The long wait to enjoy 4K content on our 4K TVs is over and now we can watch the latest releases on 4K Ultra High Definition discs thanks to a player like the Panasonic DMP-UB900.
4K provides four times the resolution of full high definition that we see with Blu-ray Disc.
The Panasonic DMP-UB900 is not the only 4K player on the market – Samsung’s UBD K8500 was released earlier this year for $599.
Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 is priced at $1,099 and has plenty of features under the hood to justify its higher price.
And with the growing number of new releases and blockbuster favourites now appearing on 4K UHD disc, there’s never been a better time to consider buying a 4K player like Panasonic’s DMP-UB900.
On the design side, the product has a flipdown front panel that pops down and closes again when you eject or insert a disc.
There is a small display to the right of the disc tray as well as a SD card slot and USB port player to play content off memory cards and USB flash drives.
On the top right edge are two touch sensitive buttons – eject and power – but these are hard to see if your player was placed in a cabinet like ours.
Luckily the remote is excellent and has all of the controls at your fingertips to make it easy to not only play your content but to also navigate the settings.
And it has a backlit keypad so you can easily see all of the buttons if you’re in a dark room.
There’s even a dedicated Netflix button and controls to turn on your TV and adjust the volume and go up and down the channels.
Around the back you’ll find not one but two HDMI outputs – one for video and audio and another for audio only.
There’s a reason for this.
To playback 4K UHD disc on your 4K TV all of the devices in the chain – your HDMI cable, your AV receiver (if you have the 4K player in a home theatre set-up) and your TV must all be HDCP 2.2 compliant.
This is determined by the hardware and is not something you can get with a firmware update.
HDCP 2.2 stands for High Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection and it is in place to prevent illegal copying.
If any of these products are not HDCP 2.2 compliant then the signal will be downgraded to full high definition.
With the Panasonic DMP-UB900 you get a HDMI cable in the box which supports 18Gbps transfer (making it HDCP 2.2 compliant).
Most recent 4K TVs have a dedicated HDMI input that is HDCP 2.2 ready and can pass through a full quality the full 2160p signal.
Now if you’ve got a home theatre set-up with an AV receiver that pipes the video to a TV or projector and the audio through to all of your speakers – your AV receiver also has to be HDCP 2.2 compliant to enjoy the full 4K experience.
We tested the Panasonic DMP-UB900 in our home theatre which had a JBL SDP-45 receiver and a Sony 4K projector.
We also tested the DMP-UB900 player on a 65-inch Panasonic 4K HDR DX900 Series LED TV.
Our JBL receiver had 4K pass through via HDMI Input 8 and HDMI Output 2 and the Sony projector’s HDMI Input 2.
But for those who have a 4K display but have an older receiver that doesn’t support HDCP 2.2 – it’s not the end of the world.
That’s where the two HDMI ports come in to play.
You can use the video/audio output to connect directly with your 4K TV and the audio only HDMI output for your receiver. HDCP 2.2 only affects video – so you can still let your receiver handle the audio with the second.
There’s also an Ethernet port and wi-fi onboard to connect the Panasonic 4K player to your network so you can easily update your firmware or use services like Netflix and access content on other devices on your network.
OK, once you’ve got the set-up right – it’s time to start watching 4K.
The Panasonic DMP-UB900 player provides incredible quality when playing back 4K discs but it is also backwards compatible so it can also play Blu-rays and DVDs as well.
4K discs are region free but the Australian version of the player is locked to playing Region B Blu-rays and Region 4 DVDs.
And it can also upscale Blu-ray and DVD into better quality.
Blu-ray upscaling was brilliant so your older movies will never look better while DVD was definitely brought up a notch but nothing like what the player can achieve with Blu-ray.
Playback of 4K discs through the Panasonic is remarkable.
The detail and crispness of the image blew us away. It was incredible.
The same can be said for the colour accuracy and depth of the image. This is what 4K is all about and why you’ll be thankful for having those extra pixels at your disposal on your TV.
Even on our non-HDR (High Dynamic Range) Sony 4K projector the quality was excellent.
But on the Panasonic 4K HDR TV – the picture quality was breathtaking.
This is thanks to the onboard 4K High Precision Chroma Processor and THX certification to deliver premium video and audio quality.
The Panasonic player will examine your display and suggest the best settings.
In fact, most settings can be set to Automatic so the machine makes the best available video and audio choices that are available to it.
But you can dive in adjust things like the dialogue enhancer to make voices through the centre channel of a 5.1 or 7.1 system even clearer.
I can watch 4K on Netflix, we hear some people saying. Yes, you can. But it’s not in the same ball park.
The Panasonic can provide a playback bit rate of up to 100Mbps – the best we saw was about 95Mbps when watching Star Trek: Into Darkness on 4K disc.
The best Netflix 4K can offer is between 15Mbps to 25Mbps but to achieve that you need a superfast broadband connection with a download speed of at least 25Mbps.
With a Panasonic player and a 4K disc you can enjoy even better image quality every single time on your 4K TV no matter how fast your broadband is.
There are two 4K movies in the box – the Village Roadshow releases Mad Max: Fury Road and Creed so out of the box you’re ready enjoy your movies in quality you’ve never seen before outside a cinema.
The Panasonic DMP-UB900 4K UHD disc player is a remarkable product that delivers quality in every department.
If you’ve got a 4K TV with HDR – there’s no better way to watch your 4K content.