Samsung Continues to Expand the 4K Universe with the UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player But Faces HDMI 2.0 Interoperability Problems
For a while, getting high quality 4K content for your new 4K TV was tricky and online streaming was the most popular way to get 4K content if you had enough broadband Internet bandwidth. Although the success of Blu-Ray helped drive a lot of 1080p High Definition TV sales, Blu-Ray has been slow to support 4K despite the wide availability of affordable 4K TV's in the market.
Given Samsung has been on the forefront of enabling different 4K sources like DirectTV in the US, it's no surprise they are the most visible at Best Buy as well to promote 4K Blu-Ray with the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player.
Here at this Best Buy, we could see a lot of consumer education on 4K Blu-Ray including various Blu-Ray discs available in the market today. These 4K Blu-Ray discs were roughly twice the price the of non-4K Blue-Ray discs being sold.
Some Blu-Ray titles are actually are under $20 like "Now You See Me" but all are clearly labeled as 4K Ultra HD with a black and silver striped premium looks to differentiate the titles from the previous light blue look found on non-4K Blu-Ray discs.
Samsung has various spots in the store showing the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player working with Samsung 4K TV's.
In the Blu-Ray player section, again Samsung is the only option shown even though there are other 4K Blu-Ray players from Panasonic and Philips.
Also in the general 4K promotion section of the store, it was also hard to miss the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player.
The other Blu-Ray players from LG and Sony at the store supported 4K scaling of standard 1080p Blu-Ray discs but couldn't read the new 4K Blu-Ray format. It may be confusing to consumers which 4K Blu-Ray players can actually play 4K Blu-Ray discs as opposed to just upscaling non-4K Blu-Ray discs to 4K.
After purchasing the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player at Best Buy, I proceeded to see what was inside the box.
The box contained mainly a simple remote control with batteries, AC power cord, and user manual.
Anesthetically, the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player is actually quite sleek and curvy.
The Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player also comes with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gb/s) port in the front that allows you to play 4K content from USB based storage media. The port is covered by a flap which I guess is supposed to hide the USB port when not in use.
The back of the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player has the rest of the interface ports which includes HDMI 2.0, 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, and TOSLINK Digital Audio Out connector.
It's interesting that Samsung is now manufacturing products like the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player in Indonesia.
The Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player also supports various online streaming services like NetFlix, YouTube, and Amazon although many 4K TV's already have streaming services built-in. Still, this is useful if you want to use this player with 4K monitors which don't have streaming services or just want to consolidate your 4K content control through one remote.
Click here to see how to set up the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player with the LG 27 inch Class Ultra HD IPS 4K 27UD88-W Monitor. Note the LG 27 inch Class Ultra HD IPS 4K 27UD88-W Monitor doesn't support High Dynamic Range (HDR) and many cheaper 4K TV's and displays don't support HDR. However, given all the consumer education going on regarding the benefits of HDR, and 4K Blu-Ray and Microsoft Xbox One S support of HDR, I wouldn't be surprised if demand for HDR capable 4K TV's increases even further.
Unfortunately, we have observed a fair number of HDMI 2.0 interoperability issues with other 4K TV's as seen in this review with a HiSense 4K TV and this review with a Vizio 4K TV.