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Blu Ray Player Recommendations


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12 replies to this topic

#1 riboflav

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:35 PM

Tech novice here...

 

As part of our effort to cut the cord on cable, the wife and I are looking for a blu ray player that is good at streaming video from Netflix and also has MLB.tv, etc. We bought a Panasonic plasma tv about a few months before they came out with Internet connection capabilities, so we figure getting a blu ray player is the affordable way to be able to stream stuff on our tv, but please correct me if I'm wrong.  We currently own just a Sony dvd player.

 

Also, I've heard and read that streaming video can have buffering and hesitation issues. Any way (e.g. increase Internet speed) to avoid that or does that just come with the territory? I tried watching hulu on my mac a couple years ago and this was the issue. It annoyed me greatly.



#2 Boston Brawler

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:56 PM

CNET is a great place to start reading quality reviews (as far as I know) for most popular Blu Ray players. Some even have a video review accompany it. This is where I did my research for my current Blu Ray player (Panasonic DMP-BDT220). I have Netflix streaming through it, never have had any issues with buffering, and I just have a normal wi fi home network and the base speed through Time Warner Cable. Very rarely I have issues getting the initial connection to happen with Netflix, but a quick restart of the DVD player solves this.

 

http://reviews.cnet....lu-ray-players/



#3 The Allented Mr Ripley


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:26 PM

I have an LG BD-670, it streams Netflix, MLB.tv, Hulu, Youtube, etc. No buffering issues, once in a while it gets wonky but rebooting it always sets it right.



#4 Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:02 PM

Take a look at the Playstation 3. That might be overkill for your needs, and to buy a traditional remote for it is an additional $20ish, but the PS3 is a great multimedia machine. It's the best Blu Ray player that money can buy, and it has apps for streaming almost everything: Netflix, Hulu, a delightful MLB.TV interface (complete with alternate audio streams), Amazon, NFL Sunday Ticket and NHL Center Ice. You can also rent or buy movies and TV direct from Sony.

It's expensive and it might seem silly if you're not a gamer, but it's worth it even strictly as a media machine.

#5 Blacken


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:23 AM

++ to the PS3. It's still the top of the line Blu-Ray player on the market and it has a full selection of streaming applications (which are generally of higher quality due to higher standards and a greater install base than the one-offs on a random Blu-Ray player).



#6 The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:52 AM

Agree about PS3. I've toyed around with a few different Blu Ray players with streaming options, and none come close to PS3. Because it is a gaming console, it has I believe 4 on board CPUs which make it very quick to launch and run the various programs. Never had any lag issues, and the interfaces are pretty good. The only drawback is that it can be a little fussy playing back downloaded videos from flash drives, usually you can get them to work but it won't always recognize them right away. Also if you want to use grey market streaming like 1channel it won't do you any good, but then again most players won't do that anyways. Basically I would go with the lowest priced model, as you don't need a huge hard drive if you only want it as a Blu Ray media player. The sweet spot seems to be the slim models (not the newer super slim models, which apparently are a little buggy and awkward in design).



#7 Rudi Fingers

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

If you got a Panasonic blu-ray to go along with your Panasonic Plasma, you could use "viera link" to control both devices with the out of the box remote, which may appeal to your "tech novice" nature.  Per the MLB website, these Panasonic Blu-rays work with MLB.TV:: DMP-BDT120, DMP-BDT220, DMP-BDT320, DMP-BDT500, DMP-BBT01



#8 SumnerH


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:37 PM

A word of caution on the PS3 (and this doesn't look like it'd be an issue for riboflav): it's great if you're using supported Internet streaming services, but for general playback of your own media files it's pretty limited. There are only a handful of specific codecs supported, and only in particular combinations. Also I had trouble with 1 of the 2 major music programs (either Pandora or Spotify, I can't recall which) hanging/skipping with some frequency. In the end I found it easier to pick up a separate purpose-made media streaming device to complement the PS3 (I'm very happy with the Western Digital TV Live SMP, which will handle pretty much any video or audio format you throw at it).

But it's a top-notch Blu-Ray player and for Netflix/Hulu/MLB.tv/etc it's great.

#9 The Four Peters


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:57 PM

A word of caution on the PS3 (and this doesn't look like it'd be an issue for riboflav): it's great if you're using supported Internet streaming services, but for general playback of your own media files it's pretty limited. There are only a handful of specific codecs supported, and only in particular combinations. Also I had trouble with 1 of the 2 major music programs (either Pandora or Spotify, I can't recall which) hanging/skipping with some frequency. In the end I found it easier to pick up a separate purpose-made media streaming device to complement the PS3 (I'm very happy with the Western Digital TV Live SMP, which will handle pretty much any video or audio format you throw at it).

But it's a top-notch Blu-Ray player and for Netflix/Hulu/MLB.tv/etc it's great.

Does Plex work well with the PS3?



#10 crow216


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:43 PM

BDT220 is fantastic. It's quick and offers incredible PQ. It's also fairly thin.



#11 riboflav

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:53 PM

Thanks, guys. I've been eyeing the PS3 for awhile now but that price tag is steep, especially for a guy who doesn't play video games. It costs about half of what a new Panasonic Plasma would cost.

 

It's good to hear that folks tend not to have trouble streaming. Honestly, it's been the number one reason why we've put this off so long... well, other than being able to watch live sports like NBA playoffs, golf, MLB playoffs on TBS, etc.



#12 TimNJsoxfan

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:58 PM

Roku.. if you dont want to buy or need a blu ray player. Under $80



#13 SumnerH


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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:06 AM

Roku.. if you dont want to buy or need a blu ray player. Under $80

I looked at the Roku XD before settling on the WD TV Live. Aside from the ability to play Angry Birds, the Roku seemed basically like a crippled version of the WD TV live; it has terrible codec support, and even with supported codecs it only allows 5.1 passthrough on a very limited subset. Essentially you're stuck transcoding everything to mp4. And there's no FLAC support, which makes streaming high-quality audio a moderate pain. There's no optical TOS output and no DLNA streaming. Plus, the 2 USB ports on the Live is a nice perk (one for semi-permanent storage and one for popping in the occasional USB stick or whatever).

Right now it's $109 for the WD vs $95 for the Roku XD on Amazon, but I gave away 3 of the WDs for Christmas that I got for about $80 at Best Buy.



(Side note: The Roku XS is slightly cheaper but it's got no ethernet port--the XD does. On the XS you're looking at wifi for everything. This is not a big deal if it's the only thing you're using, but I found trying to stream to a device at the same time someone's streaming Netflix to the other TV bogs things down enough that I really want to be plugged in on at least one device. If you live alone or only ever have one machine going that may not matter).




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