible.

    HDR Adjustment for various viewing conditions – These new models have a HDR adjustment feature which reproduces dark and bright areas with improved fidelity regardless of the viewing environment. Dark scenes in HDR images are sometimes difficult to see when viewed in a bright room and may require brightness adjustment. Because HDR signals are inherently different from SDR signals, existing adjustment functions are insufficient. The UB820, UB420, UB330 and UB320 use a proprietary technology to optimise HDR video signals, which enables them to freely adjust the brightness of the HDR images. An HDR Setting button on the remote control allows the user to simply select the optimal setting for the viewing environment.

    In terms of audio features, the UB820 supports analogue 7.1-channel audio for direct connection to a home theatre system and the terminals are gold-plated to resist oxidisation and maintain high signal conductivity. The UB820 and UB420 models also feature dual HDMI outputs for isolating and transmitting the video and audio separately, thus surpassing unwanted noise and resulting in high-quality audio reproduction. All four players are designed for high-resolution audio reproduction, with support for WAV/FLAC/MP3/AAC/WMA formats, DSD (11.2MHz/5.6 MHz/2.8 MHz) ALAC and AIFF music files. The UB820 and UB420 also have Digital Tube sound with six different kinds of sounds from vacuum tubes using 96-kHz/192-kHz up-sampling.

    The UB820 and UB420 will both support 4K VOD (Video on Demand) services such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon, whilst all the players can handle 4K videos (MP4 format) taken with a camera or camcorder and reproduce them using Panasonic's 2018 Ultra HD Players, along with JPEG data for 4K photos. Finally, the new players use a stylish, compact body featuring Panasonic’s 3D Glass Cut Design that is intended to complement any flat-panel TV, whilst the front panel features a bevel cut finish on all four sides to present a subtle yet distinctive appearance.

    Pricing and availability of the new DP-UB820, DP-UB420, DP-UB330 and DP-UB320 players will be announced at the Panasonic European Convention in February.
    DP-UB820

    Picture Features
    • Ultra HD Blu-ray Playback (4K/HDR)
    • HCX (Hollywood Cinema Experience) Processor for Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
    • Supports HDR10+/ Dolby Vision dynamic metadata technology
    • 4K High-Precision Chroma Processing
    • 4K Direct Chroma Up-scaling
    • 4K 60p/50p/4:4:4 Output
    • HDR Optimizer
    • FULL HD 3D Blu-ray Disc Playback

    Sound Features
    • 7.1ch Analogue Audio Output
    • TWIN HDMI PURE AV (Twin Isolated Output)
    • High Clarity Sound Premium
    • HDMI Low Clock Jitter Process
    • Digital Tube Sound with Up-sampling
    • High-resolution Audio Playback (DSD (11.2MHz/2.8MHz/5.6MHz), ALAC, FLAC, WAV, AIFF)
    • 192kHz/96kHz Surround Re-master

    Smart Features
    • Works with Voice Assistant (Naming Tentative)
    • 4K VOD Supported (NETFLIX/ YouTube/ Amazon)
    • 4K Networking (4K Video/ 4K Jpeg Playback)
    • Internet Apps
    • DLNA (Client/Renderer)
    • Network Drive Access
    • External HDD Playback
    • Mirroring with Smartphone / Tablet
    • Web Browser
    • Wireless LAN Built-in
    • Stylish GUI
    • Quick Start
    • Home Screen Wallpaper
    • Control by HDMI Connection
    DP-UB420

    Picture Features
    • Ultra HD Blu-ray Playback (4K/HDR)
    • HCX (Hollywood Cinema Experience) Processor for Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
    • Supports HDR10+ dynamic metadata technology
    • 4K High-Precision Chroma Processing
    • 4K Direct Chroma Up-scaling
    • 4K 60p/50p/4:4:4 Output
    • HDR Optimizer
    • FULL HD 3D Blu-ray DiscPlayback

    Sound Features
    • TWIN HDMI PURE AV (Twin Isolated Output)
    • High Clarity Sound Premium
    • HDMI Low Clock Jitter Process
    • Digital Tube Sound with Up-sampling
    • High-resolution Audio Playback (DSD (11.2MHz/2.8MHz/5.6MHz), ALAC, FLAC, WAV, AIFF)
    • 192kHz/96kHz Surround Re-master

    Smart Features
    • Works with Voice Assistant (Naming Tentative)
    • 4K VOD Supported (NETFLIX/ YouTube/ Amazon)
    • 4K Networking (4K Video/ 4K Jpeg Playback)
    • Internet Apps
    • DLNA (Client/Renderer)
    • Network Drive Access
    • External HDD Playback
    • Mirroring with Smartphone / Tablet
    • Web Browser
    • Wireless LAN Built-in
    • Stylish GUI
    • Quick Start
    • Home Screen Wallpaper
    • Control by HDMI Connection
    DP-UB330/320

    Picture Features
    • Ultra HD Blu-ray Playback (4K/HDR)
    • HCX(Hollywood Cinema Experience) Processor for Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
    • 4K High-Precision Chroma Processing
    • 4K Direct Chroma Up-scaling
    • 4K 60p/50p/4:4:4 Output
    • FULL HD 3D Blu-ray Disc Playback

    Sound Features
    • HDMI Low Clock Jitter Process
    • High-resolution Audio Playback (DSD (2.8MHz/5.6MHz), ALAC, FLAC, WAV, AIFF)

    Smart Features
    • 4K VOD Supported (NETFLIX/ Amazon)
    • 4K Networking (4K Video/ 4K Jpeg Playback)
    • Internet Apps
    • DLNA (Client/Renderer)
    • Network Drive Access
    • External HDD Playback
    • Web Browser
    • Wireless LAN Built-in
    • Stylish GUI
    • Quick Start
    • Home Screen Wallpaper
    • Control by HDMI Connection

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