April 24, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
With all the 4K hubbub going around back in January at CES, there was always that nagging bit of info to keep in mind—there’s no 4K content. Well, now there is, sort of. This week Sony began selling the first 4K Blu-ray player.
Now here’s the “sort of” part—it’s a 4K upscaling player. Right, it doesn’t actually play 4K discs or 4K content, because there aren’t any. It upscales existing 1080p Blu-ray movies to 4K resolution and sends that on to your receiver, 4K projector or 4K flat panel display.
Now you’re probably thinking “so what, don’t 4K displays already upscale?” Well, yes, but since there really aren’t a lot of 4K displays currently on the market to compare, we can assume that different products will perform the 4K somersault trick better than others. Several AV receivers already on the market can upscale to 4K, but so far there’s been little reason to do that (in fact, if you connect one of those receivers to a JVC eShift 4K projector you still need to send the signal in 1080p).
Besides the video processing, the Sony BDP-S790 offers a lot more for the home theater. It’s got built-in Wi-Fi, supports digital services from Sony Entertainment Network, Slacker, Pandora, Amazon, Netflix and and UltraViolet streaming from VUDU. It does the social media thing with Facebook and Twitter, and of course it’s a 3D player.
The unit includes a dual core processor, which seems to be a trend this year. You get two HDMI outputs (nice), DLNA and an app for iOS and Android.
You can order it now online from Sony for $249 or wait until May 6 to get it at your local dealer.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.