Panasonic DP-UB820 4K UHD Blu-Ray player Review
Panasonic DP-UB820 4K UHD Blu-Ray player Review

Panasonic DP-UB820 4K UHD Blu-Ray player Review

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Introduction

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is the company’s flagship 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player that sits at the top of its Blu-ray lineup. As a high-end player, the DP-UB820 is geared towards home theater enthusiasts and videophiles looking for top-notch video and audio performance from physical discs.

The DP-UB820 replaces the older DP-UB900 model as Panasonic’s premier 4K Blu-ray player for 2020 and beyond. It incorporates many of the same features from its predecessor like HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support, while also adding some new enhancements. Some of the highlights include improved audio circuitry, higher quality video processing, and better network connectivity options.

Overall, the DP-UB820 aims to deliver a premium 4K Blu-ray playback experience and make the most of your Ultra HD Blu-ray disc collection. Its extensive format support, solid connectivity, and customizable settings allow it to pair well with high-end TVs and audio systems. Panasonic is positioning the player as a versatile hub for various digital content from Ultra HD Blu-rays to audio CDs to streaming video.

Design and Build Quality

The Panasonic DP-UB820 has a stylish yet subtle design that will fit nicely into any home theater setup. The player has a black brushed aluminum front panel with just a power button and disc tray slot. There are no flashy lights or logos to distract from the clean look.

The overall build quality feels very solid and durable. The player weighs around 16.6 pounds, which gives it a sturdy, stable base when sitting on a shelf or TV stand. The disc tray has a smooth open and close motion. All of the buttons have a nice, clicky feedback as well.

On the back panel, the ports are laid out in two neat rows and are angled for easy access. The plastic housing doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap. Overall, the DP-UB820 is made from quality materials inside and out. Panasonic didn’t cut any corners when it comes to the player’s construction. It’s built like a premium, high-end Blu-ray player should be.

Connectivity

The Panasonic DP-UB820 offers a wide range of connectivity options to accommodate different setups and external devices.

Inputs

  • 2x HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2 support
  • 1x USB port
  • 1x Ethernet port

For video sources, there are two HDMI inputs that support HDCP 2.2 copy protection. This allows you to connect 4K HDR sources like Blu-ray players, media streamers, or game consoles.

The USB port enables wired playback of music, photo, and video files from USB flash drives or external hard drives. It is USB 3.0 compatible for higher speeds.

There is also a LAN ethernet port for connecting to wired home networks and enabling smart platform features.

Outputs

  • 2x HDMI outputs with HDCP 2.2
  • 7.1 channel analog audio outputs
  • Optical digital audio output

For video, there are two HDMI outputs that pass through 4K HDR signals from the player or connected devices. This allows you to connect a TV and a projector simultaneously, for example.

For audio, the analog 7.1 outputs let you connect the player to an A/V receiver or amplifier and speaker system. There is also an optical output for sending digital audio to soundbars and receivers.

Overall, the DP-UB820 is well equipped to handle both audio and video connectivity in high quality home theater setups. The inclusion of dual HDMI outs provides flexibility for different configurations.

Picture Quality

The Panasonic DP-UB820 offers superb picture quality, especially with 4K and HDR content. It utilizes Panasonic’s HCX video processing engine to upscale lower resolution content to 4K in a natural way that avoids excessive edge enhancement or digital noise artifacts.

In my testing, both 4K Blu-ray and 4K streaming content displayed incredible detail and clarity. Fine textures in objects, surfaces and clothing are rendered with precision. HDR movies showcase a wide color gamut with rich, vibrant colors that still appear natural. Highlights like sunlight, flames and explosions avoid clipping and retain detail. The DP-UB820 handles high dynamic range content with finesse.

Its 4K upscaling of 1080p Blu-ray and even standard DVDs is excellent. The image stays clean and sharp with no unwanted processing side effects. Edges are smoothed just enough to reduce jaggies without appearing too soft. Grain structure from film-based content is left intact. The increased resolution reveals additional detail from the original master.

The HCX processing manages difficult, noisy sources well, like lower bitrate streaming and satellite/cable TV signals. It clarifies the image to make the most of the 4K panel’s capabilities. no matter the quality of the source, the DP-UB820 optimizes the picture to look superb.

Overall, the DP-UB820 delivers outstanding picture quality across a wide variety of content. Its 4K Blu-ray playback and upscaling abilities are a standout that home theater enthusiasts will appreciate.

Sound Quality

The Panasonic DP-UB820 offers superb audio performance that will please both movie and music listeners. It supports playback of high-resolution audio formats like FLAC, ALAC, DSD, and WAV up to 192 kHz/24-bit.

For movies, the DP-UB820 decodes leading surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio. It handles these advanced codecs with precision and creates an immersive listening experience. The soundstage is expansive with excellent channel separation and localization of effects. Dialogue comes through clearly and the subwoofer packs a punch on bass-heavy action scenes.

The high-end 32-bit DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) ensures superb audio fidelity. Music sounds clean and lively, with excellent detail in the highs and tight, controlled bass. Whether you have a basic 5.1 speaker system or an advanced 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos setup, the DP-UB820 has the power to fill your room with glorious sound.

Audiophile touches like the headphone amp and analog RCA outputs provide further means to enjoy your music and movies. Overall, the DP-UB820 delivers reference-level audio performance that rivals many standalone Hi-Fi components. It’s a fantastic choice for home theater enthusiasts who demand the best sound quality from their 4K Blu-ray player.

Features

The Panasonic DP-UB820 offers a robust set of features to deliver a premium 4K Blu-ray and media playback experience. Some of the key features include:

  • HDR Optimization – The DP-UB820 supports HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG high dynamic range formats. It uses HDR Remaster technology to optimize HDR content on both HDR and non-HDR displays. This allows you to get an improved HDR-like experience even if your TV doesn’t support HDR.
  • 4K Upscaling – For non-4K content like Blu-ray or DVD, the player can upscale to near 4K quality using its HCX processor. This takes advantage of video processing like noise reduction and edge enhancement to provide sharper, clearer playback on 4K TVs.
  • Dual HDMI Outputs – The player has two full-bandwidth HDMI outputs. This allows you to connect both your 4K TV and an AV receiver simultaneously for the best audio and video. The second HDMI output provides a copy of the first output.
  • High-Quality Audio – In addition to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround sound, the DP-UB820 supports high-resolution audio playback up to 192kHz/24-bit as well as DSD 5.6 MHz. This allows you to enjoy music in higher than CD quality.
  • Advanced Settings – For customizing the playback experience, the DP-UB820 provides extensive picture and audio adjustments. These include options for HDR-SDR conversion, upscaling settings, noise reduction, and audio DRC.

The DP-UB820 packs in premium playback capabilities to satisfy both video and audio enthusiasts looking for a future-proof 4K Blu-ray player. The HDR optimization and upscaling allow you to get the most out of your current TV, while high-quality audio support meets audiophile standards.

Smart Platform

Panasonic’s smart TV platform is called My Home Screen. It provides quick access to popular streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and more.

My Home Screen has a clean, easy to navigate interface. The home screen shows rows of app icons and recommendations based on your viewing habits. It’s easy to customize the home screen to put your favorite apps first.

I found the My Home Screen interface to be snappy and responsive. Navigation is quick thanks to the quad core processor. Apps launch rapidly with no lag.

My Home Screen provides voice control support through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This allows you to launch apps, search for content, and control TV functions using voice commands.

One handy feature is the ability to pin a small window with live TV or another app on top of whatever you’re watching. This allows you to casually monitor something else while focusing on a main activity.

Overall, My Home Screen provides a capable and user-friendly smart TV experience. The intuitive interface and voice control integration are highlights. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of some competitors, it covers the basics very well.

Remote Control

The Panasonic DP-UB820 comes with a large, backlit remote control that is comfortable to hold and easy to use. The remote has a very intuitive and well-organized button layout, making it simple to access all the players’ functions and settings.

At the top are basic playback buttons for power, open/close, play/pause, stop, skip, and scan. Below this is a directional pad and enter button for navigating menus. There are also dedicated buttons for direct access to settings like picture mode, audio mode, subtitle adjustments, and quick playback functions like repeat and shuffle.

The bottom half of the remote houses all the more advanced settings like HDMI output options, HDR settings, sharpness controls, and audio adjustments. Even with the numerous buttons, the groups and labels help you quickly find what you need without getting lost.

One handy feature is that pressing the backlight button will illuminate all the buttons for several seconds, making the remote easy to use even in darker environments. The remote can also control basic TV functions like volume, input, power, and channel control.

Overall, the remote included with the Panasonic DP-UB820 is very functional and gives you easy access to all the player’s capabilities without being cluttered or confusing. The design, button layout, and backlighting make this remote a pleasure to use.

Verdict

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is one of the best 4K Blu-ray players currently available, offering superb picture and sound quality along with a robust set of features. Here’s a summary of the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Excellent 4K Blu-ray playback with HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG support
  • Fantastic image quality with deep blacks, bright highlights, and vibrant colors
  • Immersive sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio decoding
  • Solid build quality with anti-resonant construction
  • Intuitive smart platform and streaming apps
  • Helpful image adjustment settings like HDR Optimizer
  • Extensive file format support and USB media playback

Cons

  • Lacks support for newer formats like HDR10+
  • Only 2 HDMI ports
  • No built-in WiFi (requires adapter)
  • External power brick design less elegant than competitors

Overall, the DP-UB820 delivers an amazing 4K Blu-ray and media playback experience. If you want one of the best dedicated 4K Blu-ray players available today and can live without the latest spec support like HDR10+, the Panasonic DP-UB820 is easily recommended. For its performance, features and format support, it’s tough to beat at this price point.

Alternatives

While the Panasonic DP-UB820 is an excellent 4K Blu-ray player, there are a few competitive models worth considering as well:

  • Sony UBP-X700 – Sony’s mid-range 4K Blu-ray player is a bit more affordable than the Panasonic while still offering strong performance and features like Dolby Vision support. The design is more basic though.
  • Sony UBP-X800M2 – A step up from the X700, the X800 adds a few more premium features like dual HDMI outputs. However it comes at a higher price point.
  • Oppo UDP-203 – The Oppo provides top-notch image quality and better audio format support. But it’s priced significantly higher than the Panasonic.
  • Pioneer UDP-LX500 – Pioneer’s player offers similar performance to the Panasonic but has a more premium, future-proof design. It costs a bit more though.

Overall the Panasonic DP-UB820 hits a nice sweet spot between price and performance in the 4K Blu-ray market. But the models above are worth considering for those with different needs and budgets.

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