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Subject: Blu-Ray Players: Recommendations and deals? rss

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E.R. Burgess
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Okay, I admit it. I'm nutso-insane for HD quality. I bought a Panasonic Onyx Plasma a few years ago when they still charged obscene prices for them. I bought into HD-DVD last year and I'm getting out now (hey, only eleven months after they stopped making them) and jumping to Blu-Ray.

So - any recommendations on which player to buy? Looking to keep it on the relatively cheap side but I don't like no-name or bad-name brands. Also, if anyone has seen any terrific deals, I'd love to hear about them. There don't seem to be many deal online since apparently Blu-Ray players sold pretty well this holiday season,

...Sheylon
www.boardgamebabylon.com

P.S. No - I'm not buying a PS3. I already have an Xbox 360 Elite and a Wii and they are more video game machine than I can ever dream of playing. I just want to watch HD movies.
 
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As a side note I boughta PS3 with a disbelief that Blu-Ray makes a big difference.

Man, with the flatscreen, was I proven wrong. A Blu-Ray player is worth it if you want better quality video.
 
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Scott Alden
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Here's a reason you may reconsider buying a PS3: They update the software.
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Philip Johnson
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Blu-Ray 2.0 compatible players will also theoretically support software updates, although they will likely not support wifi.

You can save a few bucks by going with a value-priced Blu-Ray player, but I can't imagine a reason that you'd actually go with that rather than just buying the PS3, even if you never intend to use the gaming functions.
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Nick King
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Maksimov wrote:
PS3 has been rated the best consumer priced Blu-Ray player on the market in many reviews. ;)


This was up until very recently. It is still an awesome player, but here is a breakdown after I did a ton of research:

1: Samsung BD-P2500/BD-P2550
The difference between these two is Pandora/Netflix Capability on the P2550. This is the fastest loading BD player on the market beside the PS3. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you start looking at the low end players, the load times for discs are ridiculous. Great features on this, it does bitstreaming, networkable, upgradeable, all around good.

2. Panasonic DMP-BD35/DMP-BD55
The difference between these 2 models is that the BD55 has shock absorbing feet and analog 7.1 audio, as opposed to the digital only on the 35. For 99% of users, the BD35 is where its at between these 2. This one loads only slightly slower than the Samsungs, and has the same great features, also does the bitstreaming.

3. Sony PS3
When you factor in being able to play video games, its hard not to pick this one. It doesn't support bitstreaming which is a bummer for people with nice AV setups, and the remote is bluetooth, meaning if you have a nice Harmony remote you can't program it to work with the PS3, though I read somewhere that Nyko makes a Bluetooth>IR adapter or something like that that can make this possible. Its the fastest loading player on the market.



Prices right now are crazy... Some places have the top 2 players at over $400, but we bought ours for under 3. I think I saw the Panasonic at Costco for $279, and there's usually 1 item costco coupons in mailers if you're a member. Basically, shop around, check amazon and newegg regularly, along with your warehouse clubs, and dont pay much more than $300 for any of the players.

One thing I can't iterate enough... Don't spend $150 on a cheap bd player. It is going to be missing key features and will be slow as hell, and will provide for a crappy overall bluray experience. If $300 isn't your pricepoint, just wait, and the prices will come down more. The budget players are bigtime ripoffs right now.
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CHAPEL
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Sony PS3 all the way. Plus it does the best upscaling to 1080P of DVD's out of any DVD player I've ever owned. Plus, plug a extrnal HD to it, or run a media extender through your network, and it can be you media center. PLUS, it's fairly cheap for the platform you get. PLUS,PLUS,PLUS,etc.

I wouldn't see why anyone would buy anything else?
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Rachel Wolfe
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ohgeetee wrote:


2. Panasonic DMP-BD35/DMP-BD55
The difference between these 2 models is that the BD55 has shock absorbing feet and analog 7.1 audio, as opposed to the digital only on the 35. For 99% of users, the BD35 is where its at between these 2. This one loads only slightly slower than the Samsungs, and has the same great features, also does the bitstreaming.

...

Prices right now are crazy... Some places have the top 2 players at over $400, but we bought ours for under 3. I think I saw the Panasonic at Costco for $279, and there's usually 1 item costco coupons in mailers if you're a member. Basically, shop around, check amazon and newegg regularly, along with your warehouse clubs, and dont pay much more than $300 for any of the players.


I got that Panasonic BD35 on Amazon for $235 + free shipping, the week after Thanksgiving. Might want to check there.
 
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I'm pretty sure thats the one Bianca got me for Christmas. I'll check when I get home today and let you know for sure.
 
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Dan Becker
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I also recommend the Panasonic DMP-BD35/DMP-BD55. My only complaints about many Blu-Ray players is that the players seem so slow compared to DVD players. When I hit eject or play, I want to see some immediate action. Similarly, when I enter a disc, I want that disc playing immediately.

Beware of upscaling DVD players, especially if your monitor has a native resolution less than 1920x1080. There are good upscalers that do interpolation in multiple directions and take into account temporal differences between frames. Then there are bad upscalers that do not. It makes no sense to do a bad upscale and then your monitor does a downscale, and you should avoid unnecessary conversions. (This is somewhat analogous to audio conversions, like converting your 8-track songs to CD before playing rather than playing 8-tracks directly.)

 
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Lincoln Damerst
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The Samsung mentioned above is great, I help a friend set his new one up and it's streaming capabilities are nice. But when all is said and done the PS3 just has more capabilites and resources available to the system so any update will be possible (for the most part) while any other player is in a fixed state, ask the many that purchased any pre 2.0 profile players. The PS3 doesn't do Netflix streaming (or Pandora I believe, haven't checked) but all it takes is for Sony to decide that they need to compete and update the firmware and you have Netflix. But you already have that capability on your XBox. Have fun, Blu-ray looks just as fantastic as the HD-DVDs (but don't get me started on the lack of ingenuity on most Blu-Ray menus vs. HD-DVDs).

Lincoln
 
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Philip Johnson
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manhattandoctor wrote:
What sort of outputs are on the PS3? I'd like a Blu-ray player that outputs 7.1 channels in analog since my receiver is not capable of decoding HDMI 1.3.


You get HDMI, as well as optical audio out. There is a fairly extensive menu of audio types to select from, as well.
 
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Philip Johnson
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ohgeetee wrote:
One thing I can't iterate enough... Don't spend $150 on a cheap bd player. It is going to be missing key features and will be slow as hell, and will provide for a crappy overall bluray experience. If $300 isn't your pricepoint, just wait, and the prices will come down more. The budget players are bigtime ripoffs right now.


If you just want to watch movies and not access all special features of a disc, a bargain Blu-Ray player might be fine, just be aware that they are not going to be the Blu-Ray 2.0 spec and may be quite slow to load discs.
 
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Nick King
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Quote:
But when all is said and done the PS3 just has more capabilites and resources available to the system so any update will be possible (for the most part) while any other player is in a fixed state, ask the many that purchased any pre 2.0 profile players.


The Samsung and Panasonic players listed have upgrades available via Burned Firmware to CD or DVD as well as Network. I think they can even be flashed via USB Flash drive.

The upconverting on the Panasonic and Samsungs is also stellar, and definitely something to look out for, unless you have a really nice reciever. The optimal Home Theater setup would be to bitstream audio and passthrough video from the player to a reciever that does the upconverting and fancy audio conversions. If thats not an option, having nice capabilities like that on the units is a bonus.

The PS3 is still a very nice option though, because even if you only buy 1 PS3 exclusive game for it to play you just got 95% of the bluray of the other players plus another game system.

Its like buying a Snickers with no peanuts and getting a Baby Ruth for free. Sure you just wanted a real Snickers, but that bonus Baby Ruth sure is nice.
 
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Bob
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You might want to check out:

www.blu-ray.com/players

This site has tons of material on just about anything blu...
 
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Nick King
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IcemanCU wrote:
If you just want to watch movies and not access all special features of a disc, a bargain Blu-Ray player might be fine, just be aware that they are not going to be the Blu-Ray 2.0 spec and may be quite slow to load discs.


Many movies won't fully play on the cheapo players. Wall-E and Casino are 2 that my friend had issue with recently. It ends up being extremely frustrating, and makes little sense when you're dropping $25 per movie anyway. Even if you solely rent, you're still up a creek, because bd are like 20x more finnicky with smudging and scratches than DVDs, especially on the cheaper players.
 
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E.R. Burgess
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Thanks for all the advice. I was looking at the Sony BDP-BX1 (which I understand to be the same thing as the Sony BDP-S350). I guess I was just being silly thinking Sony would make the best Blu-Ray player (other than the PS3...hmm...are they trying to get people to buy their largely unloved game machine?)

Didn't know if that qualified as a 'cheapie' Blu-Ray player but I did find it for about $200 - which is a good price point for me. Anyone have experience with that one?

...Sheylon
www.boardgamebabylon.com
 
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E.R. Burgess
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Ugh - okay, I guess it's a PS3 after all. Thanks for the advice all. You sure made my kids happy...

...Sheylon
www.boardgamebabylon.com
 
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Best Buy awhile back had a great deal going on, buy the HDMI cable, and 10 Blu Ray Discs (some were only $20 and they had over fifty to choose from) and you got the Blu Ray Player FREE. Im sure that sale is long gone now but it might come around again.
 
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