The Panasonic DP-UB820 seems essentially the UB900 of the company, which was the logo player before the UB9000. This means that you get a shiny black box, with a brushed metal top and a reasonably decent construction level. The quality of the building is nothing like the UB9000, but that’s what you’re paying for, and the UB820 is still a well-designed disc-Spinner for money. There is a fan in the back but I could not hear during the operation and overall it is a reasonably quiet player. The disc tray is smooth, while navigation and playback are fast and responsive. It’s not as quiet as the UB9000, but that was almost silent while playing. The chassis measures 430 x 62 x 204 mm (WxHxD) and weighs 2.2 kg.
There is a shiny black flap covering the entire front of the UB820, and this falls to reveal the disc tray on the left side, and a screen towards the center. There is a window in the dropdown tab so you can see the screen behind it, which is pretty straightforward and only shows the time spent on the drive. Underneath the screen there is a USB port, but the SD card slot found in previous generations has been eliminated. This is all for the front of the reader, apart from the ejection and power buttons on the upper left side of the chassis. Fortunately, these are physical buttons, rather than the touch-sensitive versions used in the previous models, making them much easier to find in the dark.
Panasonic DP-UB820 supports 4k HDR video streaming services from Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. All these services are able to offer 4k, HDR10 and, if necessary, Dolby Vision. If there is an area in the Panasonic players that really needs an upgrade, it is the Smart platform. The user interface for smart features is starting to look very outdated, and the whole experience is pretty insensitive.
As with the UB9000, the Netflix application displays all content such as HDR10 or Dolby Vision, depending on whether the Dolby Vision setting in the menu is on or off. Instead, the Amazon application correctly displays the SDR, HDR, and Dolby Vision content, as it has been qualified and encoded. Panasonic claims that this is a requirement for Netflix, but if so, it makes no sense to me and is detrimental to the image quality of the SDR content.
The UB820 is easy to configure and can actually leave most of the controls in their default auto-setting. The reader then reads the EDID metadata from the display and is configured to match the maximum display capacity.
There is the option to set the color mode, the color depth output, and the HDR/color output gamut. In the case of the latter, you can choose from HDR/BT. 2020 or SDR/BT. 2020, which can be useful if the screen does not handle HDR very well, but you still want to take advantage of 4k, 10 bit and BT. 2020.
The HDR Optimizer only works with the content HDR10, is disabled for HDR10 + and Dolby Vision, and how effective it really is depends on the capabilities of the screen and the sophistication of its tone mapping. For example, I generally preferred my LG 65c8 processing with its dynamic tone mapping feature.
The Panasonic DP-UB820EB is an excellent 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray player that is well designed and with a good set. It looks rather minimalist with a drop-down flap on the front, a simple screen, a USB port and two buttons. However, there is a good selection of connections on the back, including dual HDMI outputs and 7.1 analog channel outputs. The remote control lacks backlight, but is reasonably well-designed with all necessary buttons. The configuration is simple and the menu system is quite intuitive, but the intelligent platform urgently needs an update.
There is at least support for Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube, along with 4k, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos, if any. However, I found some compatibility issues where Atmos was concerned, and for some annoying reason the Netflix application always occurs in HDR10 or Dolby Vision-depending on how the player is configured. Otherwise, the performance was impressive, with the management UB820 each type of disc apart DVD-Audio and SACD (there is no big loss there). The reproduction was fast, responsive and reasonably quiet, while the images and sound quality were largely impeccable.
There are a number of useful features, designed to enhance the viewing experience, particularly regarding HDR. In fact, the UB820 has its own against the most expensive UB9000 and while it doesn’t have the analogue features found in the last, I doubt anyone could say the two apart on HDMI. If you consider that the UB820 is almost a third of the price, it makes it something of a bargain and a definite better purchase.
DVD + R/RW
DVD + RDL
4K UHD Blu-ray
|Audio Formats||Dolby Digital|
Dolby Digital Plus
DTS-HD High Resolutiuon
DTS-HD Master Audio
|3D Blu-ray Playback||Yes|
|Region||Region 2, Region B|
Panasonic DP-UB820EB Product Properties
|Power Consumption||32 watts|
Panasonic DP-UB820EB Connections
|Optical Digital Out||1|
|Analogue Audio Out (RCA)||2-channel, and 7.1-channel|