#1 LG BP350
The LG BP350 is a budget-friendly alternative to more expensive models that still provides several of the features we looked for in the best Blu-ray players. It offers Wi-Fi connectivity and double functions as a media player and streaming box for popular applications like Netflix and Hulu. It is compatible with content up to 1080p, so it isn’t a good option if you have a 4K media setup, but it offers excellent picture quality and upscaling for DVDs up to Full HD.
In testing, the LG BP350 took about nine seconds to boot up when not using the device’s quick start mode, which speeds up booting by putting the player in a low-power sleep mode instead of completely shutting it off. Unfortunately, the LG player isn’t very fast when it comes to streaming services. It sometimes took 30 seconds or more to start a movie on Netflix during our tests. We did appreciate that the LG BP350 came preloaded with essential apps like YouTube. That way, you don’t have to individually search for, download and make an account for every app you want to use. The menus and search are straightforward and easy to navigate, but the default apps are a nice touch. One of the downsides of the LG Blu-ray player is its lack of dedicated audio output port, as it only has one HDMI port to connect it to your TV.
#2 Sony UBP-X700
If you want an affordable route into the world of 4K Blu-ray, the Sony UBP-X700 is a great shout. It’s one of the most talented 4K players we’ve seen at this kind of money. It’s a fun, involving performance – pictures are stacked with detail. The Sony displays a wonderfully subtle picture that’s impeccably judged while being hugely entertaining. Sound quality is equally stirring with its zippy, dynamic character complimenting that class-leading picture.
The Sony ticks all the boxes you’d expect a player to at this price, and includes both Dolby Vision and HDR10 support. Despite not flashing the hi-res audio badge, the X700 can also play up to 24bit/192kHz files in all popular formats, including WAV, FLAC and DSD. There’s also smart functionality and twin HDMI outputs. This Sony machine is good enough to boost all manner of home cinema systems, so you can buy with confidence.
#3 Samsung BD-J5900
The strangely designed Samsung BD-J5900 offers the best features we looked for in a Blu-ray player, and it had the fastest startup time in our hands-on tests. The BD-J5900 took just 6.8 seconds to start, while many others took twice as long. The biggest downside of the Samsung Blu-ray player is that it doesn’t support native 4K content. It does upscale lower-res content well and provides great visuals, but it isn’t the best choice for your 4K setup.
Along with Wi-Fi connectivity, the BD-J5900 supports most popular streaming services, including Netflix and YouTube. These apps and more are available through the Opera TV Store. Aside from discs and internet streaming, the device can access content through its USB port or from the cloud, as it supports DLNA. One thing that makes the BD-J5900 stand out is its customizable home screen. It’s easy to find the apps you use most often, as you can mark your favorites to appear on the main screen.
#4 Pioneer UDP-LX500
Some home cinema set-ups demand a player with even more focus than the Sony mentioned above. Where premium build quality and high grade components are par for the course, in an attempt to bring you the best picture and sound possible. The Pioneer UDP-LX500 is such a player.
Feed the player a 4K disc and the picture that greets you is breathtaking. It paints a balanced picture, packed with sensational levels of detail. And the Pioneer sounds as good as it looks, displaying weight, power and a fine sense of musicality and timing. There’s no smart functionality, nor is there a set of multi-channel analogue outputs for legacy AV receivers, but if you’ve got the budget and a suitable home cinema system to play it through, this 4K Blu-ray player will blow you away.
#5 Magnavox MBP5630/F7
At just 1.5-inches thick, the Magnavox MBP5630/F7 is a slim, compact Blu-ray player that covers only the basics. While most Blu-ray players we tested are packed with apps, upscale image processing software and features that allow for 3D content, the Magnavox device has a more bare-bones approach. This does limit its functionality to reading and playing discs, but it’s great if you don’t need all the extra features that drive Blu-ray player prices up. If you already have a streaming device, for example, you don’t need the Blu-ray player to also support streaming. It plays Blu-rays and DVDs in full 1080p HD quality but does not support 4K. It also does not have a dedicated audio output, though it does have a USB port.
The Magnavox MBP5630/F7 can give you control over the content your family watches. It does not connect to the internet, so children cannot access unapproved online movies or TV shows on it. It also has a parental lock setting. Overall, the MBP5630/F7 is a great choice for basic needs, but it lacks a lot of the extra features and functions of other devices we reviewed at a similar price point.
#6 LG Electronics UP970 4K
This LG 4K Blu-ray player isn’t best in class, but it is a solid performer and a decent shout for those looking to take the leap into the 4K format. You get twin HDMI outputs, HDR10 and Dolby Vision support and access to Netflix and YouTube through its smart menu system.
It has a decent suite of features and one that’s backed up by a vibrant, punchy picture with just enough detail to draw you in. Sonically, it’s a smooth performer that rounds off harsh edges, but it lacks the outright punch and dynamics needed to drive movie soundtracks home. It’s a good player, but isn’t short of tough competition at this price.