Panasonic’s DP-UB9000 bucks a pattern: The firm is delivery this high-end, high-performance, high-priced Ultra HD Blu-ray participant at a time when some producers—together with Samsung and Oppo—have altogether stopped constructing Blu-ray gamers for the U.S. market.
Streaming your favourite motion pictures is tremendous handy, and in case your ISP can ship ample bandwidth, you’ll be able to even stream some movies in 4K decision with HDR. But for those who actually need to see what your 4K TV can ship, there’s nothing like taking part in discs on a Blu-ray participant similar to this one.
And the A/V idealists in Panasonic’s Osaka lab and its Hollywood mastering facility are assured there are sufficient of us who gained’t settle for experiential compromises in our house theaters to justify bringing this polished, user-tunable piece of substances to market. And for these occasions you do need to stream, the DP-UB9000 connects to all the key companies, together with Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube.
This participant will enchantment to audiophiles as properly, being full of high-end audio options together with an AKM AK4493 32-bit DAC, balanced XLR outputs, and all of the connections wanted for multi-channel A/V receivers previous and new. What’s extra, it performs audio CDs with a medical readability that you just simply would possibly discover startling. It tickled my ears with a treasured Mobile Fidelity gold disc urgent of Steely Dan’s Gaucho, after which with a freshly unearthed, super-vamping 1997 set by Van Morrison on the Montreux Jazz Festival. The latter is bundled within the artist’s new three-disc Deluxe Edition of The Healing Game.
Who is the DP-UB9000 designed for?
Viewers with eagle eyes and golden ears—obsessive sorts questioning how they’ll make their leisure system just some proportion factors higher—are Panasonic’s targets right here. Folks who’ve already invested time, effort, and cash to calibrate their TV or video projector and fine-tune their surround-sound system for his or her house theater. That viewers will discover a lot of tweakable choices constructed into this field.
I found small, subtly satisfying ways in which the DP-UB9000 could make a TV look higher, too. Dramatic splashes of sunshine glow extra vividly in Ready Player One. The colour palate expands past the dominant inexperienced atmosphere of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom extra simplistically portrayed by different gamers. I all of a sudden seen blue streaks in Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde tresses that I haven’t seen in different shows. These enhancements in colour, shading, and readability are finite however continuous, including as much as extra palpable, in-the-moment cinematic experiences.
The DP-UB9000 is full of high-performance parts enclosed in a thick metal case that ideas the scales at a hefty 16 kilos. That components record consists of Panasonic’s second-generation HCX (Hollywood Cinema Experience) video processor, which is basically chargeable for the image perks noticed in my A-B comparability exams with a Sony UBP-X800 and an Oppo UDP-203. I used each a 65-inch LG OLED (mannequin 65E6P) good TV and an Epson Home Cinema 4000 projector paired with a 108-inch Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 G3.
Panasonic DP-UP9000 specs
Panasonic’s engineers pulled out all of the stops to ship one of the best audio and video efficiency, placing a vibration-dampened disc transport, a number of energy provides, meticulous RF shielding, and audio circuitry that’s discrete from the participant’s video circuitry. A purposeful pile-on to enhance signal-to-noise ratios.
You’ll discover a second HDMI port on the again of the participant that places out solely audio. This will help you join the participant to an older A/V receiver that may’t ship 4K video by way of to your show (which might hook up with the participant’s audio/video HDMI port). There are additionally eight analog audio outputs (for 7.1-channel materials), together with optical and coaxial digital audio outputs within the occasion you’ve a favourite outboard DAC you’d want to listen to as a substitute.
Two USB 2.0 ports can be found—one within the entrance, one within the again—for connecting transportable laborious drives, so you’ll be able to play digital audio information (supported codecs embrace AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, and WAV; plus 11.2MHz, 5.5MHz, and a couple of.8MHz DSD).
Despite its capacity to decode Direct Stream Digital (DSD) information, nevertheless, this participant can not spin DSD-encoded SACDs or the high-res DVD-Audio discs Panasonic as soon as championed. So it’s not an ideal substitute for the late and lamented Oppo UDP-203. If you’ve a list of SACD and DVD-A discs that want spinning, think about the Pioneer Elite UDP-LX500 ($1,099), and even the cheap Sony UBP-X800.
One of the three Panasonic engineers who flew over from Japan to demo the corporate’s new participant appeared shocked that geeks like me and Gary Reber (esteemed editor of Widescreen Review) have been nonetheless asking about these dormant audiophile codecs. “Maybe we’ll put [SACD/DVD-A] playback capacity on the next model,” he mentioned. Sure.
Picture-tuning instruments galore
In designing the DP-UP9000, Panasonic’s engineers acknowledged that not all 4K shows are created equal, and so they sought methods to offer customers each pre-programmed and extremely customizable picture-tuning instruments to do one thing about it.
One of their most intriguing improvements is tone-mapping software program Panasonic calls HDR Optimizer, which runs on the participant’s HCX video processor. Using a 3D dynamic lookup desk (LUT) colour system borrowed from Panasonic’s skilled monitor division (additionally present in its high-end FZ950 and FZ800 shopper OLED TVs, that are sadly not bought within the U.S.), HDR Optimizer re-assesses the common brightness stage of a scene each 100 milliseconds and dynamically masses the LUT that bests matches the second. The goal is to supply the optimum stability of colour, luminance, and distinction for every scene.
HDR Optimizer is particularly designed to reinforce content material that’s been encoded with HDR10, the static model of HDR by which a disc points excessive dynamic vary directions to the show simply as soon as, when the disc is loaded. I discovered that the software program had a tremendously constructive influence on the HDR10-encoded motion pictures I watched, together with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Greatest Showman, Planet Earth II and Journey to the South Pacific. HDR Optimizer isn’t wanted—and doesn’t have interaction—if you play discs encoded with dynamic HDR codecs similar to Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Hybrid Log Gamma (all of which this participant additionally helps). If you’re ever curious concerning the HDR10 metadata on any disc you’re taking part in, you’ll be able to push a button on the participant’s distant to show it overlaid on the video stream.
The DP-UP9000 exposes an enormous variety of show controls to your tweaking pleasure, however Panasonic additionally indulges extra informal customers with an HDR Settings button on the participant’s distant. When you’re taking part in HDR content material, urgent this button cycles by way of 4 image-processing presets that alter the brightness of your complete display screen. I discovered Standard to be greatest for darkish settings, Natural Environment is sweet in rooms the place you’ll be able to management the ambient mild (it proved helpful for pulling out shadow element on my Epson projector), Light Environment, and Bright (which was brutally oversaturated on the OLED). You’ll discover much more tweaking choices beneath Video Settings, the place you’ll be able to figuratively twist the dials for luminance, colour, gamma, sharpness, and noise discount.
And to step again into the audio realm for only a second, Panasonic gives a lot of audio-processing choices, too. You can sweeten the sound of an excessively vivid or low-res soundtrack, for instance, by tapping the “High Clarity” button on the distant. That will cycle by way of quite a lot of decisions, together with six “Digital Tube Sound” settings designed to imitate the nice and cozy sound you get from a vacuum tube amp (I favored #2 greatest).
As you prefer it
This participant delivers an superior expertise proper out of the field, but it surely’s actually designed for customers who need to customise each setting till they get the very best outcomes when paired with the opposite gear of their distinctive atmosphere. And for those who overdo it and wish to start out over, returning the participant to its manufacturing unit defaults is only a button press away.