If you want to watch your favourite movies in Full HD, and with top-notch surround sound, then Blu-ray is the way to go. With budget Blu-ray players now available for well under £100 – and often given away free or at a discount as part of a bundle with new TVs – it's time to upgrade your old DVD player.
As well as giving you superb picture quality at Full HD 1080p resolution, many Blu-ray discs also include Dolby Digital TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio soundtracks as well. So not only will the film look great on your HD TV, it will also sound great if you have a proper surround sound system capable of handing the newer Dolby/DTS formats. Some of the latest models also include 4K upscaling to further enhance your existing Blu-ray collection if you have a 4K TV.
And if your existing TV lacks smart functionality and catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer or movie streaming apps like Netflix, many Blu-ray models now have those built-in.
So here's our pick of the best Blu-ray players on the market, assuming you're not prepared to wait for Ultra HD Blu-ray...
Tested at £100
Available for just a penny under £100, this Award-winning Panasonic is a genuine bargain with superb specification, features and performance. It romped home to win our Product of the Year accolade in 2015.
Amazingly, this is the top model in Panasonic's 2015 Blu-ray player range. That makes it remarkable value for money. And don't think Panasonic has cut corners to achieve that bargain price. Oh no. It's a full-size machine and has most of the gizmos you'll need, not to mention stunning picture and sound quality.
Tested at £220
Scarily consistent. That’s how we’d describe Sony’s recent track record when it comes to Blu-ray players.
Its budget decks have been showered with Awards and five-star ratings over the past few years, and the BDP-S7200 is the latest of a long line to pick up an Award, winning our Best Buy Blu-ray Player £150-£300 accolade in 2015.
MORE: Sony BDP-S7200 review
Tested at £600
Now you can buy the Pioneer for a tenner under £500, you're looking at a brilliant performance-per-pound machine. It's ideally placed as a mid-range model if you want to upgrade from a budget player but can't run to the £900 needed for a Cambridge CXU below.
If you are a home cinema enthusiast dedicated to getting exceptional picture quality, we’d say the Pioneer BDP-LX58 Blu-ray player is well worth it. Its picture is easily the crispest (and shrewdest) we’ve seen at this price, packing a punch that keeps your eyes transfixed on the screen and involved in the movie at all times.
MORE: Pioneer BDP-LX58 review
Tested at £900
When you can buy a really good Blu-ray player for less than £100, why spend nearly 10 times more? This universal disc player, DAC and streamer all-in-one provides the answer.
That extra cash also buys you a big step up in picture and sound quality compared with budget decks. True to its universal nature, the CXU is as adept with stereo music as it is with multichannel Hollywood blockbusters. If the rest of your system is up to scratch, this is a flagship Blu-ray player that's well worth the investment.
MORE: Cambridge CXU review