Taking the designer fight to Samsung, this superslim Sharp 3D Blu-ray player can be laid flat or stood vertical. There’s no disc loading tray, just a slot mechanism to suck in discs. As a piece of furniture it’s terrific. Unfortunately, as a home entertainment toy it’s far less interesting. There are no apps or IPTV services bundled, and the player can’t stream across a network, even though it has built-in Wi-Fi.
Blu-ray image quality is good enough, but DVD playback is arguably the worst in this group. 3D disc replay is rudimentary, with depth adjustment tools or screen size optimiser provided. USB media playback is limited to MP3 and AVI. Factor in the exorbitant price and it’s an easy model to pass by.
Reg Rating 45%
More info Sharp
Stupidly cheap, brilliantly equipped, this Slim Jim of a player sets the bar high when it comes to affordable performance. Picture quality is uncompromising, with both 2D and 3D images high on detail and rich in hues. Audiophiles will appreciate the fact that it spins Super Audio CD platters. It seems Sony is obviously trying to bring that format back through willpower alone.
Being a sub-£200 deck, there’s just a single HDMI output – so you may need to upgrade your AV receiver for 3D and multichannel lossless sound – but it does open the door to the newly christened Sony Entertainment Network, where IPTV doesn’t so much stream as flash-flood, with the BBC iPlayer and YouTube among the choices. Media playback compatibility across a network and from USB rates is wide. This Sony speaks fluent MKV, AVI, AVCHD, MP3, AAC, WAV and WMA. It’s a pukka bargain. ®
Reg Rating 95%
More info Sony
Ten... Blu-ray disc players
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.