Source: Wikimedia Commons
Blu-ray players are standalone devices capable of playing CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray movie discs. Thanks to them, you can watch 4K movies and have a true home cinema experience. Although there were discussions about whether 4K streaming services would make Blu-ray obsolete, there’s no doubt these players are still around.
Many people prefer watching movies on physical discs rather than streaming them. And streaming services like HBO Max or Hulu require paying a subscription. But if you purchase a Blu-ray player and a movie disc, it’s yours to keep.
If you are in the market for the best Blu-ray player, you are on the right page. The guide below informs you on top features and reviews most popular models currently available. Here’s what you should know before getting Blu-ray players!
Our pick for the best Blu-Ray player: LG BP350 Blu-ray Disc & DVD Player
LG BP350 is a budget-friendly Blu-ray player with an extensive feature range. The first thing you notice is the compact design. The unit’s dimensions are only 12x12x2 inches. It won’t take much room, and its elegant black color only contributes to the overall décor. The integrated internet ensures the number of cables is lowered to a minimum.
The remote has a simple layout, but there’s a slight delay in registering your choices. It takes a while to get used to it, so be ready to exercise your patience. Another downside is that there’s no 4K support. However, this is an entry-range Blu-ray player. Its price is affordable, and it delivers plenty of bang for the buck.
Why LG BP350 Blu-ray Disc & DVD Player?
The upscaling feature is this Blu-ray player’s strongest suit. You can play standard DVDs and older versions that use SD resolutions. The device will upgrade its 1080p HD and deliver super sound quality. And the best part is you get the HDMI cable to connect the unit to your TV.
You can also easily connect LG BP350 Blu-ray player to your computer. It comes with a USB port, and the device has integrated wi-fi. That means you won’t have to use a cable to connect to the internet and use streaming services.
Top LG BP350 Blu-ray Disc & DVD Player features
- A huge range of available formats. Apart from all types of Blu-ray and DVD discs, you can play CDs but also files from USBs. The supported video and audio formats range from MPEG, MKV, and MP4 to FLV, MP4, and MOV.
- Streaming service support. You’ll find Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and other video and audio streaming platforms available.
- Simple remote to control the device. The remote used to control the Blu-ray player is intuitive and has a decent range. It has everything you could expect, from controlling the playback to adjusting the volume.
Best for a true home theater experience: Panasonic DP-UB9000P1K
The Panasonic DP-UB9000P1K is a high-end Blu-ray player intended for specific users. If you plan on securing a home theater experience, this will help ensure the maximum playback level. The device supports all Blu-ray disc types, but also DVDs, and its upscaling feature secures top video and audio quality.
You get two HDMI ports, and there’s a dedicated audio power supply. Panasonic used an aluminum chassis treated with alumite for excellent durability. The device is compact, but it is a bit heavy, with 17 pounds total. Loads of features offered are there to ensure this will be an investment into the future since it meets the latest standards and will serve you for years.
Reasons to choose
The Panasonic DP-UB9000P1K supports 4K playback, so if you have a 4K TV, this will be a way to watch movies and other content in this resolution. The product will replicate the picture like you are in a cinema.
The famous HCX processor stands short for a Hollywood Cinema Experience. You’ll notice the HDR playback for vivid color presentation. Dolby Vision playback is another impressive feature. It’s convenient to use voice controls. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa can both ensure you control the device effortlessly.
Reasons to skip
The obvious downside is the price. It has powerful capabilities, but it’s also true that this Blu-ray player is expensive. For the price, you can purchase a combo of a smart TV and a more affordable Blu-ray player. It’s why this device isn’t for everyone but for people who want only the best possible video quality that meets the latest standards.
Another thing that could be better is the interface. It’s a modern player, but its interface is a bit outdated. You might need a while to get used to it since it’s not user-friendly.
Best for a budget-friendly variant: Didar Blu-Ray DVD Player
The Didar Blu-ray DVD player supports only BR discs for region A, but you can use all standard DVDs region-free. The product also supports CDs and a wide range of video and audio formats.
You get an HDMI and AV cable with the device, and both are five feet long, ensuring a decent length to connect to the TV. The manufacturer secures Dolby audio support. Its processor eliminates noise and tries to implement error correction if the disc has some damage.
Reasons to choose
The biggest advantage is the player’s compact size. Its dimensions are 7x6.85x1 inch, so it’ll be easy to place it anywhere. The product is simple to install and control, and the entire setup won’t take more than a few minutes. You’ll find the image quality is excellent, especially considering the device’s low price. The Didar Blu-ray player does a decent upscaling job. It easily loads BR discs and DVDs, and the interface seems intuitive.
You get impressive connectivity options, including a 3.0 USB support of up to 128 GB. Apart from playing videos in 1080p resolution, the device can play photos in JPG, PNG, and GIF formats, as well as audio files.
Reasons to skip
The remote’s responsiveness is questionable. You have to aim directly at the device, and its compact size makes that difficult. Due to the compactness of the remote, some users might find the buttons too small. Another consideration is that the construction quality isn’t impressive. The edges are sharp, and the unit doesn’t seem durable.
What features do you want in a Blu-Ray player?
Any Blu-ray player you choose should fit your budget. But the trick with these devices is their price range is huge. The most affordable models start around $50 to $100, but you also have units whose price is over $500.
It’s best to assess your requirements and pick a player that offers the most value for money, considering those needs. Here are some features to consider:
- Supported disc formats. As the name suggests, a Blu-ray player will play BR discs. However, most devices have capabilities with standard DVDs, and some even support CDs. It depends on your requirement, but find a player with at least DVD support.
- Supported apps. Don’t forget to check which streaming services you can use, especially if you are a fan of these platforms. Depending on the device, you might have to stick to pre-installed apps. If any of them supports live TV, don’t forget to check our Flixed TV Guide for a detailed schedule.
- Upscaling capabilities. An old DVD might offer an SD picture, but some Blu-ray players have the capability of improving it. They do upscale to increase the resolution to 1080p HD. It’s a process of making up data to complete the missing dots. As a result, some devices deliver better video quality than others. And while the video isn’t the same as native HD, it’s much better than SD.
- Video and audio connections. HDMI outputs are how you’ll probably connect the Blu-ray player to your TV. Newer units might require an HDMI2.0 output, especially to play content in 4K resolutions. Some devices might offer other types of audio and video connections, such as coaxial cables.
- Other connectivity options. A USB port is a common addition in Blu-ray players, making it a convenient addition. Some users appreciate an SD card slot, which allows playing videos, photos, and songs from your smartphone or any other SD card.
- 4K capabilities. 4K resolution is the new standard and offers excellent picture quality. While there are 4K Blu-ray players, they are more expensive than HD ones. The price difference is significant, so pick based on your needs. And don’t forget you’ll also need a smart TV to play 4K content.
- 3D feature. Another convenient addition to the new era is watching 3D movies. You’ll need special glasses, but you’ll also need a device supporting these videos. And that’s what you can get with a Blu-ray player equipped with a 3D capability.
- Picture adjustment. Most screens use 16:9 nowadays, but the preference also depends on what you are watching. Some Blu-ray players allow switching to 4:3 if necessary. It could be convenient if the video was made in that resolution originally.
Can all Blu-ray players play normal DVDs?
Yes, all Blu-ray players offer support for standard DVDs. It comes as a basic feature for these devices, which increases their versatility. So, if your player won’t load a normal DVD, the odds are the disc is problematic. It could have scratches or visible dirt. Perhaps you bought a disc for a different region, and it’s not supported in your area, or there’s a problem with the settings of your home cinema system.
It’s worth noting that Blu-ray players are quite versatile. They can play normal DVDs and CDs, especially those released commercially. The only consideration is to check if your Blu-ray player has 4K support. If the answer is yes, it’ll be able to play 4K Ultra HD BR discs.
Do you need a Blu-ray player?
There’s no doubt that Blu-ray players have become less of a necessity over time. Instead of using DVDs and other discs, most users moved to streaming services like Disney+, or they watch movies, and TV shows played on TV channels. Many streaming platforms offer 4K movies, so you get top-quality resolution.
However, there are some reasons why people still buy Blu-ray players and enjoy them. You should consider these devices for the following benefits:
- You get the best video and audio quality. Blu-ray players will get the most out of the video resolution. If you are streaming a 1080p or 4K movie, your network capacities might limit the quality. But with BR devices, you always get the best resolution possible.
- Blu-ray players are easy to use. You don’t need to be a tech expert to use this device. It’s easy to connect, and the remote or buttons on the unit make everything easy to control. Some devices even support a wi-fi mouse or keyboard.
- Most units support major streaming services. That means you can access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or HBO Max. You’ll also find streaming platforms like DirecTV Stream support some Blu-ray players.
Do all TVs support a Blu-ray player?
Your TV will need to have an HDMI port. That’s how Blu-ray players connect to it and play content with the best video and audio quality. If you know the TV basics, you know that most units manufactured in the last 20 years or so are equipped with HDMI ports.
Another important note is that you don’t need a smart TV to use a Blu-ray player. Furthermore, these devices offer many streaming service apps, so they can add the “smart” feature to your TV.
Our takeaway – Blu-ray players are suitable for any price range
While Blu-ray players aren’t a necessity, they have their advantages. These devices don’t rely on the quality of the internet if you play movies from a disc. But if you are up for streaming, most units support Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other services.
An affordable Blu-ray player can cost under $100. But if you want 4K playback and ultimate audio and video quality, you need a high-end device. They can cost up to $1,000, and don’t forget the importance of having a 4K TV. A Blu-ray player is important if you want a true home cinema experience, and it secures watching movies without the internet. So, don’t hesitate to make this device a part of your setup – just pick your favorite and order today!
Aneeca Younas • Author
Aneeca Younas is a graduated journalist with years of experience writing in different niches based in Oakland, CA. She is a huge movie fan that also enjoys watching sports. That's why she spends hours daily using various streaming services. Over the years, Aneeca profiled herself as an expert in cable-free and VOD platforms.
Desiree Wu • Editor
Desiree is a full-time Honours Business Administration student at Ivey Business School at Western University. She also served as an Editorial Intern at Flixed. Desiree is based in London, Ontario.