By Todd Anderson on Aug 22, 2018 at 11:15 AM
  1. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Panasonic’s UB820 Just Became the Most Functional 4K Blu-ray Player on the Planet

    [​IMG]
    (Panasonic)

    (August 22, 2018) Panasonic has issued a new firmware update (1.21) for its UB820 UHD Blu-ray player, introducing both Dolby Vision support and Amazon Prime Video app functionality. Originally launched several months ago, the UB820 now sits as the first 4K Blu-ray player to offer support for both HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision.

    This is interesting on a number of fronts, headlined by the fact that Panasonic collaborated with Samsung and Amazon Prime Video to create the royalty-free HDR10+ format as an alternative to the Dolby Vision platform (read about the differences between the two, here). Although Dolby Vision isn’t available on Panasonic’s OLED TVs, the company obviously realizes its disc players must carry cross platform functionality to appeal to broad market needs.

    In addition to Dolby Vision and HDR10+ compatibility, the UB820 also carries onboard app support for the likes of Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube, along with voice command support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. And for the audiophile user, it sports 7.1 channel pre-outs and rather broad disc format support, SACD outstanding. While OPPO’s heralded UDP-205 series supports SACDs, it fails to offer streaming compatibility and costs considerably more (especially considering current market prices).

    UB820 owners can update their player’s firmware wirelessly, or by visiting Panasonic’s global support site.
     
    #1 Todd Anderson, Aug 22, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
    Isaac Sykes, tripplej and Asere like this.

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Discussion in 'AV Industry News' started by Todd Anderson, Aug 22, 2018.

    1. tripplej

      tripplej AV Enthusiast

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      Very nice.. Thanks for the update.
       
    2. Michael Scott

      Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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      have they set a street price?
       
    3. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      I believe it’s $499 MSRP... @Robert Zohn might have better info tho
       
    4. bkeeler10

      bkeeler10 Active Member

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      This is good to know since I will likely be picking this unit up in the next little bit. Although I don't believe DV will do me much good with my projector. But it will do tone mapping which should help get the best HDR possible from the PJ. The one thing I'm bummed about with this player is the lack of capability when streaming content from the local network. Apparently it won't bitstream lossless audio. I guess I'll have to find a different box for streaming from my NAS.
       
    5. Todd Anderson

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      You're right... forget DV with the projector... and good to have the onboard tone mapping. Also, it's nice to see panasonic is throwing its weight behind its gear.

      As for your bit-streaming... perhaps you can bit stream audio direct to your AVR?
       
    6. ddude003

      ddude003 Active Member

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      You may want to wait for the Panasonic UB9000 for a better audiophile kit to stream to...
       
    7. bkeeler10

      bkeeler10 Active Member

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      Yeah, I've thought about that, but the truth is I will almost certainly be coming out of the player digitally (not via analog), so the benefits of the higher-end player are probably mostly lost on my setup. Unless there's something other than superior DACs and analog output stages that differentiates the two players . . . I would expect their digital audio outputs to be indistinguishable, but I have not dug into that.
       
    8. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      I think that's a safe assumption (digitally speaking)
       
    9. ddude003

      ddude003 Active Member

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      It is my belief that they use the same DAC chip, Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4493, however the Panasonic UB9000 seems to have a better analog output stage that does differentiate the two players... A look at the insides of both devices would show some interesting differences in design... From the outside I can see that the UB9000 has XLR connections, possibly a balanced design... Things that make you go hmmm...

      And a closer look at photos of the UB9000 it appears that there are hi quality, possibly audiophile quality, parts as well as separate power supply, isolated functional sections and nicer chassis...

      My guess is the Panasonic UB9000 would compete with the OPPO UDP-205 while the Panasonic UB820 world compete with the UDP-203... If OPPO were still in this business space...
       
      #10 ddude003, Aug 23, 2018
      Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
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    10. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Safe to assume they'll surpass the OPPO's capabilities before HDMI2.0 runs its course... I guess we'll have to wait and see how much of a roll HDR10+ plays in the market. I do like the fact that we have a player taking video- and audiophile concerns seriously
       
    11. Isaac Sykes

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      I agree. That said, I still for the life of me can not understand what Oppo was thinking about. The 103, and 105 were awesome devices, a true one stop shop. I don't know why they'd deviate from what they had created. Then to just stop..smdh.
       
    12. Todd Anderson

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      It came down to cost and sales. Unfortunately, the segment is shrinking.
       
    13. Sonnie

      Sonnie Senior Admin
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      SACD isn't near as big of a deal for me anymore because I pretty much record everything to USB now... and analog out DAC is not a big deal if you run it through a processor, it's going to defeat the benefit because the processor/AVR is going to be digital. Definitely a nice option with the Amazon Prime and Netflix included. I could ditch my Shield unit then... one less piece of equipment to deal with. Very interesting.
       
    14. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      I guess it begs the question, @Sonnie, have you heard a difference between CD and SACD?

      Me? I can't say that I have. Perhaps I have, but it isn't clear enough to my ears to have a definitive opinion.
       
    15. Sonnie

      Sonnie Senior Admin
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      I have not compared them ... just always took for granted that they were recorded differently so that they sounded different. :justdontknow:
       

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