A load of the best Blu-ray players to choose from
Streaming services have a lot of serious advantages, including things like convenience and value for money, but sometimes they can't beat playing films and TV from a disc. They don't need an internet connection to work, don't have to worry about losing access to them, and you have the bonus of being able to display your collection on your shelves.
Stand-alone DVD players are pretty much a thing of the past these days, but thanks to the mass adoption of Blu-ray you can grab yourselves a decent player for a decent price. Plus backwards compatibility means you won't have to upgrade any of your older discs.
Here we have things from a lot of the names you might expect, including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and more. Prices range from as low as £50 all the way up to over £400, so there's plenty here to match your budget and needs.
A budget option, the Sony BDP-S6500 is a Wi-Fi enabled Blu-Ray player with 4K upscaling that covers most of your bases. The Wi-Fi not only means you get firmware updates as and when they're available, it also means you can cast Miracast-enabled devices to showcase on your TV. It also plays Blu-rays, DVDs, 3D Blu-rays, and has access to a variety of streaming content including Netflix, Amazon, Sony Entertainment Network, and iPlayer. Oh, and it is also compatible with PlayStation Now.
So if there are plenty of cheap players out there, why buy an expensive one? Well if you want the very best it's going to cost quite a bit, and thankfully the Panasonic DMP-BDT700 is one of the most extensive Blu-ray players on the market. Not only does it play DVDs, 2D Blu-rays, and 3D Blu-rays, it also has 4K upscaling, extensive file compatibility, and a bunch of smart features. What really sets it apart is the picture quality, with rich hues, intense black levels, and incredible levels of detail. You won't be getting that on a £90 player.
If you're the kind of person who still enjoys watching and recording live TV as well as disc-based media, then this is one for you. The Samsung BD-H8900M is a Blu-ray 3D Wi-Fi enabled Blu-Ray player that also has Freeview+ capabilities. That means it's a TV tuner, can pause and rewind live TV, and you can use its built-in 1TB hard drive to record live TV. That means it can hold 411 hours and 257 hours of SD and HD content respectively. It also plays a number of video and audio formats, as well as an app store for streaming content.
This one has all sorts of fancy features thrown into the mix, but doesn't have the extortionate price-point you'd normally associate with them. It plays standard 2D and 3D Blu-rays and DVDs, but if you happen to plug it into an Ultra HD TV then it'll upscale the picture to better suit the high resolution 4K display. It also has an app store with numerous streaming apps, access to Sony's Entertainment Network, an AV receiver for your home cinema sound system, and the ability to mirror your smartphone's display on your TV. It also has super fast Wi-Fi to avoid slow streaming speeds.
4K upscaling is great and everything, but don't you want a player that can actually handle 4K content? Panasonic DMP-BDT460EB9 can't handle 4K video, but it can show off 4K images. That's only a small feature, sure, but it's a step forward. It's also got a great selection of apps to download, Miracast sharing to connect with your smart devices, and two HDMI outputs so you can pick this up without having to ditch your non-HDMI AV system.
The primary reason why you'd buy this Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray player over other, cheaper options, is that it is more of an all-round multimedia centre, with support for CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray playback. It obviously absolutely knocks it out of the park in terms of 4K picture quality too. Sticking in a spectacle film like Mad Max or The Amazing Spiderman 2 with 4K and HDR firing on all cylinders is just breathtaking. The colour gamut and clarity of the images, specifically in terms of textures and depth, is just out of this world and, unlike when streaming, the quality never drops and is higher.
Overall the Samsung UBD-K85004K is a stylish and powerful 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player that, through our time with the system, did little to let itself down. It plays 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and CD discs and, for the price, offers an affordable entry into the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray market. If you have a curved 4K TV, specifically a Samsung, then this player will be even more appealing too, as the curved design and menu system sync up wonderfully with the company's other products (which also include a lovely curved soundbar).
This cheap as chips Blu-ray player is the number one best selling product in the category on Amazon, with the penny shy of fifty quid price tag and reliable functionality grabbing people's attention. There are absolutely no flash features to write home about, however, it plays Blu-rays and DVDs and supports external HDD playback. Don't know what more you could ask for at that price.
Price: £50 | Buy LG BP250