4K Blu-ray is growing up. Current players offer better performance and cheaper prices than their predecessors. The latest batch ofare available for between $100 and $200 and offer things the early adopters couldn't, including compatibility with discs.
With a software update available later this year, the Sony X700 will work with Dolby Vision-encoded discs, lending owners of DV-equipped TVs a sense of future-proofing.
Unlike the cheaper LG UP870 and the Oppo UBP-203, which are strictly disc players, the Sony UBP-X700 offers the best of both disc media and streaming. It's relatively fast, offers all of the apps you need, and its picture quality is top notch.
"But what about the?", you might say, especially as that one's not going away. Performance-wise it's a wash between the two Sony players -- the main benefit to the more expensive model is a nicer-looking box and marginally better DVD performance. At a $50 saving and with the promise of Dolby Vision in the future, there's no real reason not to buy the X700. Don't need streaming, though? Save some money and get the equally impressive LG UP870.
The Sony UBP-X700 is available for $199, £269 or AU$349.
Design and features
In terms of design, the X700 sits somewhere between the up-market, book-like X800 and compact HD models like the BDP-S3700 The X700 measures a foot across and boasts a two-tone finish, but it lacks a display on the front panel -- all you'll find there are play and eject buttons. To the left of the front panel is a drop-down drawer that hides the disc mechanism.
Apart from the design, what is the difference between the X700 and the $250 X800? Two words: Dolby Vision. No one likes a format war, but Dolby's baby is one of a handful of HDR technologies vying for your attention. While support isn't coming till mid-2018, the X700 also includes the more widespread , so you'll have most of the bases covered.
Connectivity is identical to the X800's with two HDMI ports -- one for audio and video and a second for decoding audio from an older, non-4K-sporting AV receiver. The player also comes with a coaxial digital port, which is a bit unusual, as most TVs and sound bars support optical, plus it offers a USB connection.