Best Blu-Ray Players & Why You Should Buy Physical Media

Bluray Feature

As streaming becomes increasingly popular, many people have cut the cord with cable and stopped buying DVDs and Blu-rays. Yet, in many ways, streaming simply can’t compete with the visual quality that physical media provides. Therefore, you should still invest in one of these top Blu-ray players so you can experience the benefits that physical media has to offer.

Why You Should Still Buy Physical Media

Although streaming does make it easier to watch your favorite television shows and movies on the go, it is easier now than before to rip your Blu-rays and DVDs using your PC. More importantly, there are many ways in which physical media still surpasses streaming any day of the week.

First and foremost, physical media still provides the best quality. Streaming media platforms don’t usually stream their content in the highest visual or audio fidelity. Also, the quality of streaming media is subject to Internet speeds and fluctuations in network traffic. Streaming media platforms will automatically adjust the video quality based on your network bandwidth and connection speed. Yet physical media isn’t subject to any of this. 4K UHD Blu-rays will always be 4K, and standard Blu-rays will always be full 1080 HD.

Best Blu Ray Players Physical Media
Image source: Pexels

Quality issues aside, TV shows and movies disappear from streaming services all the time due to licensing agreements. However, physical media will never arbitrarily disappear, meaning you can enjoy your favorite movie and TV shows whenever you like.

Finally, physical media often includes many bonus content unavailable through streaming services. This includes deleted scenes, alternate endings, and director and cast commentary. Furthermore, Blu-rays might include the “director’s cut” of the film. So, owning a physical copy of your favorite films is a no-brainer if you’re a self-professed film buff.

The Best Blu-ray Players on the Market Today

There are hundreds of Blu-ray players on the market. However, you want to make sure you net the best quality player so you can enjoy all the benefits of your physical media while you watch your favorite movies and television shows. These are our top recommendations for Blu-ray players.

1. Best Affordable 4K Player: Sony UBP-700X

Price: $135

If you’ve got a 4K TV and a bunch of 4K UHD Blu-rays, you will need a player that will make them pop. The Sony UBP-700X is an affordable option with some premium bells and whistles, such as Dolby Vision compatibility and HDR10 support. In addition, the Sony UBP-700X has excellent upscaling abilities. This ensures that your standard Blu-rays and DVDs look great on your 4K screen. Furthermore, it has built-in Wi-Fi, which means you’ll be able to stream content from your favorite streaming platform.

Bluray Sonyubp700x


  • Dolby Vision compatibility
  • Effective upscaling for standard Blu-rays and DVDs
  • Supports 4K UHD Blu-rays
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and streaming support


  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • User interface is a bit clunky

Tip: You’ll need a 4K television to fully enjoy 4K Blu-rays.

2. Best Budget Blu-Ray Player: LG BP175

Price: $99.95

If you’re looking for a Blu-ray player that won’t break the bank, the LG BP175 is a solid option that comes in at less than $100. The BP175 supports DVD, standard Blu-ray playback, and audio CDs. Although it does not support 4K UHD Blu-rays, the LG BP175 is a streaming media box that supports some of the most popular streaming apps.

Bluray Lgbp175


  • Under $100
  • Small footprint
  • Can also act as a streaming device


  • No 4K UHD Blu-ray support
  • No Wi-Fi built-in

3. Best for Music: Sony UBP-X800M2

Price: $328.00

When it comes to Blu-Ray players, music probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. However, when it comes to the UBP-X800M2, Sony was thinking about the audiophiles. That said, it doesn’t skimp on the visuals, with Dolby Vision and HDR10 to make the most out of your Blu-ray discs. However, the UBP-X800M2 doesn’t stop with Blu-rays. It also features Sony’s proprietary DSEE HX audio processing. This upscales your FLAC, AAC, and MP3 files to ultra-high-resolution sound quality. So if you’ve got an audio CD collection in addition to your Blu-ray movies, this is the player for you.

Tip: If you care about audio quality, make sure you purchase a high-quality home theater system.

Bluray Sony Ubpx800m2


  • Supports 4K UHD Blu-rays
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10
  • Proprietary DSEE HX audio processing to upscale music files
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound
  • Bluetooth connectivity to wireless speakers and headphones


  • Visual fidelity is on par with other models
  • Expensive for what you get

4. Best for Gaming: Xbox Series X

Price: $499.99

If you are a gamer and an A/V enthusiast but want to cut down on the clutter and limit the number of devices connected to your TV, then the Xbox Series X is for you. Microsoft has been positioning its Xbox gaming console as an all-in-one home media solution for years. In addition to playing games, the Xbox Series X can play DVDs, Blu-rays, and 4K UHD Blu-rays. Furthermore, it supports both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Make sure you grab the Series X, as it has an optical disc drive, whereas the Series S is digital only.

Bluray Xbox
Image source: Unsplash


  • Plays games
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+
  • Dolby Atmos support
  • Supports 4K UHD Blu-rays


  • Pricey
  • No benefits if not also using it for gaming

Tip: Don’t forget to buy the right Xbox accessories if you plan to use the device for watching television and movies.

5. Best Overall: Panasonic DP-UB820

Price: $424.98

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is the player for anyone who demands the best image quality available. This player has a proprietary feature dubbed the HCX Processor (Hollywood Cinema experience). In layman’s terms, this is a High Dynamic Range optimizer that significantly enhances the overall picture quality. It does this by adjusting the HDR output to suit your specific TV’s brightness capabilities. The Panasonic DP-UB820 can tailor the image for individual TVs, regardless of manufacturer.

Bluray Panasonic


  • Stunning HDR image processing
  • Issue voice commands via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa
  • Streaming apps pre-installed (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime)
  • Supports 4K UHD Blu-rays


  • No Dolby Vision
  • Expensive

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray?

It all boils down to the resolution of the image. DVDs have a maximum resolution of 720 x 480. Blu-ray discs were designed to supersede DVDs by offering more storage capacity and faster data transfer capabilities. As such, Blu-ray discs have a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. Finally, a 4K UHD Blu-ray can store even more data. As a result, a 4K UHD disc has a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160. All you need to know is that the higher the number, the better the visual fidelity.

Can I play DVDs in a Blu-ray player?

Yes. All Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players are backward compatible with standard DVDs. That said, not all Blu-ray players treat DVDs in the same way. Most, but not all, Blu-ray players will upscale the DVD image to 1080p or even 4K. However, it’s important to note that upscaling does not make your older DVDs look like Blu-rays. Upscaling cannot improve the look of the source disc, as it does not add detail that isn’t already there. Instead, upscaling bumps up the pixel count of a source to accommodate a higher-resolution display.

Can all Blu-Ray players play 4K UHD Blu-ray discs?

No. Most of the modern Blu-Ray players available on the market can play both standard Blu-Rays and 4K UHD Blu-rays. Some players (mostly cheaper models) can only play standard 1080p Blu-rays. Therefore, if your Blu-ray collection only consists of standard Blu-rays, or if you don’t have a 4K TV, you can opt for one of the cheaper models that do not offer 4K UHD disc support.

Image credit: Pexels

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