Don’t be befuddled by the “Cloud,” because having content local and at-hand guarantees you can watch what you want when you want. A Blu-ray disc not only provides an uncompressed high-resolution 1080p picture, but gives you choices for audio that streaming a video can’t. Blu-ray players now come with features that once were unheard of, so once you’ve popped a disc in, all you need to do is sit back and watch. Here’s some good choices for making that happen.
Toshiba BDX5300 3D Blu-ray Player
You can’t go wrong with the basics — especially if that means a high-resolution 1080p picture and multichannel high-definition sound. But the player is also 3D capable and able to access online sites like Netflix and Pandora with a wireless connection. Don’t want to stream from your computer or mobile device through the local network? Then pop in a USB thumb-drive for playing video, looking at pictures or listening to music.
You can buy it for $95 at Amazon.
Pioneer BDP-150 Network Enabled Blu-ray 3D Disc Player
Full support for high-resolution video formats and multichannel audio formats — 1080p Blu-ray discs for sure, but DLNA connectivity gives you access to stored content through a home network — be that a computer, mobile device or media server. Video processing reduces picture distortions and enhances video. Connect wirelessly with the optional WiFi adapter if you’d like.
Give Amazon $159 and it’s yours.
Sony BDP-S790 3D Blu-ray Player
It might be half-sized in comparison, but this Sony can stand up to any Blu-ray player’s 1080 high-definition video output. Plus it has 4K video upscaling as well. And it doesn’t need to be wired to a home network, since it can access online content, such as Sony’s own Entertainment network using built-in WiFi. And that includes making Skype video/audio calls too (camera optional). Rely on the dual-core processor for having the “oomph” needed to keep everything running smoothly.
Amazon is selling this for $198.
Sony Portable Blu-ray Disc/DVD Player BDP-SX910
What, no internet access? True, but the trade-off is that this portable player can run off an internal battery for up to 4 hours. And show me another 1080p Blu-ray player that has its own high-definition 9” LCD widescreen built-in. Forget about the remote and use the touch-sensitive buttons. And for those times when a Blu-ray disc won’t do, plug-in a USB thumb-drive and access stored content this way instead.
Amazon has it for sale at $198.
OPPO BDP-103 Universal 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
A full-sized chassis to inhibit vibrations from a spinning disc is what you see at first glance — playing a 1080p movie with multichannel audio just requires popping open the front-loading tray and choosing whether to use both HDMI outputs for sending video and audio out independently. Or play prerecorded SACD or other video and audio formats on disc or through the MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) instead. Wired/wireless connectivity gives you the choice of how to access online content (like streaming video from Netflix), and the 4K scaling video processor provides viewing free of “noise” and other video interferences. And improves upscaling of DVDs too. 3D capable? Of course.
$499 will get you this at Amazon.
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.