There aren't many Ultra HD Blu-ray players to choose from, but the first one you can buy is this one from Samsung. We'd seen it before at IFA last year, but this week Samsung announced the UBD-K8500 will go on sale in the US this March. Talking to reps from Samsung and the Ultra HD Association, I was told it could start selling as soon as February 22nd, and we expect to see the first Ultra HD discs arrive at the same time. Pre-orders are up on Samsung's website and Amazon.com now for $399.
The player itself is just like any other disc player you've seen, with a small arc detail along the bottom edge. In terms of features, it will play everything from 4K streaming apps to Blu-ray 3D discs, and it will even rip CDs for you (to WAV or MP3, which can be stored on a USB drive). As Samsung and Fox are collaborating on the UHD rollout, its booth featured a number of discs from the studio, including The Martian, Wild, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Pan and others planned for early release in the format. I didn't get a chance to play around with the device, but by all appearances it's fast and capable. The days of the original Blu-ray players (remember the $1,000 BD-P1000 and how long it took to load discs?) are well behind us, and if you've been waiting to jump into Ultra HD this should be a good entry point.