Australians looking to get the best possible picture quality from their shiny new 4K televisions won’t have to wait much longer than their US counterparts with Samsung confirming to Good Gear Guide that their new 4K Blu-ray player will land on store shelves in the first week of May.
The UBD-K8500, which was originally unveiled at CES in January, will debut in the US in March for $US399. While Samsung wasn’t yet ready to reveal local pricing, a quick currency conversion suggests a price tag of at least $600.
Samsung’s competitors are working on their own players too: Panasonic’s premium 4K Blu-ray player went on sale in Japan late last year while Philips have a player on the way as well. However, Samsung’s 4K Blu-ray player is likely to be the first to market in Australia.
A small library of films will be available at launch but, as was the case with Blu-ray, it should grow fairly quickly over time. All the major movie studios such as 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros are putting their weight behind the new format so expect to see new films released on 4K Blu-ray on the same day as Blu-ray and DVD. Studios are also diving into their back-catalogue and reissuing some older titles ranging from the visual masterpiece of Life of Pi to the awful Fantastic Four reboot.
All Ultra HD Blu-rays are also region-free which means you can buy titles from anywhere in the world and play them on your 4K Blu-ray player. Online shopping giant Amazon is already taking pre-orders on 4K Blu-ray disks with Ridley Scott’s The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road selling for $US29.99 each.
But don’t throw out your old Blu-rays and DVDs just yet as they will work just fine on any new 4K Blu-ray player and should look noticeably sharper thanks to the upscaling tech tucked away inside every unit.
For those craving even more pixels, how about a 98-inch 8K curved television? Samsung showed of the set at its annual Asia Pacific Regional Forum today and it looked mightily impressive. If you’re scoring by the pixel, the 8K set boasts 7680 x 4320 resolution, which translates to 33 million more pixels than a 4K television.
For those who might be entertaining the thoughts of actually buying one, the company confirmed to Good Gear Guide that the 8K monster will be going on sale in Australia ‘sometime this year’ with pricing information to be made available closer to release.