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The best Blu-ray players for 2021

With its stellar picture, impressive codec support, and an affordable price tag, our team ranks Sony’s UBP-X700 as the number one best Blu-ray player currently on the market. 

However, we also understand that what works for someone else might not work for you. Depending on what you’re looking for, some of the other best Blu-ray players we’ve rounded up might be a much better fit.

(Also, don’t forget to browse through our list of the best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs to really show off what your system can do.)

The best Blu-ray players at a glance

The best Blu-ray player overall: Sony UBP-X700

Sony UBP-X700

Why you should buy this: It offers immersive, cinema-style playback, and supports everything from Dolby Vision to Dolby Atmos.

Who it’s for: The price-conscious shopper who wants a player with incredible 4K Ultra HD playback, regardless of format.

Why we picked the Sony UBP-X700:

Sony’s UBP-X700 is an affordable home theater masterpiece. With excellent video and audio processing, this player will spin any of your favorite discs at their brilliant fidelity.

This model offers both Dolby Vision and HDR10 support, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the gorgeous contrast and wide color gamut offered by both of the leading HDR formats.

Add in support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround sound (in addition to a wide gamut of other established surround sound formats) and you’ll never have to worry about getting the most immersive experience possible in your home theater.

Knowing that all this technology is available in the UBP-X700, often for less than $200, you can understand why this is our favorite player when it comes to sheer value on the market right now.

Read our full Sony UBP-X700 review

The best Blu-ray player for music: Sony UBP-X800M2

Sony UDP X800M2 Blu-ray player

Why you should buy this: It offers Sony’s best picture and audio processing technologies in one highly capable device.

Who it’s for: Those who refuse to compromise on fidelity on either the video or audio side.

Why we picked the Sony UBP-X800M2:

There’s a reason Sony’s UBP-X800M2 is such a popular Blu-ray player. It takes over as our top pick for music from the UBP-X800, which was also excellent, but for some reason lacked Dolby Vision support.

This player offers just about everything you could want, including gorgeous 4K resolution, high-end audio decoding that includes both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and both HDR10 and Dolby Vision to bring the very best performance out of every disc in your collection.

While you’ll pay a bit more for the UBP-X800M2 than for the UBP-X700 listed above, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. That’s because it offers the company’s DSEE HX audio processing, which will make everything from Mp3 to FLAC files sound absolutely astonishing, including the leading hi-res audio formats. So if your disc collection is as big on audio as video, this is likely the option for you.

Speaking of audio, the UBP-X800M2 has another trick up its sleeve that the UBP-X700 can’t match: It can transmit audio simultaneously over Bluetooth to a wireless speaker or a set of headphones. It can do this in perfect sync with the audio being sent over HDMI, so there’s no jarring lag-time, and if you own a Sony Bluetooth speaker or headphones equipped with Sony’s proprietary LDAC audio codec, the quality of that stream will be up to three times higher than normal Bluetooth.

Whether you use the UBP-X800M2’s feature to amplify the power of your favorite movies, or simply use it for a wireless audiophile-grade connection, it’s a big advantage for audio enthusiasts.

The best budget Ultra HD Blu-ray player: LG UBKM9

LG UBKM9 ultra blu-ray player

Why you should buy this: It’s highly affordable, but doesn’t sacrifice image quality.

Who it’s for: The audio and video enthusiast on a budget.

Why we picked the LG UBKM9:

If you’re looking to enjoy your favorite Hollywood blockbusters in full 4K HDR glory but don’t want to tap your vacation fund to do it, LG’s UBKM9 is our go-to pick. This Blu-ray player is the latest version of a perennial favorite, and now — in addition to its crazy-low price — it has Dolby Vision, something its predecessors lacked.

It can play just about any audio format you can throw at it, including Dolby Atmos, but there is one notable exception: It does not work with DTS:X, the object-based competitor to Dolby Atmos. If you need DTS:X at a great price, the Sony UBP-X700 is the way to go.

You won’t get much in the way of streaming apps except Netflix and YouTube, but frankly, if you have a 4K Ultra HD TV (which you’d better if you’re buying a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player), your TV’s onboard streaming is likely better than any Blu-ray player’s apps anyway. Moreover, we suggest those who want a great streaming experience buy one of these affordable devices tailor-made for the job.

The UBKM9 may be low on frills, but it offers speedy performance at a great price, and that’s a deal in our book.

The most fun Blu-ray player: Microsoft Xbox One S

xbox one s

Why you should buy this: You want an Ultra-HD player and also love to game.

Who it’s for: Those who want the maximum amount of functionality (and fun) for their money.

Why we picked the Xbox One S:

If you want a great Blu-ray player and you’re also into video games, the Xbox One S offers serious value for your dollars. An attractive gaming console with sleek looks and a great price, this version of the Xbox One is the most affordable way to double down, so to speak, as it offers tangible improvements in performance over the original Xbox One console and includes the addition of an Ultra HD player.

Like most high-end Blu-ray players on the market, the console features a USB 3.0 port, and Ethernet, S/PDIF ports, in addition to two HDMI ports (one in, one out). A one-stop solution for everything from gaming to high-end A/V viewing, the Xbox One S offers 4K streaming and a beautiful picture, with HDR10 support that provides impressive contrast.

If you’re a more serious gamer, you may also want to consider jumping up to the newer Xbox One X, which offers better graphics and a speedier processor. Either way, if you need a Blu-ray player with versatility and dual personalities, the Xbox One is a great choice.

However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the problems that have arisen for some Xbox One S and X owners when trying to view Dolby Vision gaming content on certain TVs. Microsoft added Dolby Vision support to its consoles in 2018, but it used a newer version of the Dolby Vision software, designed for low-latency gaming. The result? If you have an older TV, like a 2016 LG OLED TV, it isn’t compatible with the Xbox One’s gaming-specific implementation of Dolby Vision (even though the TV says it supports Dolby Vision).

You’ll still be able to enjoy Dolby Vision when streaming content from Netflix, and other online sources, or UHD Blu-ray movies, but Dolby Vision for gaming does not work. Unfortunately, the list of TVs that are not compatible with Microsoft’s Dolby Vision gaming mode includes virtually every Dolby Vision TV from 2016, and some 2017 models as well.

Dolby maintains a PDF with all of the TVs that are compatible with Xbox One S, and it has changed several times since this issue cropped up in 2018. The good news: Virtually every 2019 model and up with Dolby Vision is now compatible.

Read our full Xbox One S review

The best 4K upscaling Blu-ray player: Sony BDP-S6700

Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-ray Player

Why you should buy this: It will make your standard Blu-ray discs pop on your HDTV or that new 4K TV.

Who it’s for: Viewers who don’t want to make the leap into 4K Blu-ray discs, but want to squeeze the best possible picture out of their current collection.

Why we picked the Sony BDP-S6700:

If you don’t know whether you’ll ever make the leap into Ultra HD Blu-ray, but you want to view your current collection at the highest possible quality, there’s no better option on the market than Sony’s BDP-S6700. A standard Blu-ray player that also upscales 1080p Blu-ray content to 4K for the latest generation of TVs, the player takes your now-aging collection and makes it look prettier than ever on your new screen.

It’s also a powerful audio platform, with support for 24-bit hi-res audio formats, and Bluetooth streaming to wireless speakers or headphones using Sony’s LDAC audio codec.

In addition to awesome disc playback, the Sony BDP-S6700’s powerful Wi-Fi chip and Ethernet port enable fast 4K streaming. Finally, Sony’s TV SideView app lets you control your screen from your smartphone, as well as share your entire smartphone screen with your TV (for Miracast-enabled phones), which is great for showing friends and family pictures and video.

How we test

We start out every model year by acquiring the best televisions from every major brand, such as Samsung, Sony, LG, and Panasonic. These gold-standard televisions help set the bar for each year, establish expectations for less expensive models, and give context for the competition.

Normally we test each media player with several high-quality televisions, keeping track of compatibility and performance over the course of weeks or even months in our A/V test room.

When we can, we put rival models side by side for the best possible quality check, which allows us to interpret each model’s specifications in the real world.

We’re not so bold as to say our testing method is flawless. Still, we genuinely try to test every possible component of every individual Blu-Ray player in order to give you the most accurate and comprehensive review we can. In a perfect world, you’ll use your Blu-Ray player for many happy years, and we wouldn’t want anyone to buy a product they don’t enjoy. We strive only to recommend products that we genuinely approve of.

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