At around £430, Samsung's player is significantly cheaper than Panasonic's £600 model.
Like its competitor, the UBD-K8500 features full High-Dynamic range (HDR) lighting which ensures a good level of contrast between an image's whites and blacks, allowing more detail to be perceived in an image overall.
According to Samsung the player fully conforms to the recently announced Ultra HD Premium specification. Samsung is a member of the Ultra HD Alliance which worked to define the specification.
Samsung were the first to announce their Ultra HD Blu-ray player at IFA in Berlin last September. Panasonic meanwhile announced their rival at CES in January, and brought it to market just two months later.
Samsung's player will be ready for the 130 Ultra HD Blu-ray discs which are currently planned for release this year. It will take some time for the Ultra HD Blu-ray library to rival the size of its older 'lower-res' Blu-ray counterpart, but until then rest assured that the player is backwards compatible with your existing collection of discs.
If you choose to use the UBD-K8500 to play one of your existing 'Full HD' (ie 1080p) Blu-ray disks, the player will automatically upscale it to 4K. The same feature is also offered for standard DVDs, but the effect won't be nearly as seamless.
The player can also be used to play CDs if you're into that sort of thing.
Netflix and thrill
The UBD-K8500 also works as a streaming device with streams from Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon Video currently supported. All three services support 4K resolutions, but it should be noted that Amazon's app doesn't currently support HDR.
The Samsung UBD-K8500 is available now in the UK with an RRP of £429.99.
- Soon there'll be a lot more blu-ray titles available, Universal have gotten in on the action
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.