Sony's first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player supports HDR and virtually everything else you can ask for, but it's focused on pricey custom AV installations.
Optical discs like Blu-ray are losing favor, but Sony and Panasonic don't seem to care. The companies have cranked up the storage capacity on optical media to a stunning 3.3TB.
Australians looking to get the best possible picture quality from their shiny new 4K televisions won’t have to wait much longer than their US counterparts with Samsung confirming to Good Gear Guide that their new 4K Blu-ray player will land on store shelves in the first week of May.
Oppo Digital is a slightly confusing company. It’s actually the American arm of the Guangdong-based Oppo Electronics, and while the Chinese brand focuses on consumer electronics like low-priced smartphones and portable media players, the Californian spin-off is responsible for some of the highest-quality Blu-ray players available today.
High-end electronics manufacturer Oppo Digital has announced an update to its line of reference quality Blu-ray players, replacing the existing BDP-93 with a new BDP-103.
LG has made a name for itself in the past few years offering products that are competitively priced against bigger names like Samsung and Sony, with similar features and the occasional impressive innovation.
The Panasonic DMP-BDT320 is the company’s best Blu-ray player -- with built-in Wi-Fi, 3D Blu-ray support, a touchpad remote control and some power-saving smarts, it’s superior to the cheaper DMP-BDT220 and DMP-BD77. Its slim, futuristic design sets it apart from the more conventional DMP-PWT520 Blu-ray PVR and DMR-HW220 set top box.
The Sony BDP-S790 replaces the BDP-S780 in Sony’s Blu-ray player line-up. It’s the top model in a series of four players, and carries a $200 premium over the lesser BDP-S590.
Samsung’s range of Blu-ray players echoes its LED and plasma TV line-up, with its Series 5 and Series 8 naming divided between DVD, Blu-ray and PVR devices. The Samsung BD-E5900 is top of the Series 5 range, and is the company’s most fully-featured Blu-ray player.
Televisions, home theatre systems and Blu-ray players these days are usually crammed full with the latest whiz-bang technology -- if you buy a player from one of the half-dozen ‘big brands’, it’ll likely have the ability to decode 3D video, connect to the Internet, stream video on demand, Skype your friends and family... One way to avoid these not-always-necessary features is to buy a low-end Blu-ray player that still does everything basic -- and thus we have the Panasonic DMP-BD75.
On paper, the Sony BDP-S780 looks like a great Blu-ray player. It comes with a large and well-chosen selection of Internet apps, including a Web browser. You can convert 2D to 3D and adjust the 3D settings. It's the fastest Blu-ray player I've tested yet. But the gotchas are big ones: The browser won't play video, converted 3D video still looks like 2D, and the price tag hurts.
Panasonic’s 2011 update of its Blu-ray players meant three new models were released, including the basic DMP-BDT75 and the top-spec DMP-BDT310. The DMP-BDT110 we tested sits comfortably in the middle of these two, with the premium player’s 3D playback and 2D-to-3D conversion but without its built-in Wi-Fi. You can also use your iPhone or iPod touch over Wi-Fi to control the player, useful if you can’t find the remote.
The Panasonic DMR-PWT500 fits a Blu-ray and DVD player into a personal video recorder with a HD tuner -- it’s like the Samsung BD-C8900, except with twin tuners. Like the BD-C8900 it’s quite stylish and has some nifty extra features, but you’re paying a premium for the convenience of having several functions in the one device.
The Yamaha BD-S671 is a very well built Blu-ray player with a basic feature-set. It doesn't have the diverse range of Internet and video-on-demand gubbins that you can find in Blu-ray players from LG, Sony or Samsung (and Panasonic, to an extent), but it has some network capabilities and we can't fault its Blu-ray or DVD picture quality as well as its interface or design.
The mainstream availability of 3D TV sets marks a big step forward towards bringing the cinema experience into living rooms. Two of the main players in the Australian 3D TV market are Panasonic with its VT20 plasma TVs and Samsung with the Series 7 LED models.
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- Sony's first 4K Blu-ray player reminds you what a steal the Xbox One S truly is
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GGG Evaluation Team
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