Australia’s first 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray player is now in stores courtesy of Samsung

Samsung's UBD-K8500 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) Blu-Ray player is now on sale locally, making it the first device of its kind to be available on Australian shores.

The UBD-K8500's claim to fame is that it can play back UHD Blu-Ray, a new disc-based standard that facilitates higher resolution video, and support for 10-bit colour and high dynamic range (HDR) content. While UHD Blu-Ray discs offer up much greater colour expression than a standard Blu-Ray, users require a wide-colour gamut TV (ideally, one that supports the HDR10 standard) to get the most out of this functionality. Any 4K TV will still be able to playback 4K Blu-Ray through the UBD-K8500 – it just might not be as colourful.

In addition, Samsung also announced that the UBD-K8500 recently passed UHD Alliance Premium certification, meaning it will precisely reproduce the information found on UHD Alliance certified UHD Blu-Ray discs. The UHD Alliance Premium certification was created by a plethora of TV manufacturers, movie studios, and tech companies, including Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Disney, Fox, Netflix, Amazon, and Dolby. It is designed to help customers identify top tier products that have been engineered for optimal playback of 4K HDR content.

Samsung Australia Group Product Manager for Audio Visual Simon Howe told CyberShack that the UBD-KB500's local release opens up 4K content to a much wider audience that streaming.

"How many households can actually stream 4K?" said Howe. "With a 4K Blu-Ray player, anyone with a 4K TV can watch 4K movies regardless of bandwidth."

The UBD-K8500 can also playback regular Blu-Ray, DVDs, and CDs.

The UBD-K8500 has a recommended retail price of AUD$599.

A small range of 4K UHD Blu-Ray discs are already available locally, priced around AUD$50 a pop for new release titles. These include Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Martian, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Life of Pi. So far, all available UHD Blu-Ray discs are bundled with a regular Blu-Ray and digital download code as a bonus.

Samsung's announcement follows news that Panasonic will bring its own 4K UHD Blu-Ray player to Australia in September. Panasonic's player will likely come in at a steeper asking price of around AUD$1,000, but offers a number of features intended for high-end audio enthusiasts.

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