Panasonic UB820 4K Blu-ray Player Review: Your Flexible Friend

Able to play Dolby Vision and HDR10+ discs, this Panasonic deck is just one flaw away from being

Panasonic UB820 4K Blu-ray Player Review: Your Flexible Friend

Curated via Twitter from Forbes Tech’s twitter account….

The Panasonic UB820 is a mid-range 4K Blu-ray player with a killer feature: it plays both the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision premium HDR 4K Blu-ray formats.

The Panasonic UB820 is a mid-range 4K Blu-ray player with a killer feature: it plays both the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision premium HDR 4K Blu-ray formats.

I should stress at this point that the problem isn’t necessarily a deal breaker when you consider how much general picture quality and how many great features – including the all-important HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support – the UB820 is giving you for $449.

I should stress at this point that the problem isn’t necessarily a deal breaker when you consider how much general picture quality and how many great features – including the all-important HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support – the UB820 is giving you for $449.

A sluggish smart system, juddery streaming apps and some strange Dolby Vision clipping perhaps remind us that the Panasonic UB820 is, after all, a sub-$450/£300 player.

A sluggish smart system, juddery streaming apps and some strange Dolby Vision clipping perhaps remind us that the Panasonic UB820 is, after all, a sub-$450/£300 player.

The Panasonic UB820 automatically recognized Dolby Vision and HDR10+ discs just fine once both options were activated in its menus.

The Panasonic UB820 automatically recognized Dolby Vision and HDR10+ discs just fine once both options were activated in its menus.

The Panasonic UB820 can output Dolby Atmos from compatible streaming services, and carries an interesting feature that can convert (usually live event) HDR streams delivered in the HLG format – such as those provided by the BBC iPlayer in the UK – into HDR10.

The Panasonic UB820 can output Dolby Atmos from compatible streaming services, and carries an interesting feature that can convert (usually live event) HDR streams delivered in the HLG format – such as those provided by the BBC iPlayer in the UK – into HDR10.

It’s also pretty strange, given that the processes involved with getting Dolby Vision support on a 4K Blu-ray deck should preclude these sorts of issues from happening.

It’s also pretty strange, given that the processes involved with getting Dolby Vision support on a 4K Blu-ray deck should preclude these sorts of issues from happening.

The same clipping occurred when using the UB820 with a different brand of Dolby Vision TV too, and could also be seen in peak bright areas (typically direct shots of the sun) on other Dolby Vision titles.

The same clipping occurred when using the UB820 with a different brand of Dolby Vision TV too, and could also be seen in peak bright areas (typically direct shots of the sun) on other Dolby Vision titles.

Typically, TVs and 4K Blu-ray players only support one or other of the HDR10+ or Dolby Vision formats.

Aside from the Dolby Vision clipping niggle, the Panasonic UB820’s only area of weakness is its smart features.

Aside from the Dolby Vision clipping niggle, the Panasonic UB820’s only area of weakness is its smart features.

Typically, TVs and 4K Blu-ray players only support one or other of the HDR10+ or Dolby Vision formats.

Panasonic’s unique HDR Optimizer feature, meanwhile, lets you tell the player what peak brightness your display is capable of, so that it can ‘tone map’ HDR10 content (it doesn’t work with Dolby Vision or HDR10+) before outputting it to your display.

Panasonic’s unique HDR Optimizer feature, meanwhile, lets you tell the player what peak brightness your display is capable of, so that it can ‘tone map’ HDR10 content (it doesn’t work with Dolby Vision or HDR10+) before outputting it to your display.

It is, however, still good value for a deck that’s bristling with features that are as useful as they are innovative (including the all-important dual HDR10+ and Dolby Vision compatibility) and which, for the vast majority of the time at least, is a seriously accomplished performer.

It is, however, still good value for a deck that’s bristling with features that are as useful as they are innovative (including the all-important dual HDR10+ and Dolby Vision compatibility) and which, for the vast majority of the time at least, is a seriously accomplished performer.

Oddly, the Netflix app in the UB820 insists on playing everything out in Dolby Vision if you’ve got DV activated on the player – even shows that aren’t made in HDR.

Oddly, the Netflix app in the UB820 insists on playing everything out in Dolby Vision if you’ve got DV activated on the player – even shows that aren’t made in HDR.

It turns out, though, that when Dolby Vision is playing these sorts of features are locked out – as you’d expect, actually, given Dolby Vision’s focus on providing a much more controlled, as-the-director-intended experience than you can get with standard HDR10.

It turns out, though, that when Dolby Vision is playing these sorts of features are locked out – as you’d expect, actually, given Dolby Vision’s focus on providing a much more controlled, as-the-director-intended experience than you can get with standard HDR10.

Toggling Dolby Vision on and off in the UB820 with this shot revealed that in Dolby Vision mode the player was causing the image’s brightest parts to clip (lose subtle shading details).

Toggling Dolby Vision on and off in the UB820 with this shot revealed that in Dolby Vision mode the player was causing the image’s brightest parts to clip (lose subtle shading details).

And unlike the odd Dolby Vision implementation on Sony’s 4K Blu-ray players, it doesn’t output everything in Dolby Vision once the Dolby Vision option is selected.

And unlike the odd Dolby Vision implementation on Sony’s 4K Blu-ray players, it doesn’t output everything in Dolby Vision once the Dolby Vision option is selected.

Playing the same sequence in Dolby Vision mode on the same TV using an Oppo 205 revealed no such clipping issues, so it’s not a previously unnoticed issue with the content, and it’s not an issue with the TV.

Playing the same sequence in Dolby Vision mode on the same TV using an Oppo 205 revealed no such clipping issues, so it’s not a previously unnoticed issue with the content, and it’s not an issue with the TV.

In other words, it switches between Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HDR10 depending on what’s actually on a particular disc.

In other words, it switches between Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HDR10 depending on what’s actually on a particular disc.

Link to original article….

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