Sony’s latest 4K Ultra HD media player, the FMP-X10, has been announced, allowing early adopters of 4K TVs upgrade their kit and make use of a 1TB hard drive.
Available to order now in the US, Sony is offering potential buyers a $200 (£119) discount off of the regular price of $699 (£415) between now and July 15. A UK release date for the FMP-X10 has yet to be announced.
Right now, there isn’t a great deal of 4K content available to watch, apart from House of Cards on Netflix, which you’ll be able to stream via the FMP-X10.
Netflix will eventually supply telly addicts with meth-based TV hit Breaking Bad in 4K and its promised that more titles are heading out way.
Sony’s yet to announced whether its Video Unlimited service will pipe 4K content to British screens any time soon. The FMP-X10 will from launch let American buyers tap into titles like American Hustle and The Monuments Men, plus future titles like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Annie. Sadly, Video Unlimited 4K won’t be coming to the UK anytime soon.
All of this might be academic, depending on the state of your broadband connection. Netflix says you’ll need bandwidth of at least 20Mbps to reliably stream 4K. It’s the apparently creaky state of broadband in Europe that has seen Sony holding off launching PlayStation Now this side of the pond, so we might not be seing Video Unlimited 4K now for the same reason.
According to the latest figures from Ofcom, the average UK broadband connection delivers 17.8Mbps, which won’t cut the mustard for Netflix 4K.
Sony also hasn’t mentioned how many hours of 4K content you’ll actually be able to store on that 1TB drive. 4K Ultra HD gives you four times the detail of Full HD and TV set top boxes like Humax’s HDR-1010S let you store up to 250 hours of 1080p HD content.
Based on a 20Mbps data rate being roughly three times that of Full HD, we expect that you’d be able to store around 80 hours of 4K content, but we won’t know until we see one for ourselves or Sony starts talking about numbers.
If streaming content is out of the question, then you’ll at least be able to play HEVC (H.265) files – the codec that’s increasingly being used to encode 4K Ultra HD media – on the FMP-X10.
Sony’s FMP-X5, due to be released in the UK in August for around £300, does the same thing, but as it’s driveless, you can’t store any content on it.