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Physical media persists, despite digital media’s popularity. Several reasons account for this trend. Notably, buying a DVD or Blu-ray gives you total control and freedom.

A DVD or Blu-ray can be ripped 9 Tools to Easily Rip Your DVDs & Blu-Rays to Your Computer 9 Tools to Easily Rip Your DVDs & Blu-Rays to Your Computer If you still own DVDs or Blu-Rays, you should back up! Although it's a legal gray zone, the problem is those discs don't last forever. We compiled the nine best free tools. Read More to create a digital copy. Most purchased digital videos from the likes of Vudu, iTunes, or Google Play arrive with some form of digital rights management. Though DRM aims to protect content sharing, it’s a potential computer security threat Is DRM A Threat To Computer Security? Is DRM A Threat To Computer Security? Read More . While there are services such as M4VGear to remove iTunes DRM Remove DRM From iTunes Videos Quickly And Easily With M4VGear Remove DRM From iTunes Videos Quickly And Easily With M4VGear M4VGear simply takes DRM videos downloaded from iTunes and makes them DRM-free Read More , if the DRM changes then those services may not function.

Yet DVD and Blu-ray discs often come region-coded. Therefore this may not be an issue for videos released in multiple regions, it’s still inconvenient. Luckily, region-free DVD and Blu-ray players are plentiful. Check out the best region-free DVD and Blu-ray players to play any DVD or Blu-ray.

Why Buy a Region-Free Player?

A region-free DVD or Blu-Ray player ensures complete physical media compatibility. For instance, DVDs from North America come encoded as Region 1 DVDs and Region A Blu-Rays. While Blu-Ray discs are more commonly released as region-free or all-region, not all Blu-Ray discs are region-free. Moreover, most DVDs remain region-locked.

However, a region-free DVD or Blu-Ray player costs a premium. A region-free DVD player retails for about the same price as a region-locked Blu-Ray player. Yet the advantages outweigh the price jump. Frequentg travelers can pick up a DVD or Blu-Ray from anywhere and are guaranteed it will play. A region-free player is also an excellent investment for fans of foreign films and shows. Plus, you can purchase the cheapest copy of a movie or series, if it’s cheaper in another country.

Panasonic S700P-K ($79)

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Image Credit: Amazon

The Panasonic S700P-K is an excellent region-free DVD player. Panasonic’s S700P-K sports 1080p upconversion via an HDMI output. Onboard you’ll find PAL and NTSC video signal switching. In addition to its HDMI output, there’s a front USB port for playing video files.

Reviewers on Amazon noted its superb 1080p upconversion which delivers a gorgeous display even on 4K TV sets. However, the Panasonic S700P-K does lack a front display. Therefore you title, chapter, and runtime information is conspicuously absent. Displays are common features even on low-end players. Additionally, the Panasonic S700P-K is limited to DVD playback. There’s no Blu-Ray support. With no Blu-Ray support or even a display, you can probably guess that there’s no streaming capability. This isn’t a major downside though as streaming devices are fairly inexpensive. You can even use a computer for streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, Plex media server 8 Plex Tricks and Tips You Really Need to Know 8 Plex Tricks and Tips You Really Need to Know Plex is a stunning piece of software. Put simply, it lets you stream your media anywhere in the world, on any device, whenever you want. But there is so much more to it than that... Read More , and most other services.

Pros

  • Region-free
  • 1080p upconversion
  • HDMI output
  • Great picture

Cons

  • Not a Blu-Ray player
  • No streaming capabilities
  • Lacks front display

Samsung DVD-D530K ($85)

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Image Credit: Amazon

The Samsung DVD-D530K is a spectacular region-free DVD player. Like the Panasonic S700P-K, Samsung’s DVD-D530K features region-free DVD playback and 1080p upconversion. However, the Samsung adds a front display. For outputs, you’ll find an HDMI, coaxial digital audio, and component audio as well.

Reviewers noted that the DVD-D530K doesn’t require a special region unlocking code. If you’re purely in the market for a region-free DVD player, the Samsung DVD-D530K is a solid option. For a bit more than the Panasonic the Samsung yields a front display. You still lose streaming features, but what you miss in internet capabilities you gain in physical media playback.

Pros

  • Region-free
  • No need for region unlock code
  • Front display
  • HDMI output
  • 1080p upconversion

Cons

  • Not a Blu-Ray player
  • No streaming capabilities

LG BP165 ($130)

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Image Credit: Amazon

For region-free Blu-Ray players, the LG BP165 clocks in around the price of a standard Blu-Ray player. You get region-free Blu-Ray and DVD playback, and 1080p video. Additionally, the BP165 includes a front-facing USB port for digital content via external hard drives and flash drives.

Unfortunately, LG’s BP165 doesn’t allow for streaming whether hardwired with Ethernet or over Wi-Fi. Oddly, the BP165 doesn’t feature a display. It’s a pretty barebones albeit functional region-free Blu-Ray player. You might also consider the iVid BD780. While it’s not a name-brand device, the iVid remains Blu-Ray zone A, B, and C compatible as well as DVD region 0–8 compliant. Plus, there’s a front display and 3D playback.

Pros

  • Blu-Ray and DVD playback
  • USB port
  • Region-free

Cons

  • No streaming capabilities
  • Lacks front display

Sony BDP S3200 ($170)

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Image Credit: Amazon

Sony’s BDP S3200 offers a slew of features. There are region-free Blu-Ray and DVD playback plus streaming support. With the BDP S3200, you can stream from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu. This makes it probably the best region-free Blu-Ray player available.

As per standard, Sony includes a front USB port for multimedia playback. Unfortunately, there’s no display on the device. But the region-free playback and streaming options make the BDP-S3200 a phenomenal Blu-Ray player. If you don’t need Wi-Fi functionality, Sony also makes the  S1500RF. It still features streaming, including video game streaming from PlayStation consoles, but you’ll need an Ethernet hookup.

Pros

  • Wi-Fi
  • Region-free
  • Blu-Ray and DVD playback
  • USB port

Cons

  • No front display

Sony S6700 ($250/£99)

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Image Credit: Amazon

If you need 4K upscaling and 3D playback, the Sony S6700 region-free Blu-Ray player is the best device available. It’s loaded with a premium feature set. There’s the aforementioned 4K upscaling and 3D playback, as well as built-in Wi-Fi.

It’s difficult to find a complaint, aside from its price. You’re paying about the price of Sony’s PlayStation 4 for a Blu-Ray player. Sure, it’s region-free, but that hardly seems to warrant its almost $300 pricetag. Nevertheless, the Sony S6700 even sports PlayStation Now for playing games sans-console. Even this isn’t as robust as a PlayStation 4 or 3. Still, if you need a region-free Blu-Ray player and must have 4K playback, the Sony S6700 is a top-tier region unlocked Blu-Ray player.

Pros

  • Region-free
  • Blu-Ray and DVD playback
  • 4K upscaling
  • 3D compatible
  • Wi-Fi built-in
  • Front USB port
  • PlayStation Now gaming service

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No front display

Which Region-Free Disc Player Is for You?

Although there are several options for region-free players, these are the best five available. I’d suggest getting a region-free Blu-Ray player as opposed to a DVD player simply for the increased library. You’ll have access to region-protected Blu-Ray discs as well for just slightly more than a region-free DVD player.

If you don’t need streaming capabilities, the LG BP165 is your best bet and offers the greatest value. Even if you do require streaming, you can pick up a BP165 and a cheap but powerful streaming set-top box or just opt for an internet-enabled region-free Blu-Ray player. For a bit more exploration of the technology, check out the history of Blu-Ray and the DVD Blu-Ray Technology History and The DVD [Technology Explained] Blu-Ray Technology History and The DVD [Technology Explained] Read More and consider these great Blu-Ray players The 4 Best Blu-Ray Players You Should Consider Buying The 4 Best Blu-Ray Players You Should Consider Buying Read More .

Which region-free disc players do you like?

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