Even in the age of streaming, there’s a lot to be said for watching movies on the humble Blu-ray player.Thanks to the enhanced storage capacities of Blu-ray discs, a hardware player offers the best image and sound quality available. There are two types of discs available: 1080p Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray. Getting a 4K player will let you play both kinds and give you access to formats like Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR10 and DTS:X. Streaming problems like buffering, dropout or bandwidth caps are nonexistent. But if you somehow want those, most Blu-ray players can also stream Netflix (some even in 4K), while all of them will play your DVD and CD collections, too.
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Current-gen gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X and the high-end PS5 will let you play both Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays, in addition to the latest games. And if you don’t have a 4K TV, and a library of only regular Blu-rays, you can save money by buying a 1080p-only player like the Sony BDP-3700.
The Sony UBP-X700 is at the cutting edge of 4K Blu-ray technology, thanks in part to its Dolby Vision compatibility. Throw in a bunch of streaming services and the Sony rewards you with a solid performance at a reasonable price.
Read our Sony UBP-X700 review.
If you want to spend the bare minimum on a Blu-ray player, then the Sony BDP-S3700 Blu-ray player should be your choice. It offers a lot of features for little money, but as it’s only 1080p you’ll miss out on advanced features like 4K and Dolby Vision.
Read our Sony BDP-S3700 review.
You’ll have a hard time getting your hands on the Xbox Series X until after the holidays due to insatiable demand, but keep checking back on restock updates. This is the only current Xbox model that accepts optical discs. It can play DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays, in addition to Xbox game discs. It can also be used with standard IR remotes, unlike the PS5. (The cheaper Xbox Series S does not have a disc slot.)
Read our Xbox Series X review.
The high-end PS5 ($499 model) includes an optical drive that accepts DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays, in addition to PS4 and PS5 game discs. The cheaper PS5 Digital Edition does not have a disc slot. Both models continue to be sold out at various retailers, but keep checking back for restock updates.
Read our PS5 review.
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