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HARDWARE

The Best Budget-Friendly Blu-ray Devices
 

How Blu-ray models from Sony, Sharp, and Panasonic stack up

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If you have been waiting to get on the Blu-ray bandwagon, now may be the time. Lower-end models now have some juicy extras, including access to extra clips released online by movie studios. On the other hand, they can take a long time to boot up. And the Sharp and Panasonic models don't use analog RCA connections, which are way better for surround-sound audio.

1. CLAIM TO FAME: WI-FI CONNECTION

Sony BDP-S560 The Sony BDP-S560 has Wi-Fi access, which makes it easy to watch extra online content or stream photos. It can also read photos off a USB drive. Another perk: It's smaller (at 8 inches deep) and lighter (at 5 pounds) than its competitors. COST: $350

2. CLAIM TO FAME: SUPERLOW PRICE

Sharp BD-HP17U Despite its low price, the Sharp BD-HP17U still comes packed with the latest Dolby and DTS technologies for generating surround sound. It has a quick-start mode that puts the player to sleep without shutting it down and can launch your movies in 10 seconds. COST: $280

3. CLAIM TO FAME: YOUTUBE ACCESS

Panasonic DMP-BD60K The Panasonic DMP-BD60K lets you watch YouTube videos, grab photos from Picasa, and check the local weather and Bloomberg stock reports. Plus, it provides access to the Amazon video-on-demand service, so you can stream movies and abandon discs altogether. COST: $300

IMAGE: Courtesy company
Last updated: Oct 1, 2009

JOHN BRANDON is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.
@jmbrandonbb




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