Recommended: Blu-ray Player

It’s time for another installment in our series of holiday consumer electronics recommendations. Today we are going to the land of Blu-ray

Now you may be wondering what all the buzz about Blu-ray is, anyway. You already have a DVD player and quite frankly, it looks and sounds pretty nice. Well, do you remember back in the VHS days when DVD first came on the market? Do you recall the improvement in video and audio? I’m here to tell you that Blu-ray leaps over standard DVD in the same manner..!

Up to this point, there have been a few roadblocks in Blu-ray player development, namely the speed and performance of the players, as well as the price points. This holiday season we are finally seeing the technology mature and the prices drop, and we say that now is the time to take the leap.

Which all brings us to…

First, let’s talk money…With a suggested price of $299, the Panasonic can be had for less than $250 – that’s down in the sweet spot. As for performance, this player gets a thumbs up all the way around. It’s Profile 2.0 compliant (the latest standards) and decodes all the lossless audio formats, or if you prefer will pass the signal to your receiver or processor to let it handle the duties. The video looks superb from Blu-ray and standard DVD is handled remarkably well. Even the speed issues – power up, loading of discs, accessing menus – while not as good as the Sony PS3 game console, is still better than most stand alone players.

Keep in mind that there are a few players that can be had a bit cheaper, but you will compromise in performance. Also, if you are a gamer, then go straight to the PS3 and don’t look back. Overall, the Panasonic is definitely the smart buy.

Don’t be blue…get a Blu-ray..!