Samsung Ultra HD Blu-ray player to cost "under €500"

Samsung stole a march on its 4K opposition with the announcement of the world's first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBD-K8500, at IFA in Berlin yesterday.

Information on the release date of the UHD Blu-ray player was vague, while there was no word at all on pricing, but a Samsung spokesman at IFA tells What Hi-Fi? it's likely the UHD Blu-ray player will be released in Spring 2016 and cost under €500 (£365).

Back in May, Ron Martin, VP of Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, had told What Hi-Fi? that 4K disc players were likely to be "two to three times the cost" of existing Blu-ray players, so this seems to fit with that information.

MORE: Ultra HD Blu-ray - everything you need to know

The Samsung UBD-K8500 player supports HDR, the HEVC codec, 10-bit colour depth and has a "UHD Up-scaler" for non-4K video.

3D is also mentioned, despite not being part of the official spec, so we assume this means it will play standard 3D Blu-ray discs.

Other features on the player's spec sheet include a "Multiroom Link", dual band WiFi (2.4GHz / 5GHz), Samsung's Smart Hub, Screen Mirroring and a web browser.

There's a USB connection, which promises "Disc to USB", plus a digital optical output. We'll go ahead and assume there's an HDMI output on there, too.

After an increasing amount of noise around Ultra HD Blu-ray this year, the Samsung UBD-K8500 is the first sniff of any hardware that we've had.

We also saw the first 4K discs, with the Ultra HD Alliance confirming Kingsman would be the first release and 20th Century Fox promising all its releases would be on Ultra HD Blu-ray as soon as the products were in market.

Martin suggested back in May that 4K discs would be "price comparable to existing Blu-rays".

Despite Panasonic's desire to be first to release an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, there's been no sign as yet of any UHD Blu-ray hardware from Panasonic, nor any other manufacturer, at IFA.

MORE: IFA 2015 news round-up

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).