Sony UBP-X800 4K Blu-ray Player Review
Sony website link
Important tech info:
Two HDMI outputs: one HDMI 2.0b output, one HDMI 1.4 for audio only
Ethernet LAN, USB
Audio format support with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Decoding, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
Plays almost all formats, even SACD & DVD-A
Wifi built in, DNLA and streaming capability, Bluetooth
Frame-and-beam chassis offers a rigid structure to eliminate micro-vibrations, as well as effective electrical shielding
Supports many master-quality 24-bit audio formats, from AAC and WAV, to DSD 11.2 MHz and more
Internet apps, eg Netflix and Youtube
NO Dolby Vision
Sony was the last to join the 4k player revolution, and even though they have taken their time, we are grateful for their first few offerings. The X800 is the more budget offering, and it removes the analogue audio section and display in order to lower the selling price, but they have kept most of the important bits that make this a very interesting player.
The first thing that strikes you about the player is that it is quite sleek. Without a display screen, and a cover that opens to expose the tray when you press the open button, it has a very low profile. It also reminds you that it’s a more budget model when you start looking for the play, pause or other buttons. The player only has an open and power button. You have to rely on the remote control for everything else.
The remote is a simple but reasonably solid one, with no back-lit illumination, the basic buttons are well labeled and the space between the buttons is decent. You also get quick access buttons to Netflix, plus some controls for Sony TVs. I reckon apart from the lack of self illumination, it’s actually a decent job, especially if you take into account the USD 399 SRP.
The other surprise comes when you try to lift up the player. I owned some recent model Sony players such as the 6500, and they barely weighed more than a kilo. Here you have a player which weighs almost four times that. This is mostly due to the solid chassis construct, and when you open up the player, you see it’s very well put together.
Now, make no mistake, this is a disc transport built for video playback. It has no analogue outputs, so we will not be talking about DACs, audio playback much, since it’s primary role is in the playback of movies.
However it does play almost all formats and I did put some SACDs in, and it is up to the task. The playback quality for these will be very much dependant on your amp’s internal audio playback quality.
As for the picture, I compared it to the Oppo UDP 203 (http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2016/12/oppo-udp-203-review.html) and on a 65” screen, I could not detect very much difference in quality for 4k discs. The Oppo did somewhat better for Blu Ray and DVD upscaling, but both of them were no match for the upscaling qualities of an earlier Oppo BDP 83 Nuforce I had on hand.
The player was very quiet in operation, and did not get very hot in operation. It was responsive, just a tad slower than the Oppo 203, but not really noticeable in general operation. It was slowest when you pop in a 4k disc, but it was not too bad.
One big deficit for some will be the lack of Dolby Vision support. This might be a deal breaker for some. Other than that, it does well in supporting many internet apps that offer streaming of many kinds of media. It can also playback many formats over wireless streaming, which puts it one up against the far more expensive Oppo.
Out of curiosity, I also pressed it into service as a disc transport, and here is where things got a little interesting. My present gold standard for Blu Ray players which did well as a disc transport was the older Oppo BDP 101CI, which had a very solid transport. (http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2015/12/oppo-bdt-101ci-review.html) Now, this Sony was really solid too, and at it’s price, it acquitted itself very well in this role, feeding my Marantz NA 11S1 to playback Redbook CDs.
So how does it measure up? Well in video playback of 4k discs, it keeps up with the other 4k players, and for upscaling of other discs such as Blu Ray or DVDs, it’s fine, although if you are willing to pay much more, you can get better quality. The key is how much more..
At it’s current street price, it is a fascinating bargain for those who only want a video playback player, and do not need an all in one all singing player with a great audio section, which will cost them money anyway. I think it’s a great player and if the lack of Dolby Vision does not deter you, it’s highly recommended.
I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.