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Best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players 2021

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 2021.

Let's face it, Blu-ray discs provide an amazing improvement to picture and sound quality over standard DVDs.

But, if you up the ante with the  4K Blu-rays, you not only get extra resolution, you also get HDR (including Dolby Vision and HDR10+), and object-based surround formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. There are tons of 4K discs to choose from, so now is a great time to upgrade on a 4K Blu-ray player, and in our experience, picture and sound quality tend to be better than watching a 4K equivalent on Amazon Prime Video or Netflix.

4K players still spin normal Blu-rays and DVDs (remember them?) so there are no problems with backward compatibility. Some 4K players are also universal decks that can play more niche audio disc formats such as SACD and DVD-Audio.

Our pick of the best Blu-ray players and 4K Blu-ray players all serve up brilliant picture and sound at their respective price points. Here's our definitive list.

Best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players 2021

(Image credit: Panasonic)

1. Panasonic DP-UB820EB

As an all-rounder, this is the best 4K Blu-ray player we've seen at the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: 4K Blu-ray | SACD/DVD-A/3D Blu-ray support: No/No/Yes | Outputs: HDMI x2, Optical digital, 7.1 multi-channel analogue | Dimensions (hwd): 6.3 x 43 x 20.4cm | Weight: 3.5kg

Reasons to Buy

Vibrant, immersive HDR picture
Punchy, believable colour balance
Powerful and weighty sound

Reasons to Avoid

Could be dynamically subtler
No SACD or DVD-A support

With the DP-UB820EB, Panasonic has taken the video processing tech out of the flagship DP-UB9000 – which features further down this list – and placed it it in a more affordable package. And the results are sensational. The player serves up a wonderfully inviting and immersive picture, bursting with colour and detail. It also produces a meaty and exciting sound, which complements the picture perfectly.

All the main flavours of HDR are supported, including HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, which means you can extract the most from 4K content. It's a very good upscaler too, so normal Blu-rays should look the part on your shiny new 4K TV. For the money, you'll struggle to find a better all-round machine, which is why we've placed this What Hi-Fi? Award-winner at the top of our list of the best Blu-ray players.

Read the full Panasonic DP-UB820EB review

Best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players 2021

2. Sony UBP-X700

A brilliant 4K Blu-ray player, with an attractive price tag to boot.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: 4K Blu-ray | SACD/DVD-A/3D Blu-ray support: Yes/No/Yes | Outputs: HDMI x2, Coaxial digital | Dimensions (hwd): 4.5 x 32 x 21.7cm | Weight: 1.4kg

Reasons to Buy

Crisp, natural-looking picture
Excellent detail and colors
Dolby Vision support

Reasons to Avoid

Sound could be grander
No HDR10+ support

If you want an affordable route into the world of 4K Blu-ray players, the Sony UBP-X700 is a great option. 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. Sound quality is equally stirring with its zippy, dynamic character complementing that class-leading picture.

The Sony ticks most of the boxes you'd expect a player to at this price, and includes both Dolby Vision and HDR10 support but no HDR10+.

Despite not flashing the hi-res audio badge, the X700 can also play up to 24bit/192kHz files and supports a number of 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 Sony UBP-X700 review

Best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players 2021

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony UBP-X800M2

A great 4K Blu-ray player for the money, despite a couple of peculiar traits.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: 4K Blu-ray | SACD/DVD-A/3D Blu-ray support: Yes/Yes/Yes | Outputs: HDMI x2, Coaxial digital | Dimensions (hwd): 5.4 x 43 x 26.5cm | Weight: 3.8kg

Reasons to Buy

Crisp, detailed picture
Rhythmic, musical sound
Supports SACD and DVD-A

Reasons to Avoid

Lacks HDR10+
Odd Dolby Vision execution
Could be more vibrant

This mid-range Sony is a bit more capable – and a bit more expensive – than those at the budget end of the market. While it lacks a display on the player itself, its feature set more than makes up for it. It even has Bluetooth, for streaming audio to a pair of wireless headphones – a godsend for late-night viewing.

There's no HDR10+ support, but otherwise it's a very versatile player, playing nice with such niche audio formats as DVD-Audio and SACD. You have to manually enable Dolby Vision for supported content, which is a bit annoying (it should just happen automatically), but this player's superb performance still makes it easy to recommend.

Read the full Sony UBP-X800M2 review

Best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players 2021

(Image credit: Future)

4. Sony UBP-X1100ES

A hugely capable 4K Blu-ray player, not without its quirks.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: 4K Blu-ray | SACD/DVD-A/3D Blu-ray support: Yes/Yes/Yes | Outputs: HDMI x2, optical and coaxial digital, analogue | Dimensions (hwd): 5.4 x 43 x 26.5cm | Weight: 3.9kg

Reasons to Buy

Crisp, clean 4K picture
Entertaining, immersive sound
Universal disc support

Reasons to Avoid

No HDR10+
Strange handling of Dolby Vision
Lacks a premium finish

There's no shortage of excellent 4K Blu-ray players to choose from at the premium end of the market, and the UBP-X1100ES also deserves to be on the list. It's a universal deck which means it can handle all manner of disc formats, including 3D Blu-ray, SACD and DVD-Audio. It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR, but there's no support for HDR10+, which is a little disappointing.

Its picture is anything but, though. The Sony serves up a balanced, natural and nuanced image, which displays great depth and an impressive amount of detail. It's a musical player too, with excellent timing and a fine sense of rhythm with music and movies alike.

Read the full Sony UBP-X1100ES review

Best Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players 2021

5. Panasonic DP-UB9000

A seriously capable 4K Blu-ray player for home cinema enthusiasts.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: 4K Blu-ray | SACD/DVD-A/3D Blu-ray support: No/No/Yes | Outputs: HDMI x2, optical and coaxial digital, 7.1 multi-channel analogue, RCA Phono, XLR | Dimensions (hwd): 8.1 x 43 x 30cm | Weight: 7.8kg

Reasons to Buy

Crisp, insightful picture
Dynamic expressive sound
Good selection of features

Reasons to Avoid

Very little at this price

There are some great budget 4K Blu-ray players in this list, but the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is the one to audition if you're in the market for a premium machine.

Its 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 what you want from a premium player like this. It has been bettered for outright musical ability, but the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is still well worth auditioning.

Read the full Panasonic DP-UB9000 review

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  • Polarisis5769
    Enables video feedback with and without audio capturing in options menu to fixing issues in firmware and in for suggestions to improve the hardware and video playback for 8k converted native flies in glass disks storing many 8k movies in bundle packs bought for improvement to movie remasters and remakes to the hardware makers and movie makers for 70 mm conversions sold to digital 8k and for native 8k cable tv on these players in the future.
    Reply
  • MeneerPaul
    Hi, Polarisis5769. I'm very new here. Joined because I am prone to learning a lot; this time diving into multi-format players.
    Looks like you have some good suggestions for further deliberations, but could you please try to make your comment understandable by adding some fullstops an subjects to verbs?
    Reply