Sony unveils first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player – but there’s a catch

Sony has finally made its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player official, but it's not quite the player we expected to see.

Having shown a prototype 4K Blu-ray player at the IFA show earlier this month, Sony used the CEDIA show in Dallas to reveal its first finished machine - a high-end player aimed at custom installers.

We revealed at IFA that CEDIA was likely to see the first Sony 4K Blu-ray player revealed, but we expected to see a mass-market device. Instead the UBP-X1000ES is aimed squarely at high-end consumers buying through custom installers.

Unlike the PS4 Pro, it does have the all-important 4K drive, as well as all the bells and whistles required to “excite the most demanding AV enthusiasts”, as Sony puts it.

The ES Series model will play 4K discs using a Sony-developed Precision HD drive, and will also spin pretty much every optical disc format going, including DVD-Audio, SACD and 3D Blu-ray discs.

The X1000ES also supports HDR video, 4K streaming - Amazon and YouTube are named, but not Netflix - and 4K upscaling, and promises to be “a great match” for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. A 32-bit DAC will deliver hi-res audio support and DSD and LPCM playback.

There are two HDMI outputs, making it capable of separating the audio and video signals, plus stereo and coaxial digital audio outputs.

Completing the package for the CI market, Sony plans to make the player fully compatible with high-end home automation systems such as Control4 and Crestron.

The UBP-X1000ES 4K Blu-ray player is set to go on sale in spring 2017, initially exclusively through custom installers. As for a price? We'll have to wait and see for now.

Those of us wanting a more affordable Sony 4K Blu-ray player to take on the UHD players from Panasonic and Samsung (and the Xbox One S), will have to keep waiting…

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

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).