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Best 4K Blu-ray Player 2024: Because discs are better than streaming

If you’re a devout film lover or rabid TV watcher, then having the best 4k Blu-ray player at your disposal allows you to enjoy higher bit-rates for picture and sound.

Streaming is convenient, but it doesn’t surpass 4K Blu-ray for quality and with more classic library titles available on 4K disc rather than streaming, if you want to watch them in their best quality, a 4K Blu-ray player is the best way to do so.

We assess 4K players in terms of their build quality, how easy they are to operate and the features they support. We watch films and TV shows to assess their picture, upscaling, and audio, and if they have any smarts we check those too, to see if they work as expected.

4K Blu-ray players are a great source for 4K content, but you’ll also need to hook them up to displays and surround systems to get the best out of them. Have a look at our best TV or check out our best projector page. Also have a look out our best surround sound speaker set-ups for immersive sound.

Best 4K Blu-ray player at a glance

How we test

How we test Blu-ray players

We watch a lot of 4K Blu-rays, obviously. But before we get to the viewings, there’s the matter of plugging things in, and we spend time checking out whether a 4K Blu-ray player has the bare-bones single HDMI, or twin HDMI to separate out sound and vision, plus multi-channel analogue audio output. All that stuff matters if you’re going to set up a home cinema.

When we do get to the discs, we care how quickly the disc tray loads, and whether it rattles. We care about loading times, how quickly you go from disc insertion to getting to the main menu. While things load, we’ll also take the time to scour the specs sheets to check for format compatibility.

Then it’s time to watch 4K Blu-rays, and we pay attention to the picture and sound quality. No, they’re not the same. The discs all put out the same information but every 4K Blu-ray player processes them differently. We look out for the best balance of detail, subtlety, vibrancy and realism. If there are promises such as Dolby Atmos, we pay special attention to the precision of effects placement.

After all this, we sweat the small stuff. Is the remote easy to use, particularly in dark rooms? Is the system interface easy to navigate?
Finally, every element is judged against the price. If a machine represents good value generally, we’ll be a little more lenient on a bad remote. Pricier machines, however, had better be stunning.

Panasonic DP-UB9000

Best 4K Blu-ray player
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  • Sensational 4K UHD image quality
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ compatible
  • Breathtaking build quality
  • Streaming app portal


  • No SACD or DVD-A support
  • Not quite audiophile-grade CD playback

Panasonic’s DP-UB9000 flagship 4K Blu-ray player is the most ambitious player we’ve tested from the Japanese brand, and for AV enthusiasts, investing in this battleship 4K player is a no-brainer.

The DP-UB9000 delivers best-in-class UHD video performance, courtesy of supreme image processing tech, as well as its HDR support that covers HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats. The images it produces exhibits both astonishing detail and supreme smoothness thanks to its second generation HCX, and we found the player performed a capable job of upscaling HD Blu-ray discs, too.

Our reviewer tested the player with a mid-range TV and found the results convincing, so pairing with a premium TV should elicit even better performance from the Panasonic player.

This Pana player also boasts a level of construction that exceeds its (high) price; disc-loading speeds are decent while loading is smooth and quiet. Connectivity is extensive with dual HDMI outputs (one audio only), two USBs (one is a fast v3.0), and optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, as well as a full 7.1 analogue channel output. There’s also balanced Neutrik XLR stereo connectors and Ethernet on hand to support the internal Wi-Fi.

When it comes to audio it sounds good – not quite audiophile in quality as the now discontinued Pioneer UDP-LX500, but it impresses nonetheless. If you’re looking for DVD-Audio and SACD support, the Panasonic doesn’t have it unfortunately.

Reviewer: Steve May
Full Review: Panasonic DP-UB9000

Magnetar UDP900

Best high-end 4K player
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  • Universal disc playback
  • Impressive 4K upscaling
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • Exceptional analogue performance


  • No wireless connectivity
  • Remote isn’t the most intuitive
  • Disc tray is a bit flimsy

There aren’t many new 4K Blu-ray players in production these days but recently there’s been a burst from the likes of Reavon and Magnetar at giving the marketplace a push forward. The UDP900 from Magnetar is expensive, but it is an exceptional player.

In the words of our reviewer, it is built like a tank but also sports an elegant design. It’s a player you’ll need to make some space for and you’ll certainly want to a solid surface to plant it on as it weighs 15.5kg. On the rear it has dual HDMI outputs, as well multi-channel analogue outputs for those who want to connect a sound system directly into the speaker. The remote control is backlit, which is a nice touch.

It’s a universal disc spinner, so whatever physical media you have it could conceivably play it, and with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision playback, it supports the main forms of HDR too. Strangely, there’s no wireless connectivity, but it seems the Magentar wants to keep the focus on physical media rather than streaming. We’re not going to complain too much about that.

Its very simple to set-up and operate, and playback is incredibly quiet during operation. You can hardly hear the disc spinning.

The actual video performance offers impressive upscaling to 4K, bringing out the best in Blu-rays. Our reviewer felt he was watching a picture equivalent to HDR thanks to the MediaTek chipset’s processing. The look of 4K discs will depend on your TV of choice, but we found the performance to be superb. Its audio performance is also very impressive, delivering a clean, detailed delivery with precise stereo imaging with analogue music. This is a high-end 4K player at a huge cost, but it’s worth it in our opinion.

For a less expensive but still premium 4K player, have a look at Magnetar’s own UDP800.

Reviewer: Steve Withers
Full Review: Magnetar UDP900

Panasonic DP-UB820

Best 4K player under £400
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  • Multi-HDR format support
  • Superb image performance for the price
  • Integrated streaming apps


  • Unexciting CD playback
  • Average build quality

If you own a TV that supports either Dolby Vision, HDR10+ or both, and you want to see your 4K collection presented in the best shape it can, then of the 4K player options below £500 / $500 the Panasonic DP-UB820 warrants closer investigation over its cheaper DP-UB450 sibling.

It features the same second generation HCR processor that’s included in the flagship model, and it helps to produce a performance that we found to be superb with UHD discs as well as making standard Blu-ray discs look beautifully crisp. Colours are more precise and detailed than they are on rival disc spinners, and with Panasonic’s Optimiser feature, brightness an contrast can be boosted without washing out the image, which our reviewer found made viewing HDR content in a brighter room more satisfying to watch.

Picture quality is complemented by a decent selection of streaming apps, though the user interface could use an overhaul. It’s also a classy frontman for a Dolby Atmos home cinema. When playing CDs we found it was worth experimenting with the Digital Tube up-sampler. It features a number of filters that mimic the warmth of tube amplification and it made our reviewer’s CD collection sound more homely.

Build quality is fine, and more in-keeping with Panasonic’s entry-level players, missing out on the premium metal finish the flagship UB9000 sports. We found the player looked presentable enough for the asking price. A remote is provided but if gets lost in the couch then there are manual buttons for power and disc loading on the player itself.

Reviewer: Steve May
Full Review: Panasonic DP-UB820

Sony UBP-X700

Best 4K player under £300
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  • Excellent picture performance
  • Dolby Vision support
  • SACD disc playback
  • 4K video streaming services


  • No HDR10+ support
  • Noisy in operation
  • Flimsy build quality

Despite its cheaper build quality, the UBP-X700 retains many of the same features of the discontinued UBP-X800 but actually includes support for Dolby Vision HDR this time. It’s price has gone up over £200 since we first reviewed, but we still believe it’s a great choice for anyone who wants an Ultra HD Blu-ray player that can deliver excellent video and audio.

We found picture performance to be terrific. UHD discs were flawlessly reproduced in minute detail, with the wider colour gamut and high dynamic range (HDR) of 4K discs all perfectly rendered by the Sony. Images are sharp and detailed with natural looking colours and no apparent artefacts. Our reviewer found the spinner even performed brilliantly with SDR content, getting the maximum out of every pixel.

The UBP-X700 is a digital transport (no analogue outputs), which means there is no DAC inside, just a digital signal being delivered either via HDMI or the coaxial digital output. Choose HDMI and there is benefit from lossless audio and immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. While the X700 might not be the audiophile’s choice, we found it was more than capable of delivering a quality experience whether with CDs, SACDs or streaming.

There is a drawback at this more affordable price compared to more premium players, which is that the X700’s construction can feel flimsy when compared to the UBP-X800M2. It’s a rather cheap and largely plastic player, but this is unlikely to be of much concern if you’re not putting the player out in the open.

Reviewer: Steve Withers
Full reviews: Sony UBP-X700

Panasonic DP-UB450

Best 4K player under £200
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  • Plays HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision discs
  • Good value
  • Easy to use


  • Not as good a picture performer as Panasonic’s step-up player
  • Flimsy build quality
  • No streaming apps

The DP-UB450 is the only player that features HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for les, making it a consumer-friendly player for anyone on the hunt for an affordable 4K Blu-ray player.

Our reviewer didn’t find the build quality to be anything to write home about. It’s light, and the metal chassis feels thin giving it a rather anonymous looks. Like the UB820, there are a pair of power and disc loading buttons if the remote gets lost.

Connectivity is not as extensive as the spinners above the UB450 in this list, with just twin HDMI connections for separate video and audio signals, Ethernet LAN and a coaxial digital output. There’s no array of 7.1-channel analogue line-outs for home cinema speaker set-ups, nor are there any streaming apps in the UB450’s sparse menu interface.

The drop in price also means that the UB820’s HCX Processor is no longer among the features, but our reviewer still found picture quality to be good for the money, although it lacks the sharpness and precision of the step-up Panasonic player. Its HDR10 performance isn’t quite as good as the Sony UBP-X700, but its implementation of Dolby Vision is much more friendlier than that player.

Our reviewer felt that audio was well served, delivered in a crisp and clean manner, handling Dolby Atmos soundtracks without issue. And with audio files, the UB450 does well enough, delivering good levels of clarity and detail.

Reviewer: John Archer
Full Review: Panasonic DP-UB450

Panasonic DP-UB150

Best affordable 4K Blu-ray player
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  • HDR10+ playback
  • Strong black levels
  • Rich colours
  • Affordable


  • No Dolby Vision
  • Small remote
  • Not the most refined picture quality

There aren’t many 4K players that can be found for less than £150, but of the ones still kicking about, the Panasonic DP-UB150 is the best of them.

Like the rest of Panasonic’s affordable 4K spinners, we found the UB150’s build quality to be fine if bland. It’s a tidy, compact and anonymous looking unit that’s acceptable enough for the price but is distinctly utilitarian in appearance. The disc drive can be a little noisy during playback and the remote is a small and chunky affair that won’t favour those with big hands.

It’s not packed full of feature of connectivity options with only one HDMI port on its rear and ethernet LAN in place of any Wi-Fi support. Like the UB450, there are no streaming apps included but 3D and Hi-Res audio are among the features supported by this player.

There’s no Dolby Vision but there is HDR10+, so to get the most from this player, consider pairing it with a Samsung, Panasonic or Philips TV that supports HDR10+. Watching Alita: Battle Angel on a Samsung QLED, our reviewer found the UB150 spun rich, saturated and vibrant colours for a cinematic look, though like the UB450 it’s isn’t the most refined or subtle of pictures compared to more expensive efforts. Upscaling is good with decent colours and flesh tones

The Dolby Atmos performance sounds big, though it is not as nuanced as the rival Sony X700. CD playback is fine too, showcasing good amounts of detail and clarity.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Panasonic DP-UB150


Do 4K Blu-ray players support Blu-ray and DVD?

Yes they can play older disc formats.

Which 4K Blu-ray player is best?

Currently we consider the Panasonic DP-UB9000 as the best 4K player with its HDR support and picture quality.

Are 4K Blu-ray players multi-region?

Yes, 4K Blu-ray players support multi-region for 4K discs, but for standard Blu-rays they limited to the region in which they were bought.

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