The budget Blu-ray player market is heating up and it has never been a better time to make the switch to the high-definition format. We've checked out the top five budget Blu-ray players and picked out the best of the bunch.
5. Panasonic DMP-BD35 — Slimmest design
The Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray player provides excellent image quality for Blu-ray movies, but suffers from jagged edges and artefacts when trying to upscale 480i/p DVD movies for playback on Full HD televisions. But that doesn't matter because you'll be too busy admiring the super-slim design to care! At only 50mm high, it's one of the thinnest Blu-ray players we've seen, and will look great in any home theatre system.
What's Hot: Very good picture quality, stylish, good price, Blu-ray Live.
What's Not: DVD upscaling produces mixed results, no 7.1 analog audio outputs.
The Final Word: If you're in the market for a Blu-ray player and you don't want to spend too much, the Panasonic DMP-BD35 represents excellent value for money.
4. Kogan Blu-ray Player Full HD 1080P — Best Price
Home-grown tech company Kogan Technologies brought out the Kogan Blu-ray Player Full HD 1080P late last year and then quickly proceeded to slash the price below $300. The picture quality for Blu-ray movies is great and the DVD upscaling is better than you'd get from a standalone DVD player. The player has no Ethernet port or BD-Live functionality, however.
What's Hot: Clean interface, great picture quality, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD support, great upscaling
What's Not: No Blu-ray profile 2.0 support
The Final Word: Even though competing players are dropping in price, Kogan’s unit under-cuts them while still offering perfectly acceptable build quality, a clean interface and great image quality.
3. Sony BDP-S350 — Best interface
The Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player combines a great user-friendly interface with BD-Live functionality and the 24p True Cinema mode. If you've ever been flummoxed by oddly placed control buttons and overly complex menus, then this might be your best bet.
What's Hot: Great performance for the asking price, attractive and compact design, comparatively fast load times, user-friendly interface
What's Not: Poorly designed USB port, analog outputs limited to 2-channel
The Final Word: If you’d prefer not to spend a fortune on a Blu-ray player, but still want the quality-assurance that comes from the Sony brand, then the BDP-S350 is a top-quality choice.
2. Samsung BD-P1500 — Very good DVD upscaling
The Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player provides excellent picture quality for Blu-ray movies, but its stand-out feature is its DVD upscaling — DVD films come through on large-screen televisions with plenty of clarity and no artefacts. The only thing that lets it down is its rather plain looks.
What's Hot: Excellent DVD upscaling and Blu-ray playback quality, BD-Live connectivity
What's Not: Takes a while to load a Blu-ray disc
The Final Word: If you're after good quality Blu-ray visuals and excellent DVD upscaling, the Samsung BD-P1500 is a good choice.
1. LG BD370 — Best overall
The LG BD370 is a fantastic entry-level Blu-ray player that provides lots of features and excellent picture quality. If you've got Internet access, just plug the LG BD370 in to search YouTube for your favourite clips. Movies and music on USB sticks can be played by plugging storage devices into the USB 2.0 port, while DVD movies get a new lease on life thanks to the brilliant DVD upscaler.
What's Hot: Excellent DVD upscaling, very good Blu-ray picture quality, can connect to YouTube and play movies, can play and display media from USB 2.0 thumb drives, BD-Live capable
What's Not: No 7.1-channel analog outputs
The Final Word: The LG BD370 Blu-ray player is an excellent entry-level option. The very good DVD upscaling, Blu-ray movie picture quality, BD-Live connectivity and USB 2.0 port already make it worth the price tag, but the ability to connect to YouTube makes this one of the best budget Blu-ray players we've seen.