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Seeking Advice on UHD 4K Blu Ray Disc Players

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Those of you who know me, also know that it's been a very long time since I've started a topic around here. Part of that reason is, having completed my home theater back in 2004, I've just been so thrilled with my RF-7 v1, 7.1 setup that I seldom make any changes at all. About the only major "hiccups" were replacing my worn-out projector with a flat screen and adding a Blu Ray player way back when. Well, having enjoyed 4K movies on Netflix and then having viewed 4K Blu Ray's on my son Bill's theater setup, it's time for the "old man" to move up to the 2020's so-to-speak! Here's the issue: Very few manufacturers are still making disc players. I know: Oppo is da bomb, but they are done with the market as is Samsung. My son has a Samsung and it's amazing. There are still some incredible, high-end machines out there and 10 years ago, I would have gone after them! But alas, I am now retired (10 years) and must adhere to a tight budget ($500 or less). So, with many of the current machine models that are now still available, actually being 1 to 4 years old already, it's difficult to find one that performs at an "Oppo" level. There is one by Panasonic: DP-UB9000 with built in DAC. But it's $999 and hard to find. So, what do you folks think about the Panasonic DP-UB820 at $499.99? I need full 7.1 analog audio out and protocol processing because my flagship Pioneer Elite receiver is so old that it has no HDMI in or out!  -Glenn

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Hey stranger!  Great to see you around!

 

I'm in a similar boat, using a 2004 Sony STR-DA5000ES receiver without hdmi.  I have a Sony UBP-X700 4k player connected via coaxial digital to my receiver and it's a fantastic combo.  It doesn't have analog outputs, though. 

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The Panasonic is the one to get... but I understand budgeting. You already have a 4k monitor? Some gaming systems do 4k uhd playback in that price range.

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21 hours ago, wuzzzer said:

Hey stranger!  Great to see you around!

 

I'm in a similar boat, using a 2004 Sony STR-DA5000ES receiver without hdmi.  I have a Sony UBP-X700 4k player connected via coaxial digital to my receiver and it's a fantastic combo.  It doesn't have analog outputs, though. 

 

wuzzer: Good to see you here too. It's been a minute!

My old Pioneer Elite also has the S/PDIF Coaxial and Optical interfaces. It's always been concern of mine whether or not the discreet 7.1 signal can pass through those two pipelines, or are they relegated down to 5.1? I understand that they will not pass the High-Definition signal from Dolby, DTS, etc., a feat that only HDMI is allowed to pass. With analog, I believe at least you're still getting the 7.1 discreet signal. Thanks for responding! - Glenn

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14 hours ago, Schu said:

The Panasonic is the one to get... but I understand budgeting. You already have a 4k monitor? Some gaming systems do 4k uhd playback in that price range.

 

Schu: Yes, I replaced my ancient, Sharpvision 1080i DLP projector with a 75" Samsung 8 Series, UHD 4k flat-screen and love it! Previously, I had the Sharp ceiling mounted and it projected onto a 78" Stewart Greyhawk screen. The Samsung's picture is so much bolder, brighter and detailed that I have not missed that lost 3" of screen. I did consider going to the 82", which my son has, but it would have been a bit too much "In-Your-Face" from my 10-foot viewing distance. LOL Since I don't have HDMI in my old receiver, I am using the S/PDIF Optical output from the display as my ART (Audio Return Channel). My son is a gamer, but I am not, so that is not an option for me. Thanks! - Glenn

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Glenn,  

You’re up very early for a retired person.  Great to see you post again.  Say hello to Verna.

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1 hour ago, DizRotus said:

Glenn,  

You’re up very early for a retired person.  Great to see you post again.  Say hello to Verna.

 

DizRotus: Yeah, for the last year and a half, with little-to-no explanation, I tend not to sleep very well. Sometimes I'm up at 3 or 4 in the morning for an hour or two. I read the paper on line and have a couple cups of coffee, as the caffeine is never an issue and go I back to bed. Verna has trouble sleeping too due to a side-effect of one of the anti-estrogen meds they put her on following her chemo treatments (ugh!). This morning I have an appointment soon, so I got up and showered early. Verna and I are doing great and hope that you and your bride are too. Nice to hear from you, buddy! - Glenn

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3 hours ago, picky said:

 

wuzzer: Good to see you here too. It's been a minute!

My old Pioneer Elite also has the S/PDIF Coaxial and Optical interfaces. It's always been concern of mine whether or not the discreet 7.1 signal can pass through those two pipelines, or are they relegated down to 5.1? I understand that they will not pass the High-Definition signal from Dolby, DTS, etc., a feat that only HDMI is allowed to pass. With analog, I believe at least you're still getting the 7.1 discreet signal. Thanks for responding! - Glenn

 

Coaxial and optical can pass up to 7.1 channels.  Between the two coaxial is better because it can support up to 24 bit/192kHz and optical usually only goes up to 96kHz.

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The Panasonic UB-820 seems to be a stripped down version of the UB-900, so it should be pretty good, if it has the features you want.  The UB-900 was the flagship model in 2018, so its performance is really good.  If you can find a UB-900, great, but the UB-820 should do a fine job for you.

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On 10/9/2020 at 5:32 PM, Islander said:

The Panasonic UB-820 seems to be a stripped down version of the UB-900, so it should be pretty good, if it has the features you want.  The UB-900 was the flagship model in 2018, so its performance is really good.  If you can find a UB-900, great, but the UB-820 should do a fine job for you.

 

Islander: Thanks for the advice! I was assuming the same thing you'd said, but now I have confirmation. It would be nice to utilize the high-quality DAC in the 900, but considering the 820 is half the price, it's difficult, when on a tight budget, to pass up a good deal like this. Now to look for sales! - Glenn

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SUCCESS! Many of you already were aware that this was Primeday Week at Amazon. I accordance with that, I assume, many vendors in turn, lowered their own prices as well. In my case, Crutchfield, who stocks Panasonic lowered the Panasonic UB-820 price by $100 to $399.99! The UB-900, however was still $999.99. So, there is now a shiny, new UB-820 4K UHD player sitting in the second slot down from the top of our theater rack! My bride and I picked up two new 4K remastered versions of 'Top Gun' (the original) and 'The Matrix' (the first one) on Wednesday and all we can say is, "WOW"! Thanks everyone for your helpful input! I will post my full opinions of the player after we've lived with it for a while. Have a great day, everyone! - Glenn

 

P.S.: By the way, for those of you who know Dr. Who from the forum, he made a stop at our place overnight this Tuesday and Wednesday. He's doing GREAT!

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Congrats and thanks on word about the good Doctor.

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Good Morning, all! We've now been living with our Panasonic UB-820 4K UHD Player for nearly a week. During this time, we have watched the only 2 UHD discs we have since acquired: 'Top Gun' 4K Version twice, once with a friend visiting from Nevada who has her own Klipsch theater setup, and select scenes from the first 'Matrix' 4K version, especially the "Lobby Shootout", a scene we used on regular DVD back in 2004 by which to just 13 different home theater speaker brands for impact, clarity and dynamics. At that time, Verna and I had auditioned Martin Logan. KEF, B&W, Energy, Jamo, M&K and many others, with Klipsch RF-5's as the representative model, but we ordered RF-7s instead! Best sound, best impact, best dynamics, best sound stage and best "WOW-factor", hands down over the others! We are very familiar with the material on both discs. Our friend Robin, from Nevada reacted IMMEDIATELY last evening during the opening scenes for 'Top Gun' 4k: "Great picture!", she said. Her own system is no slouch, but she has yet to consider a 4k player of her own. I think she is now. The detail in even the fast action scenes is incredible as compared to the original 1986 version. It is literally like watching the actual 35mm motion picture film, for the first time all over again. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is an amazing addition to movie-watching at home. It certainly does make the visual experience much more cinematic and real-life-like! In 'Matrix' we noticed that some in scenes, because so much additional detail is now apparent, the viewer can notice some flaws in a few scenes that before, we not very noticeable. One scene in particular is the "Lobby Shootout". The supposed "granite" wall panels that Carrie-Ann Moss is shown running on, actually give (buckle) under her weight. Oops! LOL The HDR really sets the mood of each dark scene, making them appear to be more "contrasty", sinister and "film noir"-like, which I feel heightens the tension amid the actors in the scenes, yet there remains plenty of detail. It's difficult to judge a new disc player with just two movies and old ones at that . 'The Matrix' was originally released in 1999, but it certainly looks new now. We're anxious to view a few of the new releases in 4K to compare. Perhaps 'Maverick' when it finally drops? Hmmm...I see a theme developing here. LOL Regarding the sound, we currently have a 7.1 system and our son and I are nearly finished building his dedicated 7.2.4 Atmos room at his house. With that said, the sound is a bit better, I believe, that the original DVD release versions. However, I plan to re-review after my son's ceiling speakers are up and running. My first take on the Panasonic UB-820: It surprises and does not disappoint! And it was a bargain at $399.99! But, I really need more time and more 4k discs to give an educated opinion.  Thanks for your kind attention. Have a blessed day, everyone! - Glenn

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Awesome, thanks for the update Glenn! I need to upgrade to a 4K player in the near future, so I appreciate all your feedback. Keep us posted, I look forward to hearing more...

 

Cheers

 

Brendon

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My thanks also! I´m looking for a player too and since Marantz stopped making BL-Players, the Panasonic seems to be a good alternative.

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