Sony has announced today plans to release a 4K media player in Europe for its 2012 and 2013 Bravia 4K TV models.
The new media player, called the FMP-X5, was made specifically for the KD-84X9005, KD-65X9005A, and KD-55X9005A models of Sony Bravia 4K TVs to provide them with support for 4K live streaming. These models,
while they support 4K video, weren’t equipped with an HEVC encoder so streaming 4K content on them wasn’t possible. The new media player is meant to alleviate that issue and bring HEVC/H.265 content playback to all 4K Bravia TVs. HEVC is known to be more efficient than H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and makes it ideal for online 4K video streaming.
Sony is also considering adding support for Google’s VP9 codec which would allow the FMP-X5 to stream Ultra HD YouTube videos although this feature is still “under consideration” and might not make it in time for the product’s official launch.
The FMP-X5 surprisingly does not feature an internal storage drive so users won’t be able to store 4K movies onto the device and the FMP-X5 won’t even be able to buffer 4K streams so users will require a hefty internet connection to smoothly stream 4K content through the FMP-X5. Playback of 4K content from an external device could be possible with the FMP-X5 though as it is equipped with a USB port.
As for content, the only announced series the FMP-X5 will be able to stream is House of Cards Season 2 in 4K through Netflix as it is the only 4K title currently available on the service’s library and Netflix is also currently the only streaming service that supports HEVC 4K streaming. Although, Breaking Bad 2 is slated to come soon along with other unconfirmed titles.
The FMP-X5 media player is planned to start distribution across Europe in August and will sell at an SRP of £350 or €399. Additionally, Sony mentioned that all of their 2014 4K Bravia TVs will have HEVC support built-in to them.
For the US market, Sony recently re-introduced their FMP-X10 4K media player that’s equipped, in contrast with the FMP-X5, with 1TB of built-in storage for storing and buffering $k content.