Panasonic just launched the new DMP-UB400 and DMP-UB300 4K Blu-ray players over at CES 2017, but what's the difference between them and how do they compare with the existing Panasonic DMP-UB700 and DMP-UB900 players? Here's all you need to know.
Panasonic was one of the first manufacturers to launch a 4K Ultra HD capable Blu-ray player, in the form of the DMP-UB900 which hit the UK last year. Since then Panasonic has quadrupled its 4K Blu-ray player offering, with the launch of the DMP-UB700 at the tail end of 2016 and the fresh new DMP-UB300 and UB400 devices at CES 2017.
There are currently very few UHD Blu-ray player options on the market, so this announcement is very welcome indeed. And don't worry if you already own last year's UB700 or UB900, because an upcoming update will add some of the UB300 and UB400's features to the existing players.
So what are the new Panasonic Blu-ray players' best features, what's the difference between the UB300 and UB400 and how do they compare to the UB700 and UB900? Here's our full comparison and feature guide.
Panasonic DMP-UB300 vs UB400 vs UB700 vs UB900: Video support
Both of the new Panasonic UHD Blu-ray players are capable of 4K Ultra High Definition playback, meaning a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 on support televisions. That's the same as the maximum resolution output of the UB700 and UB900. There's full support for 4K Video On Demand (VOD), so you can stream Ultra HD shows and movies
However, the new UB300 and UB400 are also BT.2020 compatible, meaning the colour gamut will be wider and images should be more vibrant. This form of image enhancement should look better even on standard non-HDR screens, or so claims Panasonic. Plus the players also support up to 60 frames per second playback, offering a great deal of future-proofing.
Both of Panasonic's new 2017 4K players also support Full HD 3D Blu-ray playback, multi-content 4K upscaling and 4K Direct Chroma upscaling, for enhancing 2K content to 4K. It is also possible to play your 4K video-on-demand services via the player’s apps, meaning you can enjoy any outputted surround sound via your connected speakers.
Panasonic DMP-UB300 vs UB400 vs UB700 vs UB900: Adaptive light
Both the UB300 and UB400 Blu-ray players feature smart adaptive lighting processing, something missing on the 2016 models. This should be able to reproduce realistic dark and light areas in your picture, no matter the environment.
According to Panasonic, the new players can actually adapt to their environment when prompted by the viewer. So if the room is particularly bright, with the result that dark areas on-screen are tough to make out, the player will forcibly raise the brightness of those darker areas. Then when your content switches to a bright scene, the image is re-analysed and adapted to maintain optimum viewing.
Panasonic is planning to bring this feature to the existing UB700 and UB900 players via an over-the-air firmware upgrade, which should land some time after the UB300 and UB400 go on sale.
Panasonic DMP-UB300 vs UB400 vs UB700 vs UB900: Rich audio
Both of Panasonic's new players feature high-resolution audio reproduction with WAV/FLAC/MP3/AAC/WMA, DSD and ALAC music file support.
In the case of the Panasonic DMP-UB400, there are twin HDMI tubes for separate audio amp output that should result in a clearer audio reproduction. The UB400 also simulates the sound of valve amplifiers with 96kHz/192kHz upscaling.
Panasonic DMP-UB300 vs UB400 vs UB700 vs UB900: Price and release date
Both the prices and release dates have yet to be announced for the new UHD Blu-ray players. Expect their release to be soon and for the firmware upgrades for the older model to follow shortly after.
You can pick up the UB700 right now for £299 and the UB900 for £349.