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Panasonic DMP-UB900 review - the best Ultra HD Blu-ray player you can buy right now

Richard Easton
29 Apr 2016
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Panasonic DMP-UB900 lead
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT (as of 29th of April)

If money's no object and you want to start watching Ultra HD Blu-rays right now, the DMP-UB900 is the best player you can currently buy

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Specifications

Blu-ray profile: 6.0, 3D capable: Yes, Dimensions (WxDxH): 435x199x68mm, Networking: Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi  

Smart Features

Right now, there’s still only a handful of Ultra HD Blu-rays you can actually buy, but while we wait for the inevitable torrent of discs to arrive, you can always take advantage of the DMP-UB900’s smart services by connecting it to your home network via Wi-Fi of the rear Ethernet port.

Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube are all present and correct with their ever-growing Ultra HD libraries, albeit at lower bitrates than physical discs, but you will need a fast internet connection to hit those high resolutions. You also get an app for BBC iPlayer, but until we start getting more 4K broadcasts, you’ll have to settle for lower resolutions here.

Panasonic DMP-UB900 interface

As for the player’s interface, this is the one area where it loses out to Samsung’s competing deck. The DMP-UB900’s menus are incredibly plain and boring, but you do at least get the option to change the background. They’re also relatively easy to navigate, but it’s a shame the app menu is tucked behind the Network Service menu.

The DMP-UB900 can be a little slow to start up, with it taking about 38 seconds to start playing a Blu-ray. There is a quick start option, however, but this does mean the player is using more power when in standby. This shortens the time to just 5 seconds to begin watching a film.

Strangely, I couldn’t find an option to disable automatic playback of whatever disc was in the tray, which might be annoying if you just want to use one of the apps. The other annoyance was that the onscreen interface doesn’t tell you what disc is actually sitting in the drive. Samsung’s player, on the other hand, shows a bit of cover art on the main menu.

Panasonic DMP-UB900 video menu

Conclusion

With only two Ultra HD Blu-ray players currently available, early adopters really only have a choice between the Panasonic DMP-UB900 and Samsung’s UBD-K8500. Most will probably err toward Samsung’s player simply on account of the price (you could buy another 8 or 9 Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with the amount you save), but for those that want the very, very best UHD experience out there, the UB900 is the clear winner.

Whether you’ll need its more advanced features will largely come down to your own home cinema setup, but if you’re planning on spending thousands of pounds on Ultra HD Blu-rays over the next couple of years, then the extra outlay now will probably be worthwhile.

However, whether it’s worth jumping aboard the Ultra HD bandwagon right now is another discussion entirely. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing other Ultra HD Blu-ray players come to market, and, just like 4K TVs, the price of them is also likely to drop dramatically over the next year or so. There’s also the question of content, which is pretty thin on the ground right now. As a result, there’s certainly a case to be made for waiting it out, but if you’re desperate for an Ultra HD Blu-ray player right now and can afford it, the Panasonic DMP-UB900 is definitely the one to buy. Buy Now from Amazon.

Hardware
Blu-ray profile6.0
3D capableYes
4K compatible?Yes (Blu-ray 4K, upscaling)
Accessories providedRemote control
Dimensions (WxDxH)435x199x68mm
Ports
Audio outputs1x HDMI, 1x 7.1 Phono, 1x Optical, 1x coaxial
Video outputs1x HDMI 2.0
Video inputsNone
NetworkingEthernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
USB ports2x USB
Memory card readerSD
Features
Video playback formatsMPEG-2, MPEG-4, XVID, MVK
Image viewing formatsJPEG
Audio playback formatsFLAC, Wav, ALAC, DSD, WMA, AAC, MP3
Smart TV appsBBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video, BBC iPlayer

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