It's no secret that the new(ish) HD format hasn't sold as well as the AV industry had hoped, but that's good news for anyone about to make the leap and buy-in to Blu-ray.

While the first wave of Blu-ray players offered pin-sharp HD and little else, even budget players can now download disc extras from BD-Live. Elsewhere, there are packages that can dabble in digital media, stream YouTube, pump out 7.1 surround sound, or even record HD channels from Freesat.

BD-Live is presently a sideshow, but it doesn't cost a premium so it's better to have just in case it becomes essential. Try to go for a Blu-ray player that has built-in storage of 1GB or more, because otherwise you'll be constantly yanking it out of your home ents rack to fiddle with SD cards or USB sticks.

Better still, chose a machine that has Wi-Fi, which gets rid of yet more cabling in your living room.

Most people will probably go for a no-frills budget deck this Christmas – or simply invest in a PlayStation3 – but there's no need; here's our pick of ten different takes on the maturing format.

1. Panasonic DMP-B15 portable Blu-ray player - £459.99

Why would anyone want a portable Blu-ray player? Answer: when it's as good as Panasonic's one-of-a-kind DMP-B15.

Plug this portable into an HD-ready TV and serve up some cutting-edge 1080p pictures, plus it could easily operate both as your main Blu-ray deck and a portable home entertainment system.

Inside the B15 you'll find both BD Live and its own Viera Cast online portal (both via a LAN port).

Panasonic dmp-b15

It only lasts 2.5hrs on the go, but the B15 makes for an excellent in-home Blu-ray deck. Those looking to exploit the hi-def format will doubtless balk at the idea of its tiny 8.9in LCD screen, but that rather misses the point. What Panasonic has produced is a fully featured player that just happens to be portable.

2. LG BD390 Blu-ray player with wireless BD-Live - £229.99

This machine isn't just a Blu-ray player – it's both an entertainment centre and a showpiece for innovation.

There's 1GB of internal storage, so there's no need for SD cards or USB sticks, while clutter is completely eliminated by its built-in wireless internet connectivity.

LG bd390

Able to get onto your broadband home network in an instant (using 802.11n Wi-Fi), the LG BD390 can download from BD-Live, and stream music, photos, and HD video files from a PC on the same network.

Its huge file compatibility even includes DivX HD files from a USB stick or DVD, while YouTube videos can be streamed.

If you're searching for a high-definition entertainment hub for your living room, stop looking.

3. Panasonic DMR-BS850 Blu-ray recorder & Freesat HD receiver - £685.10

It's no exaggeration to say that the £1,000 DMR-BS850 is the most advanced digital recorder ever sold in the UK.

Already down in AV history as the UK's first Blu-ray recorder, it sports a 500GB hard drive and twin Freesat HD tuners.

Panasonic dmr-bs850

The 500GB drive can store approximately 77 hours of HD, or 215 hours of SD, and burn them to a BD-R or DVD-R disc if you so desire. HD depends on the broadcaster – BBC HD only lets you burn one copy of any programme.

Panasonic has launched a number of BD recorders globally, but none are an exact match of this pricey model. It's unique and more than a little brilliant.

4. Yamaha YHTS1400 Blu-ray player & front surround system - £849

Yamaha has made a mighty tempting package for audiophiles short on space by combining two of its latest machines.

It's built around Yamaha's BDS-1065, a BD-Live Blu-ray player that can provide Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround sound – as either direct bitstream or linear PCM – through HDMI or analogue outputs.

Yamaha yhts1400

That masterclass in audio is then routed through the YHT-S400, a 50mm high, 250W soundbar that's designed to go in front of a TV and push out virtual surround sound.

With a built-in subwoofer, the YHT-S400 can also be fitted with an optional iPod dock (YDS-11) or Bluetooth audio receiver (YBA-10). Blu-ray home cinema or ultra modern hi-fi? You decide.

5. Samsung BD-P4600 Ultra-slim & wall-mountable Blu-ray player - £180.78

The 'world's slimmest' Blu-ray player has off the wall and wireless appeal.

Samsung's latest premium player, the BD-P4600, features a radical wall-mounting design, fast disc-loading times and adds wireless networking as the new must-have feature.

An optional £50 wireless dongle is a must – and a slightly messy must, especially since Sony's Blu-ray players are natively wireless.

Samsung bd-p4600

There are drawbacks to the BD-P4600: you still have to hide the HDMI, Ethernet, power and optical cables somewhere, and in plenty of home cinema stacks, the side-mounted slot-loading mechanism will be a non-starter.

The BD-P4600 is an interesting solution for anyone with a wall-mounted flatscreen, particularly if you go for the dongle to make BD-Live a breeze.