Back in the day, Blu-Ray players were considered to be exotic pieces of gear, and like any exotic technology in its infancy, they were actually quite expensive. As time passed by and technology made leaps forward, things changed dramatically to our advantage as consumers, i.e. Blu-Ray players became more affordable and better than ever before. So, if you’re looking for the best Blu-Ray player you’ve arrived in the right place.
This article is aimed to help you choose what’s best for your home or business, whether we’re talking about the best streaming Blu-Ray player, a reliable Blu-Ray player under $100 or portable Blu-Ray player. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve got it covered, as we combed the internet looking for the best Blu-Ray players available in 2018. If you want to save both time and money, keep reading, as you’re in for a real treat.
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How to choose the Best Blu-Ray Player
Modern Blu-Ray players are very sophisticated pieces of gear, and the best of them are not only capable of playing 4K/UHD content, but can also connect to your tablet or smartphone, deliver audiophile grade audio output, or to stream content from YouTube, Netflix and other popular internet-based streaming services.
Before getting down to “business”, you should decide what you’re looking for, whether we’re talking about portable, budget or high-end options. However, regardless of what you’re looking for, whether you’re on the prowl for a Blu-Ray player capable of downloading apps, so you can stream your favorite shows or music from YouTube or Netflix, or you’re just aiming at spending under $100 for a basic/entry level bare bones budget-friendly player, this article will help you with getting the best bang for your buck.
Now, here’s what to look for in a Blu-Ray Player, depending on your particular needs and your budget:
Ultra High Definition, also known as 4K, is becoming the “new normal”, as it slowly but surely replaces the classic Full HD 1080p video format. 4K TV sets and displays are now increasingly common in people’s households, as this format offers 4 times the detail (as in the image has 4x the number of pixels) of the “old” Full HD 1080p technology. Native 4K Blu-Ray players are the way to go, as they offer the latest standard of image quality.
However, a Blu-Ray player featuring 4K (3840 x 2160p) upscaling means that it is capable of converting lower resolution material, let’s say a Full HD 1080p movie already in your collection, into a higher definition, provided you also have a 4K capable TV to enjoy the higher resolution. Even if the upscaling process is far from being perfect, it’s a nice feature to have in your Blu-Ray player, especially if you own a lot of low-tech (as in low-res) content.
Since 3D capable TVs are all over the place, getting a 3D capable Blu-Ray player would mean you won’t have to go to a movie theater to enjoy 3D movies anymore, i.e. if you’re into 3D flicks, look for a Blu-Ray player featuring active 3D technology.
If you’re into content streaming, or you just want your home theater system to be “internet of things” compatible, you should look for a Blu-Ray player capable of connecting to the internet. There are 2 possibilities to connect your Blu-Ray player to the internet: via Wi-Fi or with a network cable. Keep in mind that not all Blu-Ray players can connect to the internet wirelessly, i.e. a Wi-Fi capable gizmo would be a little more expensive.
If you’re wondering why should you connect your Blu-Ray player to the internet, the answer is: streaming applications, quick software updates, or accessing extra content available online for certain discs, which are all pretty neat options to have.
Streaming Applications for Blu-Ray
A number of mid-range/high-end Blu-Ray players will allow you to stream online content from your favorite provider directly to your TV set, whether we’re talking about Netflix, YouTube or Pandora. This is a very important feature to look after in a Blu-Ray player if you’re an internet streaming aficionado.
Keep in mind that using these services will require you to have an account or even a subscription (Netflix) with the content providers. Also, Blu-Ray player manufacturers usually provide different streaming options, so look out what specific applications are available on a specific model before purchasing it.
Finally, if you already have a big DVD collection, look for a player that offers the best rating for DVD SD (standard definition) video quality. Not all Blu-Ray players are created equal in this regard, even if all of them are perfectly capable of playing DVDs.
9 Best Blu-Ray Players
Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
One of the Best Blu-ray Players for an In-door Cinema Experience
If we can call an equipment piece a work of art, then this would be it.
It packs magnificent amounts of power with an HCX Processor (this bad-boy delivers a lifelike experience of Hollywood production at your home), a 192-kHz/32-bit 4-DAC sound system that is provided with enhanced means of transmitting high-quality sound through two HDMI terminals.
Right off the bat, you are given a run-down of the marvelous specification chart that is only made more amazing when you witness the almost indiscernible video quality provided by 4K High Precision Chroma Processing which will make your home a real cinema, bringing with it experiences worth remembering!
It is compatible with Alexa and it comes with integrated Hi-resolution playback functionality, making it all the more versatile and ready for changing circumstances which would usually be given to a pc, making it a dedicated gadget on its own.
With so much to give in such a small package, it is no secret Panasonic’s products like these really “bring the joy of huge high-end productions to every home”.
- Pristine range playback features with the latest HDR10+, Dolby Vision™, HDR10, and HLG formats.
- Exclusive studio-quality sound system and effects
- The ability to produce 4K Direct chroma upscaling (this feature places the requirement to possess a TV that can take full advantage of this feature)
- VOD 4k streaming
- Exclusive all-around quality
- As you can expect, this flagship Blue-ray player is quite pricey
Powerful Blu-ray Player with Top-Quality Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
If you are a fan of 4K UHD movies, this gadget may be something to grab your attention. The great level of clarity of even the tiniest details brings a lifelike experience to satisfy the most demanding consumers.
Excellent range of supported colors and contrasts brings the finest quality visuals right before your very eyes. Thanks to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround audio, you will be immersed in a full 3D experience. The product even allows to stream music in different rooms, and enjoy your favorite songs wherever you are in your place.
Top-quality connections allow you to pair the gadget with various types of hi-tech devices and build a unique and memorable experience for all senses. The device comes with separate video and audio HDMI outputs, enabling smooth and reliable performance and great functionality.
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) support
- Suitable for 4K UHD movies
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
- Individual HDMI outputs for audio and video
- A wide spectrum of colors supported
- Troubles with random freezes
LG UBKM9 4K Region Free Blu-ray & DVD Player
The High-resolution Region-free Blue-ray Player With the Latest Features
A real return to the classics where region-free features on a player brought with them mobile movies both old and new but this time you can sit back and enjoy said activities within 4k resolution.
This player supports HDR10, Dolby Vision, and the classical HDR for the best possible viewing experience.
Enjoy the richness of sound quality that can only be experienced with dual audio features such as DTS Master Audio as well as Dolby TrueHD, giving you the options of quality that is rarely seen by most of the competitors on the market.
Aside from possessing the capability of playing Dolby discs that are Atmos-encoded, it comes with dual HDMI outputs: one for your home cinema receiver and the other for your TV.
With the endless region-free capabilities associated with Blue-ray players of the latest generation, as well as the option for connecting with both Wired and Wireless Internet, Netflix 4k streaming has never been so fluid and life-like, allowing this device to bring back the good old days with the benefits of modern technology a reality.
- Plays any kind of discs without issue (DVD, Blue-ray discs (both standard and Ultra HD, CD with the added benefit of 4k and 3D)
- Ultra HD 4k capabilities in all its aspects
- SECAM compatible
- Durability and quality
- Quite pricey for a Blue-ray player
- It lacks the Last Scene Memory feature
- Using it to the fullest of its abilities requires prior knowledge of operating Blue-ray players
The Art of the Deal
The LG UP870 the definition of a barebones/affordable and 3D/HDR capable Blu-Ray player, boasting lots of features at a very affordable price, hence the “Art of the Deal” moniker.
Considering its relatively low price for a UHD device, the LG UP870 offers great value for the money asked. If you don’t require a Wi-Fi capable Blu-Ray player, as the LG UP870 unfortunately lacks a built-in Wi-Fi module, this player really has it where it counts: amazing image quality and lighting fast disc-loading speeds, i.e. superlative performance.
Basically, this is a no-nonsense Blu-Ray player, sans Wi-Fi and streaming apps. However, if you already have a Smart-TV set, you don’t actually require app functionality from your Blu-Ray player, especially if you don’t want to break the bank for useless features. In this case, the LG UP870 has your name on it.
- 4K UHD Plus upscaling
- 3D disc playback
- amazing image quality, best in the industry disc loading speeds
- great value for money
- lacks Wi-Fi connectivity
- there are no streaming apps
- no Dolby Vision
The Sony BDPS3700 makes for a low-cost Blu-Ray player which would make for a nice addition to your home cinema setup, provided you’re on a tight budget. Truth be told, this can be described as Sony’s budget Blu-Ray player, yet it offers good performance and lots of features at a very affordable price tag.
Even if it’s an older model, the Sony BDPS3700 can stream from over 300 apps via Wi-Fi HD streaming. You can also instantly stream and enjoy PlayStation 3 games courtesy of its PlayStation Now feature. Needless to say, the BDPS3700 is capable of playing Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs. Finally, there’s HDMI and a USB port, to connect your gear and your TV, and also a digital coax.
- Full HD 1080p Blu-ray Disc playback & DVD upscaling
- great upscaling capabilities for an entry-level device
- good contrast and smooth motion
- above average picture quality
- plays in the “best bang for the buck” category and wins easy
- audio quality is not the best in class
- no 4K
The Right Stuff
The Oppo UDP-203 comes with a hefty price tag, yet it’s any videophile’s wet dream. If you’re looking for premium build quality and excellent overall performance in a no-nonsense Blu-Ray player, the Oppo UDP-203 is very easy to recommend, provided you can afford it. To put it simply, this player has “high-end” written all over it, and delivers super connectivity on top of state of the art audio and video quality, via a full 7.1 analog output, which is kind of rare nowadays.
There’s also an HDMI port for connecting streaming players and Dolby Vision disc playback, yet, strangely enough, despite being very expensive, the Oppo UDP-203 (almost defiantly) lacks built-in streaming features. Long story short, if you’re looking for a reference Blu-Ray player without “complications”, the Oppo UDP-203 would make for the perfect addition to your home theater rig.
- supports Dolby Vision/3D/most disc-based standards
- stellar image/sound quality, superb connectivity
- plays virtually any format
- very expensive
- lacks basic streaming features
- no headphone output
An Affordable All-round Great Blue-ray Player
The magic of Blue-ray players is not restricted to the high cost and tech-savvy folk that knows their way around every piece of hardware as the LG BP175 showcases a complex device that operates simply and straightforwardly whilst providing all the benefits of a stand-alone home cinema.
Experience the full functionality of modern-day Blue-ray players with playback enabled in 1080p, both in DVD and Blue-ray, with image quality that never goes lower than the absolute highest through HDMI.
Support is enabled in NTSC and PAL, giving you the capabilities of full conversion in any region and of any Blue-ray or DVD.
Exceptional image quality and sound truly set this device apart whilst still remaining true to the design and features of a high-end Blue-ray player anywhere in the world!
- The magic of Blue-ray players in one package
- Compatible with both DVD and Blue-ray
- Includes a USB input option for playing all sorts of content
- Absolutely fantastic sound quality
- The remote included in the Blue-ray player has been reported to sometimes malfunction
Cheap yet Reasonably Premium
The Sony BDPS6700 is a 3D capable Blu-Ray player with built-in super Wi-Fi (dual band). Being an older model, the BDPS6700 looks and feels like a budget model, yet in terms of performance, it’s a true Sony product, even if it lacks 4K native resolution. However, this Sony offers 4K upscaling instead for your old Blu-Ray collection, together with 3D streaming.
Due to its Wi-Fi module, the Sony BDPS6700 gives you access to popular streaming services and apps, including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Hulu. This player is compact, sleek and definitely smart, and it offers excellent value for money, provided you can live without native 4K support.
- great image quality
- wireless music streaming via Bluetooth
- dual-core processor, dual-band Wi-Fi
- ease of use
- screen mirroring, front USB
- lacks support for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs
- it’s fluttery with iOS gear
Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player
The Best 4K Player for the Price
While 4K gear is still pricey, you don’t have to break the bank anymore to play UHD discs. Sony proves that with the UBP-X700, an affordable option for film freaks that provides amazing clarity and Hi-Res audio.
This is another player that gives you the best of both worlds with UHD playback. Dolby Vision and HDR 10 content looks crisp and colorful, but you can stream media with this one as well. The Wi-Fi connection is speedy, and there’s also Ethernet port if you prefer a wired connection. Throw in dual HDMI ports, and you’ve got yourself a connected player with a streamlined profile.
This UHD player is 12.3 inches wide and 8.5 inches deep so it won’t take up much space on your shelf. Another perk of this player is the Hi-Res audio which adds another layer of depth to your films, and it can handle everything from .AAC to .WMA along with photos and GIFs. It’s 3D capable and has an excellent upscaling system capable of 60p as well.
The Sony UBP-X700 gives you a lot of bang for your buck without many drawbacks of other budget-friendly players. The fact you get Dolby and HDR 10 is a bonus as is the audio quality provided you have the proper connections. While the overall performance isn’t on par with flagship players, it’s hard to argue with the price or the picture quality.
- Compact design
- Dolby Vision & HDR support
- The price tag
- Build quality could be better