Come June, Philips will release its BDP7501, a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player with HDR high dynamic range) support. This and similar players, such as Samsung’s UBD-K8500/ZA and Panasonic's DMR-UBZ1 should free high-resolution video from the problems associated with broadband streaming.
Most new TVs—even inexpensive models such as TCL’s P-series Roku TVs—deliver 4K UHD resolution, and many offer HDR, as well. But almost all of the content that can take advantage of these improvements streams over the Internet. Streaming video tends to be more compressed than disc-based content, compromising image and audio quality. And even with all that compression, a 4K HDR movie can use up a good-sized chunk of your ISP’s data cap.
That might just be enough to get you back to watching movies on shiny discs. Luckily, players such as the BDP7501 should help with that.
But are there enough 4K Blu-ray discs to make purchasing a $400 player worthwhile? As I write this, Blu-ray.com has published 30 4K Blu-ray reviews. The site’s list of upcoming 4K Blu-ray movies contains 77 titles.
The BDP7501 doesn’t only depend on discs. It will come with 4K-compatible Netflix and Youtube apps. But those are the only apps on the player.
One nice feature: The BDP7501 has two HDMI ports. No, it’s not for two TVs. One is audio-only and is intended to connect to a receiver not yet capable of handling HDMI 2.0 audio. The BDP7501 also supports 3D Blu-ray discs.
Philips will release a second model, the BDP7301, at the same time and for the same price. The only difference is the color: It will come in piano black.