The 7 Best 4K Blu-Ray Players of 2021

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The Rundown
Best Overall:
Sony UBP-X700 at Amazon
The X700 also does a better job of upscaling SD or HD content than any of its lower-cost competitors.
Best Value:
LG UBK80 at Best Buy
Quick to respond to commands from the basic remote, the user interface is straightforward and easy to use.
Best for Upscaling:
Panasonic DP-UB820 at Amazon
There's support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, as well as both Ethernet and the latest Wi-Fi standards for high-speed network playback.
Typically selling for under a hundred dollars, it's a plain little 4K player that does very little beyond the basics.
Best for Versatility:
LG UP970 at Amazon
You can stream from Netflix and YouTube, or select media from a USB stick or portable drive, or via local Wi-Fi or physical network.
While it may be exorbitantly priced, the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is a 4K Blu-Ray player that stands second to none.
If you'd like to mix up your movie nights with a bit of gaming, then the Xbox One S is a perfect choice.
in this article

Physical media may slowly be going the way of the dodo, but the best 4K Blu-ray players are still the best and only way to play those fat stacks of discs you've collected over the years. Thankfully, some of these players have grown beyond just being repositories for physical discs, and have the ability to play media files via USB or adding streaming services to your TV via Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Another neat feature that expands the utility of these devices is the ability to upscale SD and HD content into 4K. The final quality may vary drastically based on the quality of the upscaling software used by an individual player, but players are still a fantastic way to squeeze a little more life out of your aged DVDs.

Make sure to read our guide on what to know when you buy a Blu-ray disc player before diving into our top picks for the best 4K Blu-Ray Players.

Best Overall: Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player

Sony UBP-X700

Prices for 4K DVD players have fallen rapidly since they first came out, and you can now buy a feature-packed player from a major brand for under $200. The best example? Sony's UBP-X700.

Physically, it's a fairly plain-looking black box, but it's what's inside that counts. Support for Dolby Vision, rare in this price range, makes for brighter, more-vibrant video and smoother color transitions on discs that support it.

The X700 also does a better job of upscaling SD or HD content than any of its lower-cost competitors, and many of the more expensive ones as well. That will be particularly important if most of your existing discs are in these older formats.

Both disc caddy and the remote control respond quickly, and the interface is refreshingly simple to use. The player also supports a wide range of streaming services, including the usual suspects like Netflix and YouTube. If you don't already have them via your television or a plug-in device, that's a useful extra.

Best Value: LG 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Player

LG UBK80 - 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Disc Player

LG's UBK80 is a solid barebones option, cutting out the extras to focus on what's important to most buyers: 4K Blu-Ray performance.

That's definitely what it's best at, with smooth motion and impressive detail even in technically-challenging scenes. There's no Dolby Vision or HDR10+, although neither is a major concern today given the limited availability of discs in either format.

There are no streaming service options available (in fact, there's no network support at all,) but you can play music, video, and still images from a USB stick or portable hard drive via the socket on the front.

Quick to respond to commands from the basic remote, the user interface is straightforward and easy to use, rather than getting in the way as many others do. There's good backward compatibility with CDs, DVDs, and non-4K Blu-Ray discs as well. All in all, the UBK80 is a great value option in the 4K Blu-Ray space.

Best for Upscaling: Panasonic DP-UB820

Panasonic DP-UB820

One of the problems with switching to 4K video technology is what to do with all your old movies and shows. You're not going to see all the benefits of that fancy new 4K television if all of the content you're playing on it is only in standard (SD) or high definition (HD) format.

While no DVD player can make older content look like it was recorded in 4K, some do a much better job of upscaling SD and HD video than others. The Panasonic DP-UB820 is arguably the best of the lot, and if you've got a lot of older discs, you'll want to seriously consider it for that reason alone.

Panasonic's "HDR Optimizer" can make a noticeable difference when viewing HDR content, especially very bright scenes (or parts of scenes) that lose detail on most televisions. It even takes the type of display you're using into account, reducing or intensifying the effect as needed.

There's support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, as well as both Ethernet and the latest Wi-Fi standards for high-speed network playback. All in all, the UB820 is a high-quality 4K Blu-Ray player that's well worth looking at, especially if you want to make the most of your existing disc collection.

Best Budget: Sanyo FWBP807FP 4K Ultra HD Blu Ray Player

At the other end of the market from premium models sits devices like the Sanyo FWBP807FP. Typically selling for under a hundred dollars, it's a plain little 4K player that does very little beyond the basics. At that price, though, it's really all it needs to do.

The unit itself is very simple, with just eject and power buttons on the front, and HDMI and Ethernet ports (there's no Wi-Fi) on the back. The remote is small, but unless you have particularly large hands, it does the job well enough.

While you won't get any of the extras like Dolby Vision or HDR10+ here, the quality of native 4K content is surprisingly good for the price. Other than the occasional stutter on complex scenes, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference versus players costing two or three times as much.

The player also does a good job of upscaling older DVD and Blu-Ray discs, as well as playing audio discs and files, but don't expect to stream online content.

Best for Versatility: LG UP970 UHD Blu-Ray Player

If you tend to watch content from a wide variety of sources, take a close look at the LG UP970. This mid-range player is as versatile as it is attractive, able to handle almost any kind of audio-visual content you're likely to consume.

As well as Dolby Vision-compatible 4K HDR Blu-Ray discs, the slimline device can play both commercial DVDs and CDs, as well as all of the various writeable disc formats. Playback is also multi-region compatible, so it should be able to handle your DVD and Blu-Ray discs regardless of where you bought them.

The playback options don't stop there, though. You can stream from Netflix and YouTube, or select media from a USB stick or portable drive, or via local Wi-Fi or physical network. Over a dozen different audio and video encodings are supported.

There's a pair of HDMI outputs, along with separate optical audio out, and a simple but effective remote.

Best Splurge: Panasonic DP-UB9000 UHD Blu-ray Player

Panasonic DP-UB9000

While it may be exorbitantly priced, the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is a 4K Blu-Ray player that stands second to none. This heavy metal-clad player features all contemporary types of HDR; HDR10, 10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision. This player also features a variety of high-quality digital audio converters (DACs) as well as dual-channel and surround-sound output.

Besides providing you with high-quality playback for all of your physical media, the UB9000 also features Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity for streaming content and firmware updates as well.

It may cost multitudes more than some of the picks on our list, but for anyone that demands the best experience from their Blu-Ray player, the DP-UB9000 provides unrivaled visual and audio quality with a smattering of handy features to help justify the hefty price tag.

Best for Gamers: Microsoft Xbox One S

Surprisingly, perhaps, one of the better inexpensive 4K Blu-Ray players isn't sold as a Blu-Ray player at all. Microsoft's Xbox One S (and the more-expensive Xbox One X) is obviously better known as an excellent gaming console, but it's equally capable of playing back Ultra HD BluRay video as well.

Picture quality is impressive, and although there's no Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support, you're unlikely to be disappointed with the end result. As you might expect, though, configuration options are limited, and controls can be quite fiddly when using a game controller instead of a remote.

As with many dedicated 4K Blu-Ray players, you've also got the option of playing older disc formats, as well as streaming from online sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

If all you want to do is play 4K Blu-Ray discs, you'll be better off getting a similarly-priced player that's dedicated to the job. However, if you'd like to mix up your movie nights with a bit of gaming, then the Xbox One S is a perfect choice.

Final Verdict

While you're always welcome to invest in a dedicated 4K Blu-ray player like the Sony UBP-X700 at Amazon, one of the most versatile ways to play physical media remains the Xbox One S, with its ability to play games and stream media in addition to using physical discs.

About Our Trusted Experts

David Dean is a writer who specializes in consumer and travel tech. He has been published in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and other publications.

FAQs

Can 4K Blu-ray players play DVDs?
Every 4K Blu-ray player is also capable of playing DVDs as well as standard (non-4K) Blu-ray discs. There's only one format, so you don't need to worry about compatibility. That said, the advantage of a 4K Blu-ray player is that they'll give you the best quality for content with features like HDR and wide color gamut.

Which 4K Blu-ray players support Dolby Vision?
Dolby Vision is an HDR format developed and marketed by Dolby Labs. Long story short, it's a proprietary technology that requires manufacturers to pay Dolby a fee to use which is why you won't find it on every Blu-ray player or TV. Fortunately, your choices aren't limited since Dolby Vision is supported on TV and Blu-ray models from brands like LG, Philips, Sony, TCL, Vizio, Oppo Digital, Panasonic, and Cambridge Audio. For certain devices, Dolby Vision compatibility may be offered with a firmware update. The only major brand that doesn't support Dolby Vision is Samsung.

Do 4K Blu-ray players upscale DVDs?
DVD formats are 720x480, but if you have a 4K Blu-ray player some of them will support upscaling of lower definition content. All Blu-rayu players can upscale standard DVS, as long as the player is connected to a HDTV or 4K UHD TV using an HDMI connection. Some Blu-ray players also offer 4K upscaling for both DVD and Blu-ray playback.

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