We all knew it was just a matter of time. Since licensing began for the next-generation Blu-ray UHD format late last month, those of us who still love our shiny discs and who’ve been waiting for the format to make its way to store shelves have been chewing our fingernails to see which manufacturer would be first out of the gate with a new player, and when exactly that player would make its way to market. The winner? Samsung, with its UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, which made its official debut at IFA 2015 late last week.
Details are a little light on the ground, but here’s what we know so far: the player will support both Ultra HD resolutions, as well as, of course, High Dynamic Range video. 4K streaming services are also onboard, although there’s no indication of exactly which ones. As for discs, we can also confirm that Fox is onboard and promises to deliver all of its big upcoming releases, day and date with their standard Blu-ray offerings.
What we don’t know, though, is the exact price. Nor do we know the exact release date. The UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player is set for release in Europe in early 2016, but rumors and rumblings from the IFA show floor indicate that a holiday 2015 release date for the U.S. isn’t out of the question.
Our friends at Digital Trends are in Berlin at the moment, and gave us this first look:
That’s not the only big UHD news to come out of Samsung at IFA, though. The company also announced that it’s first out of the gate with HDMI 2.0a compatibility for its entire lineup of 2015-model SUHD and UHD displays.
You read that correction. Its 2015 lineup. Samsung is issuing a firmware update for this year’s slate of Ultra HD TVs that upgrades their HDMI ports to the latest spec, which—as you may have guessed—adds support for HDR video from external sources. Sources like the UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player. Best of all, the upgrade from HDMI 2.0 to HDMI 2.0a requires no new hardware (in other words, you won’t have to replace your One Connect box) and no new HDMI cables.
“Samsung provides cutting-edge technology that our consumers expect from an industry leader, and our SUHD TV’s are our best ever,” said John Ryu, vice president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics. “While our 2015 SUHD and UHD TV lines are already capable of delivering HDR capability from internal sources such as streaming services, this firmware update will enlarge the spectrum of available HDR content for our customers.”
Of course, it may be a while before detailed specs for the new hit Samsung.com, but if you want to keep up with the latest developments, keep an eye on the company’s blog atglobal.samsungtomorrow.com.
Content courtesy of: Dennis Burger, Editor in Chief, HDLiving.com