The Best Blu-ray Disc Players: From Blu-Plate to Blu-Chip

At a Glance

The Samsung BD-P2500 outputs terrific images, but it's expensive and has a few shortcomings.

Pros

  • Supports Netflix downloads, BD-Live
  • Great image quality

Cons

  • No DTS-HD support
  • Slow at skipping chapters
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At a Glance

The LG BD300 has all the features you'd want in a Blu-ray player, but the images it produces aren't as good as they should be.

Pros

  • Supports BD-Live
  • Supports Netflix downloads

Cons

  • Remote lacks a backlight
  • Lackluster image quality
 Compare

At a Glance

The Sony BDP-S350 is an exceptionally good Blu-ray player that packs in the most important features and delivers pleasing images.

Pros

  • Supports BD-Live; nice setup menu
  • Outputs great-looking images

Cons

  • Remote is neither programmable nor backlit
 Compare

At a Glance

Its low price and on-board high-resolution audio decoding make it tempting, but the Sharp BD-HP21U fails to deliver a consistently great picture.

Pros

  • Comfortable yet small remote
  • Reasonably low price

Cons

  • Very slow at loading discs
  • Soft and flat images
 Compare

At a Glance

Has a disappointing design and offers unexceptional images, but at least the price is right.

Pros

  • Plays photos and music via USB
  • Well-made documentation

Cons

  • Lacks on-board decoding of high-def audio formats
  • Poorly designed remote
 Compare

At a Glance

The Sharp Aquos BD-HP50U is slow, overpriced, and clumsy to use.

Pros

  • Easy-to-read manual

Cons

  • Mediocre DVD upconversion
  • Very slow; clumsy menus
 Compare

At a Glance

The Panasonic DMP-BD55K costs a bundle, but it delivers top-grade image quality for the price.

Price when rated: $400

Pros

  • Plays back DivX and AVCHD video. gorgeous image quality
  • Plays back DivX and AVCHD video
  • Gorgeous image quality

Cons

  • Display doesn't show time
  • No built-in memory for BD-Live
  • Remote not backlit
  • Remote not backlit; display doesn't show time
  • No built-in memory for BD-Live
 Compare

At a Glance

The moderately priced Sherwood BDP-5003 lacks advanced features, but it puts out adequate Blu-ray images.

Pros

  • Power-saving Off button
  • Highly responsive to commands

Cons

  • Poorly designed remote control
  • No Dolby True HD, DTS-HD Master Audio decoding
 Compare

At a Glance

The inexpensive Insignia NS-2BRDVD offers terrific high-def visuals and an excellent design--but it handles DVD upconversion poorly.

Pros

  • Excellent images from Blu-ray Disc
  • Well-designed remote

Cons

  • Poor at upconverting standard DVDs
 Compare

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