The best Blu-ray players of 2016 revealed

This time last year, we were still waiting for a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player to hit the UK market. But then the Panasonic DMP-UB900 arrived and the format hasn't looked back.

But it isn't easy being the first of a new breed. Not only does the Panasonic need to perform well, it has to do so with the distinction required to thoroughly advertise a new format. But as far as we're concerned, it's mission accomplished.

Given its lush colours, strong contrast and great definition and clarity, we really believe it's no exaggeration to say that the Panasonic DMP-UB900 shows us the future of home cinema.

Not only does the Panasonic herald the dawn of a new technology, it delivers a devastating first blow to its rivals. By any standards, that makes it worthy of an Award.

Sony has become a near-permanent resident in the more affordable end of our Blu-ray player Awards in recent years, and the BDP-S6700 continues that streak.

The player produces a sharp, punchy picture that's crystal clear and free from noise, while its fast and agile sound ensures great organisation.

Sony has proven once again that it knows how to play the budget market to a tee by focusing on delivering an outstanding performance at a competitive price. The BDP-S6700 definitely belies its low price tag.

Sony has taken 2015's Award-winning BDP-S7200 and cranked it up so hard that it no longer fits in its usual BDP family of Blu-ray players. Not only is the Sony UHP-H1 able to support virtually every high-res audio format in existence, it also handles Blu-ray, DVD, DVD Audio, CD, SACD - and even 3D.

Picture quality is natural and convincing, while the player's music-only performance is exceptional for a product of this type at this kind of money.

With the UHP-H1, it's fair to say Sony didn't set out to make just a Blu-ray player. The company wanted to make a one-box offering that can juggle multiple tasks, and do so with relish. So, it won an award for a Blu-ray player, but that title doesn't quite do it justice. This is one of the most talented multi-media players we've seen for the money.

MORE: Awards 2016: Blu-ray players

See all our What Hi-Fi? Awards 2016 winners

Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.