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What is the difference between expensive and cheap Blu-ray players?

The difference in image quality between expensive and cheap Blu-ray players is getting smaller, but why do you pay more for one player than for the other?

Difference between expensive and cheap Blu-ray players: Although most people no longer have a Blu-ray player and they mainly focus on streaming services, there are still Blu-ray players for sale. They come in different shapes and sizes, and also with price tags from a few tens to a few hundred to a thousand euros. What are the exact differences between these Blu-ray players, because in terms of image quality, many models are hardly inferior to each other. In this article we look at why you should spend a little more for certain players.

As you may be from our reviews the difference in image quality between a Blu-ray player from, for example, Panasonic and a player from Samsung is hardly noticeable. Most manufacturers have mastered video reproduction very well, even when we include the more expensive brands such as Oppo or Reavon. In terms of image quality, you will not encounter any major differences at first glance. But why are you paying so much more?

Build quality Blu-ray players

There are a number of important differences between the cheaper and more expensive Blu-ray players. First, build quality matters for both audio and video performance. When vibrations can be prevented by a solid and reinforced housing, you will notice this especially when the player is connected to a premium amplifier with premium speakers. We often say that a system is only as good as its weakest link, so if you want to get the most out of it, the source must also be able to perform stably and with as little interference as possible.

Incidentally, it is not only the build quality or sturdiness of the housing and the legs that is important. Of course, you often also have a disc tray that takes a hard time when you watch a lot of movies and, moreover, a stable position of this tray while spinning the disc is not unimportant.

audio quality (difference between expensive and cheap Blu-ray players)

In addition, the audio options of a high-end or more expensive Blu-ray player are often more extensive than the standard models. In many cases they have a high-quality D/A (digital/analog) converter, come with (for example) 7.1-channel analog outputs, have a separate circuit for audio, come with a reinforced housing to keep out vibrations and are equipped of gold-plated connectors. All this is again to keep the audio transmission as tight and authentic as possible, in particular, without losing signal and therefore quality. For example, many audio enthusiasts choose Blu-ray players with 7.1-channel analog outputs for the warmer analog audio experience.

Image quality (difference between expensive and cheap Blu-ray players)

Important differences can be found not only in the field of audio, but also in the field of image there is a difference between cheap and expensive players, but this is not immediately noticeable. The better and therefore more expensive players are often equipped with a high-quality image processor that is accompanied by advanced image processing techniques. These techniques should ensure, among other things, minimum noise and maximum sharpness of details. The larger the screen on which the content is viewed, the more noticeable a sub-optimal processing of these elements. On a 65-inch screen, you will therefore see it sooner when details are somewhat blurred or there is noise in the image. In most cases, a player with the better techniques ensures that you also get optimal image quality on a large screen. Note that in many cases the processor in the TV is just as good or even better and you will therefore hardly use the image processing of the Blu-ray player.

In addition, it is important to mention that the better Blu-ray players often have less trouble with lower resolution content, not only because of the better processor that converts the low-resolution content into high-resolution content, but also because of the use of interlaced content. Rendering such material requires techniques and hardware, and there are important differences.

Additional HDMI

In addition, you often pay extra for features such as a double HDMI output when your receiver does not support 4K or 3D content, or when you want to send audio and image separately. There are also other features that you pay extra for, including an extra HDMI input, support for HD audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos playback of Super Audio CDs and high resolution audio files and integrated streaming technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth.