Blu-ray Players

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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.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 19, 2012  |  0 comments
Blu-ray at its most basic Toshiba's latest bare-bones disc-player gets the Danny Phillips treatment

Toshiba’s BDX1250 is designed to appeal to those making their first timid steps from standard-def DVD to hi-def Blu-ray. No shame in that, except it has to compete with plenty of other decks (including Sony’s BDP-S185 and Panasonic’s DMP-BD75) that are all taking the same approach. And at this end of the market, price is everything – the launch ticket of £130 made it an immediate non-contender, but shop around and you’ll find it for £100 or less.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 12, 2012  |  0 comments
AV austerity Lacking in features you might expect, Onkyo’s first 3D Blu-ray player appears outgunned on every flank, says Steve May

Onkyo has carved itself a formidable niche in the lower-to-midrange AV receiver market by following a Tesco-like philosophy: piling features high and keeping prices low. But that’s not the route it’s taken with disc players. Here the company has played a purist card, which is admirable yet fraught with commercial peril.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 12, 2012  |  0 comments
Taking Aventage Richard Stevenson test drives Yamaha’s new range-topping universal 3D Blu-ray player – and ends up watching more of Avatar than he ever wanted to

Yamaha’s new Aventage series is a crop of top-flight AV components that the blurb says is a dramatic and inspired leap forward. They are clearly not talking cosmetically, because the flagship BD-A1010 networked Blu-ray player is a chunky and traditional-looking beast. I quite like it.

Steve May  |  Dec 13, 2011  |  0 comments
Musical maverick Not just another cookie cutter disc spinner, Marantz’s new Universal Blu-ray deck has a mind of its own. Steve May explains

Ed Selley  |  Dec 13, 2011  |  0 comments
Dual-function fun Panasonic’s combination PVR and disc-spinner is slick and convenient, reckons Steve May, but a larger HDD would be welcome

You might think that a Blu-ray player with a Freeview HD recorder shoehorned into its case would suffer from clicks and thrums, or that co-habitation would add unflattering pounds.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 13, 2011  |  0 comments
Sony frees Blu-ray In this age of tablets and video streaming is there still room for a portable Blu-ray player? Sony thinks so. Steve May takes some BDs on the road

If you’ve been building a collection of Blu-ray discs you may well be wondering how you’re going to watch your movies on the move. Ripping BDs is impractical and, despite a great deal of puff, digital lockers have yet to open for business. Enter the BDP-SX1, Sony’s first stab at a transportable.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Return of the King The first universal 3D Blu-ray player from Cambridge Audio is something very precious indeed, says Steve May

If I were building a Blu-ray player, I suspect it would look a lot like Cambridge Audio’s Azur 751BD. It would be 3D compatible (just in case), offer network media streaming for sound and vision (because frankly that’s essential) and it would be compatible with my treasured, but sadly not growing, collection of DVD-Audio and SACDs.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
3D is just the start For a Smart Blu-ray player the LG BD670 is decidedly scruffy, but, says Steve May, beneath its lacklustre facade lies a feast of functionality

JG is currently embroiled in a Smart TV war with rival Samsung for dominance of the net-connected landscape. In both TV and Blu-ray, the pair are going head to head with similarly monikered portals (Smart TV and Smart Hub) stuffed with comparable apps and streaming video content.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
A Sony for the boracic lint Danny Phillips advises potential buyers to find another £20

Sony’s bottom-of-the-range Blu-ray spinner offers a lot in performance and specifications for its meagre £130 ticket, but misses out on a couple of the key features that its BDP-S480 sibling brings to the party for only £20 more. With that in mind, it’s only worth considering if you’re really hard up, or are looking to upgrade your bedroom setup.

Ed Selley  |  Sep 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Audio-licious HD With its lofty price tag, Denon's DBP-2012UD will have to do a lot to lure Danny Philips away from the budget end of the Blu-ray market – and YouTube access isn’t what he had in mind

The DBP-2012UD is built like Vin Diesel and boasts high-grade internal electronics that aim to deliver superior performance to the masses. The £750 price tag is as hefty as the player itself, but will be viewed as peace of mind for any AV enthusiast looking for a machine to satisfy their videophile aspirations.

Ed Selley  |  Sep 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Back to basics suits the bank Toshiba’s feature-light 3D deck fails to excite Danny Phillips

Toshiba’s Blu-ray players have never been cutting-edge affairs, but the company has wholeheartedly embraced 3D. The BDX3200 is its latest 3D-ready effort and with its £150 price tag should appeal to those on a budget – although Sony’s BDP-S480 costs the same amount and offers much more in functionality.

Ed Selley  |  Sep 01, 2011  |  0 comments
The God of VoD The BDP-S480 offers so much on-tap entertainment, you may never spin a disc

Sony’s BDP-S570 player was a runaway hit during 2010, hoovering up more awards than the clean-up crew at the BAFTAs – so this closely related follow-up has a lot to live up to.

Ed Selley  |  Sep 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Unconventional cool Samsung's ultra-thin deck is more proof of the brand’s style ambitions

This achingly petite BD player claims to be the world’s smallest Blu-ray player and it’s more of a lifestyle statement than a traditional AV component. Available in trendy silver or gloss black, it’s a remarkable example of ‘Harry Potter’ engineering.

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