The fact that you’re here, looking for the best 4K Blu-ray player right now says something about you: you’re ahead of the curve. You like owning the latest and greatest technology or, if not owning, at least knowing about the best upcoming tech.
And why shouldn’t you? A day will come soon when everyone will want to watch their favorite TV shows and movies in an ultra crisp 3840 × 2160 resolution.
While looking at 4K Blu-ray players this early in the game makes you somewhat of a tech Nostradamus (congrats on that by the way), manufacturers don’t have the same sort of passionate drive to have the latest and greatest that you do.
If you’re in the US, your only option in the Ultra HD disc-playing department is Samsung’s brand-new UBD-K8500. 4K fans in the UK have two options, either the UBD-K8500, or the slightly more expensive Panasonic DMP-UB900.
The good news is that while there aren’t many 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players at the moment, content for these players is growing at an exponential rate.
Netflix has started to film many of its shows in 4K high dynamic range, and Amazon has recently followed suit. The first batch of Ultra HD films have finally made their way to store shelves, too, and include The Martian, X-Men Days of Future Past and The Revenant.
But these are just the tip of the very high-resolution iceberg. Expect to see a few dozen more of these high-capacity discs make their way to an electronics retailer near you in the coming weeks and months.
One last tip before we give you our recommendations: In order to get a true 4K experience, remember that you’ll need a 4K Blu-ray player, a 4K Blu-ray disc and, of course, a 4K TV in order to watch it. Don’t have that last one? Check out our guide to the best 4K TV.
If you don’t have a 4K TV, your 4K Blu-ray player will still work, but it will only display images in 1080p. Buy a regular Blu-ray instead of a 4K version and it will still play in 3840 × 2160 resolution, but it won’t be a native 4K image and will be noticeably different than had you used an Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Enough with the caveats. Here are the the best 4K Blu-ray players in the world.
1. Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player
The Samsung K8500 is a solid first-gen 4K player
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Samsung Smart Hub | Dimensions: 405 x 44.7 x 230 mm | Weight: 4.19 pounds | UHD Upscaling? Yes | Wi-Fi? Yes | 3D support? Yes
Impressive 4K HDR image quality
4K Netflix and Amazon onboard
Journeyman build quality and noisy
Not a great sounding music player
The K8500 is currently the cheapest route into 4K Blu-ray and probably offers pound-for-pound the best looking images you’ll see on your 4K HDR TV. It’s also a useful hub for 4K OTT services from Netflix and Amazon, and while the design is a bit Marmite, you’ll be consistently impressed by its loading speed and colourful UI.
If you want your 4K HDR TV to look its best, then you can’t beat 4K Blu-ray. And when it comes to sheer image fidelity, the UBD-K8500 certainly impresses.
Read the full review: Samsung UBD-K8500
2. Panasonic DMP-UB900
Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 is a must-have for AV enthusiasts
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: Panasonic OS | Dimensions: 435 x 199 x 68mm | Weight: 5.29 pounds | UHD Upscaling? Yes | Wi-Fi? Yes | 3D support? Yes
4K Netflix and Amazon on board
First-class audio CD playback
Chassis is a fingerprint magnet
The DMP-UB900 will restore you faith in physical media. In full 4K HDR guise it offers a level of performance that will have new 4K TV owners gasping. Ultra-HD Blu-ray brings the experience of 4K digital cinema to the home, and rewards with brilliant colour fidelity, deep contrast and almost three-dimensional clarity.
Factor in solid file playback support, plus 4K iterations of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and you have a machine that’ll make your new 4K HDR TV look sensational.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB900
3. Xbox One S
The Xbox One S might be primarily a video game console, but it’s also a stellar (and cheap) 4K Blu-ray player
Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Smart TV: New Xbox Experience | Dimensions: 17 x 11.4 x 4.4 inches | Weight: N/A | UHD Upscaling? Yes | Wi-Fi? Yes | 3D support? Yes
4K & HDR streaming
4K gaming limited to upscaling
Not holding the title of a "proper Blu-ray player" doesn’t stop the Xbox One S from being one of the best – and cheapest – ways to pop in an Ultra-HD Blu-ray disc. Sporting a Blu-ray disc drive, HDMI 2.0a HDCP2.2 ports and the capacity to run Netflix in 4K Ultra-HD, Microsoft’s latest iteration of the Xbox is about as forward-thinking as you can get.
Plus, once the curtain closes on movie night you’ve got an amazing game console waiting in the wings with titles like Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Gears of War and Forza Horizon 2 all on tap.
Read the full review: Xbox One S