Expand your world of entertainment. Photo: Panasonic
No slouches when it comes to their support for Blu-ray players, Panasonic’s range is diverse and well designed. And this under-$100 player is a gem. With a straightforward suite of apps (including, of course, Netflix) and an HDMI cable included in the box, this player’s star attraction is its USB playback support. It will play almost anything you can throw at it, from downloaded video formats like Xvid and MKV to lossless audio formats ALAC and FLAC – and even DSD, the format used by Sony’s SACD. Amazing value for the price.
Kogan Blu-Ray Player with 4K Upscaling
Enjoy breathtaking image quality with this Blu-ray player with 4K upscaling. Photo: Kogan.com
Model numbers? Pah, who needs model numbers? Kogan certainly doesn’t believe in them, and let’s face it, their name for this Blu-ray player tells you almost everything you need to know! An incredibly thin and unobtrusive player, this one is about the cheapest you’ll see for a player with 4K capabilities – sitting at around the $150 mark. Along with that you get Wi-Fi connectivity, support for DLNA media servers and, incredibly, support for DVD-Audio discs, making it one of the few players left on the planet to do so.
Enjoy the very latest movies and other entertainment at home – on your own terms. Photo: Samsung
Samsung’s Blu-ray players have the advantage of their Smart Hub system, which gathers apps for all kinds of internet-enabled entertainment in a tiny box with a distinctive rounded corner – this is one stylish-looking player. With Samsung’s own upscaling tech to bring not only Blu-ray, but also everything from DVD to photos to a 4K TV with smoothness and clarity, it’s Wi-Fi enabled and ready to go right out of the box.
Experience advanced picture enhancement and wireless streaming with the BDP-S6700 Blu-ray player. Photo: Sony
Sony’s taken the “unobtrusive black box” concept to new levels with their current range of Blu-ray players, with the disc drawer cleverly hidden behind a flat black panel and no light-up display on the front at all. This is actually a good thing when you’re watching a movie in a darkened room. Winner of a 5-star award from respected UK magazine What Hi-Fi, the S6700 packs Sony’s acclaimed video processing and quality into a tiny box that can also play just about any format under the sun via the network or its front USB port. It also supports the “Triluminos” feature of recent Sony TVs. So if you’ve already got one of those, this player will better than the competition. And you can even control it from your smartphone!
Buy with confidence!
Whatever your budget, the massive advances in technology that have been made since Blu-ray was introduced mean that you’ll get a whole lot of versatility in whatever player you choose. Are higher-end picture or audio features are important to you – and, of course, faster loading of discs? Then, as a general rule, the more you spend the better results you’ll get. But at well under $200 you can get a top-of-the-line player with all the bells and whistles that’ll let you do the movies at home better than you ever have before.