Blu-ray Players

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Mark Craven  |  May 22, 2013  |  0 comments

Panasonic's new DMP-BDT330 is a curious beast. The most expensive of the brand's freshly-minted 2013 BD spinners, casual observers could be forgiven for thinking it's the Japanese marque's top HD dog. However, last year's DMP-BDT500 is being retained for another run and still claims flagship status.

Adrian Justins  |  May 01, 2013  |  0 comments

Blessed with similar components to the marvellous, but more expensive, BDP-450, Pioneer's BDP-150 aims to prove that you don’t need to shell out a small fortune if all you want from your deck is quality playback plus one or two extra entertainment tidbits.

Adrian Justins  |  Mar 15, 2013  |  0 comments

Despite its enticing price tag, Pioneer's BDP-450 is aimed squarely at the home cinema enthusiast with audiophile leanings. Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio might not be exactly in the rudest of health as far as formats go, but there are plenty of legacy discs out there, and no shortage of folk who eagerly follow the trickle of SACD titles onto the market.

Mark Craven  |  Feb 20, 2013  |  0 comments

The way the Blu-ray player market has changed over the years is really quite remarkable. Essentially, the high-end has all but disappeared. Where once manufacturers could release hulking flagship players with price tags rivalling those of AVRs, today's buyer is pretty much left with a plethora of slimline, affordable offerings (with a few audiophile exceptions, such as Primare's BD32, to entice the ultra-rich).

Richard Stevenson  |  Feb 05, 2013  |  0 comments

A grand for a Blu-ray player in a home cinema market heading uncertainly towards download content? That may seem like a big ask, but manufacturer Oppo has a history of delivering the goods – so much so that other kit-makers have been using Oppo’s core BD player architecture as the basis for their own machines. The BDP-105EU is the latest flagship player from the brand, adding a bunch of audiophile loveliness to the stellar picture processing already raved about in our previous review of the BDP-103EU.

Mark Craven  |  Dec 03, 2012  |  0 comments

We've had to wait two years for Oppo to launch a new Blu-ray player. For some home cinema fans, that's at least 12 months too long – the brand has earned a reputation for unleashing decks (going back to the days of DVD) that mix high performance with advanced features and show the mass market global giants how it should be done.

Steve May  |  Sep 30, 2012  |  0 comments

The latest flagship in Sony’s Blu-ray player fleet is surprisingly self-effacing. It’s priced at just over 200 notes and has a relatively generic design (slim, black, gently curved in places), yet it packs a forward-looking feature set that few players at any price point can match. After several hours of use, I found myself looking for a catch. Is the BDP-S790 player really the rock-solid, gold-plated bargain it first appears to be?

Steve May  |  Sep 09, 2012  |  0 comments

When Imerge launched its first audio server in the 1990s it altered how people thought about music in a way that has proved to be astonishingly prescient. Today, with the flagship MS1-3D, the brand has 3D Blu-ray in it sights.

Steve May  |  Sep 02, 2012  |  0 comments

With its angled edges and slot-loading disc mechanism, the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 at first glance looks like a jazzed up version of the brand’s cheaper DMP-BDT220, but the two players are chalk and cheese. This home theatre lightweight puts in a heavyweight performance that belies its thin build.

Steve May  |  Aug 02, 2012  |  0 comments

The DMP-BDT500 is a Blu-ray player designed for music lovers. While it doesn’t skimp on visual refinements and connected cleverness, it really sets itself apart from the rest through sonic engineering. In many ways, this is Panasonic laying claim to the more esoteric end of the Blu-ray market, typically the stomping ground of brands like Cambridge Audio, Denon and Marantz.

Danny Phillips  |  Jun 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Smart is still the big buzzword in the AV world. Slapping it on a product guarantees instant kudos, enticing buyers with promises of extra web content and clever networking tricks. It’s an approach taken by Samsung for the BD-E8500, whose ‘Smart PVR’ not only brings you all the usual TV trappings like twin Freeview HD tuners and a 500GB HDD, but also the company’s online internet portal as well as playback of 2D and 3D Blu-ray discs.

Richard Stevenson  |  May 18, 2012  |  0 comments

Here’s the plot: Take one of the finest off-the-shelf BD players available (Oppo’s BDP-93), re-engineer it with custom power supplies, upgraded DACs, dedicated high-end analogue output stages for music playback and then add a much prettier user interface.Take said components, wrap them up in a high-end chassis with stunning build quality and drop dead gorgeous cosmetics.

Richard Stevenson  |  Apr 25, 2012  |  0 comments

Mmmm, I do love a bit of high-class German booty. In fact, I reckon the look and feel of the T+A K8 Blu-ray receiver justifies its not insubstantial price tag alone. The promise of T+A sound quality and German engineering is a very appealing prospect, too – for those looking for a simple AV solution with proper high-end performance, the K8 is pretty much in a class of its own.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 23, 2012  |  0 comments
Cloud control Thanks to Vivadi you don’t need to pay the Earth for a high-end server system. But Steve May wonders if you want your media stored that way

As stormy iClouds gather over the home entertainment business, threatening to replace physical media with content streamed from a virtual locker, there’s something almost quaint about the idea of a media server system – a physical repository for your movies and music that sits on a home network. But are media servers really an AV cul-de-sac that time is rapidly forgetting, or the most practical multimedia solution of all, combining the benefits of tangible discs with the convenience of Video On Demand? The answer probably lies somewhere in-between.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 21, 2012  |  0 comments
It’s good to be green The BDP-S185 is a downsized Blu-ray player with a low carbon footprint. Polar bear-loving Steve May can see its appeal

Sony’s BDP-S185 is an affordable, ridiculously compact Blu-ray player with full ‘net functionality. Just 290mm wide, principally because it uses an outboard power brick, it’s being promoted both as space-saving and energy efficient. This is home theatre for eco warriors on a budget.

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