Playstation 3. A no brainer since firmware updates can be on online.
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Having owned several Blu ray players, I can confidently recommend the Panasonic brand. I currently own the BD35 and it has been excellent. Panasonic is set to release new models shortly, so I'm not sure what the availability is of current models. Also, Oppo is set to release their player in the near future and it should be very good as well, based solely on reputation.
When buying, you need to consider if you have an ethernet connection available (models with ehternet connection are much easier to update the firmware) and if you need 7.1 analog connections (all will offer HDMI). You also need to know if your receiver/processor is capable of decoding the latest audio codecs (true HD and DTS Master) or if you need the player to do it.
Sony, Denon and Pioneer all make high end players, but its not necessary to spend big dollars to get the excellent picture quality of blu-ray.
Thank you Cruz.
I am going to run it throughi my two channel system. My system ( Mcintosh c2200 preamp , Mcintosh mc352 amp & B&W 804 matrix speakers ) does not have a decoder because I use it primarily for audio. I currently have a Marantz DV9550 universal player that I intend to keep. Therefore, the blue ray player would be used exclusively for films. I have heard good things about Oppo and I know they are getting ready to release their blue ray. Panasonic I don't know.
It sounds like I need the unit to have the built in decoder. Any specific recommendations ?
The current model Panasonic with internal decoding and 7.1 analog outs is the BD55, but its being replaced with the BD80. The 80 is not out yet and the 55 may be scarce at the moment. The comparable Sony is the BD550. The Oppo may be worth waiting for, but it would be a bit redundant for you since you already have a universal player (the Oppo will plays SACD, DVD-A, etc.). Since you're buying the player solely for Blu-ray, there's a lot of players that would be overkill for you, since almost all available players will provide excellent picture quality with blu-ray discs. The reason I recommend the Panny's is that they have been ahead of the curve in regard to playability of discs, etc. I've yet to encounter a disc the Panasonic would not play. Oh yeah, stay away from Samsung. They make great TV's, but have had issues with their BR players.
Don makes a good suggestion, AVS forum has a wealth of info on bluray players.
I agree with Cruz123, the Oppo BDP-83, is redundant to your current univ player and therefore you will be overbuying (I think it's around $600?).
The panasonic BD35 and BD55 both have 2 channel audio out (the latter has 7.1 out). I have a BD55 and pic quality is great as is audio.
But, because these panasonics will be replaced with the BD60 and BD80,unfortunately for you, the old models are scarce and getting marked up higher than retail prices from pre christmas 08. Maybe a used BD35 will pop up for you.
I purchased an LG BD-300 last fall and I've been thrilled with it. I have not compared the picture quality with other players, but it looks great to me. And I haven't tried using it for its audio capabilities. However, it has a feature that allows Netflix streaming movies over the Internet that is very neat. It costs nothing beyond your regular Netflix subscription, and you can instantly watch a good number of movies available on Netflix.
Just another one for you to consider, as this unit has a feature that helps to set it out from the pack.
Well depending on your independent needs, if you want the best of the best video, and excellent audio possibly with an external dac with low money in mind regarless of cost on higher end units... here is the link to read direct comparisons of almost all above mentioned units included.
I bought the Samsung BD-P2500 (from Amazon) based on internal HD audio decoding and Reon video processing.
The Panasonic units did well on the Home Theater magazine video tests. The Oppo unit will likely do well on the video tests as well.
I ran the HQV Benchmark tests on the Samsung and it nailed every test (as expected?). It wasn't until seeing the Samsung that I could really see where my Denon 3910 player is sub optimal with video.
On the audio side, the analog section is weaker than my Benchmark DAC1 (no real surprise) and the Denon 3910 (again, no surprise). But, that's not an issue for me since I don't use its analog outputs.
I'm assuming your model (cable or DSL) is also a switch/router. If so, there are a couple options:
1) (Best) Hardwire an ethernet jack to the area where the player is to be located. I wired my entire house with ethernet jacks, and was able to learn how to crimp the connectors and such and do it myself pretty easily.
2) Set up a wireless bridge using a wireless access point. This method will benefit from one of the higher-speed wireless protocols, such as 802.11g or n, and by closer physical distances between the two wireless parts of the bridge.
3) If you have a cable modem/switch/router, then try connecting it to the cable jack by your HT system. Then plug the Netflix streaming video device into an ethernet jack in the router, and operate the rest of your networked computers wirelessly.
I can't speak for the other devices compatible with Netflix streaming video, but the LG BD-300 only has an ethernet jack (ie, no built-in wireless connection). I can say, though, that the Netflix streaming video is really slick. It's just like putting movies in the queue for getting them in the mail, except you can immediately choose to watch them from your player at home.
Hope that helps.