Panasonic has packed so many features into this range topper, it’s a wonder that there’s any room left for discs. A Touch-Free sensor on the lid means a casual wave will send the disc tray flying out, and you can customise the home screen by uploading your own JPEG. Its 2D hi-def is class-leading and 3D performance is exemplary – seeming somehow outier than the rest. The player can also depth-convert 2D platters into faux 3D – well, someone must want to do it.
The deck is also a genuinely impressive audio component, doing a cracking job with CDs and multichannel discs. I particularly like the Tube Sound presets, which aren’t as gimmicky as you might first think. Media playback is a less convincing. Across a network, the player fails to identify more than it plays. Best results can be had from USB. Oh, and when you run out of discs, you can always resort to watching content on Panasonic’s Viera Connect smart portal.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Panasonic
With its aerodynamic curves and Silver Arrow finish, Philips’ BDP7600 3D Blu-ray player has a definite whiff of Formula 1 about it. And as it turns out, it’s pretty nippy loading discs too. The single HDMI output is bolstered by a multi-channel analogue audio output, and there’s integrated Wi-Fi. Sadly, IPTV and apps services are thin on the ground (although you will find BBC iPlayer and YouTube).
Blu-ray images, both 2D and 3D, offer the requisite levels of sharpness and nuanced colour. The player doesn’t support Super Audio CD, but regular CDs play back with foot-tapping authority – listen from the analogue outputs. AVI, MOV, MKV MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC files all play across the network and from USB.
Reg Rating 75%
More info Philips
Next page: Samsung BD-D7500
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.