HDR COVERED WITH PANASONIC’S NEW BLU-RAY PLAYERS
Panasonic’s flagship Blu-ray spinner, one of four new models, supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
But before breaking out the champagne, it’s worth noting that there are five HDR formats and a couple are in a win or loss stoush with each other.
So sure, while there’s more HDR content around now than a while ago, Blu-ray buyers have no way of knowing which HDR format will trounce the others.
Dolby Vision will do really well, and HDR10+ will also thrive because it is supported by co-developers Panasonic, 20th Century Fox, and Samsung.
With AV manufacturers and studios jostling for HDR pole position, consumers are bound to be in for a couple of years of confusion, at the very least.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a buzzword in much the same way 3D was for audio-video gear several years ago.
But unlike 3D, HDR improves picture quality by giving contrast and colour a much larger range.
Right now the jury says Dolby Vision HDR is a more advanced HDR format than HDR10, and more common.
But Panasonic’s flagship DP-UB820 Blu-ray player proves you can have your techno-cake and eat it by sporting both HDR formats in the one, sleek, sophisticated machine.
Pana’s top Blu-ray spinner is 4K enabled and supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ even though none of the brand’s 2018 OLED TVs supports Dolby Vision.
Panasonic has given the UB820 a spanking new Hollywood-tweaked HCX processor that generates a more accurate Chroma processing than Pana’s previous Blu-ray flagship.
Included as well is a feature called HDR Optimiser developed to get some of HDR’s qualities when this player is used with TVs that don’t have enough brightness levels to exploit HDR.
The UB820 has multi-channel audio decoding delivered via a 7.1 channel analogue output. Onboard also are two HDMI outputs used separately for the audio and video signals.
The new flagship player supports DSD (11.2MHz/2.8MHz/5.6MHz), ALAC, FLAC, WAV and AIFF high res formats.
The UB820 will also exploit both Google assistant and Amazon Alexa giving users a measure of basic voice control.
The three other new Blu-ray players in Panasonic’s 2018 line-up are the UB420, UB330, and UB320.
The UB420 does not support Dolby Vision, and the cheapest two models won’t handle HDR10+ or Dolby Vision.
While the UB420 is equipped with the new HCX processor and HDR Optimising, the UB330 and UB220 have neither.
And yes, you can speak to your UB420 but don’t bother with the cheapest two models since neither offers voice control with Alexa or Google.
Local availability and pricing were not available at the time of publishing.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.