Blu-ray Players

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Steve May  |  May 25, 2015  |  0 comments

Regulars will know that insubstantial Blu-ray players are a bête noire of mine. Cheapo decks destined to become arthritic after a year or so give physical disc formats a bad name. I prefer beautifully built players, engineered to squeeze the last ounce of performance from a platter and engender pride of ownership.

Steve May  |  Dec 10, 2014  |  0 comments

Sony has a chequered history when it comes to Blu-ray players. Its last high-end offering was back in 2009, and came in the shape of the admirably over-engineered BDP-S5000ES. Yet back then BD decks were simpler affairs, dedicated to the task of extracting the maximum number of bits from discs.

Mark Craven  |  Aug 19, 2014  |  0 comments

The T+A Caruso Blu is described by its German manufacturer as a 'complete multi-source hi-fi system.' As a product, it's delightfully esoteric – a heavyweight, premium-priced one-box solution that works as a Blu-ray player, media player, CD deck, DAB/'net/FM radio and a Bluetooth dock. It's undoubtedly a lifestyle product, but one that promises a high level of performance. 

Steve May  |  Jun 12, 2014  |  0 comments

The Oppo BDP-105D is a spectacular antidote to the rash of lightweight cheapies that have come to define the mainstream Blu-ray player market. A fabulously engineered heavyweight disc-spinner that in this latest iteration inches even further into audiophile streaming territory.

Mark Craven  |  Jan 28, 2014  |  0 comments

The Blu-ray player industry has reached a bit of a standstill. While we wait for a new 4K-enabled standard to surface, there doesn't seem much to be done in the way of improving upon current players. An indication of this is Sony and Panasonic's decision to continue the range-topping decks from 2012 into 2013. Tweaks to BD spinners in the last year have invariably been either linked to Smart features and media streaming, or audiophile upgrades designed to get the most from music material. With the BDP-103D, however, Oppo has done something a little different – it's integrated Darbee Visual Presence technology.

Steve May  |  Dec 27, 2013  |  0 comments

Pioneer’s BDP-160 Blu-ray player is unrepentantly old school. For starters, it looks like a Blu-ray deck should, rather than something impractical cobbled together for a Shoreditch design competition. And secondly, it even handles some of the more obscure discs you still own and would rather like to keep, such as those Destiny’s Child SACDs (but not, unfortunately, your DVD-Audio platters). But equally it’s no Luddite, offering network file playback and token online diversions, too.

Mark Craven  |  Aug 23, 2013  |  0 comments

LG's net-connected BD deck arrived too late to challenge its Sony, Panasonic and Pioneer rivals in our recent budget Blu-ray player roundup, but it's safe to say it would have slotted in comfortably with the rest of them – like its £150 shelf-mates, it's a pleasing slab of silicon without offering true levels of awesomeness.

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.