Find the right Blu-ray player for you

CNET rounds up its latest Blu-ray coverage, from Blu-ray players available for less than $250 to players that feature multichannel analog outputs.

For most people, the Panasonic DMP-BD35 will offer the best combination of features, performance, and value.
For most people, the Panasonic DMP-BD35 will offer the best combination of features, performance and value.

According to the early reports , Blu-ray is faring well this holiday season and it's not hard to see why. With standalone player prices finally slipping below $250, more popular movies available, and reliable standalone players hitting the market, Blu-ray is now a solid option for those that want the best image quality from their home theater. If you're looking to go Blu over the next few weeks, here's a roundup of our recent Blu-ray coverage to help you make your choice.

Five Blu-ray players for less than $250
If all you care about is price, check out our roundup of some of the cheapest players on the market. Not all of these players are Profile 2.0 compliant, but if you're not interested in Internet-enabled BD-Live features, you can go with a cheaper Profile 1.1 player. And if you're still trying to figure out what the different Blu-ray profiles actually mean, check our guide on Blu-ray Profile 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 .

Blu-ray players with BD-Live for less than $300
If you're a little more flexible on price, you'll be able to buy a Profile 2.0 player, which will let you play BD-Live features that are becoming more and more popular on Blu-ray releases. Also at this price level, you'll see players with bonus features such as Netflix streaming.

Blu-ray players with 7.1 audio outputs
If you're using an older non-HDMI receiver, you can still take advantage of the new high-resolution audio soundtracks--Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio--available on Blu-ray. If your receiver has multichannel analog inputs, pair it up with a Blu-ray player with analog outputs to hear the new soundtracks at their full resolution.

Best Blu-ray players list
If money is no object and you just want the best home theater experience, check out our best Blu-ray players list. It rounds up the top players we've reviewed over the year and you'll notice that the PS3 still holds the top spot, as it offers much more functionality (high-def gaming, media streaming) over its competitors. You'll also find the Samsung BD-P2550 on this list, which offers Netflix and Pandora streaming, in addition to great Blu-ray playback thanks to HQV video processing.

More recent Blu-ray coverage
Is Blu-ray becoming a commodity?
Sony claims BD-Live is catching on
PS3 firmware update enables full-screen flash video
Roundup: IR-to-Bluetooth converters that let you control your PS3 with a universal remote

 

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