Streaming is a nice way to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows, but nothing beats the picture quality and audio fidelity that you get with a Blu-ray player. The best Blu-ray players provide a movie-watching experience like no other directly from the comfort of your own home. And without being constrained by internet speeds and bandwidth, you never need to deal with buffering like you may on services like Netflix.
Currently, there are two types of Blu-ray player available: 4K UHD Blu-ray and 1080p Blu-ray. Both are a step up from a traditional DVD player, but getting a 4K model will let you play both kinds of Blu-rays and give you access to Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, DTS:X and HDR10 formats for top-rate image quality. And if you're a real hoarder, all Blu-ray players will work with your old DVD and CD collections, too. The problems you encounter with streaming apps, like dropouts, bandwidth caps and buffering, are nonexistent. But if you miss those glitches, the vast majority of the best Blu-ray players can accommodate your streaming service of choice, including Netflix (some even in 4K), Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
Current gaming consoles like the high-end PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X can play both types of Blu-ray in addition to the latest games. If you don't have a 4K TV and a library of only regular Blu-rays, you can save money by buying a 1080p-only player like the Sony BDP-S3700.
Are you ready to make the most of your 4K content? Grab an HDMI cable and get ready to enjoy the excellent playback and top-notch viewing experience that Blu-ray players have to offer. This curated list of the best Blu-ray player options should help you find the right setup for your needs.
The Sony UBP-X700 is at the cutting edge of 4K Blu-ray technology, thanks in part to its Dolby Vision compatibility. Throw in a bunch of streaming app services, and this Sony Blu-ray player rewards you with a solid performance at a reasonable price.
If you want to spend the bare minimum on a Blu-ray player, then the Sony BDP-S3700 should be your choice. It offers a lot of features for little money, but as it's only 1080p you'll miss out on advanced features like 4K resolution picture quality and Dolby Vision.
You'll have a hard time getting your hands on the Xbox Series X due to insatiable demand, but keep checking back on restock updates. This is the only current Xbox model that accepts optical discs. It can play DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays, in addition to Xbox game discs. It can also be used with standard IR remotes, unlike the PS5. (The cheaper Xbox Series S does not have a disc slot.)
The high-end PS5 (the $500 model) includes an optical drive that accepts DVDs, Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays, in addition to PS4 and PS5 game discs. The cheaper PS5 Digital Edition does not have a disc slot. Both models continue to be sold out at list price, but some retailers offer marked-up models from third-party sellers.
Frequently asked questions
Can I play normal DVDs in a Blu-ray player?
All Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray players are designed to be backward compatible with your existing DVDs. Most will also upscale DVD to 1080p (or 4K), which will mean a boost in image quality when played on a flatscreen TV.
If you have DVDs from other regions -- e.g., you live in the UK and have Japanese DVDs -- you will need to check with the manufacturer to make sure a specific player is compatible.
Does Blu-ray work on all TVs?
Blu-ray will work on virtually any TV made since 2004; and if it's a flatscreen, it's compatible. There are exceptions -- rear projection, for example -- and so what you will need is an HD resolution (720/1080p) and an HDMI port. Sadly, no current Blu-ray players under $1,500 support the analog connections (component and composite) that are used by older TVs.