BERLIN – Streaming media is convenient, but you don't own that content. Buy a disc, on the other hand, and it's yours forever. Samsung intends to let 4K aficionados watch their favorite movies and shows without sacrificing quality or physical ownership. The company's new UHD Blu-ray Player is exactly what it sounds like: a way to watch 4K movies that come on state-of-the-art Blu-ray discs.
Samsung announced the UHD Blu-ray player at IFA 2015, just in time to take advantage of new Blu-ray discs with 4K content that were first announced several months ago. As far as how UHD Blu-rays look, I got to take a firsthand look. I watched clips from both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Exodus: Gods and Kings. Both movies looked incredibly crisp and admirably colorful.
The video quality was not surprising, given that UHD Blu-rays can support four times the resolution of a full HD Blu-ray, and 64 times the color accuracy. Samsung's player also supports high dynamic range content and speeds of up to 60 frames per second. (Viewers should note that 60 fps is not very common in movies and TV, as it tends to make live action content look like a video game.)
For those who still have sizable collections on Blu-ray and DVD, the UHD player will also upscale content to make it appear closer to full 4K resolution. (Those holding onto VHS tapes are out of luck, though.) The Samsung set-top box will also be able to access popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, both of which can also provide the device with 4K content.
Samsung has not yet announced a price or release date for the UHD Blu-ray player, although "before the end of the year" is not impossible. Samsung is not the only company in the race to get to the 4K Blu-ray market, however. Sony and Panasonic both have their own 4K players coming soon.