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True Blu: The best Blu-ray players for the money

The Sony UBP-X700 4K Blu-ray player has Dolby

The Sony UBP-X700 4K Blu-ray player has Dolby Vision compatibility. Credit: CBS Interactive

Streaming may be how most people consume movies these days, but there's a lot to be said for the humble Blu-ray player. A hardware player offers the best image and sound quality available, thanks to the enhanced storage capacities of Blu-ray discs. And streaming doesn't provide movie buffs with all of those extra features that come on the discs.

There are two types of discs available: 1080p Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray. Getting a 4K player will enable you to play both kinds and give you access to formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10, DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. No need to worry about streaming problems like buffering, dropout or bandwidth caps. But if you somehow want those, most Blu-ray players can also stream Netflix (some even in 4K), while all of them will play your DVD and CD collections, too.

Others ​— specifically the Xbox One S — will play the latest games. And if you don't have a 4K TV, and a library of only regular Blu-rays, you can save money by buying a 1080p-only player like the Sony BDP-3700.

Sony UBP-X700

THE COST $199.99

AVAILABLE FROM sony.com

The Sony UBP-X700 is at the cutting edge of 4K Blu-ray technology, thanks in part to its Dolby Vision compatibility. Throw in a bunch of streaming services and Sony rewards you with a solid performance at a reasonable price. The time it takes to load Netflix is insanely fast.

Sony BDP-S3700

THE COST $79.99

AVAILABLE FROM sony.com

If you want to spend the bare minimum on a Blu-ray player, then the Sony BDP-S3700 Blu-ray player should be your choice. It offers a lot of features for little money, but as it's only 1080p you'll miss out on advanced features like 4K and Dolby Vision. In addition to Netflix, it has access to other streaming services including Tubi, Vudu and more.

On the downside, entering texts in apps is laggy and can be frustrating.

Xbox One S

THE COST $19.99 per month for 24 months

AVAILABLE FROM xbox.com

If you want 4K Blu-ray compatibility but can live without 4K gaming, the Xbox One S splits the difference along those lines and saves you a few bucks in the process. Now that the One X has officially been discontinued, the One S is a bit easier to find.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: editor at large Jeff Bakalar, senior associate editor Ty Pendlebury, copy editor Jim Hoffman and senior editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

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