The Best Blu-Ray Players in 2014
With full HD TVs becoming ubiquitous, blu-ray players are an essential addition to a proper home theatre system. I mean, why invest in a 1080p high definition screen, if you are going to be viewing DVDs on it, which are only capable of showing 350,000 pixels?
The good news is that the players have come down in price, as well as improving in performance since they first appeared on the market. They not only play Blu-Ray disks but also have wifi connectivity, so can stream video from youtube, Amazon or netflix. If you buy movies on iTunes, you will be able to watch them without having to connect your computer to the TV.
The problem is that there is a bewildering number of brands and players on the market. It can be difficult to choose the right one for you budget and needs. Below are the best 5 players in early 2014.
What to Look for in a Blu-Ray Player?
To confuse matters further, it often seems that most makes of Blu-Ray players have more or less the same features. Here are some of the ways you can distinguish them:
- Internal Memory: Some disks come with a feature called BD-live, this offers additional downloadable content. However not all players have enough internal memory to be able to handle this. Players described as "DB-live ready" will need to have additional storage attached to them to access this feature. If you think this is something you will want to do, it is best to get a player that already has sufficient memory.
- Wi-Fi: All players come with an ethernet connection, so you can connect to your router and access video streaming or your photo collections in the cloud. However, if you would rather not deal with another cable, you should look for a Wi Fi enabled player.
- 3D: If you have, or are planning to buy, a 3D TV, you should obviously get a Blu-Ray player capable of playing 3D disks.
An Excellent Blu-ray Player from Sony
This is an excellent player for the price. It is 3D and Wi-Fi enabled and comes with an internal disk drive.
The Sony BDP can be controlled with mobile devices through TV SideView, after you download the application from the Apple or Google stores. It allows streaming from all the major services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc.
It not only comes with a web browser, which is pretty standard for blu-ray players nowadays, but you can also use it to connect to Facebook or twitter.
A Great Mid-range Player
As the name suggests the LG BP730 3D Blu-ray player is both 3D and Wi-Fi enabled. I talso has 4K upscaling if you have a tv capable of this functionality.
It comes with a lot of additional apps, like the LG smart TV, and an internet browser.
It comes with a "magic" remote, which works like a Wii remote, some people love this, while others are frustrated by it.
One potentially interesting feature is the "Private" sound mode, in which you can send sound over the wireless connection to your smartphone, and watch movies without disturbing others.
Very Reasonably Priced Offering from Panasonic
The Panasonic is a great player for the price. It is 3D and Wi-Fi enabled and comes with the usual extras, like an internet browser.
The player supports Miracast which allows you to mirror the content of your smart phone or tablet (as long as they have Miracast capability of course). It doesn't however support iPhone's Airplay.
It does not come with built in storage, however the USB ports and SD card reader will allow you to easily connect some storage.
The BDT230 allows you to connect to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon video easily. To download many of the apps you have to setup a Panasonic account to access the Vierra store.
A Blu-ray Player on a Budget
The players above are very reasonably priced, it is remarkable how much these devices have come down in price since they were first introduced. However, if you are on a budget, it is possible to get a very good player for under $100.
However, at this price you get a unit which does its main job, playing Blu-ray disks, but you have to sacrifice all the nice little extras. It is internet enabled, but has no Wi-Fi, you will need to connect it to your router through an ethernet port.
You also don't get 3D capability, not a problem if you don't have, and don't plan to get a 3D TV in the near future.
It does allow you to stream Netflix movies,