FOGEY 5 Blu-ray Disc Players (older)

Jan 11, 2011 No Comments by

The Fogey 5 are the best five products in their class by virtue of expert and consumer review from at least 10 respected and authoritative websites.

This is a Fogey 6 because all these machines featured in four or more top ten lists.  It’s due for an update.

Sony BDP S760

The S760’s ‘big thing’ is built-in wireless connectivity.  It will talk to your wireless router and thence your PC to grab and stream content onto your TV.  But only stills.  No audio or video. As in – you won’t be using this to put BBC iPlayer on your tele.  The connectivity does, however, give access to BD Live, a web-based deluge of extraneous guff related in some way to the disc you’re watching.  “The ‘S760 used to be the player to beat but the quality of competition has gone through the roof,” says What Hi-Fi?  From Product of the Year to also-ran in 6 months.  What madness is this?  Well, it’s still a very capable and good-looking machine but cost (when new) around £330 and there are others out there that are as good if not better and cheaper. “Compared to the likes of the Panasonic BD85 and even Sony’s own S370, the S760 now sounds a little insubstantial,” say the Hi-Fi? buffs.  So you could have bought this for Christmas ’09 feeling confident that it wasn’t showered with accolades for nothing and now be feeling twinges of buyer’s remorse.  Isn’t life cruel?  Spec: Surround Sound, Dolby Digital, DTS decoder, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio. Outputs: HDMI component, S-video and composite. 7.1-channel analogue plus optical and digital audio outputs. Launched late 2009

Now, around £250.  More info here.  Buy Sony BDP-S760

LG BD390

The one to beat.  For about 5 minutes.  When it hit the shelves in the US in May 2009 reviewers great and small dissolved in a tizzy of fawning joy.  It had wi-fi inside so you could watch YouTube – albeit it fuzzy and disgusting – on your TV.  It has ‘full network streaming’.  Waaaa-hey! And now it’s been discontinued.  You can still get one for around £250 if you shop around but as with the Sony S760 there are machines that do the same and more, for less dosh.  Cnet editor’s choice for November 2009 (it didn’t make it to the UK until September 09) and now on the road to nowhere.  If you can track one down second-hand, well done; otherwise it might be less hassle to go for a later model you can still buy new, such as the BD560 which, at time of writing, is under £100.

More info here.  Buy LG BD560

Not doing too well so far.  Outdated-but-good, discontinued.  Irony in action.

Panasonic DMP BD60

This summary of the BD60 from Google Shopping is just the sort of geek-blather that makes Fogies cross: “To get the best HD images from a BD-video disc, you need a player that renders high-quality progressive images, expresses motion smoothly, and draws sharp diagonal lines. The DMP-BD60 P4HD processes more than 15 billion pixels per second and applies the optimum processing to every pixel in the video data on the disc. The result is images with exceptional resolution. This is Blu-ray, this is high definition.  DMP-BD60 incorporates a 148.5MHz, 12bit video D/A converter that provides high-quality 4x oversampling for 1080i/720p output. NSV (noise shaping video) processing shifts the noise component to an unused band to further boost the signal-to-noise ratio.”

The only bit you need is “….images with exceptional resolution.”  The rest is just noise.

“To satisfy those put-off from buying into Blu-ray due to region coding, internet-based disc importer MovieTyme is offering the Panasonic DMP-BD60 as a ‘hacked’ version which will play Blu-ray and DVD discs from Regions 1, 2 and 3,” says Chris Jenkins of TechRadar.  If this be true, we love you MovieTyme.

Well, it probably was true, back before the dawn of time because, you’ve guessed it, the BD60 is now seriously old hat and has been – drum roll! – discontinued!!!  You can still pick one up for around £200 but why would you when its successor, the BD65 is around £50 less?  And by the time you read this the BD70 will doubtless have arrived. And soon these entry-level machines will catch up with the mid-range BD80 and BD85, the prices of which seem to be in free-fall.  Just stop it, Panasonic, we can’t keep up.  What have we learned, children?  Buy any of these and you’ll be a happy Blu-ray bunny.  There; I said it.

More info here.  Buy Panasonic BD60EB

Sony BDP S360

The technorati liked this machine a lot.  Chirpy chirpy cheap cheap, basic-but-good.  Apparently other players from LG and Samsung have more features for about the same money but those features – live video streaming from Internet-based services such as Amazon and Netflix – are sort-of peripheral fluff unless you’re an early adopter who won’t be interested in such a simple player anyway.  It can be had from the likes of Richer Sounds and Play.com for around £120.  And it’s still available!!!  Yaaaay!

More info here.  Buy Sony BDPS360

 

Sony PS3 Slim

Dangerous territory for the Fogey – gaming devices.  Apparently the goggle-eyed freaks who play video games require instant gratification.  Blu-ray players that aren’t also designed for gaming can take a few seconds to load discs etc whereas the PS3 performs at warp-speed 11.  Previous versions of the PlayStation 3 were criticised for being noisy during operation but this drawback has apparently been rectified with the latest ‘slim’ version.  Some might think a PS3 makes a good compromise solution – keep brats content and inert while allowing ma and pa to enjoy the azure blues and winsome whites of Mamma Mia in full-on HD.  But this will only lead to fist-fights.  Two machines will still be required.  And two TVs.  Fair warning?  Oh, and a news update – in April 2011 some wanker(s) hacked into Sony’s on-line gaming operation.  As a consequence kerzillions of gamers (or their mums and dads) had their credit card details lifted.  Possibly.  Way to go Sony.

Around £250.  More info here.  Buy Sony PlayStation 3 Slim Console (160 GB Model)

 

Philips BDP7500

Philips.  Makers of Wake-Up Lights and rotary shavers.  Where does high-end TV and Blu-ray fit into their domesticated Dutch mix?  (Well, as of April 2011 Philips announced they’re stopping making TVs.  Sad but predictable).  Easy to forget that Philips pioneered CD and have been very good at very many consumer electronic things without ever achieving the premium cachet of, say, Pioneer or even Sony.  But Philips’ Ambilight TVs are the dog’s nob and their Blu-ray players likewise.  If you have a 1080p HD TV (the best resolution there is at the moment) the BDP7500 will not only play Blu-ray discs at 1080p but also upscale standard DVDs to the same resolution.  (Which always makes us wonder why anyone would bother paying over the odds for Blu-ray discs).  Another – Totally Fogey – feature is being able to move subtitles around on the screen to where you can best see them.

More info here.  Buy Philips BDP7500

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