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Kick-ass Blu-Ray players at every price range

30th January 2014 Print

For those people that absolutely love their movies and TV shows, there are few more enjoyable formats than Blu-Ray.  Blu-Ray offers both outstanding picture quality and kick-ass audio.  (Indeed, many modern musicians actually release their albums in Blu-Ray format in order to take advantage of the sound quality available).  With the discs themselves now more affordable, there's no better time to invest in a new player.  That's why we're going to take a look at what we think are the best Blu-Rays on the market today:

Toshiba BDX5300

One of the most popular capabilities within the Blu-ray market is the ability to stream media through a Wi-Fi connection, something that they have in common with many a laptop tablet.  The BDX5300 is one of the cheapest machines capable of doing this (it’ll cost around £80 or so), offering the ability to stream data from various online locations (iPlayer, YouTube and Picasa in the UK, Pandora, Hulu Plus and VUDU in the US).  It’s also capable of playing 3D BRs, which is an ability that a number of cheaper units lack.  Those with a low budget should definitely look in the direction of this one.

Philips BDP550

Philips has always created quality products and they've consistently been at the forefront of the Blu-Ray market since its inception.  The BDP5500 is one of their most popular current models and features a range of different options such as 3D playback, 2D-3D, Skype, Wi-Fi smart apps (as with the Toshiba).  There's also the capability of streaming digital video files from an attached hard drive, smartphone or tablet.  At around £110-£120 or so, the BDP5500 offers very good value for money.  It's also got the ability to attach to Skype, which is not a feature to be sniffed at.

Panasonic DMP-BDT330

Going slightly higher up the price point, we come to the top-end 3D Blu-Ray player, which offers a range of different features.  Like the other models on the list, it features the ability to watch online content but rather than doing so directly it connects to the streaming network through a smartphone or tablet using the Miracast mirroring.  There are a lot of options within the £140-£160 price range but the Panasonic is reliable and feature-filled. 

Pioneer BDP-450

Pioneer is the word.  The BDP-450 offers a superb amount of detail in terms of both sound quality and visuals.  This is seriously top of the line stuff.  The only bizarre factor is that Wi-Fi isn't included, meaning that if you want to watch Netflix, YouTube and the like, you’ll need to plug in an Ethernet cable.  Not bothersome as such but it does seem a trifle unnecessary in a unit that performs so well in every other aspect.

Denon DBT-1713UD

You can tell you've reached the highest echelons of quality when a Blu-Ray player stops being called that and instead is dubbed a 'Universal Disc Transporter'.  The Denon is obviously capable of playing Blu-Rays but can also be used to play super audio CDs, DVD-Audio, not to mention usual DVDs and CDs.  It’s also accommodating to those that have a library of shows in other formats (XviD, MP4, etc) and can also be connected to home networks so that you can beam through YouTube, Netflix and the like directly.  If you want flash, this is probably where you should splash your cash.