With rounded corners and a plain front panel, the Philips BDP7300 looks sturdy, and is deeper than some other other units. As well as having 1GB of memory built in for BD-Live, it’s also the only unit tested to boast of having an HDMI cable in the box.
There’s also a USB socket on the front panel, which can be used for playback of DivX, AVC HD, MP3 and WMA, as well as photos. The rear adds 5.1 analogue audio outputs to the usual component, composite, HDMI and digital audio connectors, which is good to see at this price.
Menus are second only to the LG in ease of use, with a simple ‘Play disc, USB, Settings’ choice from the home screen, and straightforward menus behind the setup icon. But the experience was marred by an inability to work with the live features of our Blu-ray test titles, not even loading the disc unless the Ethernet was disconnected. If BD-Live isn’t important to you, though, you’ll be glad to know the player was the fastest to load our test discs.
Sony PlayStation 3 120GB
For many people, the question is ‘Should I buy Blu-ray or PS3?’ After all, for not much more than a standalone player – and in some cases its cheaper – the PS3 offers a games console as well, with web browsing and access to BBC iPlayer thrown in too.
Set against that, though, is the gaming remote. If you ‘re not a gamer then this takes some getting used to. The Cross Media Bar interface is in evidence here too, but more legible and without the opacity problems that affect the BDP-S360.
Thanks to the internal hard drive, you don’t need to plug anything in for BD-Live storage, and there’s also support for UPnP media playback. But connectivity is limited to HDMI, optical audio and a proprietary AV port.
It does the job, and loaded our Blu-ray discs fractionally faster than any of the standalone players, but unless you are a gamer, we reckon you’ll still be better off with a dedicated player.
Next page: Samsung BD-P4600
XMB. I like it.
It is a simple and straightforward none-touch interface. Most of my none-gamer mates got used to it immediately.
So let me get this straight...
The PS3 has built in storage, blu-ray, fastest disc load times, iPlayer and much much more at a decent price point but because it has a "gaming remote" El Reg is practically dismissing it out of hand? Despite an official Sony Blu-Ray remote for PS3 being available for £14.99 online (a 10 second Google search BTW).
Another vote for the PS3
Quite apart from the WiFi, web, iPlayer, excellent DLNA facilities, superior upscaling and audio options, massive built in storage, announced upgrade path to 3D, and range of controller options, my PS3 Slim only cost £199.99 from Sainsburys.
Frankly, the standalone players don't even begin to compete with it.
Oh, and it can play games, rent movies and do a ton of other crap too.
WTF? Is there some kind of anti-PS3 agenda we should know about?
Hmm, you seem extremely biased aginst the PS3, despite it offering BD playback on-par with the other players on test, despite it upscaling DVD's better than most of the players on test, despite it offering features like iPlayer, video store, media streaming, Freeeview PVR (which none of the other players offer) in addition to it's gaming capabilities.
Like you mentioned, you can get the players less than list price, but you can pickup the PS3 for less than list price too. Sainsbury had the 120GB PS3 Slim for £199. Why one earth would anyone choose a basic, non(or limited) upgradable player for the same, or more, when the PS3 offers so much and does it so well.
As for marking it down on the basis of a £15 remote, that's just plain pathetic...
PS3 - Gaming remote only?!
I know the PS3 only comes with the sixaxis but you could have at least mentioned that you can get a remote for some extra ££ which makes it feel like a proper player, additionally it's compatible with newer Sony tvs so you don't even need that control if you have one.
Also since when is only having hdmi a downside for a blu-ray player? Isn't it the defacto standard for HD devices playing content with copy protection?
Games and HD content in one box, brilliant :)