We reveal the best Blu-ray players you can buy in the UK in January 2016. Blu-ray player buying advice. Most popular Blu-ray players to buy today. Updated January 21, 2016.
In a world of online catch-up TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube who needs a DVD player any more? Without the arrival of high-quality Blu-ray discs some time ago maybe watching content on disc would have died out by now but most of us still have enough DVDs and box sets to warrant that extra box below the TV.
And today’s best Blu-ray players boast streaming features themselves, with smart apps and access to BBC iPlayer, Netflix and the rest built in.
If you have a 3D TV then you need your DVD/Blu-ray player to be 3D compatible, too – so look out for players that work with 3D Blu-ray discs.
Here we highlight the most popular Blu-ray/DVD players on Amazon, which are considered some of the best Blu-ray players by their user reviews. We also take into account user reviews on Reevoo, and independent reviews from the likes of Which? and other testers. We haven’t reviewed these products.
Features to look out for. All these players will play both Blu-ray and DVD discs, but some boast greater features than others.
Best Blu-ray players: what is Blu-ray
Blu-ray discs can hold much more data than DVD discs, and so are great for high-definition TVs, where the picture quality can be much higher than you’d get from a DVD. All Blu-ray players can also play standard DVDs (upscaling the video to near-HD resolutions). Usually the Blu-ray player is preset to upscale a 480i recording (SD-DVD) to 1080P (full HD) output by default. This doesn’t mean that content on DVDs looks as great as on Blu-ray discs but it should noticeably improve the DVD’s quality. Some newer models of Blu-ray player can “up-convert” 1080p high def to 4K for the latest Ultra HD TVs.
Best Blu-ray players: Blu-ray specs explained
3D: You might think that owning a 3D TV means you can play 3D discs, but you’d be wrong. Your Blu-ray player also needs to be 3D compatible, so look out for this feature if you want to enjoy 3D movies on disc.
Wi-Fi: Some Blu-ray players have Wi-Fi built in so you can stream or download movies and TV shows from the Internet without the need for a wired Ethernet connection.
Ethernet: If you want your downloads to complete faster than via Wi-Fi look for a player with an Ethernet LAN port. These are only useful if you have a wired connection from your router nearby, which most people won’t have near their TV. However, you can use your house’s electrical cabling as a proxy Ethernet cable by using Powerline adapters. You plug one in to a wall power socket near your router, and connect that via Ethernet (cables included with the Powerline adapters), then plug another adapter near your home-entertainment centre/TV/Blu-ray player. Then you connect thise devices to the Powerline via another Ethernet cable. Bingo, you now have wired internet access straight to your TV/player. See Best Powerline adapters.
Smart apps: Smart Blu-ray players include built-in apps that offer TV- and movie-streaming on services such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, catch-up TV on apps such as BBC iPlayer, and even social media on Facebook and Twitter.
DNLA: DLNA (which stands for the Digital Living Network Alliance) allows sharing or streaming content such as movies, music and photos over a home network – for example, from your laptop to your TV, or playing an MP3 on your phone.
USB: Some Blu-ray players include a USB slot so you can simply plug in a USB memory stick or hard drive to play movies, TV shows, home videos, photos and music on your TV screen.
4K: If you have a 4K TV you’ll want a Blu-ray player that can upscale to super high-resolution 4K, so look out for this feature. If you don’t have a 4K TV (or aren’t planning on buying one in the next year or so) this feature won’t matter to you.
Best Blu-ray players: where to buy
In this feature we look at the most popular Blu-ray players, using data from Amazon. But the models listed here can also be found – sometimes cheaper – on other online retailers such as Tesco, Currys, PCWorld and Argos.
Best Blu-ray players: most popular Blu-ray players January 2016
Best Blu-ray players: Samsung BD-J4500
The Samsung BD-J4500 is one of the most popular Blu-ray players on Amazon. It’s super cheap but garners great user reviews on many retailer web sites, although it’s a no-frills budget model that lacks a network connection or smart apps. That said, if you’re after just a Blu-ray player and none of the extras this is great value.
It plays both Blu-ray and DVD discs, but not 3D. It plays high-quality Blu-ray discs and upscales DVDs to Full HD for rich, sharp visuals and clear sound.
The BD-J4500 also lets you play your own multimedia from a USB memory stick or HDD. And AllShare lets you access movies, music and photos via DLNA, so you can enjoy your content wirelessly.
One of its big claims – aside from the super-inexpensive price tag – is support for the largest number of codec and file formats. Many popular video formats such as Flash and QuickTime are supported, as well as VOB files from DVDs. In addition to MP3 audio, you can listen to lossless FLAC files as well as .WMA, .OGG, .WAV and more. Pictures can be viewed in the popular JPEG picture format, as well as PNG files, GIF files and more.
3D: No Wi-Fi: No Ethernet: No
Smart apps: No DNLA: Yes USB: Yes 4K: No
Best Blu-ray players: Sony BDP-S1500
Another bargain Blu-ray and DVD player the Sony BDP-S1500 offers Full HD. Images are detailed and clear, and colours take on a rich intensity thanks to Sony’s TRILUMINOS colour technology. (Note this technology is exclusive to Sony and optimised for use with accompanying TRILUMINOS TVs, so you’d need a matched TV to get the most from it, although the player will work without it on other TVs.)
Like the other Blu-ray players the BDP-S1500 also upscales standard definition DVD movies to near-HD quality.
You can also stream content from a variety of online entertainment providers (BBC iPlayer, YouTUbe, Skype and apps made for your TV via the Opera TV Store), via the Sony Entertainment Network.
The BDP-S1500 boasts a quick start so will deliver fast loading times, and it boots up in less than a second.
3D: No Wi-Fi: No Ethernet: Yes
Smart apps: Yes DNLA: USB: Yes 4K: No
Best Blu-ray players: Sony BDP-S5500 3D
The compact Sony BDP-S5500 offers not just Blu-ray and DVD playback, but also supports 3D Blu-rays discs. This Blu-ray Disc player also upscales 2D video to “simulated 3D” for enhanced depth and improved on-screen image detail.
With the BDP-S5500’s built-in super Wi-Fi Pro, you can browse the best online entertainment on the big screen. Smooth, fast streaming means you’ll enjoy Internet content with fewer interruptions and greater picture quality. Upscaled and native 3D Blu-ray movies also come to life in Full HD 3D for a more immersive viewing experience.
With Miracast you can view and share smartphone content on your TV, giving your photos, videos, and music the big screen treatment. Also you can use your tablet or smartphone (Android or iOS) to control your Blu-ray Disc player, and learn more about what you’re watching, with the TV Sideview app.
Like the BDP-S1500 it is compatible with Sony’s exclusive TRILUMINOS colour technology.
Enjoy all the fine detail of the original recording in clear, high-fidelity surround sound with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. DLNA allows you to share multimedia content across all supported devices in your home. The USB slot is handily positioned on the front.
3D: Yes Wi-Fi: Yes Ethernet: Yes
Smart apps: Yes DNLA: Yes USB: Yes 4K: No
Best Blu-ray players: LG BP250
The no-nonsense, compact LG BP250 is a Blu-ray and DVD player that also allows you to play videos, photos and music via a USB drive (handy slot on the front).
Like the other players here it will also upscale your DVD collection to near-HD quality.
While it won’t work with 3D discs and doesn’t offer smart TV apps most people won’t miss these extras. It has an HDMI slot on the back, but no Ethernet.
3D: No Wi-Fi: No Ethernet: No
Smart apps: No DNLA: No USB: Yes 4K: No
Best Blu-ray players: Samsung BD-J5500 3D
This is one of the cheaper 3D Blu-ray players, and also includes smart functions such as Opera TV apps so you can watch BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, You Tube, and Netflix among others.
The curved design makes this Blu-ray/DVD player stand out from the crowd, and mimics Samsung’s curved TVs and soundbars.
You can plug in a USB memory stick or hard drive and then use ConnectShare Movie to share everything from home movies and downloaded music to photos, with friends and family. The BD-J5500 is DLNA compliant, and has built-in Wi-Fi.
It is also available in white from some retailers, such as John Lewis.
3D: Yes Wi-Fi: Yes Ethernet: Yes
Smart apps: Yes DNLA: Yes 4K: No
Best Blu-ray players: Sony BDP-S7200 4K
Available from Amazon,
The Song BDP-S7200 might cost more than the other Blu-ray drives listed here, but it does upscale Blu-ray Full HD content to 4K for the latest, high-resolution TVs. Audio playback is super high resolution too.
Its dual-core processor enables faster streaming, quicker loading and smoother playback.
Download the TV SideView app to start using your smartphone or tablet as a remote control. And you can view and share your smartphone on your TV with screen mirroring.
3D: No Wi-Fi: Yes Ethernet: Yes
Smart apps: Yes DNLA: Yes USB: Yes 4K: Yes