Upcoming Blu-ray Players

The good news… feature content is going up and prices are continuing to drop.

The not-so-good news… not at the same time.

Budget busting Blu-ray players are finally on the way, one of the first being Visio’s VBR100 due in April. This player will cover the basic feature set expected for a Blu-ray player minus a few of the newer “bells and whistles”, but will come with a suggested retail price of only $200. Several other lower tier manufacturers may steal some of Vizio’s thunder, however, as boxes in the $150 range are expected in the same timeframe.

The big name companies are making noise as well…

Panasonic is bringing a pair of full-featured players to the fray, along with a couple of niche products. The DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80 are the low and high side of the mainstream units and should have excellent performance based on the products they will replace. As for the other items, the DMP-BD70V is a multi-player deck that will handle old VHS tapes, DVDs and Blu-ray and upscale them all to a 1080p Hi-def picture. The other niche product is a portable Blu-ray player, the DMP-B15.

Another major player in electronics, LG , has two new models on the way. The BD370 and BD390 will have a similar fully-loaded feature set, with the 390 including 1 GB of internal storage. The BD370 will be available in Q2 with the 390 following shortly thereafter. Pricing has not been specified.

The Connoisseur’s recommendation at this point is a simple one: if Santa did not bring you a Blu-ray player over the holidays, wait for the next batch of players to arrive in a few months. We will let you know which units are worth your dollar and then it will be time to jump into the Blu-ray pool and enjoy..!