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What Blu-ray Player Should I Buy?

by Adam Jackson / September 6, 2008 12:22 AM PDT

There aren't very many on the market, but, I was wondering which one I should buy...

I have a Samsung LN52A650 TV with an older (no HDMI connection) surround-sound system. Will the Blu-ray player play the sound over my system? Will I need to buy a new home theater system to hear the HD sound?

I'm looking for a player in the $250-400 price range that has upconverting capabilities...

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Blu-Ray player
by Dan Filice / September 6, 2008 1:02 AM PDT

At this early time in the Blu-Ray game, I think you will have a tough time finding a Blu-Ray player for the price you seek. The Panasonic BD-30 is one of the better players, but it's around $450 or so. The newer version, BD-50, is around $550. All Blu-Ray players will do upconversion, so that's not an issue. Even though your TV does not have HDMI, you can simply use the component video connections to get HD video from Blu-Ray discs. Component video cables do not carry audio like HDMI, so generally you use the two RCA audio plugs that are next to the Component-Video Out plugs on the DVD player. Your TV probably does not have anything other than RCA plugs for Audio-in. Once you get a receiver and speakers to enjoy 5.1 Surround, then use the Optical Audio-Out from the DVD player and plug that into the receiver.

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hey guys
by jostenmeat / September 6, 2008 7:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Blu-Ray player

Dan, I think you mighta missed my most recent price alert:
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7596_102-0.html?forumID=60&threadID=305688&messageID=2839835&tag=forums06;search-results#2839835

BD-30 was $299 last week, went up $12 it looks like.

Sony announced $100 drop in bd player prices, I think for this month?

I own a Pana BD-30, and it works perfectly . . . for ME. But for Adam, I don't recommend it. Firstly, you won't get hi-def audio, at least to its full capabilities, without an HDMI receiver. The BD-50 you can, if your receiver has multi ch ins. Now... if you ARE going to upgrade your receiver eventually, and want to take advantage of hi def for the time being... then the BD-30 is fine. That's what I did (took a few months or something for me to upgrade the prepro/receiver).

Secondly, the BD-30 is one of the worst players to buy for DVD playback. This is a moot point for me, but if this is your ONLY player, and you like to watch DVDs, I recommend something else.

in all honesty, with or without hi def audio, the video is worth the money in itself, IMO. Trust me, no one here was more excited about the prospects of hi-def audio. IMO, its a bit better, but not anywhere near what I was hoping. It seems that HT audio tracks are simply not mastered to a level that one would hope for... in general, at least.

Hope this helps. And lastly, this Oppo is going to get a LOT of people to jump on the bluray wagon... that is .... when it finally comes out (take note Dan!)

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/transports/high-definition-dvd-players-hd-dvd-blu-ray/oppo-bdp-83-blu-ray/image/image_view_fullscreen

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Thanks or the update
by Dan Filice / September 6, 2008 8:58 AM PDT
In reply to: hey guys

I've been so busy at work I haven't read the newspaper or a magazine in a couple of months so I've been out of the pricing loop. And about the OPPO BD player, I am waiting to see how it is when it comes out. My only problem is that my Yamaha receiver will not handle the HD Audio, so before I buy another BD player I need upgrade the receiver.

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OPPO BD player
by masonaries / September 6, 2008 10:32 PM PDT
In reply to: hey guys

jastenmeaat,

Thanks for the info on the OPPO BD player. I have been looking to buy my first BD player and I want a good player. I just know OPPO will come out will a superior player and worth the wait.

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Blu-Ray player Prices
by masonaries / September 6, 2008 10:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Blu-Ray player

Dan

What about the Sony BDP-S350 for $342 at Amazon or the Samsung BD-P1500 for around $299?

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BD suggestins
by Dan Filice / September 7, 2008 2:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Blu-Ray player Prices

masonarie,

I can't really give you suggestions on either the Sony or Samsung that you are considering but I would certainly look at the CNET reviews of each and more importantly, read User Reviews to see what individuals say. I own a PS3 from Sony and so far it's been great (after I bought the stand-alone remote), but I have used two Sony DVD players and combo players and both are crummy. It makes me worry about my PS3, but so far, no problems. Someone posted above that the Panasonic BD-30 is selling for $299. I would certainly put my trust (from personal experience) into a Panasonic player first. When OPPO comes out with their BD player, it will not be cheap.

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OPPO BD
by masonaries / September 7, 2008 9:58 PM PDT
In reply to: BD suggestins

I emailed OPPO and they emailed back within 24 hours. Wow. They said they hope to release their BD player this winter but will not until they are sure it is right.

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BR
by bevillan / September 8, 2008 5:44 AM PDT

Personally, I think the best deal still out there is the Sony PS3 for a BR player. Pretty short load times, on board TrueHD/DTS-MA sound decoding, steady stream of updating firmware support, and the newest SKU version of the PS3 runs quieter than before. Just $400

To get all that you would need to drop $600 on the Panny BD-50

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Blu-Ray Player
by masonaries / September 8, 2008 8:03 AM PDT
In reply to: BR

The only reason to buy the Panny BD-50 is for certain sound systems. If your like me and you use the TV's speakers and you don't game and you want a stand alone BD player the SONY BDP-S350 at $341 at Amazon is a good option. Has Dolby-True Sound and fast start up times and a good HD picture with good up conversion of DVD's

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Oh.
by jostenmeat / September 8, 2008 8:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Blu-Ray Player

If its just TV speakers, and budget is concern #1, take a look at Magnavox and Funai players.

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You don't get it.
by masonaries / September 8, 2008 8:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Oh.

You just don't get it. Read my post again.

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Why bite the hand that feeds you?
by jostenmeat / September 9, 2008 6:07 AM PDT
In reply to: You don't get it.

Find me another regular here that is as profuse as I am in helping others in the last year.

Whether Bluray players, hi-def audio, or just all topics combined at this AV forum, whether audio, projectors, seating, cabling, theory, amps, receivers, setup, acoustics, treatments, subs, speakers, viewing angles, immersions, remotes, you name it.

The magnavox was actually decently reviewed by a fellow poster at audioholics, by perhaps the most frequent reviewer of new bluray titles.

good luck finding help from other posters. the person I think of that has some knowledge of bluray players beyond that of her own personal possession is givemeaname.

im done here.

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...
by givemeaname / September 10, 2008 4:59 PM PDT

the oppo will be over Adam Jackson price range, mostlikly will be $500 or more, but it should be a kick a$$ player.

the Panasonic BD-30 is a very good player, it just has a little LFE 'bug' but that can be corrected with an A/V calibration of the bass.

Panasonic BD-50 is a great player (LFE 'bug' fixed). 'certain sound systems' I don't under stand that one. It was the first 2.0 stand alone player + does ALL the HD audio & has 7.1 analog outs.

If your just using tv speakers... Magnavox and Funai/Sylvania are good BD players, surprisingly I have not read anything real bad, just that they are ugly. There is also the other 'older' models BD players out there 1.0 & 1.1 players. The only BUT part is they are not 2.0, but most of us care 1st for video, close 2nd HD audio (but if your just using tv speakers...), last is the 'extra gimmicks' ( bd-live & video commentary).
If you want 2.0 the Sony BDP-S350 is real nice player, even nicer whenever sony does the $100 price drop.


For Adam Jackson if your reciever has 5.1 or 7.1 analogs ports, just get a Bluray player that has 5.1 or 7.1 anaglogs out & if you want HD audio look for one that can internally decodes DTS-HD + DD-True & bitstream out via analogs & just turn that 'old' receiver into an Amp for the BD player.
... keep an eye open for these that will be released very soon in your price range before the holiday shop season. Sony bd550 $399, Samsung BD-P2550 (MSRP $499.99 but also has a HQV chip), Daewoo DBP-1000 (no MSRP yet but should be resonable priced 2.0), Sharp BD-HP50 ($449 msrp), Panasonic DMP-BD55 (MSRP?), they will be cheaper online. There will be more releases in the next 2 months & big sales for the holiday season push.

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Overall, great info g.m.a.n.
by jostenmeat / September 10, 2008 5:21 PM PDT
In reply to: ...

but two corrections for your future information.

- the LFE bug of the BD-30 has been fixed since the 1.6 FW. I don't even know, or really care, what version they are on. Everything works beautifully.

- I am not sure exactly what kind of A/V calibration will fix an LFE cut. You would have to have a pre-pro/receiver that has variable adjust on the LFE internally. Or a +5 boost, exactly, as an availability.

Because . . . the only way you can just turn up the sub gain and have it be perfect is if all other speakers, and I do mean all, are being run as full-range. This probably happens for 1 out of every 1,000,000 systems out there. Not only due to speaker limitations, but room interactions with speakers close to boundaries usually makes having a higher x-over preferable, even if all speakers could be full-range (extremely unlikely).

Ok, in a nutshell, if you turn up sub gain, you are also proportionately turning up all summed bass that is rerouted to the sub from the other 5/6/7 speakers. That means summed bass will be running 5 db hot.

Maybe you know all this already, and know of a solution I do not. Would love to learn.

Which leads me to my last my point regarding m-ch analogs. Extensive research should be done on any player in regards to the inherent LFE cuts, as well any receiver that is to accept these and what kind of features they have to boost LFE. Kinda nuts.

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...
by givemeaname / September 11, 2008 5:47 AM PDT

yes my reciever I can change the db +/-5 LFE. I did not know that the bug also cut the the LFE audio just the -5db. I was not 100% sure that an update was out to fix the BD-30 & that it worked.


I did read that when HD audio 1st came out some of the new hdmi recivers, people were getting loud popping sounds when bitstreamed, but the reveiver companies released a update... so if one has a popping sounds coming from their speakers on a HDMI reciever when playing Blurays with DTS-MA call the manufacturer & they will send you an update to fix that.
but that is getting OT

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yeah they call it the DTS Bomb
by jostenmeat / September 11, 2008 6:22 AM PDT
In reply to: ...

but I never got it. I haven't kept tabs, but I *think* its been solved for those that did suffer it.

Re Pana FW, burning the disc was a pain with Vista. XP should be np. An AVS moderator sent me his when he offered. Pretty cool.

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So...
by Adam Jackson / September 11, 2008 12:26 AM PDT
In reply to: ...

What your saying is that the Panasonic BD-50 is the best blu-ray player to buy right now? (besides the PS3)

I am considering buying the Onkyo HT-S6100 surround sound system. I could connect the blu-ray player and the receiver by HDMI and then connect the receiver to the TV through HDMI, right?

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yes BUT
by givemeaname / September 12, 2008 4:36 AM PDT
In reply to: So...

the DVD PQ play back is not as good as the PS3 or many other BD players out there.

Soo if very good dvd PQ playback is a must... you can get a PS3 now (but you would need a HDMI reciever for HD audio) or if you can wait a month look at the Samsung BD-P2550 which has a HQV chip for VERY VERY GOOD DVD playback, decodes very thing & 7.1 analogs outs (MSRP$499) or the Sony BDP-S550 decodes very thing & 7.1 analogs outs (MSRP $399 no HQV chip)

FYI Panasonic is releasing the DMP-BD35 & DMP-BD55 sometime this year, No MSRP but I have read $499'ish for the bd-55.

DMP-BD35 has 2.0 analogs DMP-BD55 has 7.1 analogs

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prModelDetail?storeId=11301&catalogId=13251&itemId=287236


for the set-up you got it right, HDMI from Player to reciever to tv.

Message was edited by: admin

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TV speakers
by bevillan / September 9, 2008 1:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Blu-Ray Player

If you are just using your TV's speakers, why would you care about onboard Dolby TrueHD sound decoding?

All that matters for a set-up without standalone speakers is the picture quality and price...and all BR players have pretty similar picture quality so the price comes down to the only thing that matters.

I'd still opt for a better BR player to support your set-up if you eventually upgrade to separate speakers, though.

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Blu-Ray player
by masonaries / September 9, 2008 2:45 AM PDT
In reply to: TV speakers

So why does cnet say some players have better reproduction. I know the top players have good HD playback but cnet said the new sony has better DVD playback and given the small amount of BD available, good DVD playback is important to me. Also it has faster load time which is worth the extra money. I could be wrong, I don't know that much about BD players I'm trying to learn, any advice you can give is appreciate. And yes perhapes down the road I would get a simple sound system.

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Just a thought...
by Tuba4me / September 9, 2008 8:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Blu-Ray player

Have you thought about investing into a sound system first and worrying about Blu-Ray later?

Sure they look better and all that, but imagine how much more you could enjoy upscaled DVD's with an upgrade from TV speakers.

I'm not trying to be a heel here, just something to consider.

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Good suggestion
by bevillan / September 9, 2008 11:57 PM PDT
In reply to: Just a thought...

It is a good suggestion to maybe think about upgrading to a good speaker system, but I think the OP right now only has the budget for a $400 BR player, and we all know $400 will barely get you even a good pair of front speakers.

If his mind is set on a BR player, check out the ones that jostenmeat has suggested and still consider the PS3 too.

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Costco has new Sony BDP-BX1 BR
by Dan Filice / September 13, 2008 4:58 AM PDT

This morning I was at Costco and they had a huge display of the Sony BDP-BX1 Blu-Ray players for $377.00. This player has received good reviews from what I've read. I read somewhere that the latest version of this player is BR 2.0. It does 1080p/24 output and 1080p upconversion. May be an option for anyone looking to buy a player.

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Sony Blu-Ray player at Costco
by masonaries / September 13, 2008 7:20 AM PDT

I went on the Costco site and Sony could not find a BDP-BX1.

Sony re-badges their products for Costco (I think they do that so you can't compare the product at other store's).

Maybe it's a re-badged BDP-S350.

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(NT) Yes, it's the re-badged BDP-S350
by Dan Filice / September 13, 2008 7:39 AM PDT
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Re-Baged
by masonaries / September 13, 2008 10:14 AM PDT

Thanks Dan,

So costco is selling a re-badged 350 for $377 when you can buy it at Amazon for $340.

I notice alot of CE products at costo and Wal-Mart are more expensive than at other retailers. People just assume they are cheaper.

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Costco player
by Dan Filice / September 13, 2008 2:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Re-Baged

Yes, but the Sony at Costco comes with a 6 foot HDMI cable and it has the updated 2.0 firmware, and I understand the retail model has 1.1. Plus you get Costco's warranty. Not all bad.

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Costco
by masonaries / September 13, 2008 8:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Costco player

What is the costco warrentee?

I have never been able to pay costco a fee to join their "club" for the privilege of buying at their store. I have to pay them to shop at their store? I don't get it.

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Costco
by Dan Filice / September 14, 2008 2:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Costco

Do a search in this forum for "Costco" and you can read some of the benefits that people say about Costco. For one, they are the best at a "no questions asked" if you want to return a product (especially a TV). As far as shopping in general, yes you do need to pay Costco a yearly fee for the privilege of shopping there, but the price breaks over regular retail outlets is amazing. How about 4 - 1 lb. packages of bacon for the price of 2 at the market? The same goes across the board for all groceries there. The only issue is that they sell in bulk, so when you buy you need to plan ahead for quantity. Costco seems to shop for the BEST quality possible. I've shopped all over for meat, and I guarantee you that Costco sells the best quality meat that is available to the common person. It's as close to PRIME that I've ever had, and the price for their meat is unbeatable. You can buy a whole slab of New York steaks for around $60, and this will buy you about fifteen 2" N.Y. boneless steaks. This slab is priced at $8.99 per pound, which for the quality of meat, and compared to the lousy meat at the local market, is unbeatable. Oh, they sell gas too, and it's .10 cents less per gallon than the cheapest gas station prices. But they sell electronics cheap too. I plan on buying the 42" Panasonic 1080p Plasma for the bedroom at Costco. They sell it for $999. Best Buy and Circuit City sell the exact same TV for $1299. Yeah, only $300 difference, but it's worth it, especially since I can return the TV with no questions asked, and buy a different TV if I'm not happy. I do the grocery shopping for the family. I've shopped everywhere. The benefits of Costco are huge, even if you do need to pay a yearly fee.

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Only a $300 savings
by masonaries / September 14, 2008 2:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Costco

$300 is a big savings. 24%. But your comparing it to a big box store not Amazon which will take back your TV. Still I get your point.

I guess it's the bulk thing.

I live alone and the costco is very far away so bulk is not my thing.

One last point. I have never seen a TV at costco.com I ever wanted. I buy Samsung.

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