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Choosing the Best Blu Ray Player in 2012.

With crystal clear images and superior sound quality, it is no wonder Bluray Disc (BD) players continue to grow in popularity. If you have yet to jump on the Bluray bandwagon, 2012 is certainly the year to do so. As manufacturers enhance the functionality of various BD players and add clever features to maximize enjoyment, you may believe selecting the best Bluray player is somewhat of a herculean task. Fortunately, choosing a high quality, affordable model is not as daunting as it seems. Features, functions, and budget play a pivotal role in your final decision, allowing you to narrow down your selection. While myriad options are available, with new BD players entering the market regularly, you can easily find a suitable option if you know what you want. Use the following pointers as your guide and you will be well on your way to owning an impressive piece of home theater equipment in 2012.

Features to Consider

Owning an HDTV is essential if you plan to buy a Bluray player. While you will get the best results with a 1080p HDTV, also called full HD, the Bluray player will scale down images to meet lower resolutions without affecting image quality. You do not need to worry about your DVD collection, as Bluray players can upscale traditional DVD’s to High-Definition. However, there are several features and functions you need to consider.

1. Internet Connection

An internet connection allows you to update your player’s firmware conveniently. It also gives you access to great features, including BD-Live and media streaming. The firmware is essentially software you download to fix any problems and add new features. BD-Live gives you access to online content on certain Bluray discs and allows you to interact with others. All modern players include an Ethernet port and most are BD-Live compliant. Higher-end models, although more expensive, allow you to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Compare all your options before you decide whether you want your player to include Wi-Fi.

2. Online Apps

Streaming-media services will vary depending on the brand and model, but most include Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Hulu Plus, and Pandora. The ability to stream TV shows, music, and movies from the Internet directly to your TV could be a factor that sways you towards a feature-packed Bluray player. Some players also offer DLNA capability, which means you can stream media files from a PC to your TV. In addition, Vizio and Samsung, as well as a few other manufacturers, include widgets that provide access to popular social-networking sites including Skype, Twitter, and Facebook. These widgets also display the weather and news. While most of these online apps are free, some require a paid subscription. You should always make certain the Bluray player you select offers streaming options to the online apps you want.

3. 3D Support

3D has quickly become a leading trend in home entertainment. As a result, many mid to high-end Bluray players are 3D-enabled. You will be hard-pressed to find entry-level models with 3D capability. Therefore, you need to decide whether you want this feature, while keeping in mind 3D TVs require it to play 3D discs and 3D-enabled model can playback regular 2D discs.

4. Price

Thankfully, there is no need to sacrifice quality for price when it comes to Bluray players. Retailers cater to almost every budget range, allowing you to select the best Bluray player for your needs. You will need to determine your budget limitations beforehand and choose features that are important to you. Depending on the brand, you may need to plug less expensive models into a wireless router using an Ethernet cable. These models do not usually include 3D capability and feature fewer streaming services. On the other hand, midrange players often include 3D support, built-in Wi-Fi, and a wider selection of online apps. Many buyers find midrange players also offer higher performance levels when you compare them to budget players. Top-of-the-line models not only include a generous set of streaming-media services, built-in Wi-Fi, and 3D capability, but they also provide better video processing, extensive networking, more connection options, built-in storage, and faster speed performance. The amount you spend will depend entirely on your needs. However, you should keep in mind that comparison-shopping is the only way to obtain the best Bluray player at the best price.

Top Budget Buys

The Panasonic DMP-BDT210 is undoubtedly one of the best budget buys you will find on the market today. With a simple user interface, super quick loading speeds, and built-in Wi-Fi, this Panasonic Bluray player is perfect for anyone searching for quality without the expense. This player also offers brilliant streaming-media services, including Amazon Instant, Skype, Netflix, and Pandora to name a few. If you prefer a cheaper model in lieu of networking frills and 3D support, then the Toshiba BDX1200 could be the best Bluray player for you. This machine offers excellent image quality, sports a USB port for playing media files, and boasts slick interactive extras. For a little more money, the Toshiba BDX5200 includes 3D capability and integrated Wi-Fi. Both are solid picks, so you cannot go wrong.

Excellent Midrange Players

Although it may not be the best Bluray player in terms of aesthetics, the LG BD670 includes built-in Wi-Fi and a top-notch suite of online apps. This player offers value for money when you weigh its features against its price. Another contender is the Sony BDP-S580. It is faster than your average Bluray player is and provides the latest in streaming-media services. You can also download a free “Media Remote” app for your iPad, iPhone, or Android. Other options you should consider are the Samsung BD-D5700 and the Samsung BD-D6700. These are all well-rounded players with reasonable price tags.

Top-Of-The-Line Models

The Sony PlayStation 3 is on the reasonably affordable side of the high-end range. With its ability to play Bluray and upscale DVD’s, as well as its built-in Wi-Fi, 3D capability, outstanding selection of Web apps, user-friendly interface, built-in Web browser, and various other multimedia capabilities, you will find this machine is one of the best players available. The PS3 is a perfect option if you are a gaming enthusiast who wants the benefits of Bluray.

The Oppo BDP-93 is another popular high-end player. Besides top-notch speed, this Bluray player offers a plethora of useful features and exceptional video-quality. If you are searching for a high quality product packed with features and you have the budget, this may be the best Bluray player for you.

With the ever-growing popularity of BD players, it is clear DVD’s are fast becoming obsolete. DVD players simply cannot match the image clarity or sound quality a Bluray player provides. Additional features, such as integrated Wi-Fi, fast disc-loading, excellent streaming services, and 3D support ensure these machines are well worth the investment. Make certain you conduct enough research before you make your selection, and you could soon be the new owner of the best Bluray player available in 2012.

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