Next to the Samsung UBD-K8500 and the Panasonic DMP-UB900EGK the meanwhile third player for the quite young Ultra HD Blu-Ray format is set to appear. The Philips BDP7501 will appear next month in the USA, alongside the second model, the Philips BDP7301.
There will be no difference in functions, only in exterior design. While the BDP7501 will be all sparkly with its brushed metal case, the BDP7301 will shine with black piano lacquer. Unfortunately, there aren't any product images for the Philips BDP7301, at least at the moment, in contrast to the Philips BDP7501 shown below. The UHD Blu-ray players remind more of set top boxes like the Amazon Fire TV, and less like high-quality players for optical media. The two devices were already announced at this year's CES 2016 in Las Vegas, but the companies behind Philips took their time to decide on prices, launch date and looks.
With a recommended price of 399 US dollars, the Philips BDP7501 and BDP7301 so far are the most affordable UHD Blu-ray players. Over here in old Europe, the Panasonic DMP-UB900EGK costs about 800 euro, while the Samsung UBD K8500 will change hands for 480 euro. However, it remains open when and if the new Philips players will also be launched in Europe. So far, the two models have only been announced for the United States. The players can not only playback Ultra HD Blu-rays, but also CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and Blu-ray 3D. Support for HDR10, the BT.2020 colour space and 60 Hz are also on board. As for audio formats, Dolby True HD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are all supported. The integrated media player can also playback AVI, DivX, M2TS, MP3 and MPEG.
Both the Philips BDP7501 and BDP7301 offer HDMI 2.0a and HDMI 1.4a, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Ethernet and USB 3.0. One can only hope the units will make it over here, after all two independent companies are now responsible for the Philips brand: Funai for the US and TP Vision for sales and distribution in Europe. Although the two companies work together on producing TVs, they otherwise function independently. Since the Ultra HD Blu-ray omitted region codes, one could import could import the player. On the other hand, one can also wait untillthe first player with Dolby Vision appears, which is seen as the next big thing for UHD.