Sony’s New UBP-X1100ES 4K Player Offers Universal Playback and Bluetooth Technology

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(July 15, 2019) The health of the 4K disc market has been a hot topic of discussion, fueled by middling 4K disc sales and the elimination of OPPO and Samsung from the manufacturing equation. Quite simply: the 4K UHD Blu-ray format is both cutting edge and retrograde. Yes, those are polar opposite distinctions, but the popularity of streaming and the format’s ability to deliver affordable access to the ultimate in AV playback make those tags a reality.

Recently, Sony gave 4K Blu-ray enthusiasts a bit of a morale boost with the release of an all-new 4K UHD player model. Designated as the UBP-X1100ES (MSRP $599), Sony’s latest player carries quite a bit of tech that should please fans of the silver disc, especially those looking for broad coverage of various audio formats.

Standing at a mere 2.25” tall and weighing just a tad more than 8lbs, the X1100ES is certainly placement friend. Also, much like OPPO’s final UDP-203/205 entries, the X1100ES is a true universal disc player, possessing the ability to playback SACD, DVD-Audio, DVD-R/RW (including Dual Layer), DVD+R/RW (including double layer), CD, CD-R, and CD-RW, among others. Additionally, it’s compatible with a wide range of audio formats, including AAC, WMA, LPCM, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, and the ever-popular, MP3.

Onboard decoding abilities also include both Atmos and DTS:X immersive sound. And the player’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HX) upscaling technology can inject compressed music and MP3 audio files with clarity and resolution for a more natural listening experience.

While it appears the X1100ES lacks advanced HDR tone mapping features found on Panasonic’s two current player options, it does carry an HDR to SDR converter. This feature scales down an image laced with HDR, allowing for quality playback on conventional SDR TVs (or ones that lack strong HDR capabilities). Sony says its converter makes for SDR images loaded with shadow and highlight details that edge above what you’d otherwise expect to see.

The player is built around a rigid “frame-and-beam” chassis that’s designed to resist intrusive vibrations and outside electrical interference. Player performance is enhanced by beefy internal components, such as a high-quality heat sink and disc player. The backside of the player features single HDMI input/outputs, in addition to coax, digital optical, and dual RCA outputs. And as an added benefit, onboard Bluetooth with LDAC can connect with Bluetooth capable headphones for a private – quiet – viewing experience.

The UBP-1100ES is shipping now.
 

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mechman

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While it appears the X1100ES lacks advanced HDR tone mapping features found on Panasonic’s two current player options, it does carry an HDR to SDR converter. This feature scales down an image laced with HDR, allowing for quality playback on conventional SDR TVs (or ones that lack strong HDR capabilities). Sony says its converter makes for SDR images loaded with shadow and highlight details that edge above what you’d otherwise expect to see.
Must be something that keeps costs down and on par with a Blu-ray player because I can see no other reason for positivism from this rationale. Most video enthusiasts want what the Panasonic players have to offer. To not give them that is sending up a white flag in my opinion. Odd from such a reputable company that had always prided itself on the video side of things.
 

Todd Anderson

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I think for applications where it’s needed, that outboard processing offered by Panasonic is key. But, if you own one of Sony’s upper echelon TVs (or LG/Samasung), loaded with a top flight processor and solid tone mapping, the. This player might appeal to that group simply because it offers Bluetooth, which is a nifty feature.

Also, neither Panasonic players are compatible with SACD or DVD-Audio. So, for the audio enthusiast looking to play some classic discs in their collection, this Sony - I believe - is the only new non-OPPO player to support those formats (I think...).

In general, though, I agree, Steve. Your average consumer with a middle/average to below average 4K TV is probably best advised to buy the Panasonic UB820 for $499 (or less!)
 

mechman

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Excellent points Todd. I just think they ought to market to the majority and give us some sort of Tone Mapping adjustments. They have some of the best (if not the best) video processing on the planet, throw a bone to the rest of the market.

But I guess disc based video is dying that slow death so there probably isn't much need for it.
 

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Excellent points Todd. I just think they ought to market to the majority and give us some sort of Tone Mapping adjustments. They have some of the best (if not the best) video processing on the planet, throw a bone to the rest of the market.

But I guess disc based video is dying that slow death so there probably isn't much need for it.
Oh, I agree 100%. Why they aren't throwing their engine into this unit is beyond me. Could it be cost? Perhaps. The competition (UB820) is $499... this Sony is $599. So, their pricing structure may have cost out the processing. What I didn't mention in the news piece is the fact that the UBP-1100ES carries installer-friendly tech (which is no surprise, since the first Sony 4K BD player was also launched and marketed to the custom installer).

Sony says: "...IP Control over CAT 5 cable or Wi-Fi networks, RS232C two-way control and IR-IN. A web browser interface is also offered, along with support for ihiji4, a cloud-based network management solution used by custom installers for remote maintenance. Rack ears are also included for faster, easier installation."

So perhaps their manufacturing and development coin went into those features?

Secondarily, it could be pure marketing, where Sony reps are educating installers and distributors to sell customers on Sony TV's (and their advanced processing) with the BD player as a simple add-on.
 

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No Dolby Vision onboard correct?
 

Todd Anderson

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No, it's compatible with Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR10. I'm guessing HDR10+ will be added at a later date.
 

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Hmmmm... no USB input. I keep all my music on a USB thumb drive and plug it into the front of my OPPO, but I don't like the way it organizes the music. Wish I could find something that would have better on-screen navigation without having to build a computer.
 

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With the massive Hi-Res push, it’s hard to believe USB isn’t included.
 
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It has USB input. See page 16 of the manual.
I like that it supports Monkey's Audio - the only format I've used for the past 17 years.
The HDR to SDR tone mapping curve depends on whether you select TV or Projector as your display.
 

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I believe he is referring to the .ape extension... which is another lossless audio format similar to .flac.
 

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Ah.... LOL. Of course!
 

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Glad to see it has the USB. While I'm still not quite ready to give up my OPPO 205... at least there might be a viable option out there now.
 

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It's crazy how fast these options are dwindling. I've had some thoughts about dumping my 205... but I get the feeling that might not be such a hot idea with the way the industry is going.
 
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