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Top 5 Best Blu-ray Players & Buying Guide (2022)

power button on a Blu-ray player

Love watching movies? Then you deserve the best picture & sound quality. Learn all about Blu-ray technology in this guide to the best Blu-ray players.

These days there are many ways to watch your favorite movies and TV shows. But, while some methods may be more convenient, you can’t beat the quality of watching a film on Blu-ray.

Some people believe Blu-ray technology is obsolete. Are you kidding?

The best Blu-ray players still provide the best picture and audio quality available. If you have a great home theater system, you need to have a Blu-ray player at the heart of it.

First, you will discover why Blu-ray technology is the best around.

Then, a helpful buying guide will tell you which essential features to look for before buying a Blu-ray player.

And, finally, there are some suggested models in different categories so you can quickly find the perfect one for your needs.

Best Blu-ray Players Comparison Table

Sony UBP-X800M2

Sony UBP-X800M2

  • TYPE: 4K UHD
  • HDR: HDR10 / Dolby Vision / HLG
  • HDMI OUT: 2
Panasonic DP-UB9000

Panasonic DP-UB9000

  • TYPE: 4K UHD
  • HDR: HDR10 / HDR10+ / Dolby Vision / HLG
  • HDMI OUT: 2
  • OTHER CONNECTIONS: 2x XLR (Balanced Stereo), 2x Analog RCA (Unbalanced Stereo), 7.1 Analog RCA, 2x USB (1 front + 1 rear)
Panasonic DP-UB150

Panasonic DP-UB150

  • TYPE: 4K UHD
  • HDR: HDR10 / HDR10+ / HLG
  • HDMI OUT: 1
Sony BDP-BX370

Sony BDP-BX370

  • TYPE: 1080p
  • HDR: No
  • HDMI OUT: 1
Panasonic DP-UB820

Panasonic DP-UB820

  • TYPE: 4K UHD
  • HDR: HDR10 / HDR10+ / Dolby Vision / HLG
  • HDMI OUT: 2
  • OTHER CONNECTIONS: 7.1 Analog RCA, 2x USB (1 front + 1 rear)

What Is a Blu-ray Player?

A Blu-ray player is a device that plays Blu-ray discs.

A Blu-ray disc is an optical storage disc like a standard DVD. It has the same dimensions as a CD or DVD – but it won’t play on a conventional CD or DVD player because the laser inside a Blu-ray player is different from a standard DVD device.

A Blu-ray player has a blue-colored laser – hence the name – which has a shorter wavelength than the traditional red laser found in DVD and CD players.

This reduction in wavelength allows it to focus on a smaller area, meaning the data on the disc can be stored closer together.

Why is this useful? It means more data will fit on a disc.

So, the advantage of a standard Blu-ray disc is that it can hold about six times the data compared to a dual-layer DVD.

That means 25GB on a single layer and 50 GB on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc.

Data capacity of DVD, Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray discs
Data capacity of DVD, Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray discs

Ok, big deal, so why is that important? Because it means a Blu-ray disc can store video and audio in higher resolution formats that won’t fit on a DVD.

This allows you to watch a movie in high-quality Full HD 1080p and with lossless HD audio formats.

Samsung released the first consumer Blu-ray player in 2006, which was the first player that could read the new Blu-ray disc format.

However, with the advent of Ultra HD Blu-ray in 2016, Blu-ray went to another level.

You can still buy standard Blu-ray players and discs, but Ultra HD Blu-ray technology allows you to store even more data on a disc – up to 100 GB.

This means the discs can hold all the extra data required for displaying high-quality 4K UHD pictures.

Why Blu-ray Technology is Better Than Streaming

In most cases, Blu-ray technology will deliver a better picture and audio quality compared to streaming services.

The maximum video resolution of the different versions of Blu-ray are:

  • Standard Blu-ray: up to 1920×1080/60p
  • UHD Blu-ray: up to 3840×2160/60p

So, don’t stream services support these formats? Yes, sort of, but streaming video quality can be compromised by compression and reduced bitrates.

This is required to ensure that a movie will play without buffering (stopping and starting). And, the slower your internet connection, the more the quality will be reduced.

Playing from a player in your home doesn’t have these problems. It will be perfect every time.

Does a streaming movie still look pretty good?

Yes, and you won’t notice at all on small devices like a phone or tablet. But with larger TV screen sizes or projectors, the difference in picture quality will be more noticeable.

It’s not a night and day difference, but the picture from a Blu-ray player is definitely sharper.

If this bothers you, only you can say. Many people won’t notice. Many do.

But the differences don’t stop there. Blu-ray also wins when it comes to audio file formats.

Blu-ray players are the only way to hear accurate lossless high-resolution audio.

If you have a Blu-ray or UHD Blu-ray player, you can select from any HD audio soundtracks on the disc.

These will be either:

  • Dolby TrueHD (with optional Dolby Atmos)
  • DTS-HD Master Audio (with optional DTS:X)

You don’t get these streamed over the internet because they would use too much bandwidth.

Most streaming companies use either standard Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus for the soundtrack.

Dolby Digital Plus will play with embedded Dolby Atmos metadata, but it won’t be delivered at the high resolutions of Dolby TrueHD.

Will you notice this? Again, it depends. Some people won’t hear the difference in sound quality.

But, if you have an above-average amplifier and speaker system – and you are interested in great sound quality – then you will notice a difference.

You will hear an improved stereo and surround sound separation around the room – with deeper bass and crisper high-frequencies.

Buying Guide: What to Look For in a Blu-ray Player

So, now you understand why Blu-ray technology is excellent, what are the essential features to look out for?

Here are some things to consider before you decide on the most suitable model – however, not all these will be important for everybody.

Standard vs. UHD Blu-ray Players

You first need to decide which type of Blu-ray player you want – standard or UHD?

Standard 1080p Player

The first thing to understand is that these are by no means outdated. You will get a pristine full HD 1080p picture better than any video streaming service or TV channel that isn’t 4K.

In fact, if you have a slow internet connection, it may look better than some ‘4K’ pictures from a streaming service.

Aside from a high-quality 1080p picture, you will be able to play any high-definition audio soundtracks on your Blu-ray disc.

That includes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and any object-based audio like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. All at the highest quality bitrates.

You won’t get all that anywhere but Blu-ray.

DTS:X Master Audio Codec
DTS:X Master Audio codec on a Blu-ray disc

A standard Blu-ray player will play any CD or DVD disc, so you can replace all your old players if you wish. Some people will replace their old DVD and CD players with one top-notch Blu-ray player.

However, if you have a high-quality CD or DVD player, you can keep them and add a Blu-ray player to the mix. Just to play Blu-ray discs.

The problem with this is that your home entertainment system can resemble something NASA uses to send the space shuttle into orbit!

However, just to be clear, these won’t play 4K Blu-ray discs. They may upscale standard Blu-ray or DVD to 4K, but this isn’t the same as the real thing.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

This version of Blu-ray takes the technology to another level.

Ultra HD Blu-ray can store all the data required for 4K movies and high-resolution audio with a larger disc capacity.

The picture quality is as good as you can get at present. While streaming services offer 4K movies and TV shows, the compression used to deliver the content doesn’t match Blu-ray’s high-quality pictures.

An important point. To watch 4K Blu-ray, all your hardware chain must support the 4K standard. This means support for HDMI 2.0 and the copy protection technology HDCP 2.2.

Your Ultra HD Blu-ray player will have this, but you need to make sure your TV does too. If it is a 4K TV, then it almost certainly will.

The main issue, though, is if you use an AV receiver.

If you do, then it needs to allow the passthrough of HDCP 2.2. If not, then any content with copy-protection won’t pass from the player to your TV.

It can be confusing but consider this before you buy.

Here is a summary of the essential benefits of Ultra HD Blu-ray:

  • 4K movies at 2160p – 3840 x 2160/60Hz
  • Support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video – brighter bright bits and darker dark bits.
  • Support for Wide Color Gamut (WCG) – redder reds and bluer blues (and all the other colors too!)

If you already have a 4K TV, buying a 4K UHD player makes sense.

However, you don’t have to, and a Full HD player will still look and sound really good.


A modern Blu-ray player will offer a few different connection types.

The main one is the HDMI output connection. You will use this to connect to your TV – or your AV receiver if you are using one. The HDMI connection sends the picture and the sound through a single cable.

For many people, this will be all that you need.

However, some of the top-end players may have two HDMI outputs. The HDMI 2.0 output will send the 4K picture to your UHD TV, while the HDMI 1.4 out will send audio to your receiver.

This can be useful if you have an old AV receiver in your setup that can’t pass through a 4K signal.

You might even see an HDMI input on some players. This is for connecting external devices to benefit from the high-end processing of the Blu-ray player.

You may also get a digital audio output of some description – usually either coaxial audio or optical audio.

Blu-ray Player Output Connections
Output Connections on a Panasonic DP-UB820 Blu-ray Player

You would usually use this if you want to send the audio to a separate sound system – or maybe with an old AV receiver with no HDMI connectors

The article on how to connect surround sound might help if you’re not sure about this.

Other connections will usually relate to your home network.

A player will either have an Ethernet or Wi-Fi capability. Sometimes both.

You will use either one of these to connect to the internet. Without this, you can’t use any streaming services the player may support.

Using the Ethernet connection with a cable is often the best way to connect your player because this will provide the fastest and most reliable internet connection.

The problem with Wi-Fi is that it may not be fast enough – or stable enough – to stream video without buffering.

However, sometimes Wi-Fi is the only option, so try to ensure you have a robust and reliable signal from your router.

You can also use these network connections to stream media to or from other devices on your home network – either stored on a PC/NAS or from a mobile device.

Sometimes you may get a USB connection on the front or back of your player. This is for playing back media that you have stored on a USB stick – like photos or MP3s, for example.

If you think this might be useful, make sure your new player has this feature.

Video Formats

All players will support playing content from Blu-ray, DVD and CD discs – although remember that only 4K UHD players will play 4K discs.

However, one format you may want is 3D Blu-ray or DVD support.

Although not common now, if you have some old 3D movies and a TV that supports them, you will need to make sure your new player can play 3D discs. Some will, and some won’t.

If you plan to use your player to stream video from your own network, you should also check the video formats it will play.

Many support popular formats like MKV and Xvid, but some don’t. Check this if it is essential for you.

Audio Formats

All Blu-ray players will support standard stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS audio. However, you may want some higher-quality audio.

If so, make sure the player has support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Or, how about DVD-Audio and SACD discs?

For many people, your player can become your primary music player as well as for movies.

If the player can’t decode high-resolution Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio then it should be able to ‘bitstream’ this format to your AV receiver. Then, your receiver can play this audio format.

Blu-ray Player bitstream settings in audio menu
Bitstream setting in Blu-ray Player audio menu

To set it to bitstream, just go into the audio settings menu, and you should find the option there.

Most of the newer models will also support the playback of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio. However, in most cases, you will need to bitstream these to the AV receiver too.

So, your AV receiver will need to be able to decode this type of audio. The guide to Blu-ray audio formats explains these in more detail.

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a technology that increases the contrast ratio of an image.

That is, the blacks are darker, and the whites are brighter.

The increased contrast ratio is key to providing a more life-like picture – even more so than the extra pixels you get in your 4K TV.

This video explains in a little more detail how HDR works:

YouTube video

Although some streaming services now support HDR on some content, the best way to experience HDR is with a 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

If you want a Blu-ray player that supports HDR, you will need to get a 4K Ultra HD model because standard 1080p Blu-ray doesn’t support HDR.

There are also a few different versions of HDR. HDR10 is the most widespread version, but you may also see Dolby Vision or HDR10+.

Dolby Vision and HDR10+ improve the performance of HDR by changing the HDR data for every frame of the image – rather than having a single setting for the complete movie, like with HDR10.

It can also adjust to the specifications of your TV.

The critical point is that to take advantage of HDR, your complete hardware chain must support the same version of HDR. So, to watch an Ultra HD Blu-ray movie in HDR10, you must have:

  • A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player with HDR10 support.
  • A disc with an HDR10 version of the film.
  • A 4K Ultra HD TV that supports HDR10.
  • And, if you are using an AV receiver in your system, the receiver will need to offer HDR10 passthrough.

The same is true of other types of HDR. The whole hardware chain needs to support the same version.

4K Ultra HD Upscaling

You will often see this listed as a feature for a standard Blu-ray player. However, even 4K Ultra HD players will upscale content that isn’t 4K.

So, what is upscaling? Well, the maximum resolution of standard Blu-ray is 1080p – or 1920 x 1080 pixels.

If you are connecting your Blu-ray player to a 4K UHD TV, then this has a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.

So, to view the 1080p image, the extra pixels on the screen need to be ‘filled-in’ with image data that isn’t really there.

TV Screen Resolution Comparison
TV Screen Resolution Comparison

This ‘filling-in’ is performed by a device called a video scaler. So, if a Blu-ray player can upscale to 4K, it will have a chip to perform this task.

The quality of an upscaled picture will depend on how well the video scaler performs this task – and some video scalers are better than others.

However, it’s essential to realize that even if your Blu-ray player doesn’t offer 4K upscaling, you can still use a 4K TV.

Every 4K TV will also have its own video scaler. If it didn’t, then you could only watch 4K UHD sources.

And, there aren’t many of those!

Most modern 4K TVs do a pretty good job of scaling lower resolution video. So, having 4K upscaling in the player is only essential if it will perform this task better than the TV.

A high-end player may well do. For mid-range and budget players? Not so much.

Bottom line? Upscaling is less critical as your TV will do this anyway.

Smart Blu-ray Players

Like many modern TVs, some Blu-ray players will offer various apps to connect to online services.

There may be a basic internet browser, games, weather, and even social media apps. But, the main ones will be the different apps that stream video through to your TV.

You will find that, while the apps will be similar for many players, there will be differences.

Therefore, if you want a specific app, you must check if the player has that service.

Having an app on the player might be helpful, as your TV may not offer all the apps you need.

Likewise, you may save some money by buying a player with no app support. If your TV has all the streaming apps that you need, then having the same ones on the player won’t be very useful.

The most common apps for streaming content are:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • YouTube
  • Hulu
  • Pandora
  • Rhapsody
  • Vimeo

But, there will be many more that are either pre-installed – or that you can download later – just like adding an app to your phone.


Modern players are much more compact than they used to be. However, check the dimensions of the player to make sure it will fit into your setup.

Ideally, you should allow a bit of breathing space – not too close to other devices – so it doesn’t overheat.

To keep the size down, many players have removed the front display, which would give you information like the movie time and current chapter.

On these models, this information is only displayed on-screen when the movie is paused.

However, if you want a player with a front display, then expect to pay more money – but also make sure you have enough room to install the player, as it will be bigger.

Top 5 Blu-ray Players

Now that you know what you are looking for, it’s time to look at some of the top-rated Blu-ray players available today.

Here is a selection of excellent models in various categories, any of which will be a fantastic addition to any home theater.

There is a range of devices at different price points – and ideal for various uses.

It would be too easy to pick the most expensive models and declare them as the best.

They probably are, but not everybody has that money to spend. So here are a few models which are the best for different scenarios.

Best 4K Blu-ray Player

A 4K UHD Blu-ray player will give you a stunning picture on any high-quality TV or projector.

Yes, they are more expensive than 1080p models, and yes, the discs cost more money.

But, boy, are you going to be in for a visual treat.

With a more detailed resolution, and more importantly, the introduction of HDR content with an increased color gamut, a 4K Blu-ray will give you a picture that will knock your socks off.

Choosing the right model to buy can be tricky, but the best 4K player should offer a top-notch performance with enough features to suit most home theater fans – without costing the earth.

Top Pick: Sony UBP-X800M2

The Sony UBP-X800M2 is a fantastic all-around Blu-ray player that will cover the needs of most users.

It offers superb picture quality on all types of 4K TVs and has built-in apps to stream high-quality content from the internet.

You can play pretty much any disc type that you can think of, including SACD and DVD-A, which makes it a great all-rounder for movie buffs and music lovers.

A helpful feature that is rare in Blu-ray players is transmitting audio to Bluetooth headphones and speakers, which is especially useful for listening with headphones late at night.

Sony UBP-X800M2 Features
Type 4K UHD
HDR HDR10 / Dolby Vision / HLG
HDMI Out / In 2 / 0
Optical / Coaxial Output 0 / 1
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Yes / Yes / No
Other Connections 1x USB (Front)
Supported Disc Formats UHD / Blu-ray / Blu-ray 3D / DVD / DVD-A / SACD / CD

Who Should Buy One of These?

Anyone who wants to get the best performance from their 4K display without spending too much money.

You don’t need to buy a high-end model to get a great picture – just make sure that you have the right connections for your setup.

Alternative Choice

Panasonic DP-UB420
Sony UBP-X700M

Best High-End 4K Blu-ray Player

If you are a home theater enthusiast that must get the best performance, then a high-end Blu-ray player has to be on your wish list.

To get the very best picture and sound quality in your room, you simply must buy one of these bad boys.

A high-end Blu-ray player will have the best video processing, outstanding audio performance and allow you to play every content format you could need.

Top Pick: Panasonic DP-UB9000

The Panasonic DP-UB9000 is the top model in the Panasonic range.

With a rigid aluminum body, everything about this player feels like quality. But the DP-UB9000 really comes into its own when it comes to playing back content.

It will be hard to find a better picture and audio quality in the same device.

Panasonic’s renowned HCX processor performs 4K UHD output and upscaling – supported by six tone-mapping presets that will adjust to your display’s brightness.

Numerous connections on the rear mean that you won’t have a problem wiring this up, and it even has unbalanced and balanced stereo outputs for those who like to listen to music.

Panasonic DP-UB9000 Features
Type 4K UHD
HDR HDR10 / HDR10+ / Dolby Vision / HLG
HDMI Out / In 2 / 0
Optical / Coaxial Output 1 / 1
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Yes / Yes / No
Other Connections 2x XLR (Balanced Stereo), 2x Analog RCA (Unbalanced Stereo), 7.1 Analog RCA, 2x USB (1 front + 1 rear)
Supported Disc Formats UHD / Blu-ray / Blu-ray 3D / DVD / CD

Who Should Buy One of These?

Anyone who wants to get the best performance from their 4K display without spending too much money.

For the perfectionist, who simply must get the best performance from each part of the playback chain.

Alternative Choice

Panasonic DP-UB820
Pioneer UDP-LX800
Sony UBP-X1100ES

Best Budget 4K Blu-ray Player

There’s no doubt that buying the latest and greatest home theater equipment can be expensive.

So, most people will have to make a choice where they allocate the majority of their budget.

However, the good news is that if you buy a budget 4K Blu-ray player, you can still experience all the benefits of 4K without breaking the bank.

You may lose some features – like built-in streaming apps and different connection types – but these won’t be a show stopper for many people.

Your TV may already have all the apps you need – and most setups only need a single HDMI output.

If you think about the must-haves – rather than the nice-to-haves – you may find that a budget player will do quite nicely.

Best Budget 4K Blu-ray Player
Panasonic DP-UB150 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

If you want to watch beautiful 4K images but don't want to spend a fortune, then the Panasonic DP-UB150 is the one for you. A great 4K Blu-ray player without all the extra features that you might not use anyway.


Top Pick: Panasonic DP-UB150

The Panasonic DP-UB150 is an excellent choice for those who want a no-frills 4K Blu-ray player.

You don’t get all the bells and whistles of many other 4K models, but you get what matters – excellent performance in delivering 4K UHD pictures to your screen.

There are no Wi-Fi, streaming apps, or multiple connection types – but if you don’t need those, you can’t go wrong with this player.

Not everyone needs all the extra features that other players offer, so if you simply want to play 4K UHD Blu-ray discs, then this is the choice for you.

Panasonic DP-UB150 Features
Type 4K UHD
HDR HDR10 / HDR10+ / HLG
HDMI Out / In 1 / 0
Optical / Coaxial Output 0 / 0
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Yes / No / No
Other Connections 1x USB (Front)
Supported Disc Formats UHD / Blu-ray / Blu-ray 3D / DVD / CD

Who Should Buy One of These?

Anyone who wants to experience high-quality Blu-ray 4K UHD pictures with HDR at the lowest price possible.

Alternative Choice


Best 1080p Blu-ray Player

If you don’t have a 4K TV, you don’t need to buy a 4K UHD player.

However, if you buy a 1080p Blu-ray player with a lower output resolution, that doesn’t mean you won’t be getting some of the best pictures around.

A 1080p image can look fantastic on a quality Full HD display.

And, you can also hear the soundtracks in high-resolution audio formats that will sound great on a good sound system.

Don’t underestimate the excellent sound and picture that you will get from a standard Blu-ray player.

Best 1080p Blu-ray Player
Sony BDP-BX370 1080p Blu-ray Player

If you don't need to play 4K UHD Blu-ray discs, but still want to experience high-quality Blu-ray Full HD pictures and lossless audio, then you can't go wrong with the great-value Sony BDP-BX370.


Top Pick: Sony BDP-BX370

The BDP-BX370 is an update on the excellent range of standard 1080p Blu-ray players from Sony.

While many brands are stepping back from the Blu-ray format, it is great to see Sony still supporting the best way to watch movies in the home.

You can’t use this player to play 4K UHD discs, but you can’t go wrong with this player for everything else.

If you just want a value-for-money player to perform the basics of playing Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs, then you don’t need to look much further than the BDP-BX370.

You can also connect to the internet via Ethernet or Wi-Fi to stream content from online services like Netflix and YouTube – please note that Amazon Prime isn’t available.

Sony BDP-BX370 Features
Type 1080p
HDMI Out / In 1 / 0
Optical / Coaxial Output 0 / 1
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Yes / Yes / No
Other Connections 1x USB (Front)
Supported Disc Formats Blu-ray / DVD / CD

Who Should Buy One of These?

Anyone who hasn’t upgraded their system to 4K but still wants to experience a movie with a top picture and sound quality. It will look and sound better than streaming!

Alternative Choice

Sony BDP-S6700
Sony BDP-S3700
LG BP350

Best Blu-ray Player with Analog Outs

Many audiophiles aren’t keen on streaming digital audio into their amplifiers. And, some don’t have any digital inputs at all on their hardware.

So, if you can’t – or don’t want to – stream digital audio into your amp, then a great solution is to let the player decode the digital audio.

There aren’t many players that can do this, but some higher-end models have multichannel 5.1 or 7.1 analog outputs – and top-end DACs to convert the audio.

Therefore, you can connect the player to your TV via HDMI for the 4K picture – and make an analog multichannel connection to your amplifier.

Best Blu-ray Player with Analog Outs
Panasonic DP-UB820 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

If you are an audiophile who wants a high-quality analog multichannel output - plus one of the best 4K pictures around - then you should check out the Panasonic DP-UB820.


Top Pick: Panasonic DP-UB820

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is an excellent choice for audiophiles who want to make a 5.1 or 7.1 multichannel analog connection to their amplifier.

Some more expensive models have this feature, but the DP-UB820 offers this feature at a very competitive price.

However, the good news doesn’t stop there.

Not only is this one of the best Blu-ray players for audio quality, but it is also a top performer when it comes to 4K picture quality.

It supports all the popular versions of HDR and has a tone-mapping feature that will adjust to the brightness of your display.

Panasonic DP-UB820 Features
Type 4K UHD
HDR HDR10 / HDR10+ / Dolby Vision / HLG
HDMI Out / In 2 / 0
Optical / Coaxial Output 1 / 0
Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Yes / Yes / No
Other Connections 7.1 Analog RCA, 2x USB (1 front + 1 rear)
Supported Disc Formats UHD / Blu-ray / Blu-ray 3D / DVD / CD

Who Should Buy One of These?

Anyone who wants to make an analog multichannel audio connection into their amplifier – but also wants a high-quality Blu-ray player to experience top-notch 4K images.

Alternative Choice

Panasonic DP-UB9000

Frequently Asked Questions

This buying guide answers many questions about choosing and using a Blu-ray player. However, sometimes you need a simple answer to a direct question. So, here are the answers to some common questions many people have.

Can You Play a CD or DVD on a Blu-ray Player?

Yes! All Blu-ray players are backward compatible with CD and DVD technology. So, you can ditch your old players if you wish and just have one device for all your discs.

Can You Play a 4K Disc on a Standard Blu-ray Player?

No. You need a 4K UHD Blu-ray player to watch a 4K disc.

Are Blu-ray Players Region Locked?

Yes… and no. Like DVDs, standard Blu-ray discs are region coded so they will only play on Blu-ray players built for a certain part of the world. But, 4K UHD Blu-ray discs do not have any form of region coding.

So, they will play in any 4K player regardless of where you are in the world. However, 4K UHD players still recognize the region locking of standard Blu-ray discs and DVDs.

The article on understanding Blu-ray region codes explains the regions in a bit more detail.

Why Do You Get Black Bars on Your TV Screen When You Watch a Blu-ray Movie?

The standard shape of a modern flat-screen TV is known as a 16:9 aspect ratio. This means it is 16 units wide and 9 units down the side. It can be big or small, but this ratio stays the same.

Now, the TV show or movie that you are watching is also recorded with an aspect ratio. If it is recorded with an aspect ratio of 16:9, it will fit perfectly on your TV. No black bars!

But, when recording video and movies, there are a few different standards for the aspect ratio. If the video content has a different aspect ratio to your TV, you will get black bars. Annoying, huh?

You can read about this in more detail in the guide to Blu-ray and DVD movie aspect ratios.

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Top 5 Best Blu-ray Players and Why They Beat Streaming Movies
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About The Author

Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has been a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment. You can find out more here.

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