It’s been building up to a crescendo, with Toshiba’s announcement expected sometime this week that they are indeed pulling their support of the HD DVD format. At least the conclusion to this bloody battle will result in all of you finally being able to splurge your retirement money on a hi-def player, or upgrade your tired multi-format to one of these Blu-ray players.
So, in no particular order, here’s the top five best Blu-ray players, as voted by Tech Digest and HDTV-UK.
1.) Panasonic DMP-BD30 – this baby offers full 1080p playback, Final Standard Profile functionality, picture-in-picture, audio mixing, Panasonic’s P4HD technology, 1080/24 playback, HDMI 1.3B, Deep Colour compatibility, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio decoding, SD memory card slot, AVCHD codec, and EZ-Sync. £349, or $499.95, out now.
2.) Sony PS3 – it’s an obvious one, as it’s one of the cheapest Blu-ray players you can find, plus it does so much more. If you like games that have been out on the Xbox 360 for months previously, that is. £299 or $399.99, out now.
3.) Sharp BD-HP20H – one of the more affordable players around, this Blu-ray beauty has an AQUOS TV link via HDMI, 1080p out, DVD up-conversion to 1080p, and promises no signal deterioration. £399 or $399.99, out now.
4.) Pioneer BDP-LX70 – a very pricey player, but it performs like a dream with its 1080/24p pictures, upscaling and brilliant sound. Sadly it’s only HDMI 1.2 not 1.3 or BD Profile 1.1 compliant, but allows for streaming from PCs and support of the Dolby TrueHD lossless audio format. £780, out now.
5.) Samsung BDP-1400 – one of the cheapest players in the US, it plays the discs at 1080p, and up-converts standard DVDs to 1080p via HDMI, plus coaxial and optical digital out, Dolby Digital Plus with DTS HD and MP3 playback. £219.99 or $549, out now.
Michael Bay reminds everyone he was right about HD DVD and Blu-ray from the start
Microsoft hedging its bets about Blu-ray – still “talking to” Sony
HD DVD killed off by Toshiba, reports Japanese TV