It’s hard to believe that back in November 2006, Blu-ray players like the Samsung BD-P1000 or the Panasonic DMP-BD10 would fetch around £1000. Fast forward six years later and it’s not that hard to buy a Blu-ray player for a twentieth of that outlay (assuming you don’t mind buying a manufacturer’ refurbished unit). We’ve listed some of them below and some of them offer some very decent specifications including BD-Live and ample connectivity options.
The Argos-sourced Bush BD-8210 costs £34.99 on eBay via a seller called Pollypuffle, a price that includes delivery. It is brand new, has a 2-channel audio output, an Ethernet port, BD-Live, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, DTS HD and Dolby True HD decoding compatibility. Connectivity features include a composite, HDMI and Ethernet port but no Wi-Fi. The unit is surprisingly compact at 38 x 220 x 260mm. In other words, it is smaller than half a ream of A4 sheets. Power consumption is relatively low at 14W and standby power consumption quoted at 600mW. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any review for the BD-8210. We reckon that it might be a close cousin of the BD01 which was the first Blu-ray player to cost less than £100 (albeit after a 67 per cent discount) back in December 2008.
If you are instead looking for a branded Blu-ray player, then check out the Sony BDPS185B straight from Sony’s online store for £47 (albeit from the outlet with a refurbished badge slapped on it). It has a brushed aluminium finish on top, glossy black plastic finish on the front and sides and is 290 x 188 x 42mm. One might even infer that the design of the S185B has been inspired by the first Sony PS3. There’s a front USB port which can play files from an external storage device, from MPEG-4 to Xvid, AVCHD, MP3 and AAC ones. The only other connectors are an Ethernet port and HDMI. The BDPS185B features a DVD upscaling technology plus access to online content via the Sony Entertainment Network from a number of sources like Sony’s own Video Unlimited, Lovefilm, Youtube and even BBC iPlayer. The only major shortcoming is the lack of Wi-Fi capabilities.
The Philips BDP32020 for £49.98 from Amazon and Ebuyer. This is one of the better Blu-ray players under £50. Not only does it includes DLNA, it also has a USB port that can read from an external storage device, supports DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, offers Smart TV capabilities, upscaling and is compatible with a wide array of audio and video formats like MPEG-4 or DivX Plus HD. Buyers however point to the fact that the Blu-ray is slow and the software still buggy (although that might be solved by a firmware). Other connectivity options include a SD memory card slot, Ethernet port, optional Wi-Fi and a HDMI port. It consumes slightly more power in operation and in sleep mode (18W and 300mW) and is both thicker and heavier, compared to the Bush.
Another value Blu-ray player, this time from Korean manufacturer LG. The LG BP125, which stands at 27cm wide, is on sale at Asda or Amazon for £50 - the latter includes free delivery. As for other Blu-ray players listed here, it offers up-scaling capabilities, HDMI, USB and Ethernet ports but no SCART ports. It also comes with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, DTS HD and Dolby True HD decoding, plus compatibility with a slew of file formats. Power consumption in operation stands at 12W which is surprisingly low for a Blu-ray player while standby power consumption is 500mW. It’s worth noting that this player has a quick start-up mode and is ready to play a disc in 15 seconds plus there’s an auto shutdown which ensures that the USB connected drive is switched off after a preset time.
A Blu-ray player from another Japanese electronics giant. Meet the Panasonic DMP-BD75 which costs £47.96 from Tesco Outlet on eBay. This is a refurbished device with 12-month warranty. Surprisingly enough, it hasn’t been around for a long time as it was released back in 2011 and offers roughly the same specifications as the rest of the competition. It plays a lot of files and is compatible with most audio protocols. There’s a USB 2.0 port, DLNA compatibility, consumes 12W and is bigger than the other players listed. Note that this player appears to ship without Viera, AAC, WMA and WMV compatibility and doesn’t with any online service (like Sony Entertainment Network).