The best 4K Blu-ray players deliver the ultimate picture quality for watching movies and TV series at home. Although streaming services are popular, Blu-rays deliver video at a higher bitrate, bringing you more detail and realism. There are other benefits to Blu-rays, like the fact you truly own your movie collection, and get stunning box art and behind-the-scenes extras that come on the disc.
It’s no surprise home theater lovers say one of the best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players is essential – however, with the rise of streaming services, dedicated disc players are less common. This is a shame, considering that these are the ultimate way to show off one of the best TVs, and their uncompressed sound helps make the most of the best soundbars or best home theater systems.
It may not be a very vibrant market now – you'll notice all our top picks are from Panasonic, which dominates this field now, with Sony also still offering some options – but there are models across different budget ranges. We've tested these models, using them with elite TVs to show off their potential. We've also included the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles in this round-up, because they support 4K Blu-Ray discs too, but we address them separately after the dedicated players.
James is TechRadar's TV Hardware Staff Writer, and has reviewed everything from budget 32-inch TVs up to the world’s most elite OLED TVs. Before joining TechRadar, he worked for several years at one of the UK's leading AV retailers, dealing with everything from Bluetooth speakers to custom home theater installations. He recently refreshed this guide based on his own testing and reviews of the products within our labs.
The quick list
Looking for a quick run-down of the best 4K Blu-ray players? Check out the list below which summarizes each entry in this list. If you're looking for a more detailed look at each entry, you can jump down to a more detailed review of each player.
Best for most people
The best 4K Blu-ray player for most people
Excellent picture and audio reproduction, plenty of connectivity and features, and build quality that we know lasts for years – for a seriously good price.
The best budget 4K Blu-ray player
If you want great quality picture from your 4K Blu-ray player picture for cheap, this is the go-to option. It may be light on features, but its performance more than makes up for it.
The best premium 4K Blu-ray player
It may be premium in price, but it's also premium in performance and design. If you're looking for the best picture playback you can get, look no further.
Best for audiophiles
The best 4K Blu-ray player for audiophiles
If audio is just as, if not more, important in your 4K Blu-ray player than video, the Magnetar UDP800 offers exceptional audio playback quality and compatibility.
Best games console
The best games console for 4K Blu-ray
If you're wondering which games console to get for your 4K Blu-rays, it's the PS5. We found that its picture quality for discs was sharper than the Xbox Series X.
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The best 4K Blu-ray for most people
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Panasonic DMP-UB820 is easily the best 4K Blu-ray player on the market for most people. It offers full HDR support, plenty of connectivity options with up to 7.1 channels of analogue audio output, Wi-Fi capabilities including video streaming, and varied playback functionality. And as an added bonus, it comes at a very competitive price.
Picture quality on the Panasonic DP-UB820 is fantastic, with 4K HDR images looking particularly brilliant. Colors are punchy, textures are sharp and defined, and black tones are accurate. We found during our testing that this was the case across the board, whether it was 4K Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray and even DVD. In our review, we said "Its 4K upscaling is effective, giving regular (non-4K) Blu-ray a whole new level of detail". So for those looking to get that little bit extra out of their Blu-ray picture, the DP-UB820 is here to help.
Audio is another of the UB820's strengths, with excellent Dolby Atmos reproduction in particular. During testing, we found that even through a mid-range Dolby Atmos soundbar, the room-filling effect we were looking for was still present. The UB820 also boasts different external audio connections including a dedicated HDMI audio output and up to 7.1 channels of direct analogue audio output for those with a home theater setup.
The Panasonic DP-UB820 offers stunning picture and audio reproduction at an outstanding price – and on top of this, it provides phenomenal value thanks to its rock-solid design. We've seen one run daily in a demo environment for years without breaking. If you buy this 4K Blu-ray player, it will most definitely give you a long life of entertainment.
Read our full Panasonic DP-UB820 review
Best budget 4K Blu-ray player
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
One of Panasonic's more budget-friendly 4K Blu-ray players, the Panasonic DP-UB154 gives you real value for money. It may be light on connections, but its picture quality more than makes up for this. As a bonus, it's also very competitively priced, currently sitting around the $169/£159 mark.
One thing that we have noticed is that the DP-UB154 isn't readily available all the time so if you find this to be the case, look out for the Panasonic DP-UB150, which in terms of specs is virtually the same as the DP-UB154.
Contrast and natural textures are the UB154's real picture strengths, making any movie thrown at it look great. Its 4K upscaling really brings something new to non-4K discs, bringing extra detail. In our review we said, when viewing Godzilla vs Kong on 4K, that "the neon streets of Tokyo were bold, vibrant and as eye-wateringly garish as I hoped during the climactic fight scene between Godzilla and Kong".
Admittedly, it isn't all perfect, as the UB154 has no Dolby Vision, no Wi-Fi, its response times can be on the slow side, and its design is fairly safe, if not a bit boring – but the impressive picture and budget-friendly price really do make this a top choice for people looking for a cheap 4K Blu-ray player.
Read our full Panasonic DP-UB154 review
Best premium 4K Blu-ray player
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The DP-UB9000 is Panasonic’s flagship 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and it's the model to buy if you have an elite home theater setup 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 was the first UHD deck from Panasonic to support all the key HDR formats: vanilla HDR10, its dynamic sibling HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision. (The Panasonic DP-UB820 at the top of our list supports all these formats too, though.)
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 optimizer, make this player a must-have for videophiles."
Read our full Panasonic DP-UB9000 review