The Best Region-Free Players for DVD or Blu-Ray Discs

by / Tuesday, 08 January 2019 / Published in Latest News
region-free-players

Physical media persists, despite digital media’s popularity. Several reasons account for this trend. Notably, buying a DVD or Blu-ray gives you total control and freedom.

A DVD or Blu-ray can be ripped to create a digital copy. Most purchased digital videos from the likes of Vudu, iTunes, or Google Play arrive with some form of digital rights management. Though DRM aims to protect content sharing, it’s also a potential computer security threat.

Yet DVD and Blu-ray discs often come region-coded. Therefore, while this may not be an issue for videos released in multiple regions, it’s still inconvenient. Luckily, region-free DVD and Blu-ray players are plentiful.

Why Buy a Region-Free DVD or Blu-ray Player?

A region-free DVD or Blu-Ray player ensures complete physical media compatibility. For instance, DVDs from North America come encoded as Region 1 DVDs and Region A Blu-Rays. While Blu-Ray discs are more commonly released as region-free or all-region, not all Blu-Ray discs are region-free. Moreover, most DVDs remain region-locked.

The market is full of great Blu-Ray players worth buying, though most of these play discs from only one region.

The problem is that a region-free DVD or Blu-Ray player costs a premium. A region-free DVD player retails for about the same price as a region-locked Blu-Ray player. Yet the advantages outweigh the price jump. Frequent travelers can pick up a DVD or Blu-Ray from anywhere and are guaranteed it will play.

A region-free player is also an excellent investment for fans of foreign films and shows. Plus, you can purchase the cheapest copy of a movie or series, if it’s less expensive in another country.

Multi Region DVD Player Features

Some features you might consider in an all region DVD player are HDMI output, 3D video playback, and streaming capabilities. Having a multi-region DVD and Blu-ray player with access to apps like Netflix offers increased convenience and declutters your media center by consolidating multimedia features into a single device.

But app experience on dedicated streaming set-top boxes like the Nvidia Shield TV or Roku may entice you to buy a region-free Blu-Ray player and a set-top box as well. Though HDMI is most prevalent, if you’ve got an older television, you might appreciate analog outputs such as component video. For 3D fans, look for 3D video playback. Even if you don’t need streaming functionality, you may want an ethernet jack for BD Live use.

Things to look for in a DVD player:

  • Video outputs (HDMI, component, composite)
  • 3D playback
  • 1080p upscaling
  • Streaming apps
  • Internet connectivity
  • A USB for video and music file playback

1. Panasonic S700P-K

Panasonic-S700P-K-region-Free-BR

Panasonic S700EP-K Multi Region 1080p Up-Conversion Code Region Free DVD/CD player, Xvid, USB Playback and photo slideshow with MP3 Music Panasonic S700EP-K Multi Region 1080p Up-Conversion Code Region Free DVD/CD player, Xvid, USB Playback and photo slideshow with MP3 Music Buy Now At Amazon $ 57.63

The Panasonic S700P-K is an excellent region-free DVD player. Panasonic’s S700P-K sports 1080p upconversion via an HDMI output. Onboard you’ll find PAL and NTSC video signal switching. In addition to its HDMI output, there’s a front USB port for playing video files.

Reviewers on Amazon noted its superb 1080p upconversion which delivers a gorgeous display even on 4K TV sets. However, the Panasonic S700P-K lacks a front display. Therefore your title, chapter, and runtime information is conspicuously absent. Displays are common features even on low-end players. Additionally, the Panasonic S700P-K is limited to DVD playback. There’s no Blu-Ray support.

With no Blu-Ray support or even a display, you can probably guess that there’s no streaming capability. This isn’t a major downside though as streaming devices are fairly inexpensive. You can even use a computer for streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, and a Plex media server. Fans of the latter should check out these Plex tips and tricks everyone should know.

Pros

  • Region-free
  • 1080p upconversion
  • HDMI output
  • Great picture

Cons

  • Not a Blu-Ray player
  • No streaming capabilities
  • Lacks front display

2. iVid BD780

The Best Region-Free Players for Playing DVD or Blu-Ray Discs - iVid BD780

iVid BD780 Multi Region Free 3D Blu Ray DVD Player PAL/NTSC 110-240 Volt w/ Free HDMI Cable iVid BD780 Multi Region Free 3D Blu Ray DVD Player PAL/NTSC 110-240 Volt w/ Free HDMI Cable Buy Now At Amazon $ 125.00

While iVid may be a lesser-known name among video players, the iVid BD780 remains a solid device. Boasting 1080p 3D playback, PAL and NTSC 110-240 volt compatibility, and DVD region free capabilities, it’s a powerful unit. There’s an ethernet jack for internet connectivity, and a USB input for playing videos off a flash drive.

Unfortunately, you won’t find any streaming features. So you’ll need a standalone streaming device for the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Still, the iVid BD780 provides an affordable solution for Blu-Ray and DVD region free playback. Moreover, it’s got component and composite jacks, making it suitable for older HDMI-less TV sets.

Pros:

  • Blu-ray and DVD playback
  • Component and composite outputs
  • Ethernet port
  • USB
  • 3D Blu-ray compatible

Cons:

  • No streaming features

3. LG BP165

LG-BP165-Region-Free-BR

LG BP175 Region Free Blu-ray Player, Multi Region 110-240 Volts, 6FT HDMI Cable & Dynastar Plug Adapter Bundle Package LG BP175 Region Free Blu-ray Player, Multi Region 110-240 Volts, 6FT HDMI Cable & Dynastar Plug Adapter Bundle Package Buy Now At Amazon $ 139.00

For region-free Blu-Ray players, the LG BP165 clocks in around the price of a standard Blu-Ray player. You get region-free Blu-Ray and DVD playback and 1080p video. Additionally, the BP165 includes a front-facing USB port for digital content via external hard drives and flash drives.

Unfortunately, LG’s BP165 doesn’t allow for streaming whether hardwired with Ethernet or over Wi-Fi. Oddly, the BP165 doesn’t feature a display. It’s a pretty barebones (albeit functional) region-free Blu-Ray player.

Pros

  • Blu-Ray and DVD playback
  • USB port
  • Region-free

Cons

  • No streaming capabilities
  • Lacks front display

4. Sony BDP S3200

Sony-BDP-S3200-Region-Free-BR

SONY Wi-Fi Upgraded Multi Region Zone Free Blu Ray DVD Player – PAL/NTSC – Wi-Fi – 1 USB, 1 HDMI, 1 COAX, 1 ETHERNET Connections – 6 Feet HDMI Cable Included SONY Wi-Fi Upgraded Multi Region Zone Free Blu Ray DVD Player – PAL/NTSC – Wi-Fi – 1 USB, 1 HDMI, 1 COAX, 1 ETHERNET Connections – 6 Feet HDMI Cable Included Buy Now At Amazon $ 165.00

The Sony BDP S3200 offers a slew of features. There are region-free Blu-Ray and DVD playback plus streaming support. With the BDP S3200, you can stream from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu. This makes it one of the best region-free Blu-Ray players available.

Sony includes a front USB port for multimedia playback. Unfortunately, there’s no display on the device. But the region-free playback and streaming options make the BDP-S3200 a phenomenal Blu-Ray player. If you don’t need Wi-Fi functionality, Sony also makes the S1500RF. It still features streaming, including video game streaming from PlayStation consoles, but you’ll need an Ethernet hookup.

Pros

  • Wi-Fi
  • Region-free
  • Blu-Ray and DVD playback
  • USB port

Cons

  • No front display

5. Sony S6700

Sony-S6700-Region-Free-BR

HDI BDP-S3700E Sony High Res Audio – Built-in WiFi – Multi System Region Free Blu Ray Disc DVD Player HDI BDP-S3700E Sony High Res Audio – Built-in WiFi – Multi System Region Free Blu Ray Disc DVD Player Buy Now At Amazon $ 155.00

If you need 4K upscaling and 3D playback, the Sony S6700 region-free Blu-Ray player is the best device available. It’s loaded with a premium feature set. There’s the aforementioned 4K upscaling and 3D playback, as well as built-in Wi-Fi.

It’s difficult to find a complaint, aside from its price. You’re paying about the same as you would for a PlayStation 4 for a Blu-Ray player. Sure, it’s region-free, but that hardly seems to warrant its price tag.

The Sony S6700 does sport PlayStation Now for playing games sans-console, but even this isn’t as robust as on a PlayStation 4. Still, if you need a region-free Blu-Ray player and must have 4K playback, the Sony S6700 is a top-tier region unlocked Blu-Ray player.

Pros

  • Region-free
  • Blu-Ray and DVD playback
  • 4K upscaling
  • 3D compatible
  • Wi-Fi built-in
  • Front USB port
  • PlayStation Now gaming service

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No front display

Which Region-Free Disc Player Should You Buy?

Although there are several options for region-free players, these are the best available. We’d suggest getting a region-free Blu-Ray player as opposed to a DVD player simply for the increased library. You’ll have access to region-protected Blu-Ray discs as well for just slightly more than a region-free DVD player.

If you don’t need streaming capabilities, the LG BP165 is your best bet and offers the greatest value for money. Even if you do require streaming, you can pick up the BP165 and a cheap but powerful streaming set-top box or just opt for an internet-enabled region-free Blu-Ray player.

For more background on the technology, check out our article exploring the history of DVDs and Blu-Ray.

Read the full article: The Best Region-Free Players for DVD or Blu-Ray Discs

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