The Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player Profiled

Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player - CES 2016. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to

Introducing The First Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player

Ever since 4K Ultra HD TVs were introduced, it was hoped that a true 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format would arrive on the scene. Now, after some delays due to setting agreeable industry standards, the wait is over.

Following up a preview at the 2016 CES, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray finally started to arrive on store shelves on February 5, 2016, and Samsung (who also introduced the first Blu-ray Disc Player back 2006), was the first to bring Ultra HD Blu-ray to U.S. consumers with the UBD-K8500.

The first thing that you will notice is that instead of the straight-line slim profile design that most Blu-ray Disc players have these days, the UBD-K8500 is curved. This is not a manufacturing error - the player is designed to complement the physical appearance of Samsung's curved TV line. However, you don't have to have a curved screen TV to use it.

As is required by the agreed-upon Ultra Blu-ray specifications, the player is compatible with Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Outwardly these new discs look the same as current Blu-ray discs but have larger storage capacity, and smaller pits, to accommodate native 4K resolution content, which makes them incompatible for playback on current Blu-ray disc players.

It is important to note that although some current Blu-ray Disc players are capable of 4K upscaling, that is not the same as being able to play native 4K content.

In addition to native 4K resolution content, the UBD-K8500 and other players to follow, are capable of reading, and passing, HDR metadata and Wide Color Gamut signals off the new format discs (when applied) and passing that information from the player to a compatible TV.

In order to do this, the UBD-K8500 features HDMI (ver 2.0a) outputs with adherence to HDCP 2.2 copy-protection.

What You Need In Your TV

In order get the full benefit of Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc playback, your 4K Ultra HD TV must also be compliant with Blu-ray Ultra HD standards. Most 4K Ultra HD TVs manufactured from 2015 going forward comply with these standards - However, not all Ultra HD TVs are HDR compatible. In cases where a 4K Ultra HD TV does not meet minimal standards for HDR and Wide Color Gamut performance, consumers will still be able to access the 4K resolution portion of Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc content.

You Don't Have To Get Rid Of Your Current Blu-ray Disc or DVD Collection

In addition to Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs, the UBD-K8500 is backward compatible with current 2D/3D Blu-ray Discs, DVD (including the DVD+R/+RW/DVD-R/-RW (except DVD-RW VR mode) recordable DVD formats), and standard audio CDs.

Also, 4K upscaling is provided for current Blu-ray Discs, and both 1080p and 4K upscaling is possible for DVDs.

Additional Features of the Samsung UBD-K8500

  • Two HDMI outputs (one audio/video, and the other audio only).
  • Besides audio output via HDMI, a Digital Optical audio output is also included.
  • Bitstream output for Dolby Digital/TrueHD/Atmos and DTS Digital Surround/HD Master Audio/DTS:X codecs. Also, Two and Multi-channel PCM output for applicable content is also available.
  • Ethernet and Wifi for direct access to online audio and video content sources, including Amazon Video, Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, and more... (including access to 4K streaming sources) as well as the ability to access digital media files from compatible network-connected devices, such as PCs and media servers.
  • Miracast connectivity is included which allow direct streaming from compatible smartphones and tablets, as well as Laptops and PCs.
  • One USB port for access to digital photo, video, music content via flash drives or other compatible USB storage devices.
  • Samsung Multi-Room Audio Streaming allows you play a disc or other content file on the UBD-UK8500 and wirelessly stream it to other Samsung multi-room link compatible playback devices (such as wireless speakers) that may be placed around the house.
  • CD-to-USB Ripping is also included which enables you able to rip the contents of a CD containing music, photos, and/or non-copy protected videos, to a compatible USB storage device.​

More Info

Samsung is definitely looking forward with the UBD-K8500, but the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc format won't succeed unless it is supported by content and accepted by consumers.

The suggested price for the UBD-K8500 is $399. For those that think this a little high - just remember that the first generation of DVD players were priced at $499 and the first round of Blu-ray Disc players were priced at $999.