Is Panasonic’s UHD Blu-ray player the ‘new OPPO’?
Panasonic have been setting the benchmark with processing and calibration behind their Ultra High-Definition (UHD) OLED televisions. The best way to appreciate the vibrancy and clarity of these excellent screens is with the best content available. Even in the age of streaming and fast internet, physical UHD Blu-ray discs still provide the best levels of information available, and with the release of the new UB9000 player, Panasonic sets another benchmark.
With the surprising decision by OPPO to no longer produce Blu-ray players, customers went on a buying frenzy to snap up the last available models, which quickly ran out. We still get calls daily asking for stock!
But for those that missed out, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Due to arrive in November, the UB9000 promises to feature all that the OPPOs did, but with more!
Based on the same HCX processor found in the OLED TVs, the player’s precise colours and HDR reproduction have been supervised by the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, a specialist division which consults with “renowned directors of photography and filmmakers” – indeed Panasonic has developed a “4K World” to provide end-to-end Ultra HD solutions. Using technology inspired and refined by its professional divisions, Panasonic is aiming to deliver an unprecedented level of visual experience.
The UB9000 supports all the latest video enhancement formats, including HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Hybrid LogGamma, and is certified as a THX Source.
Unlike the OPPOs, this unit can stream UHD images directly from Netflix, Amazon Prime and other video on-demand (VOD) services. Add in voice control with Google or Alexa and you have a great addition to your smart-enabled home.
Where the Panasonic really takes on the OPPO is in audio performance. Every stage of the component is tailored to ensuring superior audio playback. It uses a 768kHz/32-bit AK4493 DAC chip, caters for WAV/FLAC/MP3/AAC/WMA/AIFF, but also DSD and ALAC formats. Power is divided at the origin to clearly separate the digital and analogue pathways with stable voltage supply regulating power throughout the main board.
The superior build-quality has thick aluminium panels and a rigid chassis with a solid steel plate to anchor the disc drive and minimise vibration. All components have been carefully selected to ensure precision of sound all the way to the high-quality output terminals, which include 2-channel XLR for the most demanding systems.
Our jury will still be out until we can get our hands on one, but after its release in Europe, it earned the EISA award as the best “High-End UHD Blu-ray Player 2018-2019” with the judges praising it as ‘a gloriously engineered high-end machine’. With its ‘Custom processing, high-spec components and advanced user adjustments… every last drop of performance detail is squeezed from movies and music alike…’.
We are expecting the player to land in November and have an RRP of $1,649, but you can pre-order today.