Peter Familari's avatar

by Peter Familari

10th April, 2018


With discs in retreat and hi-res streaming the new hero video technology, you’ve got to wonder why Panasonic is releasing new Blu-ray players.

It was only last week Oppo Digital announced its exit from the market as a manufacturer.

Visitors to the recent CES in Las Vegas at the start of the year were treated to new Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray disc spinners, two new soundbars and two new OLED TV ranges.

A while after CES, it announced another player called the UB9000, a model that it will use as a flagship to spearhead its continuing support of Blu-ray.

Panasonic clearly agrees with discerning consumers who continue to rate Blu-ray as the format with the best picture and sound quality, notwithstanding the emerging hi-res movie streaming market.

The new players are the UB9000, the UB820 ($659), UB420 ($449) and the UB320 ($329).

The UB9000 and the UB820 both support HDR10+ dynamic metadata technology. The UB900 also supports Dolby Vision HDR and carries a HCX Processor.

HCX (Hollywood Colour Experience) is a Panasonic developed picture processing first seen on the brand’s previous UB900 model. It was designed to deliver the highest quality of Chroma upsampling compared to any other player.

The majority of players use a two-step mode to upsample the 4:2:0 Chroma used on 4K Blu-ray discs. HCX takes a multi-step approach to crunch beyond adjacent pixels to yield superior Chroma interpolation from 4:2:0 to 4:4:4.

Additional features include support for Alexa and Google Assistant voice control that will be available via a free, future firmware update. Audio wise, the UB9000 is a 7.1 channel model.

And as with the UB820 and UB420 players, the UB9000 has additional HDR modes including an HDR Optimiser which uses the player rather than the display to begin HDR tone mapping, HDR Adjustment to make HDR easier to watch in rooms with a lot of light.

The Optimiser mode does HDR to SDR conversion with Rec.2020 colour output.

The UB9000 will also feature UHD Premium and THX certification.

Panasonic has focused on giving its new flagship player a commensurate audio capability. It has a dedicated power supply, a high-end DAC and XLR balanced output connections.

The UB9000 is presented in a heavy vibration reducing chassis that is very rigid and features an optical disc drive built into the chassis using a hefty steel plate.

The newly developed optical drive is positioned in the centre of the UB9000’s chassis to reduce vibration and noise as discs spin.

Price of the UB9000 in Australia has not been announced yet, but it will sell in the UK for £999. It is not expected to arrive towards the end of 2018.

Panasonic's UBP9000 player could be perfectly timed to plug the gap that will be left by Oppo's UDP-205.

Further reading: AV Discussion Forums


Peter Familari's avatar

Written by:

Peter Familari

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.

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Posted in: Home Theatre
Tags: panasonic