Updated November 6, 2014: clarified 4K AV format support
Owners of 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) televisions soon discover that the current selection of 4K movies and TV shows is pathetically limited. The Sony FMP-X10 4K Media Player delivers more 4K content than any other set top box, and a recent update frees the FMP-X10 from Sony-only TV use enabling it to work with any 4K UHD display that supports HDCP v2.2 copy protection.
The X10 is simple to setup and use, and it features a second audio-only HDMI output that enables it to easily integrate with HDMI AV receivers that lack support for the necessary copy protection (most).
Conveniently, Netflix 4K streaming is built in, and Amazon 4K Instant Video will be added early 2015. Sony uses the AVC (H.264) codec for downloaded 4K movies saved to the FMP-X10's 1TB internal hard drive, and streaming 4K content is encoded with HEVC (H.265). The high bitrate of the downloaded movies I sampled made for an exceptionally detailed viewing experience - particularly with newer digital productions. The more time I spent viewing the X10's impressive high resolution imagery the more it increased my urge to upgrade to a larger TV or 4K projector to better appreciate it.
To buy or not to buy
Sony has created a terrific 4K viewing experience with the FMP-X10, but I wanted more. The X10's selection of movies and TV shows must expand with regular updates to ensure long term enjoyment. Many titles have affordable rental options, but some content is only available for purchase and prices are not exactly cheap. It's still early in the 4K UHD scene, and gear like the Sony FMP-X10 4K Media Player is helping to fill in the current content gaps - even it the price of admission is a bit steep.
Sony has confirmed that its 4K movie library is encoded in lossless multichannel LPCM audio - it sounded lossless! Also, most of the 4K feature films and TV episodes available via Sony's Video Unlimited service are encoded using x.v.Color, a wider color gamut than BT.709, which "delivers deeper colors, especially reds." However, we await further details regarding the proper method of evaluating displays and video optimized for the expanded color palette the x.v.Color spec.
Read the full review of the Sony FMP-X10 4K Media Player at HD Guru!