Crowdstorm’s guide to DVD and Blu-ray players
Welcome to our guide to DVD players and Blu-ray players. Above you’ll find a comparison table packed full of deals and offers from your favourite high street and online stores. But how do you make sure you’re getting the best DVD player or Blu-ray to meet your needs?
While the DVD was for a long time the standard film medium of choice, the Blu-ray has slowly taking ground off of our old favourite format. With the rise of downloads the Blu-ray may even be the last popular physical format for movies, but for now at least the DVD and Blu-ray are both here to stay. So let’s break down the steps you need to take.
Do I need a Blu-ray player?
If you don’t own any Blu-rays, then you might think the simple answer is no. But why not future proof yourself when the prices are so low?
The best thing about Blu-ray players is that they’re all fully backward compatible. This means you should have no problem playing any of your old DVDs in your new Blu-ray player. This then gives you the option to buy Blu-rays or DVDs and you're actually starting to see instances where the Blu-ray is cheaper; so you could be doing yourself out of a bargain.
So no, you don’t need one – but if you’re going to invest in a DVD player, there are no good reasons not to look at Blu-ray DVD players if you can go the extra few pounds.
Price and brand
You can pick up bargain DVD and Blu-ray players for as little as £20 now, which is pretty incredible. Quality brands such as LG, Phillips, Sony and Samsung all have players well below £50 if you’re simply looking for something to plug into your TV and play your discs.
At the other end of the pricing spectrum you can pay anything up to £500 for a mixture of bells and whistles through to pure playback quality. Extras can include smart TV capabilities, internal memory, 3D playback, multi-region compatibility, 4K upscaling etc.
It's completely your call whether you need these things - or whether they'll be any use. For example, there's no need for 4K upscaling and 3D if you're plugging your flashy new Blu-ray player into a cheap old TV...
Blu-ray DVD player specifications
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to delve a little deeper: which features are essentially to you, and which can you afford to bypass in order to grab a player at the right price point?
Multi-region: If you buy a standard UK DVD/Blu-ray player it will likely only play Region 2 discs – those distributed in Region 2, which covers Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Egypt, South Africa and Greenland. This means they won’t play discs from the USA (Region 1) or Australia (Region 4), for example. You can often find bargains from elsewhere in the world, so buying a multi-region player can pay dividends in the long run.
Connections: Be sure to check your player has a USB input if you’re going to play content from an external drive. Many players can also be connected to the internet, either by Wi-Fi and/or an Ethernet cable. Some devices also have HDMI out connections, meaning other compatible devices (such as games consoles) can take advantage of your Blu-ray player’s advanced video processing capabilities or simply act as a switcher (in older TVs) for anything from consoles to video cameras.
Recording: While digital TV has largely put an end to recording shows onto disc, you’ll still find DVD recorders on the market. If you do go for a recorder, look for one with an electronic programme guide (EPG) to make life easier.
4K: The new top-end standard in visuals, this gives four times the definition of HD. Which is of course only brilliant if you have the top TV and discs to go with it.
3D: If you’ve invested in a 3D and some 3D discs, then this is a no-brainer. Otherwise it can add significant cost for a feature you may never use or really appreciate.
Portable DVD players
If you're looking for a portable DVD player you can pick up a basic seven-inch model (about tablet size) for less than £50. These generally playback both DVDs and CDs, so are great for travelling.
At the other end of the price range you can pay upwards of £200 for a high-end model, which can be anything from swivel-screen to dual units and car mounts. Generally though, due to the small screen size and limited use, we'd advise sticking to the cheaper end of the market in most cases.
What next: Buying your DVD Blu-ray player
So you’ve found that perfect Sony DVD player and it’s at the right price: thankfully, the next part is super simple. All you need to do is click on the deal to be taken to the official website of the retailer of your choice.
And don’t worry, you won’t find any hidden charges from us. We’re not a retailer – we make our income from advertising. So the prices you see here are what you’ll find when you get to the site for your favourite online shop. Happy bargain hunting!