The most important factor to consider when choosing a Blu-ray player is whether you want a standard Blu-ray player or a 4K model. Typical prices range from around $90 up to $500 so you'll need to factor in your budget and any additional features you require.
We'll help you compare the options to find the right Blu-ray player to meet your needs.
Compare some of the best blu-ray players
What is Blu-ray and how is it different to DVD?
DVD took over from VHS tapes in the 1990s, but Blu-ray has since come along offering even better video and sound quality.
Blu-ray offers a few key advantages over DVD:
- Better image quality. The latest Blu-ray players can play movies in Ultra HD (UHD) 4K, while DVDs are limited to a much lower resolution. This means you get sharper and clearer pictures on your TV.
- Better sound quality. Because DVDs offer less storage capacity than Blu-ray discs, surround-sound audio has to be compressed in order to fit on a DVD. This results in some audio information being lost. Meanwhile, Blu-rays allow for the use of lossless audio formats, meaning improved audio quality for your home viewing experience.
- Additional content. The extra storage space on Blu-ray discs means they can store more additional content, such as cast interviews and deleted scenes, than DVDs. And with most models also offering Internet connectivity, you can download extra features and content as well as stream video from services such as Netflix.
So while DVD players are still sold by most home electronics retailers and can be purchased a fair bit cheaper than Blu-ray players, Blu-ray is the way of the future and is well worth the investment for anyone keen to get a better home cinema experience.
Worried that you won't be able to watch your sizeable DVD collection on your new DVD player? Don't be. Blu-ray players can play DVDs, so your cabinet full of old DVDs won't all of a sudden become obsolete. Most models also offer an image upscaling feature to increase the picture quality of your DVDs.
What types are available?
Major electronic brands including Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and more all offer Blu-ray players, which can generally be split into two categories:
- Standard Blu-ray players. These allow you to view HD 1080p content on your HD TV. Standard Blu-ray players are now quite affordable and can be purchased for less than $100.
- 4K Blu-ray players. These allow you to view UHD content on a 4K TV. They provide the best picture quality and are well worth considering if you've recently upgraded to a UHD TV.
How to compare Blu-ray players
When choosing a Blu-ray player, consider how easy it is to use, your budget and the compatibility between your TV and Blu-ray player. Here are the factors you need to take into account:
You can pick up a standard Blu-ray player for around $100 or less. While 4K models are more expensive, prices have dropped in recent years and they're generally available for between $200 and $500.
However, if you choose a Blu-ray player that also features an in-built HDD recorder, prices start at $300 and can push up towards $700 or $800.
Ease of use
Take a closer look at the instruction manual and reviews from other buyers to find out how easy the machine is to use. Is connecting it to your TV simple and straightforward? Is its user interface intuitive and easy to navigate? Is the remote well laid out and does it provide easy access to all essential functions?
You can connect your Blu-ray player to your TV using an HDMI cable, but some will also offer composite RCA connection in case you need your player to be compatible with an older TV. Models with dual HDMI outputs allow you to send audio and video to separate equipment if needed.
Also, check whether a player has an easy-to-access USB port and memory card slot so you can plug and play your own digital media files.
Most Blu-ray players available at the moment have Wi-Fi connectivity and many also feature an Ethernet port if you desire a more reliable connection. This can allow you to stream content from services such as Netflix, so check which apps the Blu-ray player comes with to ensure easy access to the streaming platforms you want.
Another feature to look for is BD-Live. If any of your discs have BD-Live functionality, this allows you to access online bonus content like trailers, deleted scenes and more.
- Additional factors to think about:
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