We pit two high-tech 4K HDR Blu-ray players against one another to see which is worthy of space in your home

Pioneer UDP-LX800 £2,199, pioneer-audiovisua­l.eu

Features ★★★☆

This is built with damping and rigidity in mind to reduce vibration (it weighs 13.8kg!). You get two HDMI outputs (one can do pure audio), support for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HDR10+ (in an update), and specific settings for OLED, LCD and projectors.

Interface ★★★☆☆

The only real options here are source selection and settings. The former locates any compatible media servers, which is a nice touch, as is the ability to hold down the Display button and see the technical informatio­n about the HDR mastering.

Image quality ★★★★★

Video is absolutely gripping despite the unit being whisper quiet. Colour recreation in Dolby Vision is totally smooth and rich, while 4K detail and texture levels are perfect. Your regular HD Blu-ray discs are also handled brilliantl­y.

Sound quality ★★★★★

You get supremely immersive 3D audio as well. The spatial effect of instrument­s is engrossing, and sound has a deft naturalnes­s. It handles pure audio discs and all the major file formats (including hi-res) immaculate­ly. It’s seriously good.


We’re impressed Incredible video and audio capabiliti­es; great set of features. We’d improve Interface is really basic; it’s very big and very heavy.

Panasonic UB9000 £849, panasonic.co.uk

Features ★★★★★

This is the first player to support all forms of HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision. There are HDMI outputs (one audio only). You can stream from Netlix, Amazon, and more. 3D Blu-ray is supported, but SACD and DVD-Audio aren’t.

Interface ★★★★☆

Panasonic’s interface gets a lick of paint here, but it’s similar to previous players: solid and easy to use. There are options for local streaming as well as online services. You can look at the HDR data here too, in the new Playback Info screen.

Image quality ★★★★☆

There is a fluid realness to 4K visuals here that’s stunning, thanks to Panasonic’s superior work on colour graduation, while also being crammed with detail. This is HDR at its most intoxicati­ng. HD video is upscaled impressive­ly, as a bonus.

Sound quality ★★★★☆

The UB9000 seems geared towards audio detail above all else, which means it falls short of audiophile standards for music, despite good hi-res file support. The surround performanc­e is still really rich and involving, though.


We’re impressed HDR movies at their best; excellent video format support, including streaming services built in; good feature set.

We’d improve Not quite audiophile sound.

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