Ten... Blu-ray disc players
Product Round-up On mainstream Blu-ray players, 3D is fast becoming just another feature, so whether you want it or not, we couldn't really avoid it in this round-up – but don't let that put you off.
Here we have models ranging from the impulse buy to high-end kit, and you’ll find dimensional compatibility listed alongside other attractions such as BD Live and USB media playback. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to buy a new HD disc spinner, including brilliant value for money or outstanding performance. Some of the following even manage to combine both. So which one will be your next Blu-ray deck?
Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD
Affordable audiophile DNA can be found in this outing from Cambridge Audio. Positioned below the brand’s pricier Azur 751BD, it doesn’t appear to have shed much to reach the lower price point. Dual HDMI outputs offer versatile hook-up, with the principal output utilising a Marvell QDEO video scaler with motion adaptive noise reduction. Translated into English, that means images from both dimensions look darn spiffy.
Unlike its mainstream rivals, the 651BD isn’t blessed with an on-line Smart portal, but buyers do get highly respectable Cirrus Logic DACs, battleship build and universal (DVD Audio and Super Audio CD, plus HDCD) disc playback. File compatibility is excellent: the player thunders through MP3, WMA, APE, WAV, AAC, FLAC, WMV, MP4, AVI, MKV and AVCHD files. It also comes with a weapons grade remote control.
Reg Rating 90%
More info Cambridge Audio
This LG is a surprisingly easy player to live with, even if it is toad ugly. A 3D cheapie with Wi-Fi built-in, it employs a simple user interface to access a screeds of IPTV, including the BBC iPlayer, YouTube and DailyMotion. Also on tap are free (low, budget indie) movie downloads, posing as apps.
Cosmetically the player doesn’t excite though – its design is surprisingly dour. Disc loading speeds are similarly average. Hi-def playback is up to snuff and 3D movies look fine, although this is not a player for hi-fi aficionados. On the plus side, I love the way the deck grabs album artwork from Gracenote when you feed it CDs. The BD670 can be considered a decent media player in its own right, compatible with MP3, AAC, AVI, MKV and MOV files.
Reg Rating 80%
More info LG
Next page: Marantz UD7006
In this age.....
..when everything is designed to fail the minute it gets past warranty why would you bother to spend more then £200 on such a mundane device?
Before anyone counters, yes I was one of those folks that would spend £1500 on a CD player. So I know all about the 'superior power supplies", "the enhanced DACs" for picture/sound quality etc. etc. However, that was many years ago when you could count on support for 10+ years on a device. So maybe it was worth paying the extra for that. Nowadays?
Now I see any electronics device, regardless of price as delayed landfill. That and I've grown up a bit.
Still well overpriced
Most of these Blu-ray players seem to be high-end models that only audiophiles would chase it seems, making it not particularly relevant to 95%+ of the people reading this article.
I bought an LG combo drive for my PC in September 2008 for 67 quid that can read and write CDs and DVDs plus read HD-DVDs and Blu-Rays. Where's the equivalent 67 quid standalone Blu-Ray player over 3 years later? Whilst there have been a few special offers (HotUKDeals is your friend) in the interim, most Blu-ray players are still well above 100 quid! Why?
Blu-ray is doomed to fail long term on pricing alone (after over 5 years from launch, sub 100 quid players are still a rarity rather than the norm they should be - plus shouldn't Blu-ray movie discs cost the same as DVD discs by now too?), never mind that movie streaming via a net connection is slowly closing the viability window for Blu-ray too.
Basically, Blu-ray is an epic price fail and unless the prices fall soon, it'll be dodo time for the format.
Not buying into it again.
I bought my movies on VHS.
I bought my movies again on Widescreen VHS.
I bought my movies on DVD.
I bought my movies on remastered DVD Directors cuts.
I'm tired. I'm not buying them anymore.
Its the local lending library or streaming from now on.
I'd be more convinced about these comparative reviews if there was anything approaching a blind test. As it is, all this talk of superior audio and video quality is just so subjective as to be useless. Of course, the expense of doing properly controlled blind tests is enormous, but as it stands all this impressions stuff has to be taken with a large pinch of salt. For much the same reason, the Hi-Fi mags long ago went into unknowing self-parody propagating myths and pseudo-scientific nonsense.
I'm waiting for the first comparative review of HDMI cables, then the end will surely have come.
Why would anyone waste £170 on ANY of the Blu-Ray players on this list in that pricerange, when a PS3 can be gotten for £179 that does everything they do and a whole lot more besides...
By not including on this list, turns it into a pointless "gadget show" list of randomly cherry-picked players.