Picking up a 4K Blu-ray is the easiest way today to get value out of your 4K television. There's no need to have an internet connection running at least 25Mbps; no need to wait for parts to buffer or download; no need to exhaust your data allowance. Grab a 4K copy of Deadpool and you'll be able to enjoy the antics of a foul-mouthed Ryan Reynolds in unprecedented clarity.
But there's a lot more to a good Blu-ray player than taking in some discs. Competent processors, access to the internet and the support of smart apps make these home entertainment devices an easy way to make ordinary televisions smarter.
Here's how we test these appliances to bring you results that can help guide your purchase. In this article:
Our testers have years of expertise in testing televisions, disc players and home entertainment gear. We rely on a panel of five experts to assess all kinds of criteria to ensure each product is assessed accurately and objectively.
We start by testing the most popular models available and then progress to other models on the market. We aim to cover a category evenly, right across the least expensive to the most expensive, and if you can't find an exact model in a review, then you should be able to find one that shares most of its features and functionality.
Our testing starts with updating each Blu-ray player to the latest firmware. We then assess each model's user manual, before cataloguing the features and functions.
A panel of testers assesses each Blu-ray player's picture quality. We run a number of tests using two identical reference screens. Test footage includes:
- Three Blu-ray disc movies
- A 1080p movie recorded on a high-quality consumer video camera
- A DVD movie in its native format
- A DVD movie upscaled to 1080p
We also use a specially made DVD and Blu-ray disc with gradations of errors to check how well each player handles faulty discs.
Ease of use
We assess the player's menu structure, remote control and more to determine how easy it is to use.
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 is recorded.
Each player's power consumption is measured when the disc is spinning, in standby mode (with any power save features disabled) and quick start on (if possible). We then repeat the process after enabling any power save features and with any quick start features switched off.
Every Blu-ray player is awarded an overall score. This score, scientifically calculated based on a pre-determined weighting, lets you know how each performed at a glance. It also makes it easier to compare each model's features and specs. The overall score is composed of:
- Ease of use: 50%
- DVD picture: 20%
- Blu-ray disc picture: 20%
- Operation noise: 10%
Additional scores are recorded, even though they don't contribute to the overall score. These include 3D picture mode, 4K upscaling and mirroring scores.