Looking for the best Blu-ray player to play your HD discs? We pick the top-rated decks to consider
You’ve picked out one of the best TVs and set up a soundbar nearby, but there's still the matter of the Blu-ray player to consider. Luckily, we've rounded up the best of the best players so you can make an informed decision on which hardware is best for you.
Whether you want the very best picture quality possible, or a feature-packed player that lets you stream from every possible source on the planet, we've got you covered.
The technology has come a long way since Blu-ray was first introduced. Modern players will often feature a range of extras, from 4K upscaling and 3D playback to Wi-Fi and streaming capabilities.
Before you buy a new player, however, consider the upcoming launch of UHD Blu-ray. New players and discs, which support 4K, are coming this year, so if you have a 4K TV or plan to buy one soon, you may want to wait a while before buying a new player.
Current players, such as those in our list, won't support Ultra HD Discs.
Currently, the likes of Sony, Samsung, Pioneer, and Panasonic are among the key manufacturers offering Blu-ray players at both ends of the price spectrum, and the same will likely be true for the forthcoming UHD Blu-ray format.
For the uninitiated, UHD Blu-ray essentially refers to 4K Blu-ray discs. Whereas the current standard conforms to the Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, Ultra HD Blu-ray uses much higher capacity discs to deliver films with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. The new discs, while capable of delivering much better picture quality, are definitely going to cost you.
2016 is sure to be the year of 4K, with a flood of 4K TVs already on the market and more to come. A host of companies have announced UHD Blu-ray hardware in anticipation of 4K's imminent rise. Panasonic used CES 2016 to announce the DMP-UB900, which supports 4K video at up to 60fps, and also contains support for HDR.
Samsung introduced the UBD-K8500 player at last year's IFA technology show, which will also offer 4K content support at up to 60fps, upscaling, and support for Samsung's smart hub and multi-room link hardware. The company also announced that the UBD-8500 will be available from March, with US pre-orders now open.
Bearing all this in mind, you may want to wait for the first UHD Blu-ray players to become available before shelling out for a new device. But if you simply have to upgrade your current setup or want to finally sample the Blu-ray experience now that the prices have fallen, we’ve taken a look back at our most recent Blu-ray player reviews to give you the best players to buy in 2016.