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Courtesy of Amazon
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.
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.
Courtesy of Best Buy
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.
When the UBD-M9500 first came out, it was competing in both price and features with Oppo's high-end UDP-203. With Oppo exiting the market in 2018, and a price cut on the M9500, Samsung's quality player now makes for a much more compelling purchase.
Well-built, with a subtle curve and attractive brushed metal finish, the style is a world apart from most cheaper models. Even the remote is a good size, with enough buttons to be useful without overwhelming the user.
Connection options include a pair of HDMI sockets, optical audio, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, and even Bluetooth for streaming content directly to or from your phone or tablet. You can stream content from your local networks, or online providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
As you'd hope, performance is extremely good. Disc loading and playback are quiet, and video quality is excellent (especially in native 4K), which is helped by the player's ability to tailor its output to the display it's sending to.
If you're after a quality player that's attractive and full of the little features that most others lack, check out the Samsung UBD-M9500.
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.
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.
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.