Good choices for Blu ray players...2011

I see this question asked on several different forums: Which blu ray player should I buy? Of course this question by itself doesn’t give enough information on how to answer it. What capabilities do you require? Blu ray players are evolving at a rapid pace, with the standard itself changing and new capabilities being developed, but I think we should be able to come up with some basic answers to this question within some broad categories of players.

I was in my local rental shop the other day and recommended a blu ray title to another customer there. His reply…“I can’t afford a blu ray player, since they cost four or five hundred dollars.” I think this is a common misconception. Blu ray player prices are all across the spectrum these days, with some in the $75-80 range, all the way up to the high end, at over $500.

So how do we come up with a way to categorize them? Price alone, or include capabilities as well?

Lets start with the bargain basement players…under $100 or so. Some of these will be quite basic, with little added to them, but some do have extras, like a usb port that can playback video files, mkv or mp4 file support, or an ethernet connection for Netflix and Hulu. Here is a Panasonic that caught my eye, the DMP-BD75 at Amazon:
This one has support for all the items I listed earlier and a few other options, like AVCHD support.

What is it missing? One of the main items in the mid-range models that seems to left off the less expensive models is Wifi. This is not of much interest to me, but for someone else, could be a deal breaker. Most of the Wifi enabled players start at $120 or so. There are many available, like this Sony BDP-BX57:

Next little step up is 3D capability, which holds absolutely no interest for me, and I think the market is in agreement so far.

Then you get to the really expensive models, like the Oppo players, which get great reviews, but are they really worth five times the price?

I’d like to know if you have a favorite to recommend, and why. What features are important to you? For myself, the following are essential: AVCHD support
MKV or MP4 file playback capability
Ethernet port
USB port
Netflix compatible

There is one other thing I would recommend when contemplating buying a blu ray player. Pay attention to those that have Cinavia DRM included. I will not buy one with this addition, though they may become more common in the coming years. At the moment, this Slysoft forum threadshows only four players that support it, including the PS3.

A little preoccupied at the moment, but I’ll chime in with some input.


Hmm, can’t say I’m overwhelmed with the responses. No interest in blu ray players, or is everyone simply moving to set top, streaming media boxes?

Well you might want to ask that question at on the appropriate forum and you should get more answers and opinions then you can sort through I’d bet.
Things are changing so fast now that it depends on what features you want and your budget.
There are some very nice cheap players now that have most of the outputs you’d ever need, and other spendier units that include all kinds of net type stuff now so depends on whats most important to you and your budget.

Thanks Dartman, but I am a member at AVSForum and could do the research if I were trying to narrow down choices for myself. I was really looking to start a discussion here on what features [B]our [/B]members find interesting or necessary when considering blu ray players.

AAAH, well in that case I want full audio out jacks for all channels so older A/V gear can still use the thing, BD live support, and excellent up-scaling and clean sharp output of all disks playable. I would LIKE SACD and DVD Audio support so I could cut down the extra gear on my shelf but not a necessity.
I don’t care about netflix or any of the other internet type things as I have my media player for that, and a somewhat reasonable price would be nice.
I was thinking one of the Panasonic BD-65 or 85 would be a nice upgrade as I think at least the 85 has all the audio outputs I’d want but pretty sure they are now discoed and I’m still happily using my first gen Panny BD10a that still plays any Blu ray movie I stuff in it, though most load very slowly now. Once it’s up and running it has excellent video and up-scalling and has all the audio outputs I need for now. It also has quite a few nifty tweaks built in as far as digital noise reduction and other cool things most new units no longer include.

here is the one i have, has built in WIFI and was very east to set up. has some nice streaming options as well.

Sony’s Blu-ray players are very highly regarded at the moment and have won numerous awards.

As a budget model the Sony BDP-S370 seems to be unbeatable and is a stunning budget choice.

Higher up the scale and with 3D functionality the Sony BDP-S570 is an excellent choice.

Check out the reviews I’ve linked to above.

3D is being heavily promoted here in the UK with dedicated 3D channels on Sky TV (satellite) with many sporting events shown in 3D.

I think the main barrier to this is the need to upgrade your TV.

Anyone that already has a large flat screen TV has probably spent a fair amount of money on it and will be reluctant to have to upgrade again despite falling prices.

3D TVs are also still relatively dear ATM and new passive 3D TVs are becoming available so the state of the technology is still somewhat in flux.