(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.