When it comes time to step into the world of HD a Blu-ray player is one of the things that you really need to get. If you are used to watching normal DVDs the step up to Blu-ray is very noticeable image quality and in sound quality.
Many of the Blu-ray players on the market today have internet connectivity and some of them can even stream other content sources from the web like Netflix and more. This makes the machines more than simply movie players and open up a world of new features and capabilities. Many of the Blu-ray films also have interactive features that need web connectivity so if you want to be able to stream content and access all your discs have to offer you want a player with internet connectivity.
Players with internet connectivity come in two forms with some having WiFi connectivity and others needing a wire. WiFi is generally more desirable unless you modem or router happens to sit very close to the TV. The downside with WiFi connected players is that the speed of your web connection and quality of your WiFi network will significantly affect how well your streaming films play.
Generally the main difference in price between Blu-ray players come in things like the ability to upscale standard DVDs to HD resolutions and whether or not the players will stream content and have wired or wireless connectivity. The right player for you depends on what you want to do.
I have long maintained that one of the best Blu-ray players on the market isn’t a Blu-ray player like you might think of, but is a game console that also plays Blu-rays. The PS3 is what I am talking about. The PS3 comes with the ability to stream all sorts of content from the web like Netflix, has WiFi by default, and works very well. The thing that I like so much about the PS3 as a Blu-ray player is that Sony is constantly adding new features to the player via software updates. Many of the other payers will never see an update in their entire usable life. Add the excellent Blu-ray playback in with the fact that you can also play all sorts of cool video games and the PS3 is one of the best bangs for your buck on the market.
The downsides to the PS3 as a Blu-ray player include the fact that the console uses Bluetooth for its remote control. That means that your universal remote isn’t going to work with the PS3. Logitech does make an adapter that will allow you to control the PS3 with its Harmony line of remotes though. The Sony PS3 can be purchased right now for about $299.
If you don’t care anything about playing games and want something cheaper than the PS3, the LG BD570 is a nice Blu-ray player to check out. The player can stream HD Live extras and has Netflix capability. It has WiFi connectivity and supports 7.1 surround sound and all of the Blu-ray HD sound formats as well. The player also supports quick boot with instant tray opening. Some players seem like they take forever to start up and open the tray. You can buy the LG BD570 for about $170 right now.
If you prefer Samsung home theater gear the BD-C5500 is a nice option. The device is WiFi ready with an adapter that isn't included, supports Internet@TV, and supports BD-Live. The upside of this player is that it is cheaper and has USB ports. The player does support Dolby Digital TruHD, DTS-HD Master Audio sound. If you web-connect the device you can get access to Facebook and lots more. This player is about $180 online.
If you want the Sony name and want a lower priced device as well, the BDP-S470 sells for a bit over $100. The player supports 3D playback if you have the other gear needed for 3D. It also supports Bravia internet TV, upscales standard resolution DVDs, and has a USB port. It has an Ethernet port and has a spot for an optional WiFi adapter. This is a more basic player with the essential features you want.
If budget isn't a concern and what you want is a high-end device with high-end features and a name to back that up, the OPPO BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray player might be just what you want. This player sells for about $500 but it is very full featured. It will play content for you network and will stream from online sources. It has dual HDMI inputs and can be connected to RS232 home control systems. It also supports SACD, DVD, and audio playback. The player is better at upconverting content than many cheaper players thanks to the Marvell Kyoto-G2 video processor inside than upconverts and removes noise from the image. The player can also display Blu-ray content at 24fps just like the films you see at the theater. The player includes an 802.11n WiFi adapter for connectivity.
If you are shopping on a very tight budget, but really want to step up to Blu-ray the factory refurbished Magnavox NB500MG1F is one of the cheapest Blu-ray players you will find anywhere. The player can be purchased for under $70. At this price, you don’t get the bells and whistles you get on other players. The Magnavox unit supports 24fps content, has HDMI output, progressive scanning and supports virtual surround sound. No WiFi, Ethernet, or DVD upconverting to be found here.
This list has a wide range of Blu-ray players and all of them will play 1080p content that you want to watch on your HDTV. Some of them are more fully featured than others. Just buy based on your needs and your budget and you will enjoy the high-resolution of Blu-ray films.