The HDR to SDR conversion tech increases peak brightness while making sure the picture retains deep and detailed blacks. The DSEE HX software will be able to upscale MP3 tracks' dynamic range and also frequency.
Moving through the Netflix menu is slow.
The Sony UBP-X800 is probably the only Blu-ray player that puts audio before video. That being said, the device does not sacrifice video, not at all. Supporting HDR to SDR conversion and 4K upscaling, this model will be able to make even pedestrian content come alive.
Blu-ray, DVD, CD, USB
4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160)
Xvid, AVCHD, HEVC, Motion JPEG, MPEG-1 Video/PS, VOB, VRO, MPEG-2 Video/PS, TS, VOB, .VRO, MPEG-4 AVC, VC1, AAC, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, HEAAC, LPCM, WMA10 Pro, WMA9 Standard, JPG
Wi-Fi, DLNA, Bluetooth, 1 x USB, 2 x HDMI out, 1 x Coaxial audio out, Ethernet port
DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision
The HDR tech here will be able to reproduce the darkest blacks and the brightest whites. The noise reduction feature will minimise interferences and provide precise image expression. The Dolby Atmos® tech will treat sounds as separate objects to make the experience more immersive.
The included HDMI cable is pretty short.
The LG UBK80 is not without its limits but, provided the TV you're using already has Smart functionality, you have very little incentive to spend extra money on more expensive players. Instead, look into this one, already fitted with the right video and audio tech to support quality viewing experience.
Blu-ray, DVD, CD, USB
4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160)
Xvid, MPEG4 AVC (H.264), VOB, MPEG2 PS/TS, MPEG-1, AVCHD, MKV, AVC Rec, M4V, WMV, 3GP, FLV, SMPTE VC1 (VC-9), MOV, TS, DAT
DLNA, 1 x USB, 1 x HDMI out, Optical audio out, Ethernet port
DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos
Due to Bluetooth connectivity along with LDAC codec and SongPal app, you can use this Blu-ray player as an integral part of an advanced music streaming system.
No high audio resolution support.
This model is a worthy choice for people who wish to experience brilliant picture and sound quality, yet without spending too much money on a player.
Blu-ray, DVD, CD, USB
4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160)
1 x USB 2.0,1 x HDMI Out, Coaxial audio out, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, DLNA, Bluetooth
Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio
The Deep Colour technology increases the brightness and colour saturation while the xvYCC ensures a wide colour gamut. The Noise Reduction feature removes noise from the audio signal.
The player lacks pre-installed Internet services.
This budget-friendly player will surprise you with outstanding quality and vividness of the picture while its compact and curved design will blend perfectly with any interior.
Blu-ray, DVD, CD, USB
Supporting the best audio decoders, this device reproduces audio with excellent accuracy, offering natural depth, delivering intricate tones, and ensuring honest space perception to create an immersive viewing experience.
The remote is small.
The Panasonic DMP-BD84EB-K caters to the people who like hopping on an occasional nostalgia train and enjoying archived content, including old photos, footage from trips abroad, and more that you can access from external HDDs.
Blu-ray, DVD, CD, USB
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Xvid, MPEG2/4, DivX, DivX HD, AVCHD, MKV, WMV, DSD, FLAC, AAC, ALAC, WAV, MP3, JPEG
1 x USB, 1 x HDMI Out, Ethernet port
Dolby Digital / TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio
The Sony Ubp-X800M2 is a thoroughly-designed product. This premium device delivers across the board, leaving no stone unturned where the construction and performance aspects are concerned. More often than not, these players start with the specs because they sell the product more than everything else. Here, this is not necessarily the case. Yeah, the specs are great but so is the frame-and-beam chassis that keeps the entire construction rigid, eliminating micro-vibrations and providing effective electrical shielding to keep the visuals and the audio rich and dynamic.
Blu-ray players can skimp on audio sometimes but this isn't something that happens here. Quite the opposite, the device supports most 24-bit audio formats, from AAC, HEAAC, and ALAC to DSD 11.2 MHz and more, matching the stunning visuals with equally impressive sound. This is only where this device's capabilities start, though. The device also supports Dolby Atmos®, treating sounds as separate objects to release them using standard channels yet allowing these sounds to move freely, around and above you, surrounding you with audio. Meanwhile, the DTS:X tech creates unlimited audio objects, adapting them to the speakers without delay to make every sound deep and impactful. You'll be listening to lightning cracking, sirens wailing, and cars honking, blare all around you, with startling clarity to boot.
This model is compatible with most discs, from DVD and compact discs to Blu-rays and everything in-between them, that goes without saying. What also goes without saying is the screen mirroring functionality and 3D support because premium models are not complete without these solutions.
The HDR to SDR conversion that's present here is not as prevalent though, bully for these "premium" models because the conversion tech here manages to increase the picture's peak brightness while retaining deep and highly-detailed blacks, making non-HDR content vibrant and nuanced. On the subject of upscaling, we'd be remiss not to mention the DSEE HX software, upscaling MP3's frequency and dynamic range to almost match high-res audio quality. Besides that, supporting the BT.2020 colour spaces, this device will be able to reproduce much more saturated and realistic colours, from deep aquatic blues to accurate greens and rich reds.
In short, the Sony UBP-X800 will be able to appease audiophiles' needs first and foremost, turning even the most pedestrian soundtracks into audio spectacles.
SEPARATE AUDIO OBJECTS
The LG UBK80 is not expensive. Sitting comfortably at the mid-range segment, the device has its moments but also its flaws. Starting with the latter, the HDMI cable that the model's shipped with is pretty short, not the biggest issue but unpleasant nonetheless. Besides that, the device is fitted with limited tech, lacking audio upscaling software and maybe a Wi-Fi module to enable video streaming, something that most Blu-ray players within this price bracket are seldom manufactured without. On the upside, the company's SIMPLINK™ feature has not gone anywhere, connecting the TV to outside apps and different services. Using this system, you'll be navigating through these apps and services with intuitive ease, organizing them as you please.
The model's more basic than we've come to expect from mid-range players, though not from the audio standpoint. The DTS-HD Master Audio support is basically obligatory as far as these players are concerned, we get that. But the Dolby Atmos® technology is something that's usually reserved for premium models, so the surprise was nice, to say the least. This surround sound tech treats sounds as separate objects, releasing them to move without restrictions, flowing around and even above you to make the experience immersive, enveloping, and beyond engaging.
From the video playback angle, the device is not trailing behind too. First things first, you're offered HDR support, making the contrast bold and the colours vibrant. Second, the model's also compatible with 4K Ultra HD content, transporting you from dull, lifeless imagery into the world brimming with crisp, detailed, nuanced, and sharp visuals. You can watch legacy content too as the device is backwards compatible. That being said, we would recommend upscaling that content since LG's upscaling tech is pretty good, reproducing outdated pictures with stunning clarity. Adding more, the model's adopting noise reduction tech, minimizing interferences and offering precise image expression.
The device's footprint and outline are uninspired, no two ways about it. Blu-ray players' appearance is not something that matters the most but we'd like to see some improvements next time, maybe make the profile more streamlined, maybe the buttons less clunky.
Even taking that into account though, the LG UBK80 is impressive in its own right. People whose TV is already fitted with Smart functionality will find this product more than good enough.
|Last updated price||£100.78|
Sony BDP - S6700
Expand Your Entertainment Horizons
You may wonder what differs one Blu-ray player from another one considering that most of them offer pretty much the same playback capabilities, brilliant sound, and great picture quality. Well, speaking about the Sony BDP-S6700, the most prominent feature that sets this player apart from the competition is the Bluetooth connectivity completed with the LDAC codec. Thus, you can use the Blu-ray player as a part of a home entertainment system. What's more, the player has a built-in Wi-Fi module with a multi-antenna design resulting in a stronger signal and faster data transfer. However, to pair all the devices with a multi-room sound system and have an ability to control them from a smartphone, you should download and install the SongPal Link app for iOS or Android devices.
Once connected to the Internet, you get access to the number of applications such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. and can control the player through a smartphone or tablet via the Video & TV SideView app. The player is also fitted with a simple remote if you prefer traditional control methods or you don't want to bother with Bluetooth synchronization. All in all, if you want to purchase a high-performing player at a competitive price, the Sony BDP-S6700 will perfectly meet your requirements.
It is quite hard to imagine that a budget choice player like the LG BP250 can surprise a consumer with some groundbreaking features. Though, the device will definitely throw a curve with its supported resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) resulting in lifelike imaging. Such vividness has been achieved in large part owing to the Deep Colour technology that increases the brightness and colour information while the xvYCC ensures significantly higher saturation and a wider colour gamut. We should also make a note of the Noise Reduction feature that removes noise from the audio signal and thus, adds to the overall picture quality. What is also important, it is quite easy to manage the player, pre-set a parental control or update the operating system with USB flash or CD disc.
To make the device's use even more convenient, the manufacturer has equipped it with Screen Saver and Last Scene Memory features which will blank the screen when the Blu-ray player is not in use and resume the playback from where you stopped it. Top it off, the Blu-ray player has a super compact and design, offering more free space for placing an additional audio system or some other equipment without spoiling your room's style. Summing up, we may say that this model is the stuff but not the fluff!
|Last updated price||£50.93|
All Aboard the Nostalgia Train
The Panasonic DMP-BD84EB-K banks primarily on the audio part. While there's nothing wrong with the visuals that this device can reproduce, the integrated audio decoders are what sells this product, including Dolby Digital/TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio. Using these decoders, the model faithfully reproduces the source's audio, with natural depth, intricate tones, and honest space perception creating an immersive atmosphere.
Performance is king where Blu-ray players are concerned but appearance can be queen when done right. With the model's minimal body creating this slim yet stylish profile, this device can fit even more upscale interiors without looking like the odd man out.
From the playback perspective, the most interesting part is that the model can work with NTFS HDDs, letting you enjoy music (WMA, DSD, FLAC, MP3), pictures (JPEG, MPO), and camcorder video content (MP4) from an external HDD archive.
The remote is where this product drops the proverbial ball. Since it is pretty small, the layout is not very ergonomic and the spacing between the buttons is almost nonexistent.
Even taking the shoddy remote into account though, the Panasonic DMP-BD84EB-K makes quite a convincing case, aiming at customers who like taking an occasional nostalgia trip.
What Is a Blu-Ray Player?
A lot of features differ modern Blu-ray players from their predecessors that were released only a few years ago. Nowadays, they not only read 3D discs and support high-quality images but also connect to the Internet and stream videos online. Despite the fact that today we don’t really need special devices to play discs, these Blue-Ray players are still in demand among users, especially those who have built up a collection of hits and favorite movies recorded on CDs or DVDs. At the end of the day, a Blu-ray disc is still by far the best physical storage solution. So, to make things clear, this review will focus on the best Blu-ray players available on the market today.
The range of capabilities of DVD players is pretty basic and well-known, so no introduction needed if you plan to purchase a brand-new DVD player. Or you could go in a different direction and acquire an HD projector.
What Features to Compare
First of all, consider Blu-Ray player's compatibility with different discs and media file formats. Apart from standard compact discs like CD, DVD, and VCD, such media players support older formats and Blu-ray discs. Blu-ray – is an optical disc data storage format capable of storing the highest level of image quality: Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) and Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels). Check those models that support the max resolution to play all-time-favorite movies in high clarity with vivid colours.
In addition to the standard MP3, JPEG and AVI formats encoded by DivX / XviD codecs, all modern media players are capable of reproducing a large number of other popular multimedia formats, such as MKV and MP4 video. Although 3D movies didn’t get quite a lot of popularity from the audience, a three-dimensional video is still firmly established in the market of home theaters, so if you are interested in watching 3D-movies, make sure that your player has a Blu-ray 3D support and a 1.4 HDMI interface. The list of supported formats should be clarified in the description of the model.
Another important feature to consider is the functionality of a device. Perhaps the main peculiarity here is the access to a different premium content via the Internet. Various services may include a huge selection of movies, TV-series, and shows for all tastes. In other words, pre-installed apps and services provide users with functional capabilities that Smart TV offers. With a Blu-Ray player and different online services such as Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video you can stream movies and TV-series on your TV. However, there is a need for the Internet connection, and some devices may be connected either by a cable or Wi-Fi. The availability of the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) function is also preferable. This way you'll be able to access photos, movies, and music stored on your devices like PCs, smartphones, and tablets wirelessly. But they must be connected to the same home network to work properly. It’s also possible to transfer content from mobile devices with the help of a screen overlap function (Miracast). In this case, the connection is performed via Wi-Fi Direct technology, which means that you do not even need to access a Wi-Fi network. Alongside the main features, it’s worth mentioning that some SONY players have a special mode that supports PlayStation 3 games on your TV. No more PS3 console needed to play your favorite games, just connect to a compatible cloud service, connect your PS controller and subscribe to the channel.
Interfaces and Control
And the last features you should pay attention to are the Interfaces and player's control. If you need to connect a Blu-Ray player to the older TV models it would work well with SCART, Component and Composite inputs. For people who own modern TVs, we'd recommend opting for a player with HDMI jacks. It will ensure that your sound and video are transmitted in a digital format. You can easily connect your Blu-Ray player to the Internet through a LAN port. And models with USB-ports will give you an ability to reproduce video and music from different HDD connected to a player. At the same time, to play sound via the external acoustic system, you should consider the number and types of audio outs, which can be either digital optical, or coaxial with analog stereo outputs. If you are going to connect your device directly to the screen, make sure that your player has all the necessary audio codecs to produce a high-fidelity audio signal. Typically, it is subject to DTS-HD and Dolby True HD formats that cannot be decoded by inexpensive Blu-Ray players. All Blu-Ray players can be controlled in 2 ways: either via a standard remote included in a box or via your mobile phone (requires a special app installation first).