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Friday, January 14, 2011

Blu-Ray Players: Price and Quality among the Big 3

With the ever-growing popularity of High Definition Television, Blu-Ray players have only grown in demand. With the ability of some Blu-Ray players to stream movies directly from the internet, via Netflix, Blockbuster, or other rental services, the demand has further increased. All of the major mass retailers offer Blu-Ray players in their stores, however differences can be seen in price and quality, as well as warranty and service. For the purposes of this post, Blu-Ray players can be separated into two groups–those which are capable of instant streaming, and those which are not.

Target: Target's entry level Blu-Ray player is made by Vizio, and is priced at $100. The player is equipped with an ethernet port, for wired connection to the internet, however it is not capable of wirelessly streaming movies. Once hooked up to the internet, the player receives very positive reviews for its streaming capabilities. Target also offers an entry level Samsung player for $110, although this one is not capable of being connected to the internet.

For wireless-ready users, Target offers an upgraded Vizio player, for $139. This player is based around the same model as the entry-level one, however with wireless capabilities included, and also receives positive reviews.

Target also offers replacement plans for their Blu-Ray players, which cost $17, and are good for 2 years after the purchase. Target will replace any players that have failed due to defect, electricity surges, or other causes outside of user error. Target also offers customers the option to buy service plans, in 2 or 3 year increments, however most Blu-Ray players are inexpensive enough to be replaced by Target, rather than repaired.

Target's Vizio Blu-Ray Player

Walmart: Walmart's entry level Blu-Ray is the LG BD550, which is priced at $99. Remarkably similar to Target's entry level model, the LG is likewise capable of a wired connection to the internet, however it cannot wirelessly stream movies. The player also has very positive reviews, and is reported to be easy to use, fast, and durable. 

Walmart's wireless option is the Phillips BDP5320, which is priced at $159.99. The player is capable of streaming from Netflix and Blockbuster, among others, and also features "easy link" technology, which allows a user to synchronize the majority of their remotes through the player itself. 

Walmart also offers replacement plans for their Blu-Ray players, which differ in price relative to the cost of the player. They range from $17, for the entry-level player, to $25, for the wireless-capable player. 

Walmart's Phillips Blu-Ray Player

Kmart: Kmart's entry into the Blu-Ray player market is a Sony BDPS360, and is the best reviewed Blu-Ray player in the entry-level stage. It is priced at $99. The Sony player is not capable of wireless access, however it can connect via an ethernet cable to the internet in order to play movies online. 

For its instant-streaming ready player, Kmart offers the Yamaha BD-S667BL. This player costs $270, and is more advanced than Target and Walmart's initial internet-streaming offerings. However, Kmart does not offer an option for an "intermediate" level player, jumping from entry-level to advanced. 

Verdict: Target. While the entry-level players offered by each store are nearly identical, Target's $139 instant-streaming player is the best value of its kind on the market today. Also, Target's warranties are clear, easy to purchase, and cheap. 


  1. What are your thoughts on getting a PS3 instead?

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    Check out my blog....Follow/Comment, thanks.

  2. I certainly think getting a PS3 would be a decent option for anyone interested in video games. Hopefully you didn't miss out on Target's Playstation 3 deal yesterday!