2009 has been the year of high definition. When Blu-ray players first made their debut, they ran you nearly $1000. For some time the PlayStation 3 was the best deal. However today, Blu-ray players are available for under the $100 mark. While quality won’t be on par, it’s still a big improvement over DVDs for those on a budget. So here are a few of my picks:
Best Choice: PlayStation 3 Slim (120GB HDD)
No surprise here. I would still recommend the PlayStation 3 as the best Blu-ray player. It’s now slimmed down and cheaper than ever before. Other decent Blu-ray players will cost nearly half as much, but lack can’t match what the PS3 offers. A standalone Blu-ray player will require purchase of an expensive WiFi adapter to get online. The PS3 has WiFi built in, plus it’s a media center too. You can playback music, photos, and movies on your PC on the big screen with the PS3. You can even store a local copy on the whopping 120GB HDD. It’s entirely upgradable with software updates too. NETFLIX STREAMING TOO
Most Affordable: Panasonic Blu-ray Disc Player DMP-BD60
Panasonic has always been a key player in the world of video entertainment. This particular model made our list for its straight-shooter build and features all contained in a competitively priced package. The HDMI+ and 24bit sound connections ensures that you will have a true cinematic experience, no strings attached. In addition to Blu-ray playback, this device will even upconvert your old DVD collection and playback CDs. (MP3, MPEG2, and JPEG supported too!) Most importantly it’s one of the most affordable ones out there. While there were a few sub-$100 Blu-ray players on Black Friday, this still offers the bang without leaving your wallet empty.
Best Looking: Samsung Blu-ray Disk Player (BD-P4600)
This is probably the best-looking Blu-ray player out there. It won’t be an ugly box sitting under your fancy HDTV set. It’s also packing plenty of features most Blu-ray players don’t. It’s got built-in up-scaling and WiFi. That means old movies look better and you’ll even have access to Netflix and Pandora. Firmware upgrades are also just a click away. In addition it can playback DivX, MP3s, JPGs, and more.
Web Content: LG Network Blu-ray Disc Player BD370
If you are a fan of web content, the LG should not to be left out. In addition to High Definition 1080p Blu-ray playback, the LG player supports access to CinemaNow, Netflix, and YouTube. Of course, it also supports, now-legacy, CDs and DVDs. It’s priced fairly reasonably at around $180 and offers better playback quality than other cheaper models.
Massive Overkill: Sony BDP-CX7000ES 400 Blu-ray Disc Mega Changer
Where do I begin? Yes, this is a Blu-ray player. Not just any Blu-ray player, probably the most massive one you’ve ever seen. It holds 400 discs and can switch through them automatically with your remote control. It sports a PS3-like cross media bar interface and will display cover art for every disc in the device through the on-screen visual browser. With 7.1 Audio, DVD up-scaling through HDMI, USB flash drive support, and even a quick slot for Rental DVDs this is probably the most hard-core player out there. But that’s only if you’re are made of cash and are a “movieholic.” This costs about $1,900. On the plus side, they include two AA batteries for the remote. ;)
Buy: Sony BDP-CX7000ES 400 Blu-ray Disc Mega Changer
This Gift Guide is a part of our ongoing Skatter Tech Holiday Gift Guide.