Advice Guide

How to buy the best Blu-ray player

by Jack Turner Back to advice guides

Blu-ray players are the next step up from DVD players, displaying films in high definition with great clarity. We explain the benefits of a Blu-ray player, and what to look for before buying.

Should I buy a Blu-ray player?

The primary selling point of Blu-ray is that it will display your favourite films and TV shows in full high definition, meaning that they will have more clarity than your old DVD collection. The step up in image quality from DVD to Blu-ray is comparable to the difference you would have seen when you originally moved from VHS to DVD. If you’re a movie buff who wants to watch your films in the best possible quality, than you’ll definitely appreciate a Blu-ray player, especially on a larger TV, where you’ll be able to see the tiniest details.

In this guide:

  • Play your favourite films in high definition
  • Upscale your favourite DVDs
  • Access Smart TV services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix

Who makes them?

The main manufacturers of Blu-ray players are big-name brands such as LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, although other well-known companies also produce them, including Toshiba, Philips and Yamaha.

Despite being prohibitively expensive at launch, Blu-ray players are now much more affordable, and you’ll also find budget models from the likes of Bush (Argos) and Technika (Tesco).

How do I choose a good Blu-ray player?

Consider the features that you’ll really need and use. There’s no point paying a premium and buying a 3D or even 4K model, if you don’t have a TV that supports it.

If you’re a casual Blu-ray disc renter or purchaser, but like the idea of watching catch-up services from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, then go for a Smart TV enabled model. Most of these will be wi-fi enabled, so they will connect to your home network wirelessly, although some cheaper or older models will need to be physically attached to your internet router with an ethernet cable.

If you’d like to play your own movies and images in the Blu-ray player, check for USB or SD card slots. These allow you to put your own content on a memory stick and play it back on the TV. Seeing your photos and home movies on a big screen TV can be a nice way to share them with your friends and family.

Blu-ray players are fairly simple in terms of tech products, and most should be capable of doing a decent job of playing your discs. However, the interface and menu can make a world of difference, and a poorly placed volume button on the remote, or tricky to find menu settings can lead to years of irritation. Try to have a play with a few models in store to see how you get on with the remote and menus. You can always order it online if you see it somewhere cheaper.

Don't forget the HDMI cable. You'll need one to connect the player to your TV. Check to see if one is included.