October 5, 2016
I picked up a Panasonic DMP-UB900 a couple of days ago. I was looking forward to this UHD Blu-ray deck for a while. I had mentioned in my original write up on the Philips BDP7501 that there are some striking similarities between the interface on the Panasonic DMP-UB900 and the Philips BDP7501. And after using the UB900, these two machines are definitely close relatives.
The Pansonic DMP-UB900 costs twice as much as the Philips (and the Samsung UBD-K8500), for the extra money there are some added differences including audio connections on the rear, SD card slot, optical out for audio, some finer adjustments for picture, and a front display. But, for the most part, the Panasonic and Philips feel and act like the same machine. I had hopes that the Panasonic DMP-UB900 would have a more robust error correction system in place for not-so-perfect discs because it demands such a higher premium.
I was wrong, tonight while watching a movie that I borrowed from the library (Black or White), I experience the exact same issue I experienced on the Philips BDP7501. When the player hit a spot on the Blu-ray disc with some scuffs and scratches: It stuttered, froze and then skipped ahead. I pulled the disc out and tried it in my PS4 and Samsung UBD-K8500 (actually, it's the UBD-KM85C, the Costco version of the UBD-K8500 that includes a free high-speed HDMI cable). The same part of the movie played fine in both the PS4 and UBD-K8500.
I am really disappointed that the premium Panasonic player could not handle a slight scratched and scuffed disc. The DMP-UB900 did put out a really nice picture, slightly better than the Samsung. I liked some of the extras that the Panasonic had too, like being able to access a network share to play music, look at pictures and view movies. But, like I wrote for the Philips BDP7501, I want to watch movies and I borrow a lot of movies from the library (and also rent from Redbox and 3D-Bluray-Rental). Sometimes, especially for library discs, they are scratched so I need a player that can reliably play movies. Of the three UHD BD players I have tried, only the Samsung has been able to play everything I threw at it without issue.