Our favourite budget Blu-Ray Players of 2011

Blu-Ray optical discs contain four times the capacity of normal DVD discs; movies recorded on Blu-Ray have better sound quality, picture quality and more content (i.e., movie commentaries and extras) because of this extra space.

The use of advanced video and audio codecs on Blu-Ray discs, alongside the extra components on a Blu-Ray player (such as an all-in-one home cinema system from one player) provide viewers with a high definition movie experience, unparalleled by any other format.

However, you need a Blu-Ray player to play Blu-Ray discs, some of which are expensive. There are models that are considered "budget" blu ray players, but you need to make sure you've bought the latest and best budget Blu-Ray player of 2011 to ensure you don't compromise on price for performance.

Panasonic DMP-BD45 - Panasonic is the leading manufacturer of Blu-Ray devices. The budget model, DMP-BD45, is available at around £90 to £120 from retailers; there is no Ethernet cable connection, or a multichannel connector at the back panel, but the model still performs as good (if not better) than more expensive models. Picture and sound quality is presented with Panasonic's P4HD technology, which polishes movies to near perfect high definition quality, optimizes audio and easily handles motion detection and diagonal processing. As it doesn't compromise on sound or picture quality for price, the Panasonic DMP-BD45 is possibly the best budget player of 2011.

LG BD550 - The LG BD550 retails from £70. The great thing about this model is that it has the ability to playback from external hard drives, which even expensive models have trouble with; the BD550 also excels in playing back different media files, including recorded Blu-Ray discs. There is little compromise on picture or sound quality, which is considered average for a Blu-Ray player.

Philips BDP3000 - Philips' BDP300 budget model Blu-Ray player starts at £100 from most retailers; it has a smooth, slim line design with all the basic functions a player should have, a perfect all-in-one system for consumer's who aren't familiar with Blu-Ray players. The BDP3000 can also play and upscale DVDs to near HD quality, but doesn't include a USB port to playback from external devices.

LG BD560 - Not to be confused with the BD550 model, the LG BD560 is the next line in the budget series of players offered by LG. It's a basic Blu-Ray player with Ethernet connection to play internet content in slightly upscaled quality, but the player doesn't offer many enhanced features like an expensive model would. It's a good all-round Blu-Ray player with little compromise on sound or picture quality, one of the best no-thrills budget Blu-Ray players of 2011.

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