The DVD player in the PlayStation 2 is a big part of why that console was so popular. Parents were able to put a DVD player that was cheaper than most of the other DVD players on sale at the time in their kid's room, and it also had tons of games! Sony continued this momentum into the PlayStation 3 with a Blu-ray player at a time when standalone BR players were both expensive and overly complicated.
But with the PlayStation 4, Sony didn't push the envelope quite as much. The Blu-ray player in this latest generation of consoles works in most situations, but how good is it compared to the other DVD players out there? Let's take a look!
Not one kind of Blu-ray
All Blu-ray players are not created equal, which may be a difficult thing to wrap your head around. Some players are slower than others because of the processor used to power the experience, for example. In many cases, you'll find streaming apps alongside the ability to play the physical disk, so there's a single remote for playing DVDs and watching Netflix.
But even after you set aside things like remote control features and how fast you can go from putting the Blu-ray in the player to watching a movie, there are different kinds of Blu-rays that require specific players to be fully functional.
Where Blu-ray brought physical media from 480p to 1080p so everyone could enjoy HD movies with better sound, Ultra High Definition or UHD Blu-rays bring the resolution up to 4K and frequently include extras like HDR video and Dolby Atmos audio support.
Put plainly, the difference between watching a Blu-ray and a UHD Blu-ray on a 4K UHD TV with a decent sound system is more than a little noticeable. It's also worth pointing out UHD Blu-rays are frequently more expensive than normal ones, but in many releases often include a standard Blu-ray for those interested in future-proofing their movie collection.
How good is the PlayStation 4 Blu-ray player?
The Blu-ray player in all versions of the PlayStation 4, from the original released in 2013 to the 4K-ready Pro model released in 2016, is a standard 1080p Blu-ray player. Because it uses the same processor used to play visually intense games, it's one of the faster Blu-ray players you can buy. The control interface uses the PlayStation 4 controller by default, but you can pick up a PlayStation 4 Universal Media Remote for $25 if you'd rather have a traditional remote. Your PlayStation also has access to basically every streaming app ever, so if you use your PS4 as a Blu-ray player you can also use it to stream everything else. You can even watch live TV on it, with a PlayStation Vue subscription.
If you're after 4K Blu-rays, you're looking at a standalone player, or an Xbox One X.
This is an excellent Blu-ray player for an HD TV, offering a ton of features with room for expansion, but if you use a 4K TV it's not quite 100% anymore. This console lacks UHD Blu-ray support, even in the 4K-enabled PlayStation 4 Pro, which means you won't be able to play UHD Blu-rays and enjoy things like Dolby Atmos audio support with your 4K HDR video. You can use the PS4 Pro to stream 4K, but the lack of UHD Blu-ray support makes it less than ideal for getting the best possible picture on your 4K TV.
So how good is the PlayStation 4 at playing Blu-rays? It depends on what you want. If you have a 4K TV with a killer sound system, you're better off getting a standalone UHD Blu-ray Player or an Xbox One X if you have one. But if you haven't made the upgrade to 4K and aren't planning to anytime soon, the PlayStation 4 Blu-ray player is fantastic.
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