Here's the first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player that you can actually go out and buy. Along with the discs that are already on sale, the Samsung UBD-K8500 is your first — and only — option to watch the new 4K Blu-rays that are by far the most detailed, lifelike and colourful movies you've ever seen.
AU Editor's Note: We're going to be using the terms '4K', 'Ultra HD' and '4K Ultra HD Blu-ray' pretty interchangeably in the future, but rest assured you'll always find our coverage of the new 4K Blu-ray standard by checking the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray tag on Gizmodo. Cheers! — Cam
As of Thursday last week, the Samsung UBD-K8500 went on sale in Australia with a $599 recommended retail price. We're tracking down stockists now, although Victorian online store Rio is selling "limited stock" of the player for $499 already. West Coast Hi-Fi has the player available for purchase now at the regular $599 price.
The player itself has also just received Ultra HD Premium certification, meaning that it is fully able to precisely read every bit on a 100GB 4K Blu-ray disc and that it supports the new High Dynamic Range format. Other Ultra HD TVs in Samsung's 2016 television line-up, going on sale soon and being officially announced later this week, will also carry UHD Premium logos.
The Samsung UBD-K8500's new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback means it can display four times the resolution and 64 times the colour detail and gradation of a regular 1080p Full HD Blu-ray disc. It supports HDR, too, which when paired with a compatible TV adjusts backlight brightness and local area dimming to produce much more detail in especially bright and especially dark areas of every single frame in a piece of video.
The player also supports 4K Netflix streams, as long as your home internet speeds comfortably top the 25Mbps download rate required. We've also read reports that Ultra HD Blu-ray discs on sale around the world already are not region locked, but caveat emptor. And, of course, it's fully backwards compatible with regular Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs.
There's definitely a rush to get the player out the door and into retail stores, because while we're hearing reports of it being sold in JB Hi-Fi along the new discs, it's not yet on JB's website and Samsung's online listing only extends to warranty information and a user manual. In any case, you'll be able to buy it extremely soon in stores and online if you can't already.