Samsung To Add HDR10+ Playback To 2017 4K Blu-ray Players
Samsung has confirmed to me at the CES that it is going to be rolling out firmware updates to its 2017 4K Blu-ray players enabling them to play films mastered in the new HDR10+ format.
The three players set to receive the HDR10+ update are the M9500, M8500 and M7500. Samsung wouldnít put an exact date on when the firmware update might start to propagate, but it said it will definitely be in the first half of 2018 - maybe even towards the end of the first quarter.
Once the update has been installed, M9500, M8500 and M7500 4K Blu-ray players will be able to play the new generation of 4K Blu-rays from 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros that carry the HDR10+ dynamic metadata format. This delivers better picture quality results than the HDR10 industry standard currently used on most 4K Blu-ray discs by adding a layer of extra scene by scene picture information, to help TVs optimize the way they play the content back.
Before M9500, M8500 and M7500 owners get too excited, you should bear in mind that you will also need to own a TV thatís capable of playing HDR10+ pictures.
Also, while these players might be getting the new HDR10+ format, they will not also be getting support for the rival Dolby Vision dynamic metadata HDR system used on a growing number of 4K Blu-ray discs. Currently the only 4K Blu-ray player in the world that will play both formats is the recently announced Panasonic DP-UB820, set to go on sale in the spring. Though actually this dual format compatibility is something of a moot feature considering that at the time of writing no brand has announced a TV that will play both formats.
Itís worth adding, too, that this update news prompted me to ask Samsung for the umpteenth time if its 2016 TVs will be upgraded to handle HDR10+, as promised in the press release announcing HDR10+ that Samsung put out last April. Unfortunately I still wasnít able to get a definitive answer; just another assurance that theyíre still looking into it. But the vibe Iím getting isnít positive.
Letís not get too downbeat, though. The bottom line is that the M9500, M8500 and M7500 update is very good news, and raises hopes that other 2017 4K Blu-ray players from other brands might be able to follow suit.