Best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players you can buy in 2019.
Let's face it, Blu-ray discs provide a whopping improvement picture and sound quality over standard DVDs.
They include the latest sound technologies (Dolby Digital TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio) and one of the next-gen object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats.
And, of course, a 4K player will play 4K Blu-ray discs in Ultra HD. There's a decent selection of 4K discs now available, so the time has never been better to upgrade.
They'll also play Blu-rays, DVDs (remember them?), while some will also play older audio disc formats such as SACD and DVD-Audio.
Read on for our selection of the best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players on the market.
If you want an affordable route into the world of 4K Blu-ray, the Sony UBP-X700 is a great shout. It's one of the most talented 4K players we've seen at this kind of money. It’s a fun, involving performance - pictures are stacked with detail. The Sony displays a wonderfully subtle picture that’s impeccably judged while being hugely entertaining. Skin-tones are natural, action scenes are handled with smooth and stable motion, and there’s a lifelike quality to the X700's picture that just draws you in. Sound quality is equally stirring with its zippy, dynamic character complimenting that class-leading picture.
The Sony ticks all the boxes you'd expect a player to at this price, and includes both Dolby Vision and HDR10 support. Despite not flashing the hi-res audio badge, the X700 can also play up to 24bit/192kHz files in all popular formats, including WAV, FLAC and DSD. There's also smart functionality and twin HDMI outputs. This Sony machine is good enough to boost all manner of home cinema systems, so you can buy with confidence.
Read the full review: Sony UBP-X700
Making a Blu-ray player for under £100 is no easy feat. Making a good Blu-ray player for under £100 is more difficult, and a great one harder still. But somehow Panasonic has managed it with the DMP-BDT180EB. If you can live without the 4K Blu-ray playback, the Panasonic will inject life into any entry-level home cinema set-up. Detail levels, colour balance and motion handling are all excellent for the money.
It doesn’t hold back when it comes to audio quality either; the dynamism that comes across in its picture is matched by its sound. Voices are kept clear too, with a pretty balanced sound – so while you probably won’t use this as your go-to music player, you can always sling a CD into it with confidence. If you want a solid upgrade on an old DVD spinner, this Panasonic Blu-ray player won't let you down.
Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-BDT180EB
Some home cinema set-ups demand a player with even more focus than the Sony mentioned above. Where premium build quality and high grade components are par for the course, in an attempt to bring you the best picture and sound possible. The Pioneer UDP-LX500 is such a player.
Feed the player a 4K disc and the picture that greets you is breathtaking. It paints a balanced picture, packed with sensational levels of detail. And the Pioneer sounds as good as it looks, displaying weight, power and a fine sense of musicality and timing. There's no smart functionality, nor is there a set of multi-channel analogue outputs for legacy AV receivers, but if you've got the budget and a suitable home cinema system to play it through, this 4K Blu-ray player will blow you away.
Read the full review: Pioneer UDP-LX500
If your budget can't stretch all the way to the Pioneer mentioned above, then the Cambridge CXUHD is a great shout. Like the Pioneer, its feature count isn't the most extensive (connections are limited to a couple of HDMI and digital audio outputs) and there's little in the way of smart functionality, but in terms of all-round ability, there's a heck of a lot to like.
The CXUHD produces a realistic picture and does a great job handling dark and light scenes. There's loads of detail to lap up, whether you're watching a 4K or standard Blu-ray. It's sonically gifted too, displaying transparency and musicality when playing movie soundtracks and CDs. There's a sense of refinement here that budget players simply can't match.
Read the full review: Cambridge Audio CXUHD
This LG 4K Blu-ray player isn't best in class, but it is a solid performer and a decent shout for those looking to take the leap into the 4K format. You get twin HDMI outputs, HDR10 and Dolby Vision support and access to Netflix and YouTube through its smart menu system. It has a decent suite of features and one that's backed up by a vibrant, punchy picture with just enough detail to draw you in. Sonically, it's a smooth performer that rounds off harsh edges, but it lacks the outright punch and dynamics needed to drive movie soundtracks home. It's a good player, but isn't short of tough competition at this price.
Read the full review: LG UP970
The DP-UB9000 is another player to throw into the mix if you're in the market for a premium machine. Nestled between the Pioneer and Cambridge in this list, the Panasonic is a feature-packed option with excellent picture and sound quality. It's menu system is a little overcomplicated, but once you've got the Panasonic set up for your particular display, it serves up an entertaining and attention-grabbing image, bursting with colour. There's a great sense of depth and realism to 4K images that makes you sit up and take notice. Soundtracks are delivered with plenty of weight and power, which is just want you want from a premium player like this. The Pioneer just about pips it for outright musical ability, but the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is still well worth auditioning.
Read the full review: Panasonic DP-UB9000