Sony has had an odd relationship with Ultra HD Blu-ray over the past couple of years. While the likes of Samsung and Panasonic dived headlong into supporting the new 4K disc standard, Sony held back, a decision made a little surprising given its history with physical media.
After all, Sony threw its support behind both DVD and Blu-ray by including players in its PlayStation consoles – effectively sneaking them into millions of households that might not have otherwise bothered to make the upgrade.
In classic Sony fashion, once its debut UBP-X800 appeared, it was a lovely little player with the added benefit of supporting SACD, DVD-A, and Hi-Res Audio files. It seemed like the extra time in the over had done great things for the player.
Unfortunately there was just one thing missing, and that was support for the Dolby Vision HDR standard – which has started to appear on a small handful of discs and which we’ve been very impressed with indeed.
Thankfully, Sony has remedied this with the UBP-X700. Announced at CES 2018, it’s an Ultra HD Blu-ray player that now includes support for Dolby’s 12-bit, scene-by-scene mastered, HDR tour-de-force.
The HDR10+ problem
There’s just one problem though, and that’s that while Sony has been busy integrating Dolby Vision and new standard, named HDR10+, has crept out. This CES the new standard was accepted into the UHD Blu-ray spec, and Panasonic had a new player ready to support it.
Shifting goalposts doesn’t even begin to cover it.
With no HDR10+ Blu-ray discs having been released, and with future adoption of the standard still in flux, we don’t yet know whether Sony’s UBP-X700 will miss HDR10+ much, but with the world of physical media increasingly serving a premium enthusiast niche it could prove to be a problem.
Fingers crossed that Sony takes a similar attitude to HDR10+ as it did with Dolby Vision on its TVs where it added support via a firmware update a few months after release.
- All the best stuff seen at CES 2018 so far.
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