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First Blu-Ray Player - Need Recommendation

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by apn73, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. apn73

    apn73 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure this has been asked a few thousand times so I will apologize fo this now, but I am looking for a blu-ray player recommdation. Here is my deal; I'm not going to pay $500 for Oppo. I am sure they are great, have read that in many places including here, but the are out of my budget. The other thing is that technology is advancing this type of equipment so fast that it doesn't seem to make sense to invest a lot of money in something like a blu-ray player. I may be wrong in saying that, but new equipment seems to come and go within months. I tend to do my comparing with Consumer Reports and I saw where two LG players (BD690 and BD670) acutally tested higher than the Oppo BDP-93. When I see things like that it makes me question spending that amouth that much more. You go over to the Amazon ratings and Oppo is #1, followed by a Panasonic ($140) and a Sony ($120). It seems like a 1080p signal is a 1080p signal, that being the case should I shop players that have better rating on wi-fi applications? I see that as being the more important part of the players these days as the wi-fi programming is starting to really take off. What are all your thoughts and feelings on this subject? Given what I have said above, what do you recommend? Thanks, Adam.
     
  2. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    Fair point.
    If that's what they said, then they really didn't compare all the features. The Oppos have a lot more features in them (including better/more expensive chipsets for upscaling, more output options, more software features, such as NTSC/PAL switching, etc), but you pay more for features. I'm guessing all CR did was compare the most basic "play a generic Region A movie" features. Also, perhaps different people wrote the ratings for the Oppo and the other players?
    If you're just talking blu-ray disc, then playback should be pretty uniform across the board, but there's a lot of variation among players and their A). load times for blu-ray and B). how well they up-scale DVDs. The Oppos use top-of-the-line upscaling chips in their players (a big part of what makes them so expensive). The BDP-83, for example, has the same scaling hardware as the DVDO Edge video processor, which sells for about as much as the Oppo player itself! If you want the absolute best upscaling picture of DVDs on your HDTV (which I did), Oppo will be tough to beat. If you want a player that can play all BR/DVDregions (with hardware mod), again, Oppo is tops. Want a player that can also output a native PAL or 1080i/50 signal for UK discs? Again, Oppo does that, too. Fast B-R disc load times? No problem. Want easy-to-contact, no hassle customer service, repairs and firmware updates? They treat you right. There's also certain audio connectivity that audiophiles really like about the player (not really my area). I used to be one of those who questioned the higher than average prices of the Oppo (when they were doing DVD players), but now I'm a believer.
    That depends on whether you want to use your player for WiFi/streaming or not. I could care less about those features, so it made absolutely no difference in my shopping decision.
    That all depends on your needs. If you don't need/want the ability to play foreign discs (PAL or non-Region 1 DVDs or 1080i/50 Blu-Rays, or Region B/C Blu-Rays), then you can probably do what you have been doing and look at Consumer Reports, and other reviewers and just pick up something "off the shelf." One feature you'll really want to check reviews for is load times, as some players are much faster than others. If you do want "worldwide" support of the various regions and video formats mentioned above, then you'll have to shop more carefully. Since you say Oppo is too expensive, if you want an all-region player, you might try buying from a multi-region specialist who sells hardware-modified players (since software hacks are not really there like they were for DVD), such as this one. The good news is the hardware mods do survive firmware updates, which is pretty essential. Happy hunting!
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Well-Known Member

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    The Oppo players are nice, but too expensive for me also.The Panasonic Blu-ray players are excellent, with excellent DVD upscaling. The new models are out now, by the way.
     
  4. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    In all the years I have been in this hobby, I have found CR a laughable resource for evaluating anything audio/visual. I might go to them to find a good toaster or some such thing, but never anything A/V. There are numerable resources available for more accurate and thorough evaluations of A/V products for all levels of products.


    While 1080p is 1080p across the board, there are differences in color, sharpness, and depth among different players. It all depends on what's important to you and your sensitivity to such things.
     
  5. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Well-Known Member
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    I typically recommend the Sony BDP-S580, which sells from $120-$150. It has built-in Wi-Fi, has many of the more popular streaming apps (Netflix, Pandora, Hulu+, etc), has a decent load time, and is 3D-ready.
     
  6. apn73

    apn73 Well-Known Member

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    Its funny that you say this, my wife and I have found that CR has steered us wrong on more than one occasion. Where do you suggest going for A/V reviews?
     
  7. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    Secrets Of Home Theater and HiFi http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/secrets-product-reviews.html
     
  8. Brian McHale

    Brian McHale Well-Known Member

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    For playback of 1080p Blu-ray discs, the quality should be the same for all players, since they're simply sending a digital stream to the TV. There will be quality differences with DVDs; some players (such as Oppo) are known for being better at upscaling 480 content. That being said, most BD players these days probably do a good enough job at upscaling that the average person will be satisfied. From my research, it seems like there are two companies building affordable BD players that are worth considering: Panasonic and Sony. Why these two? Because they have a history of being very responsive with firmware updates. Any player out there will likely do a good enough job for you, but how quickly do they come out with a firmware update when a problem arises? Panasonic and Sony seem to be the best (that make affordable players. I bought my Panasonic BD35 back in 2008 and have had no issues. If I needed to buy a new player, I would almost certainly get another Panasonic. However, I would be very comfortable going with a Sony too.
     
  9. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    "For playback of 1080p Blu-ray discs, the quality should be the same for all players, since they're simply sending a digital stream to the TV."



    A rather naive view. Perhaps they should be, but they are not. I used the PS3 as my player for a few years and upgraded to the Oppo 95. Picture quality blew away the PS3. So much so, my wife noticed.


    As for reviewers, Absolute Sound, StereoPhile, audioreview.com... there are many. Google is your friend.

     
  10. raehza

    raehza Well-Known Member

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    The Sony S580 is one of the best BluRay players in its price range. It's Wi-Fi and has tons of features and apps. It loads movies quickly too. I own one and like it. Only issue I can report is that the actual loading time of the BlyRay player itself (pressing the power button to turn it on) take a bit, but that's just me nitpicking. It's a great Player and has gotten superb ratings.
     

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