Panasonic, Sony and Oppo serve up 2017's Award-winning Blu-ray players

Choosing a Blu-ray disc over an internet stream has a couple of benefits – you don't have to rely on your broadband being up to speed, and Blu-ray brings with it lossless audio codecs such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Plugged into a suitable home cinema system, that means you can experience impressive audio to compliment a Full HD or 4K picture.

This trio of Award-winning disc spinners gives you the best picture and sound quality, whatever your budget...

Under £100

Making a decent Blu-ray player under £100 is difficult, but Panasonic has managed it with the DMP-BDT180EB. It's a super-competitive product that offers a quality picture at a reasonable price point.

The player picks out an exceptional level of detail for the money and tracks motion easily. It has a punchy picture that pops whether you're watching a standard-definition DVD, Full HD Blu-ray or Netflix stream.

The Panasonic's dynamic picture is matched by its sound. There is sufficient space for soundtracks to stretch out into your room, and the balanced sound lends itself well to CD playback, too.

Under £500

The UBP-X800 is Sony's first 4K Blu-ray player, but it's a resounding success. The vibrant, colourful presentation makes it an instant hit, without appearing oversaturated.

Its ability to pick out subtle differences in hues and textures really set it apart at this price point. Images appear natural with a good degree of dimensionality - and you don't have to worry about quality of the upscaling for DVDs and non-4K Blu-rays.

The UBP-X800 has a crisp audio quality too, with insight that outshines its main competitor, the Panasonic DMP-UB900. Sparkly highs are mixed with impressive large-scale ability, supplemented with excellent low-level dynamics.


Oppo's first 4K Blu-ray player, the UDP-203, boasts HDR (including Dolby Vision), Dolby Atmos and stacks of hi-res music compatibility.

The picture is stunning, with details etched out with superb clarity and subtlety. Bright whites and dark blacks are handled expertly and the action is smooth, even with tricky slow-panning shots.

The Oppo sounds dynamic and punchy too. There's loads of detail across the board, while dialogue sounds natural and expressive. Even with CD playback, there's texture and insight aplenty.

It's pricier than the other two winners here, but that sense of awe you get when watching 4K films is worth every penny.

MORE: Awards 2017: Blu-ray players

MORE: What Hi-Fi? Awards 2017 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.