The Philips BDP7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - What You Need To Know

Philips BDP7501 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player
Philips BDP7501 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player. Image provided by Philips

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc is progressively making inroads into the consumer market, and despite improvements in internet streaming quality, this disc format offers up the best quality audio and video experience available in home entertainment, provided you have a compatible 4K Ultra HD TV.

One of the more interesting Ultra HD Blu-ray disc players to be made available so far is the Philips BDP7501. This player doesn't offer some of the frills that some other players offer, but does provide core Ultra HD video and audio quality experience expected from this disc format. With its low price and compact form factor, it is definitely an upgrade to consider for your home theater setup.

What The Philips BDP7501 Offers Consumers

The first thing that you will notice about the Philips BDP7501 (see photo) is that instead of the wide slim profile design that most Blu-ray Disc players have these days, it is an extremely compact unit - measuring just 8.7 x 8.7 x 2.4 inches and only weighing 3.5 pounds.

Its compact size is definitely a space saver, but it is what is inside that counts.

First up, as is required by the agreed-upon Ultra Blu-ray specifications, the BDP7501 is compatible with Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

Discs carrying the Ultra HD label, look outwardly the same as standard Blu-ray discs but have increased storage capacity and smaller pits in order to accommodate native 4K resolution content. As a result of those differences, Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs cannot be played on standard Blu-ray disc players.

It is also important to note that although some standard Blu-ray Disc players incorporate 4K upscaling, that is not the same as being able to play native 4K content.

In addition to native 4K resolution content, the Philips BDP7501 is capable of transferring, HDR meta data and Wide Color Gamut information included on Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc content to a compatible TV.

What Type Of TV You Need

In order get the full benefit of Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc playback using the BDP7501, your 4K Ultra HD TV needs to be compatible with HDR and Wide Color Gamut signals on Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. Most 4K Ultra HD TVs manufactured from 2015 going forward are compatible. However, not all Ultra HD TVs are HDR compatible - and the most optimized compatible TVs carry the Ultra HD Premium Label.

On the other hand, in cases where a 4K Ultra HD TV does not meet minimal standards for HDR and Wide Color Gamut performance, consumers are still able to access the 4K resolution portion of Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc content, providing a step up in quality from standard Blu-ray Disc.

In addition to Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs, you don't have to dump your current CD, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc collections as the BDP7501 is also compatible with current 2D/3D Blu-ray Discs, DVD (including the DVD+R/+RW/DVD-R/-RW recordable DVD formats), and audio CDs (including CD-R/RWs).

In addition to native 4K playback, 4K upscaling is provided for current Blu-ray Discs, and both 1080p and 4K upscaling is provided for DVDs.

AV Connectivity

In terms of physical connections for both audio and video, the BDP7501 has 2 HDMI outputs (one audio/video, and the other audio only) provided. However, there are no other audio outputs (either analog or digital) provided.

Additional audio/video connectivity provided consists of a USB port for access to digital photo, video, music content via flash drives or other compatible USB storage devices.

Audio Format Compatibility

For audio format compatibility, the BDP7501 can both decode or provide Bitstream output for Dolby Digital/TrueHD, as well as DTS Digital Surround/HD Master Audio.

Two and Multichannel PCM output for applicable content is also available.

Also, although not able to internally decode Atmos or DTS:X, the BDP7501 will pass through the undecoded data streams for those formats that can be decoded by a compatible home theater receiver or AV preamp/processor.

Network Connectivity and Streaming

Ethernet and WiFi are provided for direct access to Netflix and YouTube (up to 4K) as well as the ability to access digital media files from compatible network-connected devices, such as PCs and media servers.

Although it is great that 4K Netflix and YouTube is offered, in terms of internet streaming - that's it - no Amazon Video, no Hulu, no Vudu, no Pandora, etc... Hopefully, the Philips Net TV platform version on the BDP7501 has the ability to add some apps, otherwise, you will need a recent model Smart TV or an external media streamer connected to your TV to access a decent number of internet streaming services. The streaming offerings provided with the BDP7501 are definitely a weak point. However, if you already have a Smart TV or external media streamer, this may not be a deal-breaker.