|Blu-Ray Players 2010 Holiday Gift Guide|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Best Of & Top 100 Lists|
|Written by Dick Ward|
|Monday, 22 November 2010|
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Getting gifts is great, there's no one debating that. Giving gifts may be less rewarding financially, but there are some things you just can't put a price on. Imagine your brother-in-law's face when he sees his first Blu-ray or the sheer joy emanating from your parents when you introduce them to 1080p for the first time. Blu-ray players are a great gift, and we've got the best of them compiled in one simple list.
When we talk about entry level, we're talking about players for those completely new to Blu-ray, or those upgrading from an early system without the benefit of online firmware updates and BD-Live. They're not at the top of the list for the best ever, but they do top the list in their class – a few hundred dollars or less.
The BDT100 from Panasonic is one of the cheapest entries into 3D Blu-ray around. It's got an MSRP of around $250, but you can find it regularly for $100 cheaper with a quick search on Google. It offers Viera Cast internet based content, a 1080p picture and both decoding and bitstream for the usual assortment of high-def codecs.
Panasonic's player, while impressive for the price, does lack built-in WiFi. If that's a concern for you, this isn't the Blu-ray player you want. What the BDT100 offers in exchange is an ultra-thin profile and a load speed, according to Panasonic, of just half a second.
If you've read up on our Blu-ray reviews, you've seen the praise that our own Thomas Spurlin laid upon the BDP-S570. As far as inexpensive entry level players go, it doesn't get much better than the S570. You get 3D functionality, wireless connectivity and plenty else.
The S570 is another slim unit, and one that offers surprisingly good detail, excellent 24p playback, and noteworthy upscaling ability makes it a Blu-ray player worth checking out. It's also the first Sony player that competes with the next one on the list.
Sony PlayStation 3 Slim
We specify the Slim because it's smaller, quieter and less power hungry. It also bitstreams Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio while the original model does not. It shouldn't be much of an issue though, since you'll be hard priced to find one of the older versions.
The PS3 is the best supported Blu-ray player on the market, with constant updates and added features. Since launch, the PS3 got access to both Hulu Plus and Netflix and can even play 3D content. It's not every Blu-ray player released in 2006 that can say that.