3D BLU-RAY PLAYER REVIEWS

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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 25, 2011 4 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $350 At A Glance: Fast loading of Blu-ray Discs • 802.11n Wi-Fi • Vudu HDX streaming • Spiffy new Netflix interface

History has a way of repeating itself, and we’re beginning to see similarities between Blu-ray and DVD. While Blu-ray’s penetration rate will probably never equal DVD’s, the prices of hardware and software are now dropping to levels that don’t turn off the average consumer. But is this necessarily a good thing? With DVD, you bought the player, and it pretty much worked until it dropped. With a Blu-ray player, you need to update the firmware the moment you unbox it, and this event repeats itself quarterly to accommodate quirky BD+ copy protection on new disc releases. Then there are the firmware updates gone awry—the occasional “fix” that introduces more problems than it solves. When that happens, a company’s ability to respond to trouble becomes critical. But if the manufacturers don’t make enough money selling players, they can’t easily justify the timely updates and prompt service their customers deserve. While I love a great bargain as much as the next guy, it’s also important to consider the manufacturer’s record of after-purchase support.

David Vaughn Posted: Aug 17, 2011 4 comments

Performance
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Price: $999 At A Glance: Flawless playback of Blu-ray 2D and 3D discs • Audiophile analog performance for less than $1k • Outstanding build quality and first-class customer service

Oppo Blu-ray players have been a fixture in Home Theater's Top Picks section since the introduction of the BDP-83 in 2009. Earlier this year, we added its successor, the BDP-93, to the list due to its flawless playback of Blu-ray Discs, speed of operation, 3D capability, and streaming services from Netflix and Vudu. But good companies don't rest on their laurels, and Oppo has released an audiophile version of the player, the BDP-95, featuring the same reference-quality digital video processing with a beefed-up analog section for those who love their two-channel audio or who haven't upgraded to an HDMI-based AVR or surround processor and want the best audio possible for 7.1-channel soundtracks. Since the BDP-95 is identical to the BDP-93 in terms of video and digital audio, I'll concentrate on the upgraded analog audio here; for more on the rest of the player, see the review of the BDP-93.

Kris Deering Posted: Jul 13, 2011 6 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $200 At A Glance: Skype video calling • Reference-quality Blu-ray playback • Limited HDMI options

Building Blu-ray Bridges

Since the beginning of the Blu-ray format, Panasonic has been a leader in the price/performance segment of the market and my go-to recommendation for anyone who’s looking for excellence on a budget. From the top to the bottom of Panasonic’s line, you always seem to get stellar video with both Blu-ray and DVD playback—and typically a host of other great features as well.

Kris Deering Posted: Jun 27, 2011 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $300 At A Glance: Top-of-the-line streaming • Exceptional 2D and 3D playback • Compact, sleek design

Stream City

Blu-ray players just aren’t what they used to be—they’re a lot more. Sony’s PlayStation 3 has long offered more than just standard Blu-ray playback. Today’s breed of players bring not only state-of-the-art Blu-ray performance but also connectivity to your home media network and a range of streaming options from the most popular movie and music providers on the Internet. These players can become the hub of your home entertainment system and eliminate the need for separate devices to get the most out of today’s technology.

David Vaughn Posted: Apr 22, 2011 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $499 At A Glance: Flawless playback of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D Discs • Outstanding build quality • The best customer support in the industry

Oppo Ups the Ante

The Blu-ray format has seen its fair share of changes since its introduction in 2006. Its initial launch included players with base playback functionality and poisonously slow boot-up and disc-loading times. Then came BonusView-enabled players, which added a minimum 256 megabytes of local storage with secondary audio and video decoders for picture-in-picture. Next were the BD-Live-capable players. These required an Internet connection via Ethernet or Wi-Fi and a minimum of 1 gigabyte of local storage (sometimes purchased separately), which allowed access to mostly useless online content. After the wild success of Avatar, the studios have jumped into 3D with both feet. Blu-ray 3D players now support a maximum data rate of 72 megabits per second (up from 48 Mbps in previous generations), include HDMI 1.4, and of course, these players support 3D video, 3D menus, and 3D subtitles.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 28, 2010 0 comments
Price: $850 At A Glance: AVR with integrated Blu-ray 3D player and slim speakers • Proprietary auto setup with musical test tones • Attention-getting array of fun network-enabled apps

The Start of Something Big

Samsung’s HT-C6930W 7.1-channel Blu-ray 3D Home Theater System, to quote the full official name, includes a speedy Blu-ray 3D drive, seven speakers, subwoofer, wireless connection for one pair of surrounds, and an auto setup system that replaces the customary bleeps and sweeps with musical test tones. It builds on Ethernet and Wi-Fi network connectivity with DLNA certification and a variety of apps.

David Vaughn Posted: Aug 02, 2010 0 comments
toppick.jpgPrice: $350 At A Glance: Exceptional speed • Plethora of streaming services, including Netflix, Blockbuster, and VUDU • Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi • Blu-ray 3D

Blu-ray 3D Is Here

To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question. Sorry to go Shakespeare on you, but I’m skeptical as to whether 3D is the next big thing on the horizon. Samsung is one of the major players vying for your 3D dollar, and I have to give the company credit for leading the charge on the next advancement in home entertainment. You may recall that Samsung was the first company to release a Blu-ray player (BD-P1000). While that launch wasn’t as smooth as the company would have liked due to a faulty noise-reduction setting, Samsung eventually fixed it, and the format has now become mainstream. Is history going to repeat itself for Blu-ray 3D? And if not, is the BD-C6900 worth your 2D investment?

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 05, 2010 0 comments
3D Leaps Out

It’s been a long road from 1952’s Bwana Devil to 2009’s Avatar, but 3D in your local cineplex is now a big-time, going concern. But as we discussed in "3D: The Next Big Thing?", HDTV manufacturers are determined to bring the experience home. 3D was the star of the show at January’s CES, and 3D-capable sets are beginning to show up at your local big-box retailer. By year’s end, you’ll see 3D HDTVs from virtually all major manufacturers.

Shane Buettner Posted: Feb 12, 2010 0 comments
Price: $899 At A Glance: Reference Blu-ray and DVD performance • Significant audio upgrade at a reasonable price • Excellent speed and ergonomics • Terrific disc compatibility

The Best Has Gotten Better

With all of the resources that are available to the Blu-ray Disc Association’s major manufacturers, it’s remarkable that the first company to cure the ills of standalone Blu-ray players was Oppo Digital with its $499 BDP-83 (HT, September 2009). Upon that player’s release, many enthusiasts were using the PlayStation 3 for its speed and reliability. Standalone players were too slow and prone to disc incompatibility issues. They also had a hodgepodge of hardware profiles and decoding and interactivity features that bewildered consumers. When Oppo’s BDP-83 came along, it did everything that a Blu-ray player should do, and it did it right and fast. In short, it was a next-gen Blu-ray player that acted like one. That player earned Home Theater’s Top Pick of the Year in Source Components and overall Product of the Year for 2009 (HT, November 2009). Plus, it earned a check from me to Oppo. The BDP-83 I bought last year as a reference has been bulletproof during the time I’ve owned it. Compatibility issues have been few and far between. But when they’ve come up, Oppo has acted swiftly with hassle-free firmware updates from the Internet. It has been so bulletproof that it’s difficult to imagine changing it out or upgrading it.

Al Griffin Posted: Mar 25, 2013 0 comments

When I reviewed Oppo’s BDP-93 — the company’s first universal player to support Blu-ray 3D and high-rez FLAC audio playback — I wrapped things up by saying it could be the last disc player you’ll ever need. Turns out I spoke too soon, because Oppo keeps finding new ways to make the whole disc-player concept relevant.  Its most recent offerings include the BDP-103 ($499) and the BDP-105 under review here, a $1,199 version that has been hot-rodded for two-channel-audio enthusiasts.

Al Griffin Posted: Jul 24, 2012 0 comments

Most new Blu-ray players are cheap enough and perform well enough that there isn’t an urgent need to differentiate between (read: review) them.

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