I was fortunate to be involved in the WHFSV Big Question where we were subjected to three different blu-ray players, ranging from about £100 up to about £900 (Oppo 95 if I recall).
Definitely differences in blu-ray and DVD playback (better as the price increased) and definitely in the sound processing.
However.... the screen was a 65" top of the range Samsung. If you only have a small screen and no surround, then the cheaper blu-ray player wil be more than adequate. But if you start examining the image/sound - through a big screen/projector and good quality surround system, then you will need the blu-ray player to up its game.
Horses for courses. Also, one of us preferred the cheapest blu-ray player - personal preference for the image/sound they give is what matters most.
Main: Pioneer tv + LX85, Sony HW15 Proj, Cyrus DAC XP+/Mono X300/CDXTSE2/PSXRx2, B&W CM8/CM1/PV1D, CA BD751, Virgin TiVo, Inspire Rega t/t, Benz Glider MC, EAR 834P phono amp; Slee Novo Headphone Amp
Second: Panasonic 42" E6B LED, Pioneer VSX-D2011, Kef eggs, Virgin TiVo
Thanks to everyone for posting feedback on their own experiences. It would appear by general consensus I'm not going to see any appreciable difference if I were to change my PS3 for a dedicated player.
Claire / Andy, you mentioned that you have noticed a difference at larger screen sizes which would appear to suggest Blue-Ray players are doing more than simply reading (and decompressing) data off the disk for transport down an HDMI cable. If that the case can you offer any insight into exactly what a Blue-Ray player is doing to the data it reads? I assume it would be something similar to a DAC in amplifiers / receivers which accounts for the qulaity differences in the audio world.
For the record I use a PS3 slim which is connected through a Denon 2310 receiver which feeds my 21:9 Philips TV (58").
Again thanks for your opinions and saving some of my hard earned in the process.
I would recommend a demo of some players on your screen to see if you can see any difference. Don't just go by others' opinion.
My Home Cinema Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90
Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H
Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router
I tend to disagree that most Blu-ray players are equal picture-wise. I have a pretty budget Samsung LCD 37", and the Sony BDP-370 showed noticeably less noise than the 360 I first had. The CA-751BD I have now seems a slight improvement still, but I suspect the Denon or Marantz would better it yet.
On the other hand I can see the new Panasonics and Sonys bridging the gap seriously questioning the logic in buying more expensive players.
And I still believe that universal players for SACD and DVD-A are *meh*. If for the love of God you worship SACD then get a *proper* SACD player dammit, which these things are patently not. Or make sure your AV amp has a good DSD decoder.
Arcam Solo Mini/Monitor Audio RX1/Cambridge Audio 751BD/Samsung 37” LCD
With lossless audio there should be no difference between players/amps when converting DTS_HD/DoblyHD into LPCM. The algorithm is 100% deterministic.
ie. given an input of x the output will always be y as long as the device is DTS/Dolby certified.
So whether the player or your amp decodes the soundtrack in LPCM makes no difference. If you're really keen you can read the white papers on the 2 technologies.
Server Synology 8Bay DS1812+, Synology 4Bay DS412+, Sky+HD
Lounge Samsung UE55D9000, Denon DBT-3313, Onkyo TX-NR5009, Tannoy Arena Highline 500 LCR, ACRyan playon!HD mini2
Reception Samsung UE46C8000, Panasonic BDP310, Sony STR-DA5400ES, KEF2005.3, ACRyan playon!HD mini2
Andy covered some of the reasons here:
There are several factors that can affect the performance of a Blu-ray player:
1) How well the player/transport reads the information on the disc
2) Whether the digital information is degraded in any way as it passes through the player – this could be caused by:
(I) Jitter or digital timing errors
(ii) Rounding errors caused by the digital processing
(iii) Low-level distortion caused by power supply instability and noise
(iv) External vibrations can interfere with the performance of the circuitry
The same issues applied when CD players first came out, which is why they don't all perform the same.
That said, the PS3 is still a perfectly good Blu-ray player.
BigBoss is also right that you should demo, demo, demo
Group PR Manager - Computers Unlimited;
Former Group Editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and Whathifi.com
© 2013 Haymarket Publishing