Affordable region-free Blu-Ray player and corresponding TV


Standard Member
My wonderful Phillips DVP-5982 has just died on me. I've tried getting a cleaner, and still no luck. I think it's permanently dead. As pretty much all noteworthy special features have moved to Blu-Ray, I've been dragging my feet about the changeover, but now I'm apparently going to have no choice but to switch over.

Unfortunately, there's a rather significant stumbling block in the form of region-coding. Whereas my wonderful little Phillips player could be unlocked with a few keystrokes, evidently the manufacturers of Blu-Ray caught onto this and have made it considerably more difficult to unlock BR players. Apparently, it requires some actual physical modding which generally has to be done by a third party. I'd rather do it myself, but apparently that is quite difficult. Thinking of looking at eBay, but there're so many choices, I don't know where to start! There is, of course, the famed Oppo BDP-93, but it's a $500 player with $150+ mod!

A bit of an explanation, this is unbelievably long-winded, so if anyone gets to the end of this post, they deserve a medal. I mean, my initial thought was to buy a mid-range player (I work at Meijer and can get a 10% discount, but we mostly have mid-range stuff at best, sadly.), but I then discovered that unlike DVD, BR can't simply be hacked with the remote. Since I still have a CRT TV with a coax connector, so it seems like a bit of overkill, but but every special feature worth a damn seems to have moved to BR. I've thought about buying something pretty good to prepare for the future, but apparently region-free BR is pricey. Then there's the world now. I'd like to be able to do stuff like stream YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. but that's not essential, plus I have my computer for it, or if need be, I can buy a Roku box or something.

I'd have to imagine that pretty much all BR players come with HDMI hookups and will upscale DVDs and have 1080p at this point. I have no interest in 3-D (though I have a sinking feel the industry will attempt to force my hand on that count), but I would like to be able to connect wireless for what are apparently nifty features. I have a few VCDs and a number of multi-region DVDs I'd like to play, and I'd like to be ready for multi-region Blu as well.

I live with my parents at the moment, though of course that could be changing soon. I've always thought of building some some small home theater, the problem is location. I tend to watch my DVDs on bed in my room, where there's no room for surround sound and such. I could always set up a proper HT in the basement and just get a nice LCD TV and stereo for my room, but any level of HT is expensive, and I'm notoriously frugal even with a significant amount of money saved up... I also have an irritating Aspergers-inflected tendency to research the living hell out things before I buy them in an attempt to balance money and quality. Anyway...

I'd consider anything over the $200 mark a bit pricey,
I'd probably go up to about $300, but I don't know if I can get anything decent enough in that range. Admittedly, now DVD players are cheap and Blu-Ray players are getting cheaper (I work at a Meier where we have DVD players at ridiculously low prices, but if you're looking for something region-free, then you can't just grab whatever.). I WAS going to buy a BR player and put my old one down in the basement when I never had one, but so much for THAT plan....

I have very little interest in 3-D, hopefully the industry won't force my hand. If I have to sacrifice streaming, I can buy a Roku box or Apple TV or something, but I'd like it to be able to connect to wifi. The caveat being. Obviously it will have to play1080p and upscale, hopefully well. Unfortunately, I'm also going to need to get an HDTV to go with it, and the world of Plasma, LCD, and LED is Greek to me, but it seems pointless to buy one if I'm still using a CTR TV.

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