Panasonic DMP-UB900 review

Panasonic DMP-UB900 review

Last Updated on by Daniel Osakwe

The Panasonic DMP-UB900 is a high-end Blu-ray player that features Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, and a high-quality built-in amplifier. It also has a digital tuner and remote control that doubles as a universal remote.

The DMP-UB900 isn’t the only Blu-ray player on the market that offers Wi-Fi, but it does offer the most extensive set of features and connectivity. With the built-in amplifier, the DMP-UB900 is able to output enough power for even the largest speakers.

This is a high-end player that offers a lot of features and connections, making it a good option for anyone looking to add a Blu-ray player to their home theater system.

Built for 4K entertainment

Panasonic DMP-UB900 review

Although the UB900 is designed to play 4K HDR Blu-ray discs, it is also backward-compatible with standard Blu-ray discs (including 3D discs), DVDs, and CDs.

The review unit is a stock UK release, which means Blu-ray support is geo-locked to Region B and DVD playback to Region 2. The same rules apply to other regional variants. Any 4K Blu-ray player will play any 4K disc since all 4K UHD Blu-rays are region-free.

The UB900 can also playback files and stream media. In addition to Netflix and Amazon Instant Video (both of which are 4K-enabled), there are BBC iPlayer, BBC News & Sport, MySpace, YouTube, and DailyMotion (among others).

DLNA media players for USB and network sources offer codec support for MKV, MP4, MOV, and MPEG2 video files. There are also options for audio, including DSD (both 2.8 and 5.6MHz), AAC, ALAC, FLAC, MP3, WAV, and WMA.

There are many options to adjust in the menus, especially on the audio side. It also has a Dialogue Enhancer, which raises the center channel level, and 7.1 channel audio reformatting, if you play it out in PCM. However, for Dolby Atmos, you will want the player to output bitstreams.

You can make so many minor settings adjustments that it’s easy to become confused; when confused, automatic is usually your best friend.

Despite its cleverness, the UB900 is not averse to looking silly. A box with ‘screen saver’ written inside is literally the screen saver – as if the text were placed there as a placeholder, and then forgotten about. I’d rather have seen something else.

Exceptional performance

blu-ray players

How good is 4K Blu-ray? It’s amazing. The detail and color depth is unbelievable. The disaster flick San Andreas is a visual feast. Blu-ray streams off the disc at more than 100Mbps, compared to Netflix at 15Mbps, and has 10-bit color with HDR grading.

As I tested the player with Panasonic’s 65-inch DX902 Ultra-HD Premium TV, I repeatedly had to remove my jaw from the floor.

HDMI cables that support 18Gbps are required for 2160 50/60 content. The lowest resolution you can get away with is 2160/24p if that’s your TV.

Optimal picture quality depends on the display. As a comparison, I used the player with a non-HDR 4K panel. Though the pictures were still terrific, the image quality was not quite as dramatic as it once was. The format isn’t shown off to its best advantage on an 8-bit 4K panel with SDR performance.

When compared to its regular 4K BD counterpart, The Lego Movie in 4K SDR has few noticeable differences from its regular 4K copy. It’s like night and day on a bright HDR screen. No matter whether 4K discs support HDR, HDMI TVs with HDCP 2.2 are required for 4K disc playback.

Besides being a great music player, the deck also plays video. Despite the UB900 not supporting DVD-A or SACD, it does an excellent job upsampling and massaging standard CDs. Its 192kHz upconversion is flawless, while the deck’s Sound Effects menu allows for some wonderful refinements. The program offers three types of audio resampling modes that boost upper-frequency response, tailored to pop/rock, jazz, and classical music.

The Digital Tube presets, of which there are six, are my favorite tweaks. I really enjoyed Digital Sound Tube 2, which emulates the characteristics of vacuum tube amplifiers. Before you dismiss these as hokey, give them a try.

What we liked

You will be able to restore your faith in physical media with the DMP-UB900. In full 4K HDR mode, it offers an impressive level of performance that will have new owners of 4K TVs gasping. The Ultra-HD Blu-ray gives you the experience of 4K digital cinema at home and rewards you with brilliant color fidelity, deep contrast, and almost three-dimensional clarity.

What we disliked

Even though the UB900 is fully compatible with Blu-ray and DVD, its lack of support for legacy music formats could lead high-end buyers to wait for Oppo to enter the 4K Blu-ray fray. The player’s build quality is good, but it lacks high-end heft.

Pros Cons
4K Netflix and Amazon onboard Hard to justify if you don’t have an HDR TV
First-class audio CD playback Some elements of the UI look clunky
Breathtaking picture quality Chassis is a fingerprint magnet

Verdict

Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 sets a new standard in picture quality for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. With an HDR display, its imagery is often stunning. The player is also a great regular Blu-ray player, as well as a surprisingly good CD player.

If you factor in solid file playback and the 4K versions of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, you’ll have a machine that will make your new 4K HDR TV look exquisite.