Editorial Reviews

Netflix and BD Live Blu-Ray Players Guide

What does it mean to have a Network Ready Blu-Ray Player?

How to Choose a Network ready Blu-Ray Player:

BD-Live Netflix

The Good – BD-Live compatible titles enjoy special online benefits and features such as extra download-able content, online bonus features and live transactions.  in addition, some BD-Live players can also be updated or upgraded using the BD-Live Connection. – http://us.blu-raydisc.com/

The Bad – It isn’t Netflix.  So for those of you who just want to watch movies and don’t care too much about extra content BD-Live isn’t for you.

Netflix and BD Live – These Blu-Ray players have both the ability of BD-Live and the ability to stream Netflix movies over your internet connection to your TV.  Unfortunately at this time the two Blu-Ray players that do this, the LG BD-300 and the Samsung BD-P2500 aren’t set up with wifi.
The LG BD-390 adds WiFi and Youtube to the players features.

What does it mean to have a network ready Blu-Ray player?
There are currently two types of network ready Blu-Ray players.  Those that Netflix and those that don’t.  So what does that mean exactly?  It means that only selected LG and Samsung Blu-Ray players can download and play Netflix over the network ready features.  The rest of the network ready Blu-Ray word uses BD-Live for what appears to be more social networking and shorts features.
BD-Live allows the user to use features such as, instant message chat during a movie.  Download trailers or deleted scenes.  There is talk of user created commentary you can download and listen to while watching a movie, which could be good for film school students but for other…..well, we’ll have to wait and see.  The feature that I personally like best about the BD-Live is the ability of the Blu-Ray manufacturer to update the firmware of the player.  Fixing bugs, updating menus and hopefully updating image processing code to make the picture the best possible.
So what should you choose?  BD-Live only versus Netflix ready players.  Well, for one, the Netflix will cost you an extra monthly amount, but you’ll have access to 12,000 movies from Netflix online database.  Which is great.  What about image quality, streaming issues and so forth?  Well, obviously the better your home internet connetion the better the streaming movie will look.  1Megabit is minimum with a 6Megabit download speed being ideal to watch HD like movies. The max resolution at this time is 720p and not all the 12,000 movies are HD encoded.  Sound? Well it isn’t HD audio.  So you’ll have to consider if this is an issue for you.  If you are a super home theater buff this lack of quality could kill the deal.  If you don’t really care too much, and just want to watch movies that do look pretty good, than you should consider a Netflix ready player.
Why go with just the BD-Live player? Well, this is pretty much summed up above. If you are a true home theater buff and you want the best possible image and sound everytime you watch a movie, than the Netflix streaming video option isn’t really for you.
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!

LG BD300 – Netflix/BD-Live – $699.99

Specs:
  • Blu-Ray Disc player with BD Live and BonusView
  • Netflix instant streaming ready with Netflix subscription
  • Full HD 1080p output via HDMI with Cinema mode at 24 or 60 frames per second
  • Superior audio performance with 7.1 channels with Dolby Digital Plus & TrueHD & dts-HD
  • LG Simplink connectivity of other LG products using HDMI connection
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CNET Says: The Bottom Line: The LG BD300 deftly combines Blu-ray and Netflix streaming in a single box, although there are better standalone players without Netflix.

PCMag Says: The LG BD300 is the fastest Blu-ray player we’ve tested, and its support for Netflix Instant Streaming is a nice bonus that comes with this solid value.

Amazon Reviewer J.B Kraft: You will really enjoy a Netflix subscription much, much more with this unit.
December 23 Addendum — after around seven weeks, we are loving this more and more. The regular firmware/software updates online have made this better and better. There is a fuel gauge display now on quality, and we are receiving some movies in true HD quality

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Store Name Store Rating Price Notes Buy Now
$159.99
$499.99 Fantastic prices with ease & comfort of Amazon.com!
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For 2009 LG is updating from their popular BD300 model to the BD390 (~$450) and BD370 (~$300).
The LG BD370 networked blu-ray player features advanced audio format decoding of Dolby TrueHD, Digital Plus and DTS-HD for the highest quality sound. 1080p / 24p output, with 1080p upscalling of DVDs. Expect to find the BD370 in the second quarter of 2009. – www.hdtvlounge.net

The LG BD390 has all the same features as the BD370 but adds to the performance and connectivity. Featuring built-in, internal wireless connectivity for easy home networking, allowing BD-Live and streaming HD content without the need to hookup an Ethernet cable to the BD390. The LG BD390 also features 1GB of built in memory for BD-Live content, without the need of a flash drive.7.1 channel audio outputs are also featured. Find the LG BD390 slightly later, during the third quarter 2009. – www.hdtvlounge.net


NAD T 587 Blu-Ray Player – BD-Live – $1499.99

Features

  • Plays BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE
  • Plays DVD, DVD+R/ RW, DVD-R/RW
  • Resolution up to 1080p 24/60 over HDMI
  • Upscales DVD to 1080p over HDMI
  • HDMI Output with support for Deep Colour and xvYCC Extended Colour Space
  • Component Video Output up to 1080i
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NAD has a reputation of turning out some of the best hi-fi gear out there.  But with their first dip into the pool of Blu-Ray players NAD might have produced a lemon.  It shows you that $1500.00 can’t always buy you love.  What Hi-Fi, which has just about the first full review of the NAD on the web, pretty much trashes it.  Though they do have a hi-fi slant, and maybe aren’t fully qualified for reviewing a blu-ray player.  We’ll have to see as other reviews hit the web.

What HiFi Says: We were hoping for better from the T587, and not only for vaguely jingoistic reasons. The alacrity with which the NAD loads and reads Blu-rays is an advantage that anyone who’s twiddled their thumbs for three minutes or more while their Blu-ray player ambles towards readiness won’t underestimate.


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Panasonic DMP-BD55k – BD-Live – $400.00

Specs:
  • Blu-ray Player
  • BD Live / 7.1 Lossless Decode and Analog Output
  • VIERA Link: Operate with your VIERA Remote Control
  • SD Card Slot
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Big Picture Big Sound Says:
Our experience with the DMP-BD30 was generally quite positive. It was the first standalone BD player to offer decent boot-up and load times (much faster than other players, though still slower than the PS3). It was also the first to support Bonus View and bitstream output of the advanced new lossless surround sound codecs

ConsumerReview: Experts say that the Panasonic DMP-BD55K is the first standalone Blu-ray player to deliver everything that the format promises.

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Store Name Store Rating Price Notes Buy Now
$799.99 Fantastic prices with ease & comfort of Amazon.com!
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Samsung BD-P2500 – NetFlix/BD-Live- $350.00

Specs:
  • Full HD 1080p
  • BD Live 2.0 Ready
  • Ethernet and USB for firmware upgrades
  • Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital True-HD
  • DTS-HD upgradable
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CNet says:
The Samsung BD-P2500 adds Netflix to an already well-featured and top-performing Blu-ray player, with only some minor disc compatibility issues giving us pause.

PCMag Says: You get what you pay for. In a Blu-ray player, a great-looking image can outweigh such shortcomings and a high price.

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Store Name Store Rating Price Notes Buy Now
$219.99 Shop with confidence for the perfect gift at Best Buy
$229.99 New
$249.99 Refurbished Refurbished
$249.99 Refurbished
$299.98 Get free shipping on orders over $25!
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Sony BDP-S550 – BD-Live- $500.00


Specs:
  • Bonus View & BD-Live (Profile 2.0) w/1GB flash memory for local storage
  • Full HD 1080/60p & 24p True Cinema Video Output
  • Dolby¿ True HD/DTS¿-HD decoder built-in with 7.1ch out. Quick start up mode.
  • Dolby¿ TrueHD & DTS-HD bitstream out over HDMI¿ (V1.3)
  • x.v.Color¿ for AVC-HD
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CNet Says: The Sony BDP-S550 offers excellent image quality and a solid feature set, but only consider it if you need the multichannel analog outputs.

Electronics Made Easy Says: The BDP-S550 is one of the best non-professional Blu Ray disc players on the market. Both audio and video outputs are high quality, and the number of output connections is unequaled in this class.

AudioReview.com user mdb1019 Says: Having said that, all the work is worth it. Tremendous sound from the TrueHD track and crazy HD image quality. I was impressed with both the BluRay format and the upscaling on DVDs. … read all of the review

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Store Name Store Rating Price Notes Buy Now
$373.99 New
$229.99 Ships 1-3 Days
$269.88 Sony BDP-S550 1080p Blu-Ray Player
$399.99 Fantastic prices with ease & comfort of Amazon.com!
$210.99
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Sony BDP-S5000ES – BD-Live- $2000.00


Specs:
  • BonusView and BD-Live (1GB Flash Memory Included)
  • Full HD 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema Video Output
  • HD Reality Enhancer (14 bit video processing)
  • Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD bitstream out via HDMI ver.1.3
  • RS-232C/IR IN
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What HiFi Says: Wow. The Sony produces one of the finest Blu-ray images money can buy and it sounds fabulous to boot

Tracy and Matt Say: Coming back to Sony’s tagline of “top-of-the-line Blu-ray Disc player” – whilst I’m sure that video and audio philes everywhere will have flame wars about this one, if it were my money I’d get a PS3 and a whole load of movies and games with the change.

That said, it’s a personal choice and with the firmware being upgradable it might be that future improvements to the BDP-S5000ES would change my mind.


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$1189.99
$1499.00 SONY Authorized Dealer and WARRANTY! Award-winning customer service and price guarantee!
$1399.00 New
$1499.99 30-Day Money-back Guarantee!
$1499.99 Fantastic prices with ease & comfort of Amazon.com!
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  • Eric Harris says:

    I have just purchased a new, in the box, Philips BDP5012 Blu Ray player with BD Live capability from Sams Club for $100. It shows my one and only, as yet, BluRay disc “Baraka” on my 55 inch Sony rear projection LCD HD TV to perfection. If only I could download 1080i or 1080p resolution videos then I would have traded up to a network ready player such as the Sony 460, but no such technology exists as yet. As I am not into games the Sony PS3 was also not on my buy list and is probably why I will never use the interactive BD Live feature on this Philips player, even though I have it hooked up via a CAT 6e ethernet cable to my router.

  • derek says:

    I purchased the Samsung blu-ray player with network capability and am very happy with the performance and video quality. Having a Netflix account allows me to view their streaming content (wish they had a larger library), but it display HD quality if your Internet connection is fast enough. Even the content streamed at high quality (don’t know the resolution) looks good.

    Additionally, I’ll stream music from my Pandora account whenever I want uninterrupted music and no commercials. There are also options for Blockbuster and Youtube, but I rarely use them. One, I don’t have a Blockbuster account. Two, watching and searching for Youtube content is a poor experience.

  • Connie Nelson says:

    I have a BD-Live blu-ray player and I dont understand what it is. Can someone please explain it in plain english how to use it. Can I get Netflex movies from it?

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