Sony has announced that it is planning to introduce a 4K Media Player – FMP-X5, that supports 4K HEVC. Sony’s older 2012 and 2013 made 4K Bravia TVs do not have an HEVC decoder and so 4K streaming is not possible on them.
To correct this problem, Sony has developed the FMP-X5 player that decodes the 4K HEVC video which is then sent through an HDMI cable to the 4K Bravia TVs. Sony’s new 4K TVs support HEVC and the problem is taken care of within the TV itself.
The FMP-X5 4K Media Player is specifically needed for TVs KDL-84X9005, KD-65X9005A and KD-55X9005A TVs for 4K live video streaming on them. The player will be launched in Europe in August and could be bought from Sony’s online store for £350 or €399.
The FMP-X5 player streams live TV but it also has USB port for playing videos from external storage device. It has no built-in internal storage drive like the FMP-X10 released in the US, so movies from Sony Video Unlimited cannot be downloaded directly to it.
HEVC technology is still new and at present Netflix is the only major streaming service that supports HEVC 4K. It streamed the popular ‘House of Cards’ series. Breaking Bad 2 is expected to be streamed soon followed by some more titles.
HEVC standard (h 265) is better than the AVC standard (h 264) in terms of efficiency and uses less bandwidth which is good for data capped or slow connections. For instance, House of cards used only 15 Mbps speed. The FMP-X5 player does not support Google’s VP9 codec that is needed to stream 4K YouTube videos but Sony is planning to add support for it soon.