Sony UPB-X800

Watching 4k Ultra HD on a 1080p Display

At least in theory, Ultra HD Blu-ray players are designed to be backwards compatible with viewing on any HDTV or 1080p display. However, most professional reviews only focus (for obvious reasons) on true 4k High Dynamic Range, Wide Color Gamut playback, assuming that’s what most readers are interested in. Those who may need the downconversion should know that the process has some drawbacks.

Despite my long history as a videophile, I have not yet made the leap into 4k Ultra HD. As a projector owner, the upgrade process is too expensive and too daunting, and would require me to replace not just my projector but also (at a minimum) my Lumagen video processor and the long HDMI cable installed above my ceiling. Also, I’m not convinced that current 4k projector models are in enough of a finalized state to be worth their hefty price tags. (The sad irony of Ultra HD is that it works a lot better on brighter flat panels than on large projection screens.)

Nevertheless, I’ve recently taken a small step into the UHD waters by purchasing an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, even though I don’t have a UHD display yet. My primary interest in this is that I want to be able to watch Ultra HD discs that have Dolby Atmos soundtracks not available on the standard Blu-ray editions. (Frustratingly, some studios have decided to make Atmos a UHD exclusive feature, even though there’s no technical reason it can’t be included on regular Blu-ray as well.) My tipping point occurred with the recent release of ‘Blade Runner‘, which not only has an exclusive Atmos track but features a new video master said to be a notable improvement over the old Blu-ray from 2007. Warner Bros. has chosen not to issue a remastered Blu-ray version to go with it, and in fact the standard Blu-ray included in the UHD package is the same disc from 2007. If I want to watch the new video transfer or the Atmos track, the only way to do that is on the UHD disc. Sony’s new UHD for ‘Starship Troopers‘ has also caught my eye for similar reasons.

My primary Blu-ray player is an OPPO DBP-103, which has served me well for several years and follows in a long line of prior OPPO Blu-ray and DVD players in my home theater. When planning to upgrade, my first inclination was to look at OPPO’s UDP-203. Unfortunately, it’s a little pricy at $549 and, critically for my needs, it reportedly does a poor job of downconverting High Dynamic Range video to Standard Dynamic Range, introducing banding artifacts into color gradients while doing so. The OPPO may be a great player for native UHD playback, but does not appear to meet the needs I want to use it for.

As it turns out, this isn’t a unique problem. Downconverting UHD video to regular high-definition is a lot more complicated than just scaling the pixel resolution from 2160p to 1080p (which is pretty easy, all things considered). The hard part comes in converting HDR to SDR. My reading on the subject suggests that no two players do this quite the same way, and that most of them have issues with it, either from banding, black crush and loss of shadow detail, or even pixelation and posterization artifacts on some models. The cheapest UHD player on the market, the Samsung UBP-K8500, seems to have a host of problems, and my past experience with crappy Samsung Blu-ray players put me off the brand anyway. The Panasonic DMP-UB900 may be the best for this usage, but its $599.98 price tag is a lot more than I wanted to spend.

Ultimately, I settled on the Sony UBP-X800 when Amazon recently had a price reduction on it down to $211, which I got Best Buy to price-match. (It’s currently back up to $248.) This was an amount I felt comfortable paying for this project, and the X800 is said to do a decent job (if perhaps not exceptional) of converting HDR to SDR. It also offers a few video setting options for adjusting that conversion, which would hopefully allow me to dial it in to my liking.

Sony UPB-X800 Box

I don’t intend this article to be a full review of the UBP-X800, but I will point out that it’s a very tiny and lightweight player that, just in terms of physical construction, feels cheaply made. The disc tray is extremely flimsy, and the body of the unit is weirdly designed so that the entire front panel has to flip down to eject the tray. I can’t imagine what the point of that is, except perhaps to save a few pennies on design and construction by repurposing the chassis from an older DVD or CD player.

Sony UPB-X800 Unboxing

I guess this is a case of “You get what you pay for,” which is fair enough. I knew what I was getting into. The mere 2-inch height of the unit actually proved very convenient for me, in that it allowed me to slip the whole player into a small space in my equipment rack on top of my old Laserdisc player. That worked out nicely.

Sony UPB-X800 Disc Tray

The player comes standard with a host of streaming apps that I have no intention of using. (I have a Roku for that.) Its menus are a little confusingly organized. The basics are available through the Setup menu on the player’s home screen, but more advanced controls can only be accessed by pushing the Options button on the player remote while a disc is playing, which seems kind of stupid. Honestly, I think the player may have too many settings. Some of them are useless or even detrimental, and it defaults out of the box to leaving on some video processing and audio Dynamic Range Compression features that I had to immediately turn off. Again, this is all pretty common for a cheap disc player and amounted to some minor annoyances.

Disc Playback

Without purchasing any new software, I already happened to have a couple of Ultra HD discs on hand. The SteelBook editions of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘ and ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘ came with UHD copies that I didn’t previously have a use for. Both movies turned out to be good test cases for comparing UHD downconversion to native 1080p Blu-ray. ‘Fantastic Beasts’ has an abundance of very dark scenes, while ‘Guardians’ is overflowing with vibrant, popping colors. I was able to roughly sync up playback of the Blu-ray for each movie in my OPPO player with the UHD in the Sony player and flip back and forth between them.

At the Sony player’s default settings, 4k UHD discs looked significantly inferior to the native Blu-ray copies when played on the same 1080p screen.

I’m making that sentence its own paragraph so it stands out for emphasis. A 1080p Blu-ray looked better, much better, than a 4k UHD edition of the same movie when the UHD was downconverted to 1080p. The regular Blu-ray had richer contrasts, more vibrant colors, and even seemed sharper and more detailed. That’s the opposite of what’s supposed to happen, isn’t it?

However, as I said, that was at the player’s default settings. After that initial impression, I had to start tinkering. The Sony UBP-X800 has three settings related to HDR. In the Setup menu from the home screen is an option for “HDR Output,” which offers the choices of Auto or Off. Because my projector doesn’t support HDR, changing this made no difference. Either way, the player detects the lack of HDR in my projector during the HDMI handshake and turns it off.

Of more use are two features in the Options menu. (Again, these can only be accessed while a movie is playing.) “Video Settings” offers the options of Direct, Brighter Room, Theater Room, Auto, Custom1 and Custom2. The intent of this is to determine the amount of ambient light in your room. Direct and Brighter Room both assume a lot of ambient light, and pump up the brightness of the picture, consequently washing it out and flattening contrast. Theater Room resulted in a dimmer picture, but with better black levels, contrast, and no white clipping. This looked the best of the preset options. (I haven’t extensively played around with the Custom settings yet, but the controls seem to be pretty crude and are mainly focused on multiple forms of Noise Reduction that I will never use.)

Having settled on Theater Room, next is a menu called “HDR Conversion,” which offers a sliding scale from 1 (“Narrow”) to 5 (“Wide”). The default value is 3. The owner’s manual states: “A picture is more similar to HDR when larger value is selected, but lowers overall brightness” [sic.].

Raising the settings in this menu to 4 or 5 resulted in an even dimmer picture, added a sickly gray pall over the image, and even softened it. These looked terrible. I would never use these. The lowest setting of 1 made the picture brighter, but also caused some obvious white clipping and looked a bit harsh. On my screen, I found that 2 was the best compromise that produced the most natural looking image. Barring more testing later, this is where I’ve left it.

[Note: Please do not take these settings as gospel. My preliminary findings were based on limited testing. A later attempt to play another disc at these settings looked terrible.]

With all that done, I did more flipping back and forth between the two discs and… sadly, the 1080p Blu-ray disc still looks better. It has slightly but discernibly better contrast in both brights and darks, and more vibrant colors (though sharpness now seems about even, or at least closer to it). What I will say is that the downconverted UHD image is perfectly watchable at my final settings. If I only had that to judge by, I’d probably think it was fine. However, in direct comparison (and assuming all other factors are equal – such as both discs coming from the same video master), the regular Blu-ray still has a decided edge. Nothing I’ve been able to do so far, on this player, was able to make the downconverted UHD disc look fully equivalent to, much less superior than, the Blu-ray.

The Dilemma

I want to emphasize that the results I got are specific to playback of UHD Blu-ray discs on this player (the Sony UBP-X800) when interacting with my projector (a JVC DLA-RS40). A different player, such as that Panasonic model, may have superior HDR downconversion to SDR. I can’t say because I haven’t been able to test that yet. Moreover, even this player may get different results on a different display, especially a flat panel. A lot of variables can have major impacts on this process.

I also need to be very clear that these findings are only for downconverting HDR to SDR. I have no doubt that the same discs, watched via the same player but viewed on a native 4k Ultra HD display with High Dynamic Range and Wide Color Gamut, will look superior to their Blu-ray counterparts. It was never my goal to prove that. At the moment, I’m only concerned with how they downconvert to 1080p SDR, because that’s a feature I need, and I know that I’m not the only person out there with an interest in watching UHD discs on a 1080p display.

At the end of my testing, the conclusion I’ve come to is that downconverting UHD to 1080p is a lot more complicated than just scaling the pixel resolution. Specifically, converting HDR to SDR is very difficult, and we can’t rely on all Ultra HD Blu-ray players to do it equally well. I’m not even certain that there really is a perfect HDR downconversion in any player. (There may be, but a lot more testing is needed.) At the moment, when given the choice and when all other factors are equal, a regular Blu-ray looks superior to a 4k UHD disc on my 1080p screen.

This leaves me with a dilemma over what to do with those selected titles that have Dolby Atmos soundtracks exclusively on UHD, while the normal Blu-ray has only 5.1 or 7.1 audio. I’d have to take a small hit in video quality to get a bump in the audio. I may need to judge that on a case-by-case basis. As I said, the downconverted UHD image is still very watchable. Unfortunately, it may bug me knowing that the other Blu-ray could look even better, and listening to a 5.1 soundtrack through the Dolby Surround Upmixer feature in my receiver also produces pretty good results.

Someday I will go all the way to 4k UHD in my home theater, but I’m not ready for that yet.


  1. Csm101

    I’ve been waiting and waiting and searching all over the web for an article like this. I can’t thank you enough. If I take the plunge this holiday season to do the same, I can at least know what I’m getting into and that may help with the frustrations of trying to extract the best picture out of a uhd for a 1080p screen. Or I can do what I’ve been doing with my Warner 3d movies as of late. I can sync the Atmos audio from one player to the 3d image of my other player. In theory, I should do be able to do the same with the uhd. It is a pain in the ass, especially if one has to pause the movie, but repetion and practice has made it a bit easier to resync them. Have you tried doing anything like this Josh? Although I’m not sure if projectors have multiple hdmi outputs to be able to do it easily. I’m sure where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  2. Ian

    I have also been wondering if an article like this would ever appear, so thank you for being the guinea pig for those of us who also happen to be in your shoes. The whole Atmos on UHD only is really ticking me off, too as I have a 7.1.2 system and Atmos is so much better. I hope they don’t start doing it with DTS;X, too.

    I’ve always been a day 1 early adopter since the 1990s, but the HDR standards war doesn’t look to be settled anytime soon and replacing my display and pre-amp is too costly just to get the latest HDMI version or HDR standard support for now. Once the dust settles, I’m all in, of course.

    I’m sorry you had to find out the hard way that the 4k HDR>1080p SDR conversion doesn’t work well, but you’ve helped a lot of us with your article and it’s much appreciated.

  3. Al

    Did you consider getting an XBOX One S? I’ve heard they downconvert HDR to SDR extremely well; even better than the Panasonic that you mentioned.

      • Jon Walker

        As someone whose original launch day PS3 took me from the original standard, to network enabled discs, to 3D discs, without needing to but s new player for years, I’m a fan of the fact that new features rarely need new hardware with them. Of course I use an Oppo now, but only after things settled.

    • I can second this!

      I use my XBox One S as a UHD player. I currently have an Epson 1080 projector. (waiting for my new theater room to be finished mid Jan!) Good thing is the Projector displays at 10Bit and the Xbox One allows 10Bit output too, which most likely is what probably makes the picture look soo much better when I compared it to my GotG Vol.2 bluray after reading this article.

      Also Josh, are you taking into account that you are using a OPPO DBP-103 + Lumagen? Turn off the Lumagen and see if you have the same result perhaps?

      • I have a regular XBOX One with the standard Blu-ray drive and I had all sorts of motion artifacts when I connected it to my new HDR10 and Dolby Vision 4K TV when attempting to play any Blu-rays on it. Switching from the 8-bit output to 10-bit solved most of the issues, but all my streaming options still look better, which is disappointing, to say the least.

        Looks like I’ll have to upgrade to the S or X model XBOX One anyways to enjoy UHD discs. My kids will get the old XBOX. 🙂

      • Al

        I’ve always hated using video game consoles to watch movies, but my friend uses an XBOX One S to play 4K blu-rays on a 1080p projector, and the results are marvelous. The XBO S really does do an outstanding job of downconverting HDR to SDR. I personally don’t have a need for this, as I have the new JVC 4K projector and the Oppo 203, but if I needed to play 4K blu-rays on a 1080p display, I wouldn’t consider anything other than the XBO S.

  4. I have a Sony X800 4K Ultra player coupled with a Samsung 4k TV KS8000. I have found it quite solid and substantial in size.
    I bought it after reading many positive reviews. It obviously comes into its own with a ‘4K screen’. As for 4k films on a 1080p screen you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. That said, I recently played Journey to the Centre of the Earth a Twilight release on 1080P (the most recent 4K mastered version from 1959) and it looked superb through the Sony x800. I saw marked improvements with details. Just my 2 cents worth. Good article Josh; thank you.

    • Monty Britton

      Fernando get you a 4K UHD player since you already have a 4K TV. I had a Samsung 4K TV without HDR and the 4K discs still looked better than the standard blu rays just by resolution alone. Get the player and enjoy what you have until you upgrade. You will kick yourself for not jumping on sooner. lol

  5. Justin

    Hey Josh. Thank you once again for an interesting article about an issue people don’t address that regularly.
    I own the same player but on a 4K TV without HDR (second gen Sony before HDR was a thing sadly). I’ve found the picture to be quite good. I will be trying your settings to see if I get an improved picture since I also need to utilize the HDR-SDR downconversion.
    I am curious what your thoughts will be on the downcoverted 4K disc. Most folks have said the bluray is inferior in every way. I wonder with the UHD looking inferior if it will be a wash as far as comparing these two formats of the movie.
    Lastly don’t forget to get your free two UHD’s from Sony! I think that the program goes for a bit longer.
    Once again, thank you.

      • Josh Zyber

        I don’t have Blade Runner yet. There have been retail supply issues with that one due to Warner Bros. messing up and including the wrong supplement discs with many copies. I need to order the two-disc version from the UK.

        I ordered my two free Sony discs last night. The selection is pretty lousy, unfortunately. I wound up picking two of the Resident Evil movies, even though I think they really ought to be watched in 3D.

  6. Michael Langer

    Hi, I made the complete opposite experience with the Panasonic Player. The picture quality on my Sony Full HD Beamer got a big improvement with the update from Oppo Bluray Player to the THX-Panasonic Ultra HD-Player. First movie was too dark, but there is a great tool to simulate HDR on a non Hdr screen. I found the results better and sharper than with BluRays. I know, output resulution is still 1080p, but the difference was totally there.

    For me the reason to update was, that I try to avoid to buy a movie twice. When UHD came out I almost got all the UHD’s instead of the BluRays. I have know over 70 in my collection and will enjoy the projector update in a couple of years. The Sony Projector is still doing an excelent job and I see no need to replace it soon, especially as my screen is quite small (2 Meters).

    With HDR I think it’s about the player. A friend of mine has the Sony 550 with 4K HDR and the Oppo UHD Player. I was not stunned with the result. Maybe its about the settings.

    Best regards from Germany

  7. john hunter

    Am in the same position as you Josh so your article was greatly appreciated.
    Will go for the Oppo given its anamorphic and widescreen support which will make a choice of a new PK easier.

  8. As many mentioned, I too had been waiting for this kind of article. I have a few UHD discs, but no display or player, and had been debating buying a Sony UDH player (I love the simple, sleek design, and the fact that it’s compatible with every 5″ disc except CD-I — it even supports SACD and DVD-Audio!). Thanks for writing down your detailed experiences, Josh. I would think the Ultra HD signal would translate beautifully to a normal Full HD projector or screen, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I’ll remember your settings for when I get my own player.

  9. William L Carman

    Thank you Josh for a very timely article. On September 16th I asked for feedback on this exact same question on the HDR part of AVS Forum with no replies. So I was very pleased to hear what you had to say on this subject. So I will ask you here what I attempted to ask there. Why is it that we DON’T see
    an improvement visually using 4K Bluray on a 1080p display? In the past I have always read that it is better to start with higher resolution than your display has. My guess is it’s trying to change from HDR
    to SDR. Do you agree?

          • Josh Zyber

            The takeaway I’d like people to get from this article is that HDR conversion to SDR is a complicated and difficult process, and the results may be highly variable. Some players may do it better than others. (Some people claim that the Panasonic player does an amazing job, but I haven’t tested that one yet.) The way the player interacts with the display may also vary.

            Generally speaking, when you watch a Blu-ray on a 1080p display, almost all Blu-ray players put out an identical signal and there’s a base level of quality you can expect to get. We can’t take it for granted that the same thing will happen when downconverting UHD.

            My experience (and I’m hearing a lot of other people confirm this) is that watching a native 1080p Blu-ray on a 1080p display is superior to watching a downconverted UHD on the same screen.

          • I’m fairly certain the XBOX One S does a better job of converting HDR to SDR due to the extra computational power needed to run modern video game graphics. It would be interesting to see if Josh could figure out a way to borrow a unit for testing purposes. That being said, I do understand his reluctance to have a game console in his home, especially with a couple of young sons around.

          • CARLOS APONTE

            I’m sorry, but I just started watching Black Panther using my 4k disc on my Xbox One X and Sony HW50ES 1080p projector, after getting my Atmos setup, and I have to say I’m highly disappointed. It’s brigher and more vibrant on my Blu-ray player. In fact I ran into this article because the image looked bad and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Wondered if it had anything to do with using the 4k disc and here I landed…yes, the 4k gives a sharper image, but the image was washed out in the blacks and I was losing shadow detail. Also, noticably dimmer. This sucks. Guess I’ll be upgrading to 4k projector sooner than later.

      • Lance

        I have a 1080p Epson and the Sony uhd player you have, and I’ve found the Direct video mode on the Sony with the HDR set to setting 2 produced a satisfying 1080p down conversion. You might want to explore different content and see if the issue is consistent with other discs my test movies were guardians of the galaxy vol 2 (it looked pretty bad), but “Passengers” from Sony looked noticeably better and so did “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”.

  10. Barry

    Great article. I have a Sony 65900A and the Samsung K8500. While it technically doesn’t have a dedicated hdr to sdr converter, what it does have is adjustable user mode in the tools section. If I raise the brightness and slightly lower the contrast and color, the results are, to my eyes, stunning. After hearing about the lousy conversion on other players, I’m glad I took the chance on the Samsung.

  11. Dave Gray

    Josh, as other have said, “Finally” someone addresses this question. I have been searching for almost a year for this answer. Surely all the 1080P projector owners out there are not throwing down what is required to fully convert to true 4k. Having an Atmos set-up with a 1080P projector, we all want the sound we are being robbed of by so many bluray releases. Sad that the answer is not so simple as a new player. I have a Samsung K8500 UHD player sitting new in an unopened box waiting to be tested, but now I’m unsure if the result will be acceptable. I want the great sound to be sure, but to trade off picture quality isn’t going to fly for me. Either way, THANK YOU, for finally writing an article on this topic.

  12. Rajeev Gidwaney

    Well Josh i do not agree with you on this. I am using The Lg 4k blu ray player with Samsung high end plasma 8500 and even the regular blu rays are upscaled and look brighter and more detailed without any banding issues on the native 1080 p plasma screen. I noticed a massive improvement when watching guardians of the galaxy 2 on 4K blu ray while watching also the regular blu ray. The suicide squad 4k blu ray looked amazing too particularly when i tested the scene on which batman arrests Deadshot in the alley. The shadow detail was almost perfect and i could make out each and every detail with vibrant colors that were not seen in regulat blu ray. I think ot depends on the type of panel beibg used which in your case was a projector and you were not able to get the desired result.

  13. Marc T

    I also want to thank you for this experiment and article. I have the Oppo 203, but do not yet have a UHD TV. I thought I would have one by now, but it is a lot of money to get one of the quality I want.

    Now, upon getting the Oppo, I did an experiment with Independence Day Resurgence, comparing the included Blu-ray disc to the downconverted UHD. I also found that I preferred the Blu-ray version. It seemed that in viewing the downconverted UHD there was some “black crush” and the colors seemed a bit muted.

  14. Dave

    I have been waiting for someone to try this out because I am in the same position as you Josh. Thank you and to the others who commented about using a one S, problem solved, hope this article does well since I know we are not the only ones who have atmos uhd exclusivity issues.

  15. DaMac80

    I had a 4k TV without HDR and found the experience insanely frustrating. Lots of crush, no consistency, I’d get it looking good for one movie and then the next movie would look way off. I finally gave up and got a great LCD for HDR and suddenly UHD discs look amazing. The format, HDR 10 anyway, was really built for high brightness LCDs with HDR. It just is what it is.

  16. Great article, home skillet! Thank you. I’ve been wanting to know about results people are getting testing the waters on this issue. I recently bought a 1080p 3D TV right before the UHD format launched and there’s no way in hell I’m buying a new TV, nor can I even afford to right now. But I already own over 100 UHD discs and will buy a UHD player soon. I just assumed the UHDs would look better when I downconverted. Hopefully more updates and conversation will appear thanks to your article.

  17. Ross

    Good article. I recently (yesterday) bought a 65inch HDR10/Dolby Vision compatible display. I currently have an Epson 5030 but have recently been wanting more. I’m not ready to drop $10,000 on a native 4k and faux K dormant apeal. I bought the new display thinking that I would probably return it. My wife also loved the projector. I was worried about going from 100″ down to 65″. Once we saw Dolby Vision that was it for us. I don’t yet have a UHD player but that’s coming so I can just imagine how that will look compared to Netflix. Standard BD also looks much better on the new set.After much deliberating I posted an ad to sell my projector. Yes I like the size of the projector but my new display wins hands down. My wife does not care about image quality but even she was surprised at the difference. I am now a believer.

  18. William Henley

    I’ve been debating on hooking my UHD player up to the 1080p projector in the living room. I put a 55 inch 4k HDR / Dolby Vision television in the bedroom, but as it is a bedroom, I am working with a 5.1 Soundbar setup. So I am getting the HDR, but I am limited to 5.1. The other option would be to take both the television and the UHD player into the living room, but I set too far from the screen for 55 inch to really work. I guess I could set up the panel in the middle of the room…

    In any case, with the increase color depth and clarity of the 4k panel, I find myself watching a lot more movies in the bedroom now. My projector is getting very little use at the moment.

    What I would suggest is picking up a cheaper 4k panel, like a Vizio M series. Then you are not breaking the bank, you could wheel it in when you want to watch something on it, and once you do eventually upgrade to a 4k projector, you can move the 4k display to another area of the house. Its not a top of the line option, but it should get you by until you pick up a 4k projector. a 55 inch is under $700 (and you can get 65 inches for under 1000), and if you go with the Chinese brands, you can get HDR under $500 (just note that many of the cheaper sets use 8 bit chips, so while it gives you a color gamet wider than SDR, you are not getting full HDR10 – I highly recommed doing your research).

    I wouldn’t go with a set smaller than 55 inch, but since you do plan on going 4k projector, I would not go larger than 65 as you are looking for something to get you buy.

    BTW, 4k gaming is AWESOME! Yeah, you sacrifice framerate, and if I play some of my games in both 1080 and 4k side by side, yeah, you can tell the 4k is a lower framerate, but I truthfully don’t notice most of the time, and its only in a side by side comparison that it bothers me. Final Fantasy 15 in 4k HDR is AWESOME!!!

  19. Josh Zyber

    I watched quite a bit of the Starship Troopers UHD tonight. It looked like total ass at the settings I mentioned in the article. (I’ve added a note about not taking them as gospel.) I had to play around with the Custom menu to find a good compromise that doesn’t badly crush and clip the contrast. Eventually, I got it to be pretty watchable. Another night, I’ll test how these new settings work with my other UHDs, but it’s too late right now and I need sleep.

    • Plissken99

      Watching Troopers tonight on my X570 tonight myself. JVC has improved HDR since then, I only had to dial picture brightness back 2 knotches to fix the contrast clipping.

      The banding on the Oppo 203 is only occasionally noticeable, only one title I’ve seen it in(don’t remember). It’s hdr conversation is excellent from what I can tell, never seen the Panny though.

    • William Henley

      I am thinking of trying it on my projector after all. I can’t find out exactly what it supports, the specs just say “more colors than before”. I think I have run 10 bit and 12 bit color to it before, but I really had nothing to test it on to see if it was functioning right. This might be a good test.

      • William Henley

        Ran into a few interesting issues. So my receiver supports 4k passthrough. The projector is FullHD. Trying to run everything through the primary HDMI resulted in handshake issues – the UHD player was obviously sending a 4k image even though it was set to auto.

        Another interesting issue – I picked up an HDMI splitter. In the bedroom, where the 4k set is, I only have a soundbar. The issue is mostly with the NVidia Shield – audio output only on HDMI, the sound bar only supports HDMI 1.3. While my TV will export 5.1 back to soundbar via Toslink, you cannot force the Shield into Surround – it handshakes with the TV, sees Stereo, so it exports in stereo. Hence the Splitter. So I hooked the splitter up. I was thrilled to see that I got an image, with no dropouts, and was getting surround sound. Then I launched a video on Vimeo. Hmmm, I would have figured it would have been 4k. Launched another video. Hmmm, that doesn’t look like HDR. So I go into my settings on the Shield and… it is handshaking at 1080p Rec709. Um… Then it hits me – oh yes, the splitter supports 4k, but you are still performing an HDMI handshake, and my soundbar says HDMI 1.3.

        So back to the drawing board

  20. Ben Knoop

    I have exactly this Sony UBP-X800 connected to a Sony KDL-60w855b. So a 60 inch 1080p TV
    And it plays my blurays, netflix and youtube better than my previous player a Sony BDP-S6500.
    It simply gives a slightly better picture and does a much better job at upscaling DVD’s to 1080P than the old BDP-S6500
    And 4K UHD blurays give a very good picture on my Sony TV definitely enhancing the colours compared to a normal bluray.
    Not overwhelming but sure visible.
    It could be the settings you use or the interaction with your projector that’s flawing your experience.
    I’m very happy with the UBP-X800

  21. Nikolas Hill

    Thanks to Josh and every one else for a really useful discussion. I also have the problem of having a relatively new 1080p projector (Optoma HD50), and also 43 in 1080p Sony TV, but also a 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos setup and like others have been very frustrated by many studio’s apparant policy of keeping their Atmos mixes exclusively for UHD blu-ray. So had been debating about whether to upgrade my blu-ray player to UHD and considering the Sony UBP-X800 (since my perferred brand, Pioneer, seems to taking its sweet time in releasing a UHD player). I’d previously discounted going for an Xbox One S, as I already have a PS4 and struggled to find any evidence whether the Xbox was any good with HDR to SDR conversion. I’d also prefer to keep my AV rack-up set-up as clean as possible, having tidied it down earlier in the year, and the wife is already confused enough on what to use (I also have an old Toshiba HD DVD player too…). However, since it sounds like this is going to give me the best picture return in the short-term until UHD and HDR projectors come down to more affordable levels, at a relatively cost-effective price, I’ve plumped for the Xbox One S option… looking forward to seeing how it goes!

    • I worked for Pioneer last year, and sadly, the brand only produces car radios at this point 🙁 All Blu-ray players (and presumably, future UHD-players) are ONKYO made. A sad reality. Pioneer was the king of LaserDisc, but has much of its clout, assets and reputation to other brands.

    • William Henley

      I read an article yesterday on Forbes stating that UHD playback on both the One S and One X is currently broken, but this may just be for HDR displays. Apparently it is not properly handling HDR metadata, blacks are coming through as grey on HDR displays, which and everything is dialed up from there, so the images are washed out. As of the time the article was written, Microsoft had not commented on the issue, but they are assuming that Microsoft will release a software update to address the issues soon

  22. Pedram

    I’m not sure if anyone is still reading the comments on here, but I just ran into this exact same situation. I have a UHDTV (P65), but still prefer watching movies on my 120″ projector (Optoma HD33) screen. As big as my TV is, the projector makes it look small in comparison.

    I’m in the process of getting Atmos set up, and have configured the speakers around the projector screen instead of my TV. Since a lot movies are being released with Atmos only on the UHD disc, I got worried after reading this article but decided to give it a shot anyway. I just got a UHD Blu-Ray player (Philips BDP7502) and was curious to see how it looked on my projector. I was thinking about getting the Xbox 1S as a player (it’s actually cheaper than the Blu-Ray player I bought, which is kind of frustrating), but it doesn’t have support for Dolby Vision so that was a deal breaker.

    I popped in the only UHD/Atmos disc I have on hand right now (Deadpool, which I won from this site; Thanks HDD!) and gave it a whirl. To my relief, it looked just like I’d expect the SDR Blu-Ray to look, and had none of the problems Josh indicated. Just to be sure I loaded up Netflix on the BluRay player and went to the same scene in the movie (the taxi ride, followed by the scrap yard battle) and it looked the same!

    So in conclusion, it looks like the Sony X800 doesn’t do SDR down-conversion well, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same with all players.

  23. Vince

    What Video settings are users of the X800 using?
    I know ‘direct’ mode should be what the original picture settings of UHD titles should be, but it does look a bit overly brighter. I am finding Theater mode looks more correct. I am viewing on an JVC ISF calibrated projector.
    I have left the HDR to SDR mode at level 3.

  24. Eric

    The UBP-X800 is widely available on closeout for an attractive price. I’m in the same boat as you. We have a 1080p DLP projector (Sharp Z30K). I have been waiting for the 4K market to stabilize and for the second generation 4K DLP projectors to be released. To change to 4K means modifying our long HDMI run, plus other logistical “upgrades”. For the time being, 1080p is fine.
    In the mean time, I want to replace our Sony BDP-S6500 Blu-ray player with the X800. Coming from the Oppo world, the X800 may seem like a “downgrade” to you. To me, the X800 seems to have a solid build quality (relative to the S6500).
    My question is: What was your experience with it playing “normal” Blu-rays? Was the picture/sound quality similar to your Oppo?
    Also, there have been firmware updates to the X800. Perhaps they have improved some of the issues that you mentioned. Have you done the upgrades?

    • Josh Zyber

      My problem with playing regular Blu-rays in the X800 is that I have to adjust the player’s internal picture control settings for UHD playback (sometimes disc by disc), and all those settings also get applied to Blu-ray, where I don’t want them. So I have to manually change all the settings back to the default every time.

      I just received an OPPO 203 the other day (haven’t set it up yet) and will try to compare the two players soon.

    • William Henley

      I would certainly like to see this topic revisited myself. I have a 4k in the bedroom, and everything hooked up to it is 4k, but have a 1080p projector in the living room. I have been having issues hooking my UHD player up to it, because the video signal going to the projector comes from my receiver, which supports 4k passthrough. My problem is that my UHD player keeps handshaking 4k with the receiver, resulting in no video to the projector. Now my UHD player does have two HDMI outputs (which I use in the bedroom, as the soundbar I have in there does NOT support 4k passthrough), but that would mean having to run an extra cable to the projector. I have been debating on if I want to get a 4k player for the living room, because while most UHD discs come with a Blu-Ray, if its an older movie, the Blu-Ray may have an older transfer. The UHD also almost always has a better soundtrack. So I would love to see the topic revisited, and have some additional HDD staff and contributors weigh in on what they are doing.

  25. Eric

    Hi Josh,
    Presumably, your issues with “standard” Blu-rays will be mitigated when you go to a 4K display. In the mean time, how does “standard” Blu-ray your overall 1080p PQ compare with say your old Oppo Blu-ray on your 1080p PJ? Also, did you install the latest X800 firmware?

  26. Dennis

    Hi, great article Josh. I’m contemplating getting an XBox One S as based on the comments here, it seems to handle HDR > SDR the best. Has the reported problem with HDR displaying as grey instead of black been fixed via firmware?

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