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Best Overall: OPPO Digital UDP-203 at Amazon
"One of the few players that is Dolby Vision HDR upgradable via firmware update."
Best Budget: Samsung BD-J5100 at Amazon
"A great option for a basic Blu-ray player at a less expensive price point."
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 Streaming: Samsung UBD-M9500 at Amazon
"Will complement any home theater setup and looks great below, or next, to a curved screen TV."
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."
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."
Most Flexible Disc Format Playback: LG UP970 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player at Amazon
"Its USB port can also play compatible audio, video, and still image content stored on hard drives."
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."
Although 4K is making inroads in the internet streaming landscape, due to factors such as video compression and available broadband speeds definitely affects the quality of a streamed 4K signal. The solution, the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format.
Although the OPPO Digital UDP-203 is not first Ultra HD Blu-ray player to come to market, it has made its mark as possibly the best player to date.
To start, the UDP-203 provides comprehensive disc playback, including Ultra HD Blu-ray, Standard 2D/3D Blu-ray, DVD, CD, SACD, and DVD-Audio.
In terms of Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, out of the box, the UDP-203 is compatible with HDR10-encoded discs and is one of the few players that is Dolby Vision HDR upgradable via firmware update, which is available. Also, for TVs that are not HDR compatible, the 203 has a setting that will strip out the HDR encoding on playback so that you can still access the 4K resolution portion of the disc information.
On the audio side, UDP-203 can perform both pass-through and decoding of most Dolby and DTS formats, and can also pass-through Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats to a compatible home theater receiver for further decoding.
The UDP-203 also provides extensive connectivity, including two HDMI outputs (one for video/audio and another for audio only), as well as both digital optical/coaxial, and 7.1 channel analog audio outputs for those that prefer using the 203's internal audio processing.
Another unique feature is the inclusion of an HDMI input. What this means is that users can connect an external device that has an HDMI output (cable/satellite box, media streamer, etc...) and takes advantage of both the internal video and audio processing capabilities (including HDMI-to-analog audio conversion) of the 203.
There are even 3 USB ports provided that provide BD-live memory expansion, or access to compatible audio, video, and still image files from USB flash drives.
Both Ethernet and built-in Wi-Fi allow connection to the rest of your home network for access compatible content stored on PCs or media servers.
However, one important thing to point out is that although the UDP-203 is one of most comprehensive Ultra HD players available, it does not incorporate one feature most consumers are used to seeing in a Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray player — Internet Streaming.
In other words, you cannot use the UDP-203 to access internet streaming services, such as Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, etc... OPPO's decision to not include this capability, was, instead, to emphasize the best audio and video quality possible. Since most TVs now provide access to abundant streaming content, and, with the HDMI input, you can connect a media streamer of your choice, OPPO felt that providing internet streaming capability on the UDP-203 would be redundant.
If you are looking for a high-end Ultra HD Blu-ray player that is also fully compatible with your current Blu-ray, DVD, and CD library, and don't mind a slight inconvenience on the internet streaming end, then definitely consider the OPPO Digital UDP-203.
If you don't mind skipping the bells and whistles, then the Samsung BD-J5100 is a great option for a basic Blu-ray player at a less expensive price point. It plays back 1080p HD video (via HDMI cable) and can upscale existing DVD content with Samsung’s resolution upscaling feature so older DVDs look and play better. The BD-J5100 has a few additional upscale offerings like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, which enhance the bass during movie playback and help to equalize audio levels so volume levels won't change drastically from scene to scene. (We all know the frustration of cranking up the volume for quiet dialog, only to cut to a scene with extremely loud background music.)
Even though this is a relatively basic model, the Samsung still incorporates a few “smart” features like built-in internet connectivity for watching Netflix and YouTube, as well as a USB 2.0 port for connecting to any USB stick to display photos or home video on the big screen. Setting up the Samsung is as minimal as plugging in the included HDMI cable.
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.
It is important to point out that the BDP-S3700 only provides HDMI and digital coaxial output connections. No analog audio or video connections are included.
If you are looking for a UHD Blu-ray that provides a comprehensive home theater content access experience, check out the Samsung UBD-M9500.
Featuring a stylish, thin profile curved design, this player will complement any home theater setup and looks great below, or next, to a curved screen TV.
However, most importantly, the UBD-M9500 meets Ultra Blu-ray specifications, which means that it is compatible with Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.
In order to get the full benefit of native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, which includes HDR and Wide Color Gamut information encoded on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, you need a compatible TV that has HDMI (ver 2.0a) inputs.
Also, in addition to Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, you can still play your current Blu-ray discs, DVDs and CDs as well, so your current collection is not obsolete.
However, there is more. The UBD-M9500 also features access to abundant internet streaming services (including 4K services), provides the ability to stream content directly from the player to compatible smartphones (yes, you can watch a UHD, Blu-ray, or DVD on your smartphone), and you can also stream content from your smartphone to the player, including 360 degree photos and videos.
In addition, if you don't want to fire up the rest of your home theater audio system, you can listen to your content with most wireless Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
The UBD-M9500 also allows you to rip CDs to USB Flash Drives.
However, the UBD-M9500 does not include 3D Blu-ray Disc playback so, take that into consideration if you have a 3D TV or video projector. If you desire 3D compatibility, consider Samsung's 2016 UBD-K8500.
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 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.
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.
LG offers up its own Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player. Starting off with attractive, space-saving, thin styling, the UP970 is fully compatible with HDR-encoded Ultra HD Blu-ray discs (including Dolby Vision via firmware update), as well as standard 2D (and 3D) Blu-ray discs, and CDs. However, its disc playing capabilities don't end there, you also play discs recorded in the DVD-R/RW/+R/+RW formats as well as CD-Rs/RWs and even those rare DTS-CDs.
In addition to all that physical media, its USB port can also play compatible audio, video, and still image content stored on flash and external hard drives, and, using either Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity, you can access your favorite internet streaming movie, video, and music content.
The UP970 also provides two HDMI outputs which can be configured so that only video outputs from one, and only audio outputs from the other. This comes in handy if your home theater receiver is not 4K or HDR compatible. However, if your receiver is compliant, you can configure the main HDMI output to send out both video and audio.
If you desire to upgrade to Ultra HD Blu-ray but still want versatile disc playback for other formats, as well as accessibility to internet streaming content, definitely consider the LG UP970.
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.
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.
Although a 2015 model, the BD-J7500 has not been directly replaced by Samsung and is still available going into 2017.
The BD-J7500 is a Blu-ray disc player that is also complete media playback device for physical, network, and internet-based content. On the physical playback front, the BD-J7500 provides 2D and 3D playback of Blu-ray discs, DVDs, CDs (it can also rip CDs to USB flash drives), and also provides both 1080p and 4K upscaling.
For additional media playback sources, the BD-J7500 has both an Ethernet connection and built-in Wi-Fi for easy connection to the internet for accessing audio/video streaming content, such as Cinema Now, Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, and more.
Also, Wi-Fi Direct/Miracast provides wireless streaming directly from compatible smartphones and tablets, and compatibility with Samsung's Wireless Multiroom Audio Link system allows content being played on the BD-J7500 (that includes physical discs) to be wirelessly streamed to compatible wireless playback devices around the house.
However, it is also important to point out that only HDMI and Digital Optical Outputs are provided for connection to a TV and home theater receiver.
You no longer need a slew of different devices to enjoy all your different media. Our game systems are now also DVD players, and our TVs are now also smart media players. It stands to reason that a combo A/V receiver and Blu-ray player would be a great choice if you’re looking for a full home theater solution. The HW-D70009 from Samsung is a great option because it gives you everything you’d want in an audio receiver, plus the added functionality of Blu-ray playback.
This device supports 7.2 surround systems with up to 840W of output for room-filling sound. There’s the capability for 2D or 3D playback, plus multiple Dolby and DTS protocols built in to further add dimension to the experience. There are four audio inputs, four HDMI inputs, one HDMI out, a USB port, built-in Wi-Fi, and even an included iPod dock. Add that to the Blu-ray disc drive right on board, and you have a pretty serious audio machine that won’t require you to purchase a separate Blu-ray disc player.
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.