“where cheap is chic” — wisebread
In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Blu-ray Players
  2. Blu-ray Player Reviews
  3. Blu-ray Streaming, Wi-Fi
  4. Blu-ray Sound, Formats
  5. Discount Blu Ray Players Features Comparison Table

Cheap Blu-ray Players Buying Guide

Who doesn't love a good movie? Many of us still trek to the local megaplex on the weekends to see a show, but with a cheap Blu-ray player you can watch high-definition feature films from the comforts of home. Blu-ray players are the successors to DVD players, and the picture has never looked better.

Blu-ray players were very expensive when they first appeared, but as with most electronics, prices on these devices dropped pretty quickly.

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Although top-end players sell at price points well north of $1,000, you can find a good cheap Blu-ray player well south of $150 and refurbished models for less than the lowest starting prices on new units. The top manufacturers of cheap Blu-ray players are the usual electronics heavyweights, including Sony, LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Pioneer, and Vizio.

Our favorite cheap Blu-ray players are the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 (starting at $130) and the LG BP620 (starting at $139), both of which feature 3D playback, stream video well, and load movies quickly. The Sony BDP-S580 (starting at $131) and Panasonic DMP-BD75 (starting at $80) are two solid, cheap Blu-ray players; the former supports 3D playback and lots of streaming services, and the latter is a no-frills model that dishes up sharp-looking video at a shockingly low price. The Toshiba BDX2200 (starting at $85) and Vizio VBR122 (starting at $120) fall within our price range but don't pass muster because many users report they often freeze up when streaming video. If you're willing to spend big bucks on a high-end player, though, check out Oppo Digital's BDP-93 (starting at $500). It supports DVD-Audio, a format well loved by audiophiles, and experts say the audio and video quality are unmatched by any player costing less than $1,000.

Cheap Blu-ray players are fairly simple devices and don't have many features that distinguish one from another. That said, there are a few things to look for when comparison shopping. For example, many viewers now want a Blu-ray player that can stream video from services such as Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, and/or Amazon. All the models on our list of best cheap Blu-ray players include at least some streaming services, but if you favor a particular service, read the fine print to make sure the one you're targeting streams it. If you have or plan to get a 3D TV, you'll no doubt want a cheap Blu-ray player that supports 3D movies; cheap 3D Blu-ray players aren't terribly expensive, but they do cost more than players without this feature. Additionally, only some cheap Blu-ray players come with built-in Wi-Fi for wireless connections, though all can be hard-wired through an Ethernet port.

Apart from these characteristics, cheap Blu-ray players are more or less the same. They can all play and "upconvert" DVD movies as well as play audio CDs. They all support a variety of surround sound formats, and, according to the expert reviews we've seen, they all consistently play bright and clear video.

An important note to thrifty consumers: Blu-ray players are meant for high-definition TVs. If you don't own an HD set, you might want to hold off buying a Blu-ray player, cheap or otherwise, until you purchase the equipment that can show off content to its best advantage.

Review continues below

by Michael Sweet (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Blu Ray Players, Blu-Ray, DVD,

Best Cheap Blu Ray Players

Panasonic DMP-BDT220
Gold Medal

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

The DMP-BDT220 earns accolades for overall value from experts, and we can see why. This 3D Blu-ray player seems to have far fewer problems streaming video than some other budget players, it loads discs quickly, it's Wi-Fi ready, and the interface is user-friendly.

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LG BP620
Gold Medal

LG BP620

Among the strengths of the LG BP620 are its ability to load discs quickly, solid Wi-Fi connections, Smart TV functionality, and an easy-to-manage interface. Experts and users are sold on this budget model despite some shortcomings, like no Amazon Instant streaming.

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Good Cheap Blu Ray Players

Sony BDP-S580
Gold Medal

Sony BDP-S580

There are plenty of reasons to like the Sony BDP-S580, including its price, built-in Wi-Fi, and support for 3D video. Experts and users praise the player for the wide selection of streaming services, although a few report occasional struggles when streaming Netflix video.

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Panasonic DMP-BD75
Gold Medal

Panasonic DMP-BD75

If all you ask from a Blu-ray player is high quality video playback, this Panasonic model is the best bargain buy. It's short on frills -- no 3D or Wi-Fi support here -- but video quality is spot-on and you can't beat the price.

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Don't Bother

Toshiba BDX2200

Toshiba's cheap BDX2200 garners lots of criticism from users for its annoying tendency to freeze, particularly when trying to stream Netflix video. Others complain that the player is prone to break downs, is slow to load, and features a difficult user interface.

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Vizio VBR122

Although consumers report the Vizio VBR122 is a cinch to set up, many say the streaming feature disappoints because the player often freezes up during playback. Users generally like the keyboard on the back side of the remote.

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