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best blu ray playerIt’s been some time since Blu-Ray won the high definition media war, and it’s starting to show. Blu-Ray discs are available at every major retailer and can be rented from many services including Netflix and RedBox. Once you’ve laid eyes on a Blu-Ray movie it’s easy to see what the hype is about.

Of course, you can’t play a Blu-Ray player on any old DVD equipment. Sure, the disc might fit, but you’ll receive nothing but errors if you try to play it. You’ll instead need to venture out and buy a new Blu-Ray player, but this can be confusing because there are numerous choices available across a board range of prices.

So which are the best Blu-Ray players?

Sony BDP-S570

best blu ray player

Sony has always been the driving force behind Blu-Ray Blu-Ray Technology History and The DVD [Technology Explained] Blu-Ray Technology History and The DVD [Technology Explained] Read More , so it isn’t too surprising to discover that Sony offers an excellent mid-range Blu-Ray player that provides a buffet of features.

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In terms of Blu-Ray playback, the BDP-S570 does what you’d expect – play the discs. It provides excellent image quality and full support for the handful of 3D Blu-Rays currently available. The user interface is slick, as well, and should be familiar to anyone who has recently used another Sony media player or a PlayStation 3.

A host of other functionality is included in the BDP-S570, as well. You can stream media over WiFi from a number of free and paid services such as Netflix, YouTube The Five Best Educational YouTube Channels The Five Best Educational YouTube Channels Read More and Pandora. These features don’t have anything to do with playing Blu-Ray discs, but they’re still nice to have.

LG BD550

blu ray players

This slim LG player is an entry-level offering that doesn’t offer a lot of features but fulfills it’s primary function well. Blu-Ray discs play nearly as well on the LG BD550 as they do on the best Blu-Ray players that are several times more expensive. The interface is fairly intuitive and discs load quickly.

The LG BD550 also includes compatibility with some streaming services, like NetFlix and Pandora. However, there is no WiFi on this player, so you’ll need a wired Internet connection available in your home theater if you want to use these features.

Sony PlayStation 3

blu ray players

When Sony debuted the PlayStation 3 its inclusion of a Blu-Ray player was considered a major selling point. Blu-Ray players available a few years ago weren’t any less expensive than a PlayStation 3, and they all couldn’t play games. Why not just buy the PlayStation 3?

Things have changed a bit since then. The least expensive PlayStation 3 is $299, which is over twice as much as what you’d pay for the LG BD550. Still, the PS3 can’t be ignored. If you’ve never played a video game, and you don’t care to change that, then you should skip the PS3. Casual gamers, however, should remember that the PS3 has a lot of excellent games available. You can kill two birds with one stone.

Other advantages of the PlayStation 3 include its large hard drive and excellent WiFi connectivity. It is very easy to store media on your PlayStation 3, or stream media to it. This make’s the PS3 not only a Blu-Ray player but also a media center that can do many of the same things you’d expect of a home theater PC.

Home Theater PC – With Blu-Ray Upgrade

best blu ray player

If you already own a home theater computer Using Your Linux Computer As A Media Center (Part 1) Using Your Linux Computer As A Media Center (Part 1) Read More , it may be best not buying an individual Blu-Ray player at all. OEM packaged Blu-Ray players are available as an upgrade for your home theater computer for as little as $49.99.

Yes, that’s right – for 50 bucks you can give your computer the ability to play Blu-Ray discs. You can pay more, of course, and if you do you’ll be able to purchase drives that can burn Blu-Ray discs. Blu-Ray drive upgrades are available as 5.25″ internal drives (for mid-tower desktop PCs) or slim internal drives that can fit smaller PC cases and some laptops.

This is MakeUseOf, so I’d normally tell you about some free Blu-Ray software you can use to play your discs. Unfortunately, no such software is available yet. If you want to play your Blu-Ray discs you’ll have to shell out some cash for a program like WinDVD or PowerDVD.

Conclusion

There are many other Blu-Ray players available, and a lot of them are just fine, but the players listed here are the ones that most future Blu-Ray fans should consider first. If you have a Blu-Ray player that you love – or hate – let us know in the comments.

  1. Deer53533
    December 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

    ggeek squad website sucks.yours rocks.replacing my bluray player.d
    oes walmarts 100.00 Sony going to work? My Samsung is slow.sometimes doesn't load at all.HELP! ME PLEASE!

  2. Deer53533
    December 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    ggeek squad website sucks.yours rocks.replacing my bluray player.d
    oes walmarts 100.00 Sony going to work? My Samsung is slow.sometimes doesn't load at all.HELP! ME PLEASE!

  3. Adam
    December 3, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    LG-BD530 at Wal-Mart for $60. No difference than the 550 except that the 530 WILL play MKV files.

    PS3 is the best deal overall if you plan on doing anything media center related simply because it's a DLNA media player that can read pretty much any video file from a local PC running PS3 media server software.

    Then again, for $300 you could build a decent low budget HTPC and almost unlimited options of software and hardware upgrades...

  4. Adam
    December 3, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    LG-BD530 at Wal-Mart for $60. No difference than the 550 except that the 530 WILL play MKV files.

    PS3 is the best deal overall if you plan on doing anything media center related simply because it's a DLNA media player that can read pretty much any video file from a local PC running PS3 media server software.

    Then again, for $300 you could build a decent low budget HTPC and almost unlimited options of software and hardware upgrades...

  5. M.S. Smith
    November 28, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Just as a follow-up - the prices on Blu Ray drives have really dropped for the holidays. There were some very nice Sony drives at Best Buy for $99 last time I was there. This looks like a good season to get into Blu Ray if you're on the fence.

  6. minki
    November 27, 2010 at 5:52 am

    I'm waiting for PC Blu-Ray drives to get better burning and reading speeds, the kinks worked out much better and of course price drop before adding one to my computer. To be able to back up my PC, put some movies on it (of course not now, but hopefully soon) and other things onto a disc of that space would make me happy.

    • I have an lg bh10ls30
      January 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      They're not too bad, I mean I've seen some well priced 10x burners (about 100$), which isn't exactly bad when the max on the market today is 12x (200-300$)? i think?...

  7. Jhinchy
    November 17, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    1 other great advantage for the PS3 would be the fact that it gets all upgrades that Blu Ray came out with in the past few years. 1 of the big ones I was even shocked was the update to the 3D feature to it. I know most, if not all, of the first gen players didnt even have the option to update firmware. I dont know what features or options the newer stand alone players have now but I still swear by the PS3 as the best player for the money and options it continues to offer for free as they come out.

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