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Market Research Group

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Landon Sanders
Landon Sanders

Hd Media Player Best Buy

Streaming services are fantastic but the standard of content you view can vary considerably depending on everything from your TV operating system to your broadband connection. If getting the best picture and sound quality is important to you then there is no substitute for playback from a disc and for the very best 4K Blu-ray players around.

hd media player best buy

4K Blu-ray players not only enhance your viewing experience, they can also support lossless object-based surround formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. But you'll need to partner it with either a compatible sound system and AVR or a soundbar capable of outputting immersive audio.

4K players are backwards compatible so you can play normal Blu-rays and DVDs without issue, though if this is something you're likely to do frequently pay close attention to a model's upscaling abilities. Some 4K players are also universal decks that can play more niche audio disc formats such as SACD and DVD-Audio.

Almost all players have Ethernet ports for a wired network connection and some even have wireless and USB ports that you can use to access an external hard drive. Expect to find HDMI outputs as standard on modern players and, for flexibility, many Blu-ray players have an additional audio-only output.

Our list of the best 4K Blu-ray players only contains models reviewed by our test team in our dedicated test rooms. Each model has been through our rigorous testing process so you can be 100% confident that they all serve up brilliant pictures and sound at their respective price points.

All the main flavours of HDR are supported, including HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, which means you can extract the most from 4K content. It's a very good upscaler too, so normal Blu-rays should look the part on your shiny new 4K TV. For the money, you'll struggle to find a better all-round machine, which is why we've placed this What Hi-Fi? Award-winner at the top of our list of the best Blu-ray players.

The only real downside is the lack of HDR10+ support, but that won't be the end of the world for most. Otherwise, it is a very versatile player. You have to manually enable Dolby Vision for supported content, which is a bit annoying (it should just happen automatically), but this player serves up a detailed, insightful picture and a musical, entertaining sound. Another great option at the money.

Making a Blu-ray player for such a low price is no easy feat. Making a good Blu-ray player at this level is more difficult, and a great one harder still. But somehow Panasonic has managed it with the DMP-BDT180EB. If you can live without the 4K Blu-ray playback, the Panasonic is perfect for any entry-level home cinema set-up. Detail levels, colour balance and motion handling are all excellent for the money.

Soundtracks are delivered with plenty of weight and power, which is just what you want from a premium player like this. The provision of a 7.1 multi-channel analogue is great news for owners of legacy AV receivers, while the choice of either balanced XLR or unbalanced RCA connections for stereo playback and the provision of support for WAV, FLAC, AIFF and AAC audio formats shows this player means business.

This includes a dedicated home cinema room where we spend plenty of time with every Blu-ray player that passes through our doors. When testing picture quality we try players with reference TVs and projectors trying a wide range of content, including SDR and HDR.

To assess sound quality, we connect them up to our reference AV receiver and surround sound package so we can hear just what they're capable of. We'll also use the player with a more price-comparable system to see how it works with electronics and speakers that would be a better fit price-wise.

We also compare 4K Blu-ray players with rival products in the same category, and the current class-leaders to see where they sit in the current market and to help us decide where they should feature in this buying guide. All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity. That's why our reviews are trusted by retailers and manufacturers as well as consumers.

What this means is if you have a Blu-ray disc you can play that on both a Blu-ray player and an 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray player. If you have an 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, you can only play that on a 4k Blu-ray player.

You might find that when you buy a Blu-ray disc it also comes with a regular DVD version to use with older players. Similarly, if you buy a 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray disc it may also come with a Blu-ray version too. However, this isn't always standard so make sure you check you have the right one before you buy.

If the disc you're playing isn't 4K, your blu-ray player will upscale it. That uses an algorithm to fill in the gaps between the quality of the source material and what a 4K version would be, and the best 4K players do a superb job of this. They can't work miracles but we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much better your older discs can look when they've been upscaled.

They're much better. Depending on the streaming service, 4K video is transmitted at data rates between 20Mbps and 40Mbps. 4K Blu-Ray delivers much more: up to 128Mbps. And it delivers that data reliably: there's no network congestion to slow down your stream or make it buffer just as you get to the best bits.

Not a lot changes in the world of Blu-ray players these days. The Panasonic DP-UB9000 remains our choice for people who want to go all-in on image quality without totally bankrupting themselves (we do have options for spendy, though), while the Panasonic DP-UB820 is our pick for balancing quality and price.

The best 4K Blu-ray players are made to deliver the best picture quality you can get for watching movies and TV series. Streaming services are popular, but Blu-rays deliver video at a much higher bitrate than streaming services, bringing you more detail and realism.

Blu-rays allow you to truly own your movie collection. They can't vanish from your shelves in the same way they're pulled from streaming services. What's more, with a Blu-ray you also get beautiful box art and additional extras that come on the disc, like behind-the-scenes footage and Q&As with the cast. All of this is to say that one of the best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players is what we'd recommend for movie lovers.

The rise of streaming means that dedicated movie disc players are more rare than they used to be, and that's a shame: anyone who's experienced the combination of one of the best Blu-Ray players and one of the best TVs knows how superior the Blu-ray version is. And the best Blu-Ray players don't just make the most of your 4K TV. They also deliver incredible sound, especially if you connect them to one of the best soundbars or best home theater systems.

We've tested the best 4K Blu-ray players you can buy, putting them through their paces with all kinds of content and with all kinds of TVs and sound systems. That means we know which players really deliver, and which features really make the most of your home cinema system. And we've also included the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles, because they too support 4K Blu-Ray (or at least, they do in the versions that have disc drives).

The Sony UBP-X800 came out in 2017, a Blu-ray player we rated highly at the time for bringing "brilliant, beautiful 4K UHD player at a sensible price." But there was one major feature missing, and that was support for the Dolby Vision HDR standard.

Overall, the X100 is a welcome addition to the disc player market that delivers a very solid performance. In our review we wrote: "the X100 ticks all the important boxes with its tank-like construction, flawless playback, extensive features, and quiet operation." However, there's no denying that it falls short when compared to the similarly priced and better-specified Panasonic DP-UB9000.

This $227/220 budget Blu-ray player from LG lacks many of the frills found on more expensive models, including universal disc support and analog audio outputs. What it does offer is solid, basic disc playback for Ultra HD and regular Blu-rays, DVDs, and audio CDs.

A bonus the UBK90 offers is built-in streaming (over Wi-Fi or Ethernet) of Netflix and YouTube. So if your streaming menu is limited to those major players, you can use the UBK90 instead of a separate Roku, Fire TV, or Apple TV streaming box or stick.

In our tests we also found that the 4K image quality and HD upscaling were both a little weaker from the Xbox Series X than the PS5. Microsoft has added Dolby Vision since we tested the console but it doesn't support Blu-Ray: it's purely for streaming and gaming. So we'd pick the PS5 if you're serious about playing UHD discs, but you can read more about the Xbox's disc support in our dedicated guide to whether the Xbox Series X is a good Blu-ray player.

You also need to consider compatibility and your current set-up. To make the most of a new 4K Blu-ray player you'll need a 4K TV, although it will still work on an HD display the picture quality will be limited to only 1080p.

It may seem obvious, but you'll also want to think about the design and size of the Blu-ray player. Do you have enough room on your TV cabinet to fit a Blu-ray player? Will it sit underneath your soundbar or be tucked away on a separate shelf? We've included the dimensions of all of the best 4K Blu-ray players above, so it's time to get out your tape measure. 041b061a72


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