Panasonic and also Samsung fairy war with their first generation 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players

Not yet rated ByWhat Hi-Fi?27 might 2016

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The favored One will lug light to zero and change our tardy of reality, typically ushering in period of clarity and also enlightenment. So claims the legend anyway.

You are watching: Panasonic dmp-ub900 vs samsung ubd-k8500

But it’s no really a legend. Ultra HD Blu-ray is a genuine thing. That genuinely can carry you 4K resolution, billions the colours and high dynamic range.

We’ve to be talking around the new format because that so lengthy that it had started to feel choose the stuff of fantasy. Then it arrived, swiftly followed by the an initial Ultra HD Blu-ray players. The moment for theory is over. Now we need to apply.

Panasonic has the DMP-UB900, Samsung has the UBD-K8500, and we have them both. Yet which one is worthy? i beg your pardon one will execute your AV temple proud?

The only way to find out is the time-honoured heritage of mortal combat. Welcome, Grasshopper, come the method of 4K Blu-ray.


We’ve been below before. In ours December 2006 issue, Panasonic took on Samsung v the an initial Blu-ray players. Panasonic winner that certain duel, but now we have a back of sorts. This is Samsung’s opportunity for revenge.

Before battle commences, let’s address the points they have in common. They room both UHD Blu-ray players qualified of spinning 4K discs, both putting out a photo with a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160, and also in high dynamic variety (HDR) to boot.

They handle the Rec. 2020 (very wide) colour space, qualified of reproducing color not displayed on HDTVs (which use Rec. 709). Structure rates go up to 60p, and also brightness has a claimed selection between 1000 and 10,000nits, whereby one nit is about equivalent come one candle’s light.

Setting up, you’ll want to make sure you usage the best HDMI entry on your 4K TV or projector. The is quite typical for manufacturers come dedicate simply one or two inputs come 4K viewing.

Sometimes this is helpfully labelled ‘HDCP 2.2’, but that’s not constantly the case. Obtain the not correct port and you may not acquire the full UHD Blu-ray offering. You will also need a high-speed HDMI cable.

MORE: HDR TV: What is it? How can you gain it?


Given the hyperbole surrounding 4K Blu-ray, us were expecting the football player to watch a bit an are Age, yet they wouldn’t look out of ar next to constant Blu-ray players. That said, they hail native opposing institutions of design-fu.

Panasonic has actually gone because that a glowing brushed-metal effect, v a copy front that’s in reality a springy hide-all flap. That looks much more luxurious than Samsung’s offering, which has actually a metal top but is let down by plastic elsewhere.

Panasonic has actually gone for a classic slab shape, while Samsung’s casework is curved. Why? It’s something to carry out with all those bent TVs top top the industry in the last couple of years. Assuming you have one the those, Samsung would favor your Blu-ray player to match.

There space no performance benefits from a bent disc-spinner, it’s just an aesthetic thing. Our endure with oddly shaped boxes is that they watch silly an ext quickly 보다 those without visual quirks – there to be a reason Sony stopped making geology-chic Blu-ray players inspired by crystals.

Though architecture is a matter of preference, the Panasonic attributes a little display, vice versa, the Samsung only has a pair of LEDs. At this price, we might reasonably intend a display: time and loading status info is genuinely helpful, there is no it it’s difficult to call what the player is doing.

If you’re going to lay down number of hundred in cash, the DMP-UB900 watch closer to the part. So, ring One goes come Panasonic.

MORE: Ultra HD Blu-ray: whatever you need to know


But it’s what you carry out that matters, right? Both players have twin HDMI outputs. They additionally feature one USB port each, one digital optical output and one ethernet socket plus built-in wifi, an interpretation you can acquire online v apps such as Amazon and Netflix, which sell 4K streams.

That’s it because that the Samsung, yet the Panasonic likewise has digital coaxial output, an SD card slot (SDXC compatible), and also 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs.

The far controls room again a little of a ying-yang situation. Samsung has gone for small size and simplicity, which way it is straightforward to hold and also there space not as well many alternatives to confuse you. The downside to this is the density of the switch layout, i m sorry will have you accidentally pushing the wrong thing, specifically in the dark.

Panasonic’s remote, meanwhile, goes for clarity and is lot better. Its remote is big, through fat buttons, clean labelling and a wise layout, which makes blind-clicking straightforward task.

As if that were no enough, there’s a backlight choice too. Round 2 goes come Panasonic. Its arsenal is far better stocked.


The very first Blu-ray players take it forever come load, leaving you plenty of time to go meditate or make a cup that tea. Thankfully, your descendents are much swifter.

We insert number of UHD Blu-rays – The Martian, The impressive Spider-Man 2 and also Mad Max: fury Road – one ~ the other. Top top average, there is around 30-40 seconds between the key trays clicking shut and the menu appearing, i beg your pardon is not negative at all. Blu-rays are a tiny faster, taking approximately 20 seconds.

Navigation is speedy, too. We’re provided to Blu-ray players gift a chore come navigate, but there is tiny button lag here. The Panasonic and Samsung are also reasonably evenly suitable in speed.

Both players have actually clear and easy food selection systems. Panasonic goes because that the minimalist approach, v lines the options, when Samsung goes for huge tiles come ensure you never obtain lost. The choice for play a 4K Blu-ray takes increase a quarter of the screen. This one is down to personal preference.

Round 3 is an also match, but the Samsung did expedition up a little. Our testimonial sample had actually a couple of glitches entailing the photo disappearing, or the device crashing altogether.

This to be sorted the end by restarting the machine, therefore we’d put it under to hiccups, rather than a full-blown personality issue.

MORE: A list of every the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs top top sale


And now for the main event: the video quality. The combination of 4K and HDR represents a substantial leap above the sort of picture quality we’ve been accustomed to.

What you obtain from both football player is clearly much better than Blu-ray. The colours space kicked up several notches, providing a much more diverse and natural range of hues. The broader colour gamut makes for a more realistic, convincing picture.

The HDR really renders a difference. You get brighter whites and darker blacks, with an ext degrees that separation in between. Bright locations – the sunshine glinting turn off the hood of a monster truck, for example – sparkle enough to make you squint.

And yet, in the same frame, you an alert a vast amount that shadow information in the darker areas, prefer the dirt on the truck’s undercarriage.

Detail levels are astounding, which is the entire suggest of 4K. Dirt, blood and also sand are all rendered through the kind of sharpness and also clarity that nearly makes us feel we’re the town hall the snapshot through enhanced lenses.

MORE: 10 that the best Blu-ray scene to test photo quality

We go back to consistent Blu-rays and find everything is remarkable reduced. It is every a little less clear. Textures are much less defined. Comparison is weaker and also colours room flatter.

Now, a indigenous on 3D. Though not officially included in Ultra HD Blu-ray specifications, both these players room compatible with 3D Blu-rays – so don’t throw your arsenal away just yet.

That’s Ultra HD Blu-ray because that you, yet these 2 players handle them differently. The difference is not night and also day, yet the Panasonic still maintain an edge. If the Samsung puts the end a good amount the vibrancy in its hues, they space not as well-off as top top the Panasonic, i beg your pardon is also far better at shading and providing a feeling of depth.

As for Blu-rays and also DVDs, the Samsung handles them v confidence, however it’s the same deal with Panasonic supplying a little an ext in subtlety of shading and edge definition.

Both players do a compelling discussion for 4K Blu-ray’s picture quality, however the Panasonic directly takes round Four.

MORE: 4K streaming vs 4K Blu-ray vs Blu-ray – which is best?


It may have been a close complement over picture quality, however sound quality is a different battleground. We play the opening scene the The Martian on UHD Blu-ray, wherein Kate Mara and also Jessica Chastain talk around weather reports prior to heading external to a sand storm, blended in a DTS HD understand Audio soundtrack.

The Panasonic is a fine-sounding device, consistent with our endure of the company’s Blu-ray players. What you get is a rich, weighty delivery. There’s a great sense of scale and also no shortage of power. Sound effects are plainly and on purpose placed, and delivered with sufficient dynamism to grab her attention. If you want to it is in entertained, this will perform nicely.

Sadly because that Samsung, it lags behind the Panasonic in ~ every turn. Voices frequently have a tough edge come them, as execute sound effects, i m sorry dynamically room a tiny flat. Meanwhile, the Panasonic’s sound is richer and fuller-bodied, with an ext subtlety and also detail, making because that a much more substantial sound.

The Samsung’s sound is additionally not as spacious as the Panasonic’s, nor as engaging. Once Matt Damon is struck by a satellite, the affect doesn’t feeling all the strong. With the Panasonic, you are afraid for his safety. Close your eyes and also that flying grit is vicious sufficient to make you wince. Now that’s entertainment.

MORE: best TV transaction – smart, HD, 4K TV

The final, and also potentially most important, ring is the price. ~ above paper, the Samsung has actually a distinct advantage – it prices £170 less than the Panasonic.

But neither of them are spending plan Blu-ray players, and also the Samsung renders sacrifices the we might expect come see more down the range. Take the awkward far control, for example, or the absence of a display.

The an extremely point that UHD Blu-ray’s existence is to provide you the ultimate home cinema experience, and also with the in mind, the Panasonic absolutely makes the many of your brand-new 4K TV and justifies the difference.

An extra £170 buys girlfriend a nicer feather machine, v a more mature complete and an ext connectivity options. That user experience is superior, as is the taking care of of photo and sound.

MORE: Ultra HD Blu-ray – whatever you should know


It is not simple being the first of a new breed. Not only do you must perform well, you need to do so v the distinction required to promote a new format.

We to be worried around format teething issues, but even at this at an early stage stage, both players room perfectly capable of extolling the virtues the 4K on disc.

As far as we’re concerned, it’s mission achieved for Panasonic and Samsung – they’ve both come a long way from the three- and also two-star reviews from 2006.

However, this Panasonic Ultra HD Blu-ray player has emerged as the clear winner, proving to be far much more than just proficient. That has delivered a devastating an initial blow and also issued a challenge to all that dare.

Even through the price difference, we would certainly whole-heartedly recommend the Panasonic DMP-UB900 over the Samsung UBD-K8500. If you’re browsing for residence cinema enlightenment, this is together close as you’ll gain right now.

Panasonic DMP-UB900 - best price £599 at Sevenoaks

Samsung UBD-K8500 - best price £429 at Superfi

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What is a hands on review?

"Hands ~ above reviews" room a journalist"s very first impressions the a item of kit based upon spending part time through it.It might be simply a few moments, or a couple of hours. The essential thing is we have been able come play v it ourselves and also can offer you some feeling of what it"s like to use,even if it"s only an embryonic view.