Not a lot changes in the world of Blu-ray players these days. The Panasonic DP-UB9000 remains our choice for people who want to go all-in on image quality without totally bankrupting themselves (we do have options for spendy, though), while the Panasonic DP-UB820 is our pick for balancing quality and price.
When it comes to budget buys Sony UBP-X700 is still the best option, even if it lacks a couple of features we'd like to see.
Matt Bolton, Managing Editor – Entertainment
The best 4K Blu-ray players are made to deliver the best picture quality you can get for watching movies and TV series. Streaming services are popular, but Blu-rays deliver video at a much higher bitrate than streaming services, bringing you more detail and realism.
Blu-rays allow you to truly own your movie collection. They can't vanish from your shelves in the same way they're pulled from streaming services. What's more, with a Blu-ray you also get beautiful box art and additional extras that come on the disc, like behind-the-scenes footage and Q&As with the cast. All of this is to say that one of the best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players is what we'd recommend for movie lovers.
The rise of streaming means that dedicated movie disc players are more rare than they used to be, and that's a shame: anyone who's experienced the combination of one of the best Blu-Ray players and one of the best TVs knows how superior the Blu-ray version is. And the best Blu-Ray players don't just make the most of your 4K TV. They also deliver incredible sound, especially if you connect them to one of the best soundbars or best home theater systems.
We've tested the best 4K Blu-ray players you can buy, putting them through their paces with all kinds of content and with all kinds of TVs and sound systems. That means we know which players really deliver, and which features really make the most of your home cinema system. And we've also included the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles, because they too support 4K Blu-Ray (or at least, they do in the versions that have disc drives).
Best 4K Blu-ray players 2023
The DP-UB9000 is Panasonic’s flagship 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and it's the model to buy if you have a high-end TV and need something that can really push it to the max. It's beautifully made, enviably specified and unashamedly premium. The heavy metal build and luxe design mean it feels high-end too.
It's not just a pretty face. The DP-UB9000 is also the first UHD deck from Panasonic to support all key HDR flavours: vanilla HDR10, its dynamic sibling HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision.
When we tested the DP-UB9000 we were as impressed by its audio as by its image quality. It boasts high quality DACs, two-channel and 7.1-channel analogue outputs, and Hi-Res Audio support. Toss in a host of smart features, and the UB9000 ticks nearly every box in our book.
Naturally all of these flagship features don’t come cheap. However, for those seeking the best Blu-ray playback around and don't mind about it lacking some audio disc support, look no further. In our review we wrote: "Its picture performance and overall build quality actually make that lofty price tag look like a steal while cinematic imagery, full HDR compatibility and that powerful HDR optimiser, make this player a must-have for videophiles."
Read our full Panasonic DP-UB9000 review
The Panasonic DMP-UB820 is an ideal mid-range 4K Blu-ray player, delivering pretty much every video feature you could want—including full HDR support—but without costing as much as the UB9000 a the top of our list.
In our tests we found that this player may be more affordable, but it doesn't skimp on quality. Panasonic’s HCX image processing works with a special chroma processor that can smartly turn the 4:2:0 color of Blu-ray into 4:4:4 before it reaches your TV. This is obviously very nerdy stuff, but the end result is the best color reproduction you can find for movies, basically.
You've also got a bunch of streaming services built-in, in case you want to use this as your main movie-viewing platform.
What you're missing compared to the UB9000 above is the tank-like build and the support for some advanced music playback types, but a lot of people won't mind about that at all. We certainly don't, this is good enough to pair with high-end TVs, and it comes at a reasonable price.
The Sony UBP-X800 came out in 2017, a Blu-ray player we rated highly at the time for bringing "brilliant, beautiful 4K UHD player at a sensible price." But there was one major feature missing, and that was support for the Dolby Vision HDR standard.
The Sony UBP-X700, which came out a year later, is an Ultra HD Blu-ray player that now includes support for Dolby’s 12-bit, scene-by-scene mastered, HDR tour-de-force. However, there's no HDR10+ support here.
Otherwise, however, this is an impressive Blu-ray player that delivers a crisp, natural-looking picture and fantastic details—your favorite movies and TV series are going to look great. But the best bit is it comes with a (relatively) affordable price tag at $259.99/£229.
For 4K Blu-ray players, the Reavon UBR-X100 is the new kid on the block, offering a stylish design and solid build quality to those who prefer their UHD decks to look like they mean business. The disc support is fairly extensive—although the X100 can’t handle SACD and DVD-Audio discs—and actual playback is smooth, responsive and trouble-free.
Whether its CD, DVD, or Blu-ray (Full HD, 3D and 4K variants) the Reavon is a highly capable digital transport. In our tests we found that native UHD content looked flawless, and lower resolution material was perfectly upscaled to match today’s 4K displays. There’s support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not the less-popular HDR10+ format.
Overall, the X100 is a welcome addition to the disc player market that delivers a very solid performance. In our review we wrote: "the X100 ticks all the important boxes with its tank-like construction, flawless playback, extensive features, and quiet operation." However, there's no denying that it falls short when compared to the similarly priced and better-specified Panasonic DP-UB9000.
Read our full Reavon UBR-X100 review
The Reavon UBR-X200 is a desirable high-end 4K Blu-ray player that brings military-grade construction and a stylish finish to the luxury end of the market. The disc support is extensive but not quite universal, and while this player can handle CD, SACD, DVD, or Blu-ray (Full HD, 3D and 4K variants), it can’t play the lossless layer on a DVD-Audio disc.
However, in all other respects it’s a highly capable deck that ensures UHD content is delivered perfectly, and lower resolution material is upscaled to 4K with artefact-free processing and pixel precision. There’s support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, although not the less popular HDR10+ format, but that minor point aside the video performance is flawless.
The X200 includes audiophile Burr-Brown DACs, combined with balanced XLR and 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs, ensuring an impressive sonic performance. The result is a player that’s sure to please music and movie fans alike. The media file support is extensive, even if the lack of Wi-Fi forces you to use a wired connection, but there are no built-in streaming apps.
The X200 is certainly impressive. In our review we wrote "this luxury deck can handle whatever you throw at it. The operation is flawless, upscaling impressive, and there’s Dolby Vision support, plus analogue outputs to keep audiophiles happy." However, unless you’re in love with the looks, there are cheaper and better options.
Read our full Reavon UBR-X200 review
This $227/£220 budget Blu-ray player from LG lacks many of the frills found on more expensive models, including universal disc support and analog audio outputs. What it does offer is solid, basic disc playback for Ultra HD and regular Blu-rays, DVDs, and audio CDs.
Basically, the UBK90 does all the major things you'd expect from a 4K Blu-ray player, and is affordably priced.
A bonus the UBK90 offers is built-in streaming (over Wi-Fi or Ethernet) of Netflix and YouTube. So if your streaming menu is limited to those major players, you can use the UBK90 instead of a separate Roku, Fire TV, or Apple TV streaming box or stick.
Some reviewers have noted that LG’s budget player lacks some frills like HDR-to-SDR conversion (useful when viewing with a regular HDTV) and built-in HDR tone mapping, but for its low price, it’s hard to complain too much about that.
Please note, we have not been able to review the LG UBK90 yet, and will update with our own testing experience when possible.
Next-gen consoles as 4K Blu-ray players
The Sony PS5 is helping to keep 4K Blu-ray technology alive with its dedicated disc drive – in the mainline console, at least. While you can buy a slightly cheaper discless version, it's the standard edition console we're interested in here. The PS5's disc drive can play 4K Blu-rays—which is fitting, since Sony helped to popularize Blu-ray players with the PS3 two whole console generations ago.
As an all-round media center, the PS5 isn't quite as advanced as the Xbox Series X – it doesn't natively support Dolby Atmos audio, nor does it support Dolby Vision HDR over streaming. However, both consoles can pass Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks through to your TV (with some minor tinkering in the Settings), and neither console supports Dolby Vision HDR or HDR10+ from Blu-rays, so actually the PS5 isn't at any disadvantage for discs compared to the Xbox.
Where it does have an advantage, though, is picture quality. In our tests we found that the PS5's image is cleaner and shaper for native 4K than the Xbox, and it upscales HD Blu-rays with more natural results. So we think of the two consoles the Sony is the better Blu-Ray player – we explain more in our dedicated guide to whether the PS5 is a good Blu-ray player. Just make sure you buy the version that actually plays discs!
Read our full PS5 review
If you're sussing out a gaming console to play your 4K Blu-rays and DVDs, it's worth keeping in mind the Xbox Series X. The Xbox Series X also supports Dolby Atmos audio and Dolby Vision HDR—neither of which you'll find on the PS5—though the Dolby Vision support is limited to streaming services and doesn't extend to the disc drive, hence why the console is so low in this list. (You'll only get regular HDR10 over disc.)
It supports Dolby Atmos audio (including out to headphones, for a fee), but probably more usefully it passes Atmos or DTS:X soundtracks through to your TV to handle, when set up properly. We did find that it could be picky about passing DTS:X through a TV that doesn't support it to a sound system that does, though.
In our tests we also found that the 4K image quality and HD upscaling were both a little weaker from the Xbox Series X than the PS5. Microsoft has added Dolby Vision since we tested the console but it doesn't support Blu-Ray: it's purely for streaming and gaming. So we'd pick the PS5 if you're serious about playing UHD discs, but you can read more about the Xbox's disc support in our dedicated guide to whether the Xbox Series X is a good Blu-ray player.
Read our full Xbox Series X review
The best 4K Blu-ray players: FAQ
How to buy the best 4K Blu-Ray player for you
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If you've decided that you want to watch your movies and TV shows on a 4K Blu-ray player (good choice), what are some of the key things you need to look out for?
A top consideration is price. You do tend to get what you pay for when it comes to Blu-ray players—and we wouldn't consider them an essential piece of kit—but there are cheap(ish) options. For example, the Sony UBP-X700 in our list above brings you all of the basics for only $259.99/£229—or even less during the sales.
You also need to consider compatibility and your current set-up. To make the most of a new 4K Blu-ray player you'll need a 4K TV, although it will still work on an HD display the picture quality will be limited to only 1080p.
It may seem obvious, but you'll also want to think about the design and size of the Blu-ray player. Do you have enough room on your TV cabinet to fit a Blu-ray player? Will it sit underneath your soundbar or be tucked away on a separate shelf? We've included the dimensions of all of the best 4K Blu-ray players above, so it's time to get out your tape measure.
From there, you can get more granular with the specs you're looking for. Many Blu-ray players guarantee the best HDR standards, like Dolby Vision and HDR10+, and surround sound audio formats, like Dolby Atmos, but you'll want to make sure the options you're considering have everything you need—especially if you're considering an older model.
Are Blu-rays still worth buying?
We have a whole article just to answer the question of whether it's still worth buying movies on 4K Blu-ray. But it depends on you, your preferences and how important your movie library is to you.
Buying physical movies is less popular than it used to be, but movies and TV shows are often removed from streaming platforms, which will make movie lovers think twice about relying on streaming-only, since no one can take a physical movie away from you.
Also consider that 4K looks set to be the standard for the foreseeable future. The pedestrian arrival (and adoption) of 8K TVs means we don’t anticipate 8K Blu-ray players will ride in to replace their 4K equivalents any time soon.
What’s more, some of the best movies ever made are only just getting 4K Blu-rays, and with the best 4K movies continuing to take advantage of Ultra HD Blu-ray technology, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players and discs are still worth considering if you’re after the very best home entertainment experience.
Do you need a special Blu-ray player for 4K?
Firstly, let's cut through some confusion. There is the Blu-ray format and then there is the newer 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray format—these are two different things.
What this means is if you have a Blu-ray disc you can play that on both a Blu-ray player and an 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray player. If you have an 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, you can only play that on a 4k Blu-ray player.
You might find that when you buy a Blu-ray disc it also comes with a regular DVD version to use with older players. Similarly, if you buy a 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray disc it may also come with a Blu-ray version too. However, this isn't always standard so make sure you check you have the right one before you buy.
Do older movies look good in 4K?
The short answer is yes, but the slightly longer answer is: it depends on the film, and on the quality of the digital copy.
If the disc you're playing isn't 4K, your blu-ray player will upscale it. That uses an algorithm to fill in the gaps between the quality of the source material and what a 4K version would be, and the best 4K players do a superb job of this. They can't work miracles but we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much better your older discs can look when they've been upscaled.
The holy grail for fans of older movies is the digital restoration. That's when a classic or cult movie is digitised with plenty of care and consideration, with the goal of delivering it as the filmmakers intended. With films shot on 35, 65 or 70mm film stock, which most big-budget productions were, that film stock was equivalent to a much higher resolution than DVD or even Blu-Ray – so scanning each frame with modern tech for a 4K Blu-Ray release can deliver absolutely spectacular results.
We say "can deliver" rather than "does deliver" because there are lots of variables in play here, ranging from how carefully the original film stock has been stored to the skills of the restorers and the resources they've been given. That's particularly apparent with remastered films released in the early days of Blu-Ray, not all of which were as good as they could have been. However, more careful restorations, such as the 11-month, 2,700-hour restoration of Apocalypse Now for its 40th anniversary edition are absolutely stunning and make you feel like you're watching the film for the very first time.
What TV do I need to use a 4K UHD Blu-ray player?
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth clarifying that you’ll need to own a 4K TV to warrant buying a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. A 4K player will still work if you’re using a HD display, mind, but picture quality will be limited to 1080p.
That said, HD Blu-ray discs will be upscaled to 3840 × 2160 (4K) resolution by way of filling in the extra pixels, but the quality will appear noticeably lower-grade than Ultra HD Blu-ray discs (which provides a native 4K image).
How do 4K Blu-Rays compare to streaming quality?
They're much better. Depending on the streaming service, 4K video is transmitted at data rates between 20Mbps and 40Mbps. 4K Blu-Ray delivers much more: up to 128Mbps. And it delivers that data reliably: there's no network congestion to slow down your stream or make it buffer just as you get to the best bits.
That's significant, because the lower bandwidth of streaming means compromises have to be made. For example, Dolby Atmos on streaming video usually comes in the compressed Dolby Digital+ format. On Blu-Ray its full quality Dolby TrueHD. If you want DTS:X, which has more control and detail than Atmos, that has to be on a disc.
The big exception here is Sony's BRAVIA core, which is exclusive to its BRAVIA TVs and offers Blu-Ray equivalent data speeds.
The selling point of streaming is convenience and low cost (although some services charge more for higher quality streaming), and it definitely delivers instant gratification. But when it comes to the ultimate AV experience, Blu-Ray can't be beaten.