Greatest 4K Blu-ray Participant 2020

The Panasonic DP-UB420, shown with a DVD in the disc tray.
Picture: Michael Murtaugh

Our decide

Panasonic DP-UB420

The Panasonic DP-UB420 offers the most effective picture high quality with 4K Extremely HD discs, due to a characteristic that optimizes HDR video in your show.

In order for you the very best high quality out of your Extremely HD Blu-ray discs, the Panasonic DP-UB420 is the most effective participant we’ve examined. Whereas 4K content material seemed primarily equivalent by means of the opposite gamers we tried, this mannequin’s elective HDR Optimizer characteristic truly improved the picture on most HDR shows. The DP-UB420 additionally provides superior upscaling of Blu-ray and DVD discs, so your whole film assortment will look good. It helps the HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG excessive dynamic vary codecs (however not Dolby Imaginative and prescient), and it comprises apps for Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video.

One of many distinguishing options of the participant is HDR Optimizer. Most films introduced on 4K Extremely HD discs comprise some highlights which are too vivid for at present’s shows to deal with. A show can take care of these vivid highlights in plenty of alternative ways; generally the show clips the spotlight so your entire spotlight turns into white, and also you lose element. With the DP-UB420 you’ll be able to choose the kind of show you will have, and it’ll cut back the brightness of these highlights to be able to see them higher.

In our assessments, when watching 4K HDR content material on a Sony A1E OLED TV, we have been capable of see extra particulars in vivid highlights by means of the DP-UB420 than we may with different gamers, in addition to extra vivid colours that have been washed out or have been solely white on different gamers. And HDR Optimizer didn’t have an effect on the opposite areas of the scene: In scenes that didn’t comprise highlights that have been too vivid for the TV’s talents, HDR Optimizer made no distinction, however when it did want to return into play, it was fairly efficient.

The back of the DP-UB420.
The DP-UB420’s again panel options two HDMI outputs, a USB port for media playback, a LAN port for a wired community connection, and an optical digital audio output. Picture: Michael Murtaugh

Most essential, HDR Optimizer lets you choose your kind of show (LCD or OLED), which adjustments the way it works. Once I examined it utilizing a TCL 8-Sequence LCD/LED TV (one of many brightest HDR shows obtainable proper now), HDR Optimizer made fewer changes than it did when mated with the less-bright Sony A1E OLED TV. With the TCL TV, it modified the very brightest highlights whereas leaving the remainder of the picture because it was. With the 2018 Vizio P-Sequence TV, which makes use of its personal tone mapping to keep away from clipping highlights, HDR Optimizer nonetheless improved the picture by preserving colour saturation in these highlights. There isn’t a technically right strategy to deal with highlights {that a} TV can’t present, however the DP-UB420’s HDR Optimizer created a picture that we thought seemed higher in contrast with these of different 4K gamers.

When upscaling Blu-ray and DVD discs to a 4K decision, the DP-UB420 supplied the clearest, most detailed chroma scaling we’ve seen. To save lots of area, Blu-ray discs cut back the quantity of chroma, or colour, particulars that they retailer, so the participant has to re-create that. This Panasonic participant does so higher than the competitors, producing a picture with extra particulars and fewer artifacts. The end result wouldn’t be mistaken for 4K HDR content material, however the Panasonic DP-UB420 makes this lower-resolution content material look nearly as good as potential.

The DP-UB420 provides assist for the newer HDR10+ format, though presently few discs that use this format can be found. Nonetheless, it doesn’t assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient discs (see Flaws however not dealbreakers under). For those who want Dolby Imaginative and prescient playback, have a look at our improve decide.

The Panasonic DP-UB420 has two HDMI outputs, specifically one for video and audio and one other for audio-only (if it is advisable ship audio alerts to an older AV receiver that doesn’t assist 4K HDR video), plus an optical digital audio output. It consists of each Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi for community streaming and straightforward firmware updates.

The DP-UB420 helps Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube for streaming. It could’t play high-resolution SACD and DVD-Audio discs, nevertheless it does have two USB inputs that assist high-res information (together with FLAC and DSD).

Total, we predict the DP-UB420 is designed for the hardcore videophile who desires the best possible image high quality and is keen to surrender some secondary audio and streaming options to get it.

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