back to article Six... budget Blu-ray Disc players

Christmas is past but it's still winter. The nights are cold and damp. What better way to spend them that at home, snug the sofa, a cool nut-brown ale in your hand and a fine film on your new HD TV? In which case, you'll need a Blu-ray Disc player. Manufacturers are, of course, hyping their high-end models. But for those of us …

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Anonymous Coward

meh

What about the budget Tesco Teknica one? Think its something rediculous like £59.

And the remote looks Samsung, so it could well be a rebrand job.

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Hmm

I had a look at that and it seems fairly decent TBH, upscaling for DVDs, HDMI and SCART and a network port.

Thanks for the heads up!

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got one

plays blu-rays great although some dvd's have been skipping even with a perfect disc. there's no downloadable updates yet even after several months. but it does play avi's off a usb stick too!

yeah, remote is decent too, for £59 it's worth a try...

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Toshiba

IT's a real shame about the Toshiba. I have one of their DVD players and the quality is outstanding.

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XviD, MKV

I happen to know the LG plays XviD and .H264 out of an MKV, from disk and USB. what about NTFS support? I can't help that these things might be useful for your readers to know and weigh into any decision they might make.

this really is the lightest of reviews, it's more akin to a glossy sunday supplement or a lads mag than an organisation that specialises in the technical, and is read by the technically inclined

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re: XviD, MKV

I agree that for a technology forum this is a bit light weight. I had exactly the same problem when looking. I eventually found the answers I needed at www.avforums.com.

In the end I bought the LG BD570 - a bit more than the 560, but if it helps, I can confirm that the 570 does support H264 in MKV over both DLNA and SMB - I use a Synology cubestation as my media storage. It also supports the BBC iPlayer.

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formats supported

Possible to include a chart of music/video formats supported in future comparative reviews and to test these ?

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Stop

HD upscaling

Do any of them upscale DVD to HD ? - if so whats the quality like ?

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Upscaling?

I would have thought they all did up-scaling. I can say for certain that the BDP-S370 does. I got one from Tesco for £90 a while back.

Playing back on a 720p DLP projector the difference between HD and DVD isn't massive, but it is clear to see. DVDs appear softer and the detail isn't there. That said there seems to be a huge difference in the quality of HD films, with low detail in some scenes, I am often left wondering if I am actually watching a bluray or DVD version, The quality, detail and sharpness, when its there is really nice - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo stands out as a particularly well shot HD film.

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Anonymous Coward

The Sony does...

...in fact, in the DVD-upscaling department, subjectively, it wees from low orbit over our older Philips "so-called upscaling" DVD player when both are put through a 42" LCD TV. Subjectively, compared with the S370's DVD (SD) picture - whilst still nowhere near on a par with HD - the Phil outputs a smeary, blocky mess onto a larger screen. After comparison with the Sony, the Philips got "relegated" to the old CRT in the spare room...

With Blu-ray players, even at this price range, often offering "a better DVD player than a DVD player", it seems to me that if you have an HD TV, there's little reason to go for an "upscaling" DVD-only machine now, unless you really do need to save every penny possible.

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Wrong, wrong, wrong...

The Sony does have BBC iPlayer support built in despite what the reviewer says (also has YouTube, LoveFilm and a load more...)

@David Willis - can't speak for the others but the upscaling on the Sony is great...

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Anonymous Coward

this is not a title

Very light-weight review, barely better than Amazon.

DLNA: was it tested?

DVD upscaling: are they any good?

File support?

No really cheap one to compare (cf. AC meh)

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Region free BD?

Has anyone seen a region free player for Blu-Ray disks or know which ones can be easily de-regioned?

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Only a few very cheap ones and some old Panasonic/Pioneer models

Ignoring the DVD side of things, which many (including surprisingly the Sony model) are capable of being programmed to do, about the only BluRay players you'll find out there are either very cheap ones that never seem to last (in my case being used just twice) else the previous range of Panasonic and pioneer players, which can be chipped for ~£150.

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Thanks

I'll start saving.

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Dead Vulture

Does anyone actually read these articles before publishing?

Sony BDP-S370

From standby to disc play took 21s, the fastest time recorded.

Samsung BD-C5500

the standby-to-play time is short, faster - just - than the Sony.

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Can any of these boxes...

Stream content from my Twonky NAS?

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Twonky NAS

The Sony supports DLNA, and so should the Twonky device. So yes it is possible. I have done it with the DLNA Server that is part of Windows Media Player. The caveat is that not all DLNA devices are compatible with each other. It is a bit 'suck it and see'.

Before anyone asks, I'm not pushing the Sony box, I just happen to have one and so, can answer these questions with some authority. I was going to buy the Techinka Bluray but at the time the Sony was on special offer at £20 more...

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Anonymous Coward

I think the Sony does.

I've got it and twonkymedia running, It let me see my machine and browse. I've not tried playback since my telly does that as well.

One thing i have noticed is that it doesn't dynamically check for the presence of the dlna device, so they still show up when it's off. There's probably a way of flushing the list, but i've not been bothered to look.

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Stop

The Sony can, but...

...a BIIIIIG caveat (which I've posted about here before): the S370 can't play MP4 (H.264) videos over DLNA.

Considering that over 90% of the vids on our Synology NAS are in that format, that's a rather sizeable "D'OH!" - especially as Sony's response to my email asking whether this would ever be added in a firmware update, could be paraphrased as "you'll be lucky". I've ended up having to transcode vids which I REALLY want to play over DLNA, into MPEG2 format - I doubt anyone here will need reminding what a PITA of a job that is...

It's a crying shame, because aside from this whopping great omission, the S370 is a very fine machine indeed. I don't know if any of the others here can play MP4s over DLNA, but if you want to do that a lot, frankly I would caution against the S370 (or find a cheap media streamer).

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transcoding..

handbrake will do the lot in one hit.

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Joke

DLNA

Less "suck it and see", more "It sucks, you will see".

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Anonymous Coward

HDMI down to SCART

I can find loads of converters that will take a SCART signal and convert it to HDMI, but I can't find anything that will do it the other way around.

I've got a TV which is working fine, and I'd like to take advantage of the nice, network and USB features of the Samsung now and still have it around when I eventually upgrade my TV, but it doesn't have a SCART output. Wail.

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composite output

It has composite output so you just need a cable with a scart plug on one end and 3xphono connectors (red, white and yellow) on the other.

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Composite vs Scart

The problem with using composite is that you don't get any widescreen signalling like you do with Scart so you have to manually tell your TV whether the disc you're playing is 16:9 or 4:3.

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Pint

Ah... how about the PS3?

PS3. Typically about $80 to $100 more than a decent blueray player (one that comes with built-in Wifi). But it's a better blueray player than almost any blueray player. And it's also a better DVD player than almost any blueray player. And the firmware gets regular updates and will continue to do so into the distant future (long past the point where other blueray players are being ignored). And it's extremely fast power-on and disc-to-play time too (as compared to most blueray players, some of which are simply annoying).

I bought another PS3 at Xmas for Cdn$250 (about UKP 160). Plus another $20 for the proper "dvd" remote control. YMMV.

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Big Brother

Re: Region-Free

videohelp.com is your friend . I've got a Panasonic BD65 that I'm in the process of putting a free version of "enhanced BD65 firmware" (google that for info).. but unfortunately they don't provide firmware for the BD45. As I only have a large library of European DVD's from my stint in Germany (and thus no need to play BD discs out of region) I'm only interested in region free DVD playback, but I believe the BD65 enhanced firmware can do BD as well.... not as cheap... but not terrible.

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Flame

Thankyou readers

If it wasn't for the comments section, this wouldn't be as much a review as it is an advert for a electrical chain retailer.

Think I'll stick with my PS3, even if it won't play .mkv (yet?)

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tversity (Its free)

If you have a server of some kind, (or install it on a laptop for infrequent use) , tversity will do the transcoding to your PS3 and you will then have the pleasure of being able to watch almost anything on it.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mike Richards

The Phillips BDP3100 is easily deregionized via a cryptic remote command. Google it or read the Amazon reviews.

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Teknica

I bought my parents the Technika one for Christmas, only £59.97 inc delivery, works like a charm!

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Asda bargain

Philips BDP2700 £57 at Asda Penryn and they still had some left yesterday. Very happy with it. It supports NTFS and upscales from DVD and wmv very nicely.

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I have one too

I had the tesco one that cost £80 was £59 but not when i got there.

So popped to Asda and got this one. As the Tesco one had problem making its mind up if i pressed the on board eject button. upto 4 times to get it to eject even with NO disk in.

Its miles faster than the tesco one and the eject button works.

Great player and do like the fact it does remember the last place, but I found out it did this on a DVD that i had in the player but have taken it out part way in and watched something else in it. Strange but true.

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Bronze badge

Biggest price barrier to me seems to be 5.1 sound

I just got a Panasonic upscaling DVD player with 5.1 speakers in a box for £120, list price. The cheapest similar BD bundle was around £400.

I might buy BD at some point, but for now the industry's too busy putting it down in favour of 3D, only just after deciding to ditch HD-DVD. I have noticed the incredible quality of a good BD and HD setup on Avatar in ASDA, where they put the big TVs on shelves at eye-level so you're inches away from the gorgeous picture. Thing is, I don't watch TV like that at home, see...

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Resume

With the resume features mentioned. Does this apply to all the discs?

I have found the the resume support on my PS3 is sporadic. Some discs will resume, others will not. Do any of the listed support resume from all discs?

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Linux

Serviio 0.5 for DLNA

@Tim Walker: ...a BIIIIIG caveat (which I've posted about here before): the S370 can't play MP4 (H.264) videos over DLNA.

I have used both Twonky and Serviio to deliver video over DLNA to my Sony S370.

Serviio 0.5 (just a week or so old) allows streaming of H.264 MKVs (by remuxing to m2ts) with no problems and minimal CPU load on the server.

Absolutely brilliant.

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Flame

Dead media

Bah! Optical media is dead. Well for all but ripping purposes that it. I put everuthing on a media server these days. Far more convenient (and quicker). I only need the movie, not the extra fluff.

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Anonymous Coward

Those advocating these for streaming.....

Remember that the new cinavia menace is being embedded in firmware at the moment so be careful if you intend to rip your (own purchased - of course) dvd's and blurays and stream to one of these devices.

If you get one of the protected discs and rip them, they'll play streamed to your pc / xbmc / plex / mediacenter devices but if a Cinavie device gets whif of the protection it'll shut down the audio and display a nastygram on screen.

Not saying dont do it, but make sure what you buy will answer your requirements and wont be backdoored by a firmware update!

Cheers

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