This week’s “sale events” at BestBuy.com have a few deals worth mentioning. (When did a ‘sale’ become a ‘sale event’? Isn’t a sale by definitely an event? Anyway…) If you buy one of three Insignia 1080p HDTVs (42″ LCD $899.99, 47″ LCD $1,199.99, or 50″ plasma $1,399.99) you’ll get the Insignia NS-BRDVD Blu-ray player for just $149.99. That’s $130 off their standard $279.99 price. The NS-BRDVD is one of the many rebadged variants of the Funai NB500 unit, and it is a BonusView / Profile 1.1 player, not BD-Live / Profile 2.0.
You can also save 5% to 15% on four other Blu-ray decks. The LG BH200, which handles Blu-ray and HD DVD discs (for those of you who made the mistake of investing in HD DVD media), normally $599.99 is now $509.99. The Panasonic DMP-DB30K Blu-ray deck, normally $399.99, is $359.99. The Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray deck, also normally $399.99, is $339.99. And finally the Sharp AQUOS BD-HP20U, yet again normally $399.99, is $379.99.
Personally I can’t recommend the LH BH200 to anyone who doesn’t have a number of HD DVD discs they still need to play. It just isn’t a good value as a Blu-ray player, and it is BonusView / Profile 1.1 only, despite having an Ethernet port and supporting Internet connectivity for HD DVD. While the Ethernet port means it is possible it could be upgraded to BD-Live someday, it doesn’t seem likely as LG has really stopped work on this family with the death of HD DVD.
The Sharp unit is not only the most expensive of the remaining three, but also the least capable, being just Basic Profile / Profile 1.0, and not even BonusView. Give it a pass. The Panasonic DMP-BD30K is a nice player, but it is also only BonusView and as it lacks an Ethernet port it will never be updated to support it. The one recommendation for the Panasonic is that it has 5.1 analog audio output.
The real pick here is the Samsung. Not only is it the least expensive, but it is the most advanced of the lot. It is ‘BD-Live Ready’, which means that while it is BonusView-only today, Samsung plans to add BD-Live support via a firmware update.