Video Players Reviews

lgbp730-featured

LG BP730 Blu-ray Player

It now seems our once indispensible couch assistant, the venerable remote control, has fallen out of favor. Previously impossible to live without, new options for controlling our TV and devices have sprung up to take its place. iOS and Android apps for our smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, with every manufacturer having one now. Some devices have moved beyond that, with cameras and microphones to let you control it with actions and voice commands. LG also falls into this category, shipping their Magic Remote with their high-end displays and Blu-ray players, including their high-end Blu-ray player for 2013, the BP730. Black and sleek in the hand, it works much like a Nintendo Wii controller, directing a cursor around the screen. Does this provide a break-through in control for streaming content and movie playback, or is it just a feature trying to distinguish itself from a pack of non-descript boxes?

sonybdps500-featured

Sony BDP-S5100 Blu-ray Player

Last year, Sony's Blu-ray players did a great job of hitting these goals. Their initial firmware had an issue decoding Blu-ray discs to RGB that we discovered, but that was quickly remedied and after that the players performed very well. Sony elected to keep the BDP-S790 at the top of their lineup this year, and it remains one of my favorite Blu-ray players, but the other models have been replaced. One new model is the BDP-S5100, which replaces the BDP-S590 model that I looked at in 2012. Has Sony kept with their winning model from last year, or have updates brought us changes?

yamahaa1020-featured

Yamaha A-1020 Universal Blu-ray Player

The number of Universal Blu-ray players on the market continues to be strong, despite the much-discussed "death" of SACD and DVD-Audio formats. While no longer mainstream enough to be found at your local Best Buy or other big box retailer, SACD especially remains a thriving format in the audiophile market. The A-1020 is a Universal Blu-ray player that handles virtually all disc formats you can throw at it. In addition to its Blu-ray and audio playback abilities, is has the ubiquitous Netflix support and integrated Wi-Fi for streaming the content. It sounds like a good package from the specs, but with the universal player market being so competitive it really has a lot of good competitors to deal with.

pioneerbdp62fd-featured

Pioneer BDP-62FD Universal Blu-ray Player

Every year Pioneer updates their Blu-ray players, and every year I wind up happy yet disappointed with them. Each year performance and features seem to improve only to have a flaw, like edge enhancement or poor colorspace support, derail the Pioneer from being really top notch. This year Pioneer is offering the BDP-62FD, a $400 universal Blu-ray player that carries the Elite badge and features dual HDMI outputs among other features.

oppbdp103-featured

Oppo BDP-103 Universal Blu-ray Player

For years now, Oppo has dominated the high-end of DVD and Blu-ray players. Virtually every other reviewer and enthusiast I know has at least one in their system, if not more. I've personally been using their players going back to the DVD days, and have had every single one of their Blu-ray players, including their new BDP-103, reviewed here.

oppobdp105-featured

OPPO BDP-105 Universal Blu-ray Player Review

OPPO continues its tradition of being leader of the pack with the introduction of the BDP-105 Universal Player. It has every type of input that one could want, making it truly a player that can handle all types of media and sources. The video quality is superb (video results coming in Chris Heinonen's review of the 103 which has the same video circuit as the 105), and the audio quality (tested in this review) is what we have come to expect from OPPO: audiophile-grade.

sonybdp2590-featured

Sony BDP-S590 Blu-ray Player

Sony was the inventor and chief advocate of Blu-ray and has probably put more players into homes than any other company with the PlayStation 3.  However when we ran a pair of their players through our HDMI Benchmark, one of which is the subject of this review: the Sony BDP-S590.

cambridgebluray-featured

Cambridge 751BD Universal 3D Blu-ray Player

In a bit of a surprise, the Universal Blu-ray player market has gone through a big upswing recently. While DVD-Audio and SACD might be considered dead audio formats to the mainstream media, more and more players for home are including support for them now. One fairly recent addition to the group is the Cambridge Audio 751BD Audiophile Blu-ray player. It also supports 3D Blu-ray, and I was quite excited to have the chance to try out this unit myself.

pioneerbdp52fd-featured

Pioneer BDP-52FD 3D Universal Blu-ray Player

Of all the new equipment that I saw at the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis in 2011, my favorite booth visit was to Pioneer. Showing me around their booth and their new products, it was obvious they had read our review of their last generation of Blu-ray players. So, here is another one, in this case, the BDP-52FD, which is 3D-capable, and will play DVD-A as well as SACD, making it a universal player.

Toshiba BDX5200 3D Blu-ray player

Toshiba BDX5200 3D Blu-ray Player

To compare today's Blu-ray players with the very first models that shipped back in 2006, one would find those early players to be a mere shadow of what's available today. Early adopters had to live without full lossless sound support, no 24p, no Internet apps, terrible ergonomics, glacially slow load times, and of course, high prices. Now we have models like Toshiba's BDX-5200 that give you everything but the kitchen sink for under $180. Ain't technology great?

Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-ray player for the Home Theater

Panasonic DMP-BDT210 3D Blu-ray Player

Sales figures for home theater components are not something I really pay attention to. I'd much rather own something that works great than to have what's popular, or to have my opinion influenced by sales numbers. However, I'd be willing to bet that Panasonic has done pretty well with their 3D Blu-ray players this year because of one huge advantage they have over everyone else: The ability to include Avatar 3D for consumers. And now, you can get a 3D Blu-ray player for $200: the Panasonic DMP-BDT210.