4K Discs For Sale But Not Players

Don’t expect to be able to buy a 4K/UHD disc player here until September.

In a lack of co-ordination that beggars belief, the software has gone on sale in this market months ahead of the hardware.

Tomorrow marks the first simultaneous release of a movie on 4K/UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD, Oscar-winner The Revenant, with superhero blockbuster Deadpool to follow on June 1.

Already out are re-issues of X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Martian, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Life of Pi and The Maze Runner movies, with San Andreas, The Lego Movie and Mad Max: Fury Road due tomorrow.

Pricing ranges from $30-$40 for the re-issues and up to $50 for the new releases.

But for the meantime early adopters will have to be satisfied with viewing these 4K/UHD titles only on the bundled Blu-rays, as the earliest likely 4K/UHD player launch won’t be until September.

That’s when Panasonic’s tipped to release its flagship, the DMP-UB900, probably for around $1200 (based on US and UK pricing), while Samsung has confirmed it doesn’t plan to offer its cheaper UBD-K5800 here before then — although it is for sale in Australia ($A599).

“It’s still early days, but if you’re keen to rush into Ultra HD Blu-ray then Samsung’s player is the way to go unless you need the Panasonic’s 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs,” reckons the Sydney Morning Herald.

Meanwhile, the likes of What Hi-Fi magazine and tech website Trusted Reviews have awarded Panasonic’s dream machine five-star reviews: “Picture quality has simply never looked this good,” raved the latter.

It seems absurd that both Panasonic and Samsung would make Kiwi consumers wait so long for 4K/UHD players when they’re about to market HDR-capable TVs.

Unless an enterprising retailer like JB Hi-Fi sources Samsung’s Australian players (as it has US 4K/UHD discs), for the time being Netflix streaming looks like being the only way to view movies and TV programmes here in 4K/UHD — although ideally you’ll need an ultra fast broadband connection and don’t expect the compressed picture quality of these titles to match the 4K/UHD Blu-ray versions.

Local distributors have yet to announce any other 4K/UHD discs but among Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s 100-strong slate for 2016 are The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Warcraft, Jason Bourne, Everest, Lucy and Lone Survivor.

For what else is in the works, see this list of coming attractions (which, thanks to 4K/UHD discs not being regionally coded, will be playable here as soon as players go on sale).

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