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The Top Ten Blu-ray Discs You Must Own: Part II

Read the first part of this article for the first half of the top ten titles. 

Before I wrap up the list of top ten Blu-ray discs you must own, we should all breathe a sigh of relief to celebrate the fact that the format war is over. As everyone knows, Toshiba has pulled the plug on HD DVD and will no longer be competing against Blu-ray. Microsoft is shelving their HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 and I am sure we will see HD DVD fire sales shortly. This is great news for the consumer as long as we do not see any price fixing to inflate the cost of the next generation format that won the war.

Now that we have Blu-ray as the only option for high definition video we need to understand some things. Toward that end, we'll talk about the three Blu-ray specifications that the format can support and what the best players are from a value and performance perspective.

Blu-ray has three distinct specifications; each successive one adds distinct features to the multimedia performance. This has caused some concern in people who have first generation players like the Samsung BDP 1000 which cannot even play some Blu-ray 1.1  movies. Hopefully showing you the players to note and explaining the differences in specifications will help you decide what device you want to have in your home.

  • Blu-ray specification 1.0 is the launch profile, and secondary audio and video decoders are optional, as is local storage and network connectivity. The majority of standalone players fit into this category.
  • Blu-Ray specification 1.1 is the newer profile, and to take advantage of these discs, players need a secondary audio and video decoder to handle picture-in-picture, as well as at least 256MB of local storage for content.
  • Blu-Ray specification 2.0 is the profile of the future, requiring the two secondary decoders, 1GB of local storage for updates and content, and an Internet connection.
  • What does this mean? Well, in a nutshell they are planning by 2.0 (or BD-Live) to have interactive content, web-enabled extras, and picture-in-picture extra features. Currently the only player on the market that can support 2.0 is the PlayStation 3 as it is Internet ready and has a hard drive. What this also means is that most 1.0 players cannot be upgraded to support the new features as they do not have the extra decoders or memory available.

    On to the players… I will be listing players that are 1.1 compatible as there are no 2.0 players on the market at this time. It is a future specification, so do your research before you buy. To be clear, 1.0 and 1.1 players will play the movies on Blu-ray discs, but the supplementary or BD-Live features will not be available.

  • PlayStation 3 – This is currently the best Blu-ray player as far as value and future proofing. The PlayStation 3 will be 2.0 compliant by May or June and has already been upgraded to the 1.1 specification via a firmware update. At $399 US for the base 40GB model, the PlayStation 3 is not only a very affordable player, it also outputs a great image and stunning audio. Let's also not forget that it is a very capable multimedia device (supporting DivX, DVD upsampling, SA-CD, every major audio format, and CD upsampling) as well as a cutting edge video game console.
  • Panasonic DMP-BD10A – This standalone Blu-ray player is not only more expensive then the PS3, but it is not future proofed for version 2.0. Having said that, this is a great 1.1 player that outputs amazing Blu-ray visuals and upsampled DVD streams. It supports on-board decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD High Resolution audio formats, and at its price point those are amazing features. If you want a standalone Blu-ray player this is the one to buy (until the Sony BDP-S350 and BDP-S550 players come out).
  • Panasonic DMP-BD30K – Rounding out the list is another Panasonic player that, while it does not have on-board decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD High Resolution audio formats, is a very capable 1.1 compliant Blu-ray player that supports HDMI 1.3b output (the DMP-BD10A does not). The output quality from Blu-ray discs is excellent with a clear image and very few issues even in complex scenes; upsampled DVDs also fare very well, with crisp visuals. Even though there is no on-board decoding for HD audio, the player will output it and if your receiver can, it will receive the signal. While this player is also not future-proofed it is a great unit as a standalone Blu-ray player.
  • Now that many people will start to buy players and movies in the format as confidence in Blu-ray rises daily it is fitting to have a list of the top 10 Blu-rays to have for your shiny player or PS3. The list presents the best Blu-ray discs to own whether it be for value, quality, innovation or a mix of many reasons. Not all of these movies are Academy Award worthy, but they are all great films and demonstration quality Blu-rays for your collection. Often I will refer to a proper setup in the movie notes; a proper setup in my mind for reference is the following:

    • 1080p display
    • 5.1 or 7.1 receiver
    • 5.1 or greater speaker setup with a powered sub-woofer

    #5 – Cars

    About Michael Prince

    Looking at all things Geek - news, rants and updates from the worlds of gaming, tech, blu-ray, novels, and music.
    • Bill

      What a horrible top 10 list.

    • Daniel

      No Sin City?
      No Matrix?
      Pan’s Labyrinth?
      I assumed you were going to take into the account the film’s overall quality as opposed to which film has the best picture and sound quality….

    • the truth

      why does it say top 10 when there are only 5?

    • Travis

      Nice list. I would’ve liked to see Sunshine crack the top 5 but your top 3 redeemed it all! Good list.

    • Will

      invalidated for liking SpiderMan 3

    • mike

      hahahahaha so true about liking spidey…and dude this list is awful, i couldnt come up with a worst list and im not even kidding.

    • scott

      tobey and spiderman do not belong anywhere near this list

    • Adam

      This list is indeed quite saddening with an exempt for save few Blade Runner, Fifth Element and such. Let’s do a proper list yes?

      #10 Lord of The Rings Trilogy. -It’s simply beautiful to behold in blu-ray. Even Sam’s obvious desire for Frodo’s loins can be ignored when it’s in blu-ray.

      #9 Avatar – While Newer yes. It is still worthy if not destined for blu-ray. Just try. TRY. not to get an erection while watching this on blu-ray. I dare you.

      #8The Shining..If you haven’t relived the original horror of redrum in blu-ray. You sir, have no soul.

      #7The Martix. – Don’t argue, Just take the damn red pill and experience it.

      #6 Fight Club. The first rule of fight club is, you do NOT watch fight club in Standard Definition!

      #5 Inception, Whilst I admit this is merely in here for my own love of it. It truly is a mind blowing experience. So it must be on blu-ray. Only natural correct? You wouldn’t trip acid and then hang out at the dentist’s office, Noooo! You’d trip and go to disney land.

      #4 The Boondock Saints. – I killed your cat you druggie bitch
      Because I thought it would bring closure to our relationship.
      Fair enough?! Blu-ray. NOW.

      #3 The Godfather. – If you haven’t seen this on blu-ray by the time you read this comment. You lose your man card. CHUCK NORRIS DOES NOT APPROVE.

      #2 V For Vendetta. I need no witty remarks or quotes for this one. Do you remember? Remember remember the Fifth of November. If not, You need to remind yourself via blu-ray.

      And Finally my number one. Out of the sheer love I have for this movie and it’s never ending beauty.

      #1 Man On Fire. – Heavenly Justice. Nuff’ Said.

    • LB

      @Adam… now thats a REAL list!!!