Thinking of buying Blu-ray? Go on, just do it!

Sun, 26 Oct 2008, 10:12am

I finally got round to replacing my DVD player with a Blu-ray player this weekend, and boy has it been a revelation. Yes, of course I've seen numerous demonstrations of Blu-ray in our test rooms at work, but there's nothing quite like having one in your own home to appreciate the difference.

I'm still grinning from ear to ear after watching Casino Royale last night. Naturally the picture was fabulous, but what really blew me away was the  soundtrack.

Looking out of the window right now it's pouring with rain – what a shame! Means I'll just have to stay in and watch 3:10 to Yuma. Can't wait. Oh, and then there's Batman Begins as well. Looks like I'm in for a Sunday afternoon film fest.

Even my existing DVD collection looks better thanks to the player's video upscaling capabilities, and bearing in mind I was previously using a none-too-shabby Arcam DV79, that's no mean achievement.

So, as many of you on our Forums keep asking, is the upgrade to Blu-ray really worth it? You bet! What really convinced me was Clare Newsome's review of the re-mastered James Bond films Dr. No and From Russia With Love, posted here. Once I'd read that, I knew I just had to upgrade.

But in case you think urging you all to upgrade in the middle of a credit crunch is, well, a bit irresponsible, here's the thing. Our five-star Sony BDP-S350 is now available for around £170. That's amazing, considering we've only recently tested it at £230.

And we've seen Yamaha's Award-winning Yamaha DSP-AX763 (normally £400) for as little as £299.

So it seems there may be a silver lining to the credit crunch cloud after all. As retailers struggle more and more to entice customers into their stores, it's going to get very, very competitive out there. Which can only be good news for you, the buyer.

If you need a little more help in deciding which Blu-ray player to buy, then look out for the What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Ultimate Guide to Blu-ray which we'll be publishing next Friday, October 31st.

It's packed with reviews of all the latest Blu-ray players, plus the kit you need to add surround sound, the best TVs to go with your player and our Top 50 Best Buy Blu-ray films.

What's more, we've got three stunning £4000 Blu-ray systems to give away in the Ultimate Guide competition. Full details will appear on next week.

Who knows, you could even win the ultimate home cinema upgrade for free! Right, I'm off downstairs to put the telly back on.


Hi Andy so what player did you go for then ??

I'm interested too.

I'm using the Yamaha BD-S2900 which will be tested in the December issue of the magazine, on sale November 13th.

Hi, please can you help?

I am in a real dilemma.

I am at the point of purchasing a new all in one home cinema system and here is my dilemma.

I have a one year old 1080p Panasonic Viera 32in lcd (TX32 LXD60) and for a standard tv the sound is pretty good aided I guess by the built in sub! My dvd player has seen better days and is now destined to become a bean can or a desk top pen holder, any way, I have been running my system through a Dennon avr 1802 and mission nxt speakers and although these are pretty poor on there own I have been fortunate enough to also run a hefty 2 x 10inch active mission sub at one end of the lounge while a second sub sat in the corner by the tv, so all was well and the room filled with the foot steps in Jurassic park and Casino Royale was a blast.  

Now for my problem I am looking at two new complete systems one is the Pioneer LX1 and the other is the Panasonic SCB T100 and here is where I don’t know where to, the Panasonic is blue ray and the pioneer is not. I would hook up two extra wireless rears to the Panasonic making it 5.1.

I feel that I need blue ray as I will be missing out on detail and sound quality if not? The Pioneer does have more connectivity options and is a hard drive recorder, although I will be getting a freesat pvr very soon.

I have a great deal lined up for both at a High street retailer. Both are brand new and boxed (un opened) the Panasonic I can get for £535.00 plus (the 5 free blue ray discs from Panasonic although this is not really an influencing factor) and wait for it the Pioneer LX1 at £799.00 yes I did say £799.00.

So I really don’t know what to do, if blue ray is the way forward then should I wait for the Pioneer LX3 blue ray system player?

Or should I get the new Panasonic DMP BD55 and wait a while? And if I did would the sound be better just through the tv via this blue ray player.

Or is there a Dennon system that will do the trick?

Sorry too many questions, I know!

Any help will be very much appreciated.


Argh!!! Andy what should I do... I have the Panasonic bd55 on pre order but can get a Yamaha bd-s2900 tomorrow... How much more do i get for my money?? Should the fact that you have this sway me toward the yamaha!?



The  Panasonic BDP-55 is a really good player, and our Product of the Year, so it's a great choice and terrific value. It also has the added advantage of onboard decoding of the HD audio formats, which the Yamaha does not, if that's important to you. So I'd stick with it.


I'd definitely got for a Blu-ray stem at this stage if you can.

Ultimate guide to BluRay,might have been published on Fri,but I still cannot find it in any shops,only the Awards 2008 mag.

I fianlly upgraded my amplifier to the Pioneer VSX-LX70, which seems to decode pretty much every sound format. Can I then stick with a budget player like the Panasonic BD-35, or will I be missing something in sound/pictur quality?

I don't really want to double up on decoder etc. in the blu-ray player if it's already in the amp, but nor do I want to miss quality for the sak of a few bucks, but I'm frankly confused at this stage. Can you advise?




While £170 may be a "bargain" for a Blu-Ray player, I'm not going to buy.


Because we have 4 rooms with DVD/TV. If I start buying BluRay discs, then, unless we resrtict viewing to one room (with expensive disks adding to the pain), I'll have to buy 4 blu-ray players = £680!

No doubt there are many people with more than 1 DVD/TV in the house - hence until the players are £50 many people won't bother - by which time we'll all be downloading.

I'mm all for new techno;ogy - but in this case I just can't justify it.