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The best Blu-ray players at CES 2019: the latest decks from Sony and Panasonic

In the age of streaming, DVD and Blu-ray sales have dipped dramatically, with unit shipments for the global Blu-ray players market expected to decrease from 72.1 million in 2017 to 68.0 million in 2023, according to market researchers.

With only three new Blu-ray players launched at CES 2019, the preference for streaming over physical media is becoming ever more apparent – but that doesn’t mean companies like Panasonic and Sony aren’t still innovating in the Blu-ray player market. 

Read more: Panasonic GZ1500 4K OLED

There are actually quite a few benefits to watching films on Blu-ray as opposed to streaming; whether it's the uncompressed video and audio quality and the additional special features of a Blu-ray disc you're after, or are looking to upscale standard definition or 1080p content to Full HD or 4K respectively, a great Blu-ray player can deliver a truly cinematic experience.

So, without further ado, here’s our roundup of the latest Blu-ray players to come out of CES 2019.

Panasonic DP-UB450

Panasonic unveiled two high-spec Blu-ray players at the consumer tech show, demonstrating that there’s still a place for physical media in the streaming age. 

The first is the DP-UB450, which supports HDR10+, allowing the brightness of the picture to be adjusted on a frame-by-frame basis. Panasonic claims this will provide a more detailed image than ever before. 

The DP-UB450 also supports Dolby Vision, and can operate Dolby Atmos via a third-party sound system or soundbar, making for a totally immersive cinematic experience – if you have the right kit, that is. 

The new Blu-ray player also supports 4K camcorder videos (MP4 format) as well as JPEGs, which can be outputted in 4K. 

Right now, prices and availability are still to be confirmed, but we will update this article as soon as we get the details. 

Panasonic DP-U150

The second Blu-ray player to be debuted by Panasonic at CES 2019 was the DP-UB150. 

Like the DP-UB450, it supports HDR10+ for crystal clear viewing and Dolby Atmos passthrough, but doesn’t support Dolby Vision.

Again, prices are to be confirmed, but word is that the DP-UB150 will be the more affordable of the two new blu-ray players.

Sony X800M2 4K 

The other large company to release a new Blu-ray player at CES 2019 was Sony, with the X800M2 4K. As the name suggests, it supports 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with HDR10, as well as Dolby Vision HDR formats.

It also supports Hybrid Log Gamma HDR content and DVD-A discs. Unlike the offerings from Panasonic, the X800M2 4K doesn’t support HDR10+, but it is able to upscale the picture of non-4K content such as standard Blu-rays to near 4K quality. 

As well as that, the Blu-ray player also has streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime built into its smart platform, bridging the gap between physical and streamable media. 

Sony says the X800M2 4K will be available in May 2019, and according to What Hi-fi?, it’s priced at £350 – this works out at around $450 / AU$620 based on current conversion rates, but bear in mind official pricing for these territories are still to be confirmed.  

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