Published On: June 15, 2022-Last Updated: September 30, 2022-6 min read-
How to Buy a 4K Blu-Ray Player: All You Need to Know
Have you walked past the film & TV section at a Sainsburys, Tesco’s or Asda’s and secretly wanted to see what that 4K Ultra HD copy of ‘The Revenant’ would look like on your recently purchased 4k TV? Well, you’ll never know what it’ll look like if you don’t get the right 4K player.
You might be thinking as to why you should buy a 4K player when your 4K TV can stream in 4K. However, few people know the substantial difference between watching ‘The Revenant’ through a 4K player compared to streaming it in 4K on Netflix. A greater transformation than DiCaprio’s in the film itself.
Physical 4K Discs vs 4k Streaming
Streaming is a great option in terms of convenience, as you can change from film to film until you find that perfect one, all done without your feet taking a single step. But it does come with significant drawbacks in audio and visual quality.
An Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has more than five times more data stored inside it than a 4K film on a streaming service. Which makes sense considering a streaming service is trying to channel and push through giant amounts of data as fast as possible 24/7, 365 days a year. So, compromises would need to be made.
Another bigger drawback is the audio. The audio you get when streaming a 4k film is compressed and pushed through – just like the video quality – as fast as possible, you want things to be quick and responsive. And so, streaming pales in comparison to an Ultra HD Blu-ray 4K disc. It’s not even in the same ballpark.
Key 4K Player Features
Although every 4k player presents video in 4K format and decent audio, some come with more key features than others, depending on your intentions with it.
You might’ve heard or seen ‘Dolby Vision’ advertised on a few TV’s or even players but might not know what it means. Although there’s a long and techy answer to this query – which might only make you wonder even more – Dolby Vision can be explained simply. When you watch a film on your TV through a streaming site or even Blu-ray player, the visuals aren’t true to what the filmmaker wanted to achieve – it’s what the TV settings are set as. This is where Dolby Vision steps in. Dolby Vision adapts to what the film’s true settings are – visually and audibly. Meaning, Dolby Vision is the only way of seeing what the film was meant to be when the director made it. Dolby Vision highlights the film in the way it was always meant to be seen in its truest and purest form.
Dolby Atmos, much like Dolby Vision, is the closest a person can be in experiencing the world of the film being presented to them. It’s used in IMAX cinemas, and once you experience it, you’ll see why. It adds height to the sound, opposed to the standard route-one sound-system seen – heard – in normal TV setups. Dolby Atmos completely envelopes you in every sense of the word.
4K Blu-ray Players for Different Budgets
4K player prices vary massively depending on features and build quality. Some 4k players can range from £149.99 to upwards of £899.00. You’re asking yourself as to why prices vary so significantly if the player is simply a transport, and all have the same quality?
Well, below are three categories of 4K players depending on budget but also the functionality.
If you’re a bit hesitant to go all out on a 4K player and don’t mind getting a bit of a barebones experience, then the Panasonic DP-UB150EB is perfect for you. You can find it for £140.00 on Amazon and use the spare change to cover it through Zest. The UB150 is a straightforward player, but most definitely delivers in terms of sound – studio Master quality – and visual quality. The player serves as a perfect introduction to 4k players, and if you really end up enjoying it then the perfect upgrade is just below.
So, after owning a decent, budget-friendly 4k player for a couple of years and feeling you want a bit of an upgrade to your home theatre set-up then the Sony UBP-X800M2 Smart 4K Ultra HD 3D Blu-ray Player must be your next purchase. You can find it on Amazon for £269.00.
The slick and compact Sony 4K player comes with the best visual set-up, that being Dolby Vision, which as previously explained shows the film how the filmmaker intended. Not only that but it comes and supports a Dolby Atmos sound set-up, so you’ll feel the sound all over you in the sharpest clarity.
After having a midrange but extremely competent 4k player for a few years, you might feel like you want to experience the ultimate home-theatre experience. You’ve saved up and even upgraded your TV and surround sound system to get to this stage. And so, the best 4K player money can buy is the Panasonic DP-UB9000 Smart 3D 4K Blu-ray player.
This 4K player not only has Dolby Vision but also has Panasonic’s HDR Optimiser technology on top of it, delivering THX-certified picture worthy of Hollywood – meaning your 4K Blu-rays will be displayed in the best possible quality. It can also connect to your home network via Wi-Fi, meaning you’ll also be able to stream in 4K. Oh, it also has 3D compatibility. You can buy it at John Lewis for £899.00 and your ultimate theatre set-up will finally be completed.
What To Do with Broken 4K Player?
Although all the 4K players mentioned above last at least 3 years, it’s not guaranteed that they will. And according to Recycle Now, more than a million tonnes of appliances such as 4K players are generated each year. So, if your appliance has a plug, charger, or batteries, it’s eligible to be recycled.
However, to not be a part of this huge yearly waste, you can insure your newly bought 4K player with Zest and not worry about if it’ll last those 3 years but be in full confidence it’ll be 6 to 7 years instead. And if you recommend us to family and friends both of you get a £25 gift card to spend on that 4K UHD copy of ‘The Revenant’ – so you can see that sweet face of Leo DiCaprio the clearest it can be.
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