Best Blu-ray Player Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best Blu-ray Players you can buy in 2018.
Looking to buy a Blu-ray player? The first question you need to answer is: 4K or HD? There are both 1080p and 4K Blu-ray discs and, if you have a 4K TV, you’ll probably want to try out the latter.
However, if you’re strapped for cash, have a 1080p TV or do most of your movie watching via streaming service, a cheaper HD Blu-ray still makes sense. Many HD decks can also upscale to 4K too, getting you surprisingly close to true 4K image quality.
Dead set on a higher-end deck? Read our 4K Blu-ray player round-up. Here we’ll look at a few of the best HD Blu-ray choices, and a few 4K models afterwards for those with more money to spend.
Other features you’ll find in top Blu-ray players include Wi-Fi, smart features like Netflix and Amazon Video streaming, 3D support and even 2D-to-3D conversion. As you might guess, the cheaper the deck, the fewer of these neat extras you tend to get.
Need help narrowing down which deck to choose? Here’s our pick of the best Blu-ray players to help you make your buying decision:
A great value performer with pin-sharp pictures and 4K upscaling
The DMP-BDT360 is a classic mid-range option that will suit owners of 3D TVs as well as those after some specific apps and Wi-Fi. A simple to control and impressive machine, the DMP-BDT360 is the cheapest Panasonic deck to offer 2D-3D conversion – which works well – and 4K upscaling, which also delivers impressive results.
There’s an excellent treatment of digital files, too. The poor remote and a basic selection of apps are the downsides, but overall this future-proof deck is impressive and good value.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-BDT360
Faultless Blu-ray images for an unbelievable price
The S6700’s bias towards Android devices for both Bluetooth music streaming and for screen mirroring (over Miracast) is irritating, but this diminutive 255x39x192mm, 900g package promises 4K upscaling (for those with an Ultra HD 4K TV), Full HD 3D support and wireless music features galore.
But the real victory for the BDP-S6700 is with its image not only from Blu-ray, which are faultless, but also from lesser sources of video, which are nicely cleaned-up.
Read the full review: Sony BDP-S6700
Sony’s latest media player is as much about the audio as the visuals
It’s easy to enthuse about the UHP-H1, both as a Hi-Res Audio music player and a top-flight Blu-ray player. Image quality is outstanding, even when compared to first-gen 4K UHD Blu-ray players, and it sounds every bit the premium component.
Compared to rival players from Oppo, Cambridge and Pioneer, the UHP-H1 could even be construed as good value. If you’re not planning to jump on the 4K Blu-ray bandwagon any time soon, it’s well worth an audition.
Read the full review: Sony UHP-H1
And now some 4K decks…
A truly affordable 4K Blu-ray player
A couple of years ago we dreamed of 4K Blu-ray players being as affordable as the Panasonic DMP-UB300. It’s a quarter the price of some high-end boxes. The good news: picture quality of 4K Blu-rays is still first-class. It uses the same Precision Chroma processor as Panasonic’s more expensive decks, so that’s no surprise.
There are a few reasons the Panasonic DMP-UB300 is so downright affordable, though. Its build is basic. There’s not even a display, just a red operation LED.
We can live with that – Blu-ray players don’t need to be living room centerpieces – but the lack of Wi-Fi is tougher to swallow. You need to plug it into a router or Wi-Fi extender using an Ethernet port on the back to access services like Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube. If you use another device for streaming, perhaps a games console, the Panasonic DMP-UB300 could well be the 4K Blu-ray solution you’re after.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB300
A curved deck for those with curvy TVs
At launch the Samsung UBD-M9500 4K Blu-ray player seemed quite expensive. However, now you can buy it for roughly half the price at $277.99 (£249), it looks like quite the deal. The first thing you’ll notice: it has a curved front, matching the curvy screens and stands of some Samsung TVs.
One of its ‘special moves’ is downscaling of HDR discs and content to get you some of the benefit of HDR on a non-HDR TV. Samsung’s smart platform also gets you access to over 300 apps, including all our usual streamer favorites.
It does miss out on a few features, though. There’s no Dolby Vision and no 3D, but most of us have lost interest in that anyway. The Samsung UBD-M9500 isn’t the perfect deck for music obsessives as it lacks SACD and DVD-A support. However, unless you have a high-end Dolby Vision TV, we’d bet this model has everything 95 per cent of you are after.
Read the full review: Samsung UBD-M9500
A premium player for your high-end A/V needs
The Oppo UDP-203 is a bit on the pricey side, but depending on your needs it might just be exactly what you’re looking for.
First off, the player supports a full suite of AV formats, including the niche SACD, and features a total of three HDMI ports (one for video and audio, one for audio, and another to act as an HDMI passthrough). Combine that with amazing audio and visual reproduction, fantastic build quality, flexibility thanks to a HDMI-in port, and wide support for codecs and disc types, and you have a pretty formidable media player on your hands.
Read the full review: Oppo UDP-203
The best bang for buck 4K UHD Blu-ray performance
Whether you’re interested in 4K or not, the DMP-UB700 effectively sets a new benchmark for price and performance. Streaming service support, with HDR-enabled 4K Netflix, is well worth trumpeting and the player does a swell job with 24-bit audio, be it with FLAC or DSD files. We would’ve liked universal disc support, but that’s probably not going to come until Sony launches its rival 4K disc spinner. In the meantime, though, if you haven’t got the cash to drop on Panasonic’s higher-end player, this is the UHD BRP you need to audition.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB700
Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 is a must-have for hi-res enthusiasts
The DMP-UB900 will restore you faith in physical media. In full 4K HDR guise it offers a level of performance that will have new 4K TV owners gasping. Ultra-HD Blu-ray brings the experience of 4K digital cinema to the home, and rewards you with brilliant colour fidelity, deep contrast and almost three-dimensional clarity.
Factor in solid file playback support, plus 4K iterations of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and you have a machine that’ll make your new 4K HDR TV look sensational. For a better value, however, take a look at the DMP-UB700.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB900