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Blu-ray player reviews

Our testing reveals whether 21 Blu-ray players live up to the hype.
 
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01.Introduction

Blu-ray players

We review 21 Blu-ray players, priced from $119 to $799.

Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which Blu-ray players:

  • have the best picture quality
  • are the easiest to use
  • are the most versatile, and
  • have the fastest load time
  • use the most energy.

On this page:

For more information about Blu-ray players, see Visual.

The arrival of the DVD over a decade ago heralded a new age in home entertainment and marked the beginning of the end for the VHS videotape. Now we’re told DVD is no longer good enough and we need high-definition (HD) digital video on Blu-ray (BD) to truly enjoy video in the home. 

This round of new Blu-ray players includes some extended tests on damaged disc handling and we’ve decided to remove BD-Live from the versatility score (all models on test had this feature), because it is so dependent on the movie provider’s offer.

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CHOICE looked at a range of Blu-ray players to see if their performance lived up to the hype. We tested ease of usability, how long they took to recognise and start playback, how well they upscale the picture from DVD to high definition (1080p) and how well the blu-ray player would play damaged discs. We also measured the standby energy of the players.

None of the Blu-ray (BD) players in this test can record content, but many can stream video from the internet as well as play multiple formats, including most CDs and DVDs – and, of course, Blu-ray discs.

Brands tested

• Denon DBT-1713UD
• Marantz UD5007
• NAD T567
• Onkyo BD-SP309
• Onkyo BD-SP809
• OPPO BDP-103
• Panasonic DMP-BBT01
• Panasonic DMP-BD77
• Panasonic DMP-BDT220GN
• Panasonic DMP-BDT320GN
• Pioneer BDP-150-K
• Pioneer BDP450
• Samsung BD-E5300
• Samsung BD-E5500
• Samsung BD-E5900
• Sony BDP-S390
• Sony BDP-S590
• Sony BDP-S790
• Toshiba BDX-1300 KY
• Yamaha BD-S473
• Yamaha BD-S673

How we test

Before testing, we record all the main features and functions of the blu-ray player, check that it has the latest firmware and assess the user manuals and any other supplied documentation. 

Picture quality is assessed by three testers using two identical reference screens. We watch three BD movies and a 1080p movie shot on a high-quality consumer video camera with each player. We view a DVD movie in its native format and then upscaled to 1080p. 

Ease of use We check to see how easy the player’s remote control, menu system and other functions are to use. 

Error correction We use a specially made DVD and Blu-ray discs with gradations of errors to check how well each player handles faulty DVDs. 

Versatility is scored on the number and type of formats the player supports, its connections and networking ability as well as any interactive functions. Each claim is checked and where a player doesn't perform as described its score is reduced and we comment on the specific failing in the comments section of the comparison table.

Load time is the time it takes for each player to load a DVD and two different Blu-ray discs. Each disc is loaded into the player three times and the average time recorded. 

Power consumption Each player’s consumption is measured when the disc is spinning, in standby mode with power save off and quick start on (if possible) and again with power save off and quick start off.

DVD regions are tested by playing discs from each region in each player. The player has to begin the movie to pass the test. 

NOTE: We recently discovered our region 2 disc was unreliable. We've removed mention of region 2 for this test. However, players that play all the other regions are likely to play region 2 as well.  If you are concerned to ensure a player can handle a particular region, get an assurance from the retailer and keep a record of the conversation. That way, if the player doesn't play the region, you can return it as unfit for purpose.

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