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Best Value: Sony BDP-S3700 at Amazon
"A slim-styled, fast loading Blu-ray disc player that features Blu-ray disc playback, DVD, and CD playback."
Best for Small Spaces: Philips BDP7502 Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player at Amazon
"Fits in just about any shelf space."
Most Versatile: Sony UBP-X800 at Amazon
"In addition to physical disc and hi-res audio playback, is fully capable of streaming 4K content from the internet."
Best Audio: Yamaha BD-S681 Blu-ray Disc Player at Amazon
"For audio CD (and two-channel SACD) playback, the BD-S681 provides analog stereo output connections."
Best Color Processing: Sony BDP-S6700 Network Blu-ray Disc Player at Amazon
"Photos, video, and music stored on USB flash drives can be played back via the front-mounted USB port."
Best for Gamers: Xbox One S at Amazon
"Not only includes features that gamers love but also includes incorporates built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc playback capability."
A good Blu-ray player is a vital part of your home theater setup. The best Blu-ray players are ones that can handle Blu-ray disc playback, DVD playback, CD playback, and support for hi-res audio and 4K content. Extra features like Dolby Atmos and Wi-Fi streaming are added bonuses. Also important to consider is design. If you live in a smaller apartment with a cramped living room setup, you'll want a fairly slim device. We've researched and reviewed a number of Blu-ray players to pick the best ones for any budget.
Slim and fast loading
1080p upsclaing supported
Internet streaming capability
Some quality control issues
No analog audio or video connections
The Sony BDP-S3700 is a slim-styled, fast loading Blu-ray disc player that features Blu-ray disc playback, DVD, and CD playback. 1080p upscaling is also provided DVD playback when connected to a 1080p TV.
Additional capabilities include playback of still images, video, and music stored on USB flash drives or other compatible devices. These can be accessed via the front mounted USB port (you can also use the USB port to plug an external windows mouse or keyboard). The Sony BDP-S3700 also has internet streaming capability (including Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, and Netflix and a lot more), via either wired or wireless network connectivity. The BDP-3700 incorporates screen mirroring (Miracast), which allows you to share content from your smartphone.
In addition, the BDP-S3700 provides access to media content stored on other network-connected devices, such as PCs and media servers.
The standard remote control is included in the box, if you download Sony's TV Sideview App, to your smartphone, you can use it to not only organize your content but control the player's transport controls.
"For its incredibly affordable price and useful collection of features, it's hard to do better than the Sony BDP-S3700." — Ajay Kumar, Tech Editor
Fits into any shelf
Ultra HD Blu-ray support
4K upscaling for Blu-ray and DVD
Ethernet and Wi-Fi
No support for streaming services
The slim profile Philips BDP7502 fits in just about any shelf space. It has the ability to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, which includes enhancements such as HDR (including Dolby Vision, which may require firmware update) and Wide Color Gamut but it can also play standard Blu-ray discs, as well as DVDs and audio CDs and, yes, 4K upscaling is provided for both Blu-ray discs and DVDs.
Physical connectivity is limited. There are 2 HDMI outputs provided (one audio/video, and the other audio only) and there is also an additional digital optical output for home theater receivers that may not have HDMI inputs. No other audio/video outputs are provided.
There is a front-mounted USB port provided for access to digital photo, video, music content via flash drives or other compatible USB storage devices.
The BDP7502 also comes equipped with both Ethernet and Wi-Fi for direct access to Netflix and YouTube (up to 4K) as well as the ability to access digital media files from compatible network-connected devices, such as PCs and media servers.
However, the BDP7502 does not provide access to other popular streaming services, such as Amazon Video, Hulu, Vudu, or Pandora. For access to more services, you need a recent model Smart TV or an external media streamer connected to your TV to access a decent number of internet streaming services.
The streaming offerings provided with the BDP7502 are definitely a weak point. However, if you what to upgrade to Ultra HD Blu-ray, this player is definitely an affordable option to consider.
4K UHD support
Can stream 4K content over Ethernet and Wi-Fi
Supports most surround sound formats
Only HDMI and digital coax outputs
Sony adds its name to the growing number of available 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players, and it is in big demand. UBP-X800 has everything you would expect, and more, including playback compatibility with 4K UHD discs (including HDR), as well as 2D/3D Blu-ray, DVD, audio CDs, and SACDs. Also, an added bonus is playback compatibility with Hi-Res audio files via USB or network-connected PCs.
In addition to physical disc and hi-res audio playback, the UX800 is fully capable of streaming 4K content from the internet, via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, including Netflix.
For audio, the UBP-X800 is compatible with most surround sound formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. You can also stream music from the UX800 to compatible wireless speakers via Sony's SongPal App. No speaker system? Listen to your audio via compatible Bluetooth headphones or a portable speaker.
However, as much as the X800 offers, in terms of connectivity it must be pointed that only HDMI and Digital Coaxial outputs are provided. Although you can use this player with a non-4K TVs (you just won't get the benefit of its 4K capabilities), your TV must have an HDMI input to accept a video signal.
On the other hand, the X800 does provide two HDMI outputs, one of which dedicated to audio-only output. This is very practical for those that own a 4K Ultra HD TV, but a home theater receiver that may not be compatible with 4K/HDR video signals.
Also plays audio CDs and SACDs
Has Ethernet and Wi-Fi
No streaming for Netflix
The Yamaha BD-S681 can be higher-priced than many Blu-ray disc players, but if you are looking for a player that provides options that ups the quality for audio-only playback, the BD-S681 may be a good choice.
The Yamaha BD-S681 provides 2D/3D Blu-ray disc playback and 4K upscaling for Blu-ray and DVD playback. In addition to Blu-ray discs and DVDs, the BD-S681 also plays Audio CDs and SACDs.
In fact, for audio CD (and two-channel SACD) playback, the BD-S681 provides analog stereo output connections. There is also CD-mode shuts off the HDMI output and all video processing functions for a purer CD audio output.
Ethernet and built-in Wi-Fi are provided for easy connection to the internet for accessing audio/video streaming content from Vudu, but, unfortunately, does not provide streaming from Netflix. The BD-S681 can also play content stored on DLNA-compatible devices on a home network, and from USB flash drives (two USB ports are provided). Miracast/ Wi-Fi Direct are also included, which provide direct wireless sharing or streaming from compatible smartphones and tablets.
The BD-S681 can be controlled by the provided remote, from the Yamaha AV Controller App for iOS and Android devices.
Supports 1080p and 4K upscaling
Supports internet streaming content
No component or composite video outputs
The BDP-S6700 is a full-featured player from Sony that incorporates 2D and 3D Blu-ray disc playback, as well as the ability to play DVDs, CDs, and SACDs. In addition, both 1080p and 4K upscaling are included. 2D-to-3D conversion is also included.
Also, to further optimize the quality of what you see on the screen (independent from your TV's controls), the BDP-S6700 incorporates Sony's Triluminos color processing.
In addition to disc playback, photos, video, and music stored on USB flash drives or other compatible devices can be played back via the front-mounted USB port. The BP-S6700 provides internet streaming content access from over 200 services (including Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, Netflix, and Pandora). And if you install the SongPal Link App for iOS or Android devices, you can use the BDP-S6700 to stream music from the player to other compatible network-connected devices. In addition, Bluetooth is also included which allows direct streaming from compatible devices to the player.
The BP-S6700 can also access compatible media content (photos, video, as well as standard and hi-res music) stored on USB other network-connected devices.
For connection to your network and the internet, the BDP-S6700 provides both wired ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity options.
However, as much as the BDP-S6700 has, it is also important to point out what it doesn't have. For example, complying with the current Blu-ray Disc standard, HDMI is the only video output option provided; there are no component or composite video outputs. Also, there is no digital optical, and no analog audio outputs provided on the BDP-S6700, but there is a digital coaxial audio output available, should an audio-only connected be needed.
Built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray support
Supports 4K internet streaming
Older and largely discontinued
The Xbox One S not only includes features that gamers love but also includes incorporates built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc playback capability.
What this means is that when you don't feel like playing all those exciting games, if you have a compatible Ultra HD TV, you can just slip in an Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and watch movies, without having to buy or use a separate player. Of course, in addition to Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs, you can also play standard Blu-ray discs as well.
Another added non-gaming bonus is the inclusion of internet streaming (including 4K streaming) from content providers such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
Combining a game console and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player might make a great addition to your home theater setup.
"The Xbox One S might not strike you as a Blu-ray player, but if you can get your hands on one, the combination of a slim build and affordable price makes it a good option for gamers." — Alan Bradley, Tech Editor
If you're getting a home theater set up on a budget, the best Blu-ray player to buy in terms of sheer value is the Sony BDP-S3700. It's slim, fast-loading and supports 1080p upscaling for DVDs if you have a 1080p TV. It also comes with a number of bells and whistles including internet streaming capability and access to media content on network connected devices. If you have a cramped TV console or limited shelf space, the Philips BDP7502 is another good Blu-ray player. It supports HDR, Dolby Vision, wide color gamut, and 4K upscaling.
Robert Silva has extensive experience in consumer electronics and home theater products. He's worked for major consumer electronics retailer and he's worked in video production/editing, covering CES and CEIDA trade shows. He personally uses a home theater setup with several 4K TVs, a 3D video projector, multiple home theater receivers, Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD players.
Alan Bradley is Tech Editor at Lifewire. With over a decade of experience, he's previously been published on PC Gamer and GamesRadar+, as well as Polygon and Rolling Stone. He's reviewed hundreds of products, including audio, PCs, laptops, and other devices. He has an Xbox One and other gaming consoles.
Ajay Kumar is Tech Editor at Lifewire. With over seven years of experience, he's previously been published on PCMag and Newsweek where he reviewed thousands of products across all categories of consumer electronics. These include audio, TVs, media players, streaming sticks, and other devices.
4K and UHD - Blu-ray is the only physical format that supports ultra high definition and high dynamic range content. If you already have a television that’s capable of displaying 4K UHD video, you’ll enjoy a huge spike in video quality if you choose a Blu-ray player that also supports them.
Streaming apps - One of the great things about Blu-ray players is that a lot of them can also take the place of a dedicated streaming device. Look for a Blu-ray player that supports your favorite streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu.
Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet - If you want to use any streaming apps on your Blu-ray player, you need to connect it to the internet. Ethernet is the better choice if your Blu-ray player will be close enough to your modem to connect via an Ethernet cable. A wired connection like this is less likely to give you trouble with buffering and other similar problems. Otherwise, look for a Blu-ray player that’s capable of connecting to your Wi-Fi network.