Editorial Reviews

Editor's Choice Cheaper Best Blu-ray Players

Update:: Check out Popular Blu-Ray Players as of Feb ’09 an updated article

We’ve Pulled Together the Best of Slightly Older, which means cheaper, Blu-ray Players for Your Dollar in these hard times.

Why read five different reviews at eight different sites?
What we’ve done is scavenged the web of editors top picks, from CNET to ZDNet and given you a one stop web review experience.

Quick Top Picks:


Editor’s Choice Best HDTVs


Editor’s Choice Best HTiB under $1000

How to Choose a Blu-ray Player:

Sony PlayStation 3
Everything Else
Pros – Best value for a Blu-ray/DVD player as well as a gaming console and streaming content
Cons – Lack of analog multichannel outputs or IR receptors
Pros – Can have analog multichannel outputs and IR receptors and support high quality audio options like Dolby TrueHD lossless format
Cons -Not nearly a multifunctional as a PS3

Choosing a Blu-ray player is fairly straight forward.  All player support Dolby Digital, DTS, and linear PCM formats that offer exceptional video and audio quality. Of course, image quality will be relative to your television’s maximum resolution.  Really, unless you are a hi-fi fanatic, the hardest choice for you to make is choosing between a stand alone unit or a Sony PS3. Which isn’t really a hard choice when you thinking about it.

Stand alone units give home theater enthusiast more analog multichannel outputs as well as higher quality lossless sound choices for distinguishing audiophiles.  If you don’t have a audio system that cost as much as a small car, then the PS3 really is the best way to go.

The PS3 does everything a stand alone unit will do as well as play games and connect to the internet for streaming media.  Since most stand alone units and the PS3 cost about the same amount of money, unless you really want true hi-fi quality sound that the PS3 does not provide, it is hands down the best option.

Experts may all agree on the advantages or shortcomings of any product they review but, at AudioReview.com, we believe that the average consumer can best summarize all the details a product has to offer… So read what users have to says!

Update:: Check out Popular Blu-Ray Players as of Feb ’09 an updated article


Sony PlayStation 3 80gig - 499


Specs:

Memory / Storage
- RAM Installed ( Max ) 256 MB
- Storage BD-ROM
- Hard Disk Drive Yes
- HDD Capacity 80 GB

Video
- Video Output NVIDIA RSX
- Video Memory Installed ( Max ) Video adapter memory – 256 MB – GDDR3 SDRAM – Integrated
- Max Resolution (external) 1920 x 1080

Connectivity
- Connectivity Features IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth

Connections
- Connector Type 1 x SPDIF output, 1 x PlayStation 3 AV output, 1 x HDMI output, 1 x Network, 4 x USB
- Expansion Slots Total Memory Stick, CompactFlash Card, SD Memory Card

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CNet.com says: Swanky design with quiet operation; all games in high-definition; PSP-like, easy-to-use interface; plays Profile 2.0 high-definition Blu-ray movies in addition to upscaling standard DVDs; built-in Wi-Fi; 80GB hard drive; HDMI output with 1080p support; no external power supply; free online gaming service.

PCWorld Says: the PS3 remains quite a deal if you want to play high-def Blu-ray movies and aren’t wedded to getting a stand-alone home-theater-style device. Even factoring in the cost of the remote, you’re getting a versatile, reasonably priced Blu-ray Disc player that can handle all of the latest BonusView and BD-Live content. Plus, you could use the machine to play games, browse pictures, and surf the Web, too.

DigitalTrends.com Says: Highs: Amazing audiovisual performance; Blu-ray drive; future-proof hardware; backwards compatible. Lows: Price; no force-feedback; weak launch lineup; smudge-prone exterior; a few technical glitches



Read more details and find out prices here.


Panasonic DMP-BD55 – $399

Specs:

- Sound Output Mode   Surround Sound

DVD
- Media Type CD, CD-RW, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD, BD-RE, DVD-R, DVD+R, BD-ROM, DVD-R DL, DVD+R DL, CD-R, DVD+RW, BD-R
- Built-in Audio Decoders DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD
- Media Load Type Tray
- Upscaling Yes
- Output Resolution 1080p, 480p, 576p, 1080i, 720p

Connections
- Connector Type 1 x 7.1 channel audio line-out – Rear, 1 x HDMI output  – Rear, 1 x Ethernet – Rear

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WhatHiFi.com says: It has the performance you’ve dreamed of, all the features you’ll ever need. The DMP-BD55 offers unbelievable value for money. … The DMP-BD55 is also an excellent DVD-spinner, doing a great job extracting fine detail from the transfer of Iron Man. The desert landscapes that serve as a backdrop for Tony Stark’s capture show excellent clarity and definition, especially where the rocky outcrops are concerned.

TechRadar Says: The provision of 7.1 analogue audio outs on the DMP-BD55 fulfills a niche requirement of some users who would like to connect analogue outputs to their amplifiers, but so far have been limited to 5.1 channels by the spec of previous BD spinners.

CNet Says: The Panasonic DMP-BD55 is the best standalone Blu-ray we’ve tested and it’s a good choice for those with older receivers, but most people will get the same performance out of the cheaper DMP-BD35.



Read more details and find out prices here.


Samsung BD-P1500 – $250


Specs:

- BD-ROM, CD, CD-RW, DVD-RW, CD-R, DVD, BD-R, DVD-R, BD-RE
- Built-in Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DTS decoder, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD
- Supported Digital Audio Standards PCM
- Upscaling Yes
- Output Resolution 1080p, 480p, 576i, 576p, 480i, 1080i, 720p
- Additional Features BD-Live, JPEG photo playback, Progressive scanning
- Connector Type 1 x Digital audio output – Rear, 1 x Network – Rear, 1 x HDMI – Rear, 1 x Composite video/audio output – Rear, 1 x USB – Rear, 1 x Component video output – Rear

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CNET.com says: Relatively inexpensive compared with other standalone units; very good image quality on most Blu-ray Discs; onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and bit stream output for all high-resolution audio formats; Ethernet port for firmware updates; Samsung claims it will update the unit to add Profile 2.0 support and onboard DTS-HD Master Audio decoding in the future.Does not currently support Profile 2.0 or have onboard DTS-HD Master Audio decoding; Blu-ray image quality could be better

Engadgethd.com Says: And since the PS3 sells for the same — unless you find the BD-P1500 on sale — we wonder who’d prefer the BD-P1500 over Sony’s multifaceted console. The good news is we don’t have anything exceptionally bad to say about the BD-P1500; in fact, it works as advertised in every way. So if you’re in the market for a standalone player, and don’t care can wait for BD Live and DTS-HD MA decoding, this is currently the player to beat..

UltimateAVmag.com Says: As much as each generation of Blu-ray players improves, it’s still hard to beat the overall price versus features and performance of the PS3, especially if you don’t care that the PS3 can’t deinterlace 1080i. Even so, what the Samsung brings to the table is critical for audiophiles like myself. The biggest plus is the BD-P1500′s ability to send Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams




Read more details and find out prices here.


Philips BDP7200/37$275


Specs:
Playback Media – CD-R/CD-RW , DVD-Video , DVD-R/-RW , CD , DVD+R/+RW , DivX , DVD , BD Video , BD-R/RE 2.0 , BD-ROM
Disc Playback Modes – A-B Repeat , Angle , Disc Menu , Pause , Repeat , Resume Playback from Stop , Skip , Search forward/reverse , Slow Forward , Standard Play , Zoom
Picture Quality Enhancements – Video upscaling
Video Enhancement – Progressive Scan , Video Upscaling
Sound System – Dolby Digital
Rear Connections – Analog audio Left/Right out , Analog audio Multi-channel out , Component Video output , Composite video output , Digital coaxial out , HDMI output
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CNet.com says: Unique design; can output Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio in bit-stream format; excellent video quality in 1080p/24 mode; Profile 1.1 compliant. No onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio; subpar image quality on Blu-ray Discs in standard 1080p mode

pcadvisor.co.uk Says: Minor complaints aside, the Philips BDP7200 distinguishes itself by delivering terrific image and audio quality at a comparatively low price – in the US, at least. Support for BonusView, too, makes this model a great choice, so it may be worth waiting unt

PCMag.com Says: Enjoy the thrill of full high definition pictures delivered by the BDP7200. Indulge in every detail, silky smooth action and vivid colors with Deep Colour. Current DVD favorites can also be enjoyed, with upconversion to 1080p via HDMI. This new BD player boasts a stylish design with unbeatable sound and picture quality that takes Blu-ray Disc interactivity to a new dimension.



Read more details and find out prices here.


LG BD300 – $399


Specs:
- Media Type   BD-ROM, DVD+R, CD, CD-RW, DVD-RW, CD-R, DVD+RW, DVD, BD-R, DVD-R, BD-RE
- Built-in Audio Decoders Dolby TruHD
- Supported Digital Video Standards H.264, MPEG-2, AVCHD
- Supported Digital Audio Standards WMA, PCM, MP3
- Upscaling Yes
- Output Resolution 1080p, 480p, 480i, 1080i, 720p
- Digital Audio Format Dolby Digital output, DTS digital output
- Additional Features BD-Live, JPEG photo playback, BonusView, Progressive scanning
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CNET.com says: Good image quality on film-based Blu-ray Discs; Netflix Internet streaming; Profile 2.0 support; onboard Dolby TrueHD decoding. The LG BD300 deftly combines Blu-ray and Netflix streaming in a single box, although there are better standalone players without Netflix.

Circuit City User bpaskin Says: This Blu-Ray player has everything in a cost effective package. I ordered online as soon I as I saw it was available. Setup was extremely easy. The Netflix setup was easy, as well. It does require the user to signon to their account on a computer andenter a code that pops up on the screen.





Read more details and find out prices here.


Update:: Check out Popular Blu-Ray Players as of Feb ’09 an updated article

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  • Sharok Hafizi says:

    There is no mention of Denon 3800 BDCI in your reviews. Based on other reviews, most of the Bluray players that you used in your review, do not even come close to the performance of Denon 3800BDCI. It is the most expensive player but it is the best in the market.
    How can you call this “Top Editor’s Pick Blu-ray”????? Unless the editor …..

  • Wits says:

    I’m really surprised that neither of the Sony standalone players made the top 5, like the BDP-S350 for example.

  • Sharok Hafizi says:

    This editor is almost a year behind. He does not have a clue of what a “Best Blu-Ray Player” is. He should not quit his day time job.

  • Chris says:

    It’s the editor’s top picks out of the CHEAPER players. Obviously the $1000 Denons and Pioneer Elites perform better. That’s not what this is about. I think the list is pretty good other than the lack of including the Sony BDP-S350 (as Wits stated above).

    And Sharok, try reading the title before bashing someone next time (and then getting on two days later to bash him again).

  • sharok Hafizi says:

    Hi Chris,

    You’re right. It was my mistake for not reading the title right.
    Sorry about that. He’s talking about the good cheaper players only.

  • steve gray says:

    pretty sure I get HD sound out of my PS3 using pcm into a yam rxv-863 hd reciever

  • Soren J. Hughes says:

    I’m surprised not to see the OPPO BD 83 (the regular edition, not the SE)… I believe it can be had for the same price as the listed PS3 and every review I’ve read raves about it.

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