(Pocket-lint) - There are many that proclaim optical media is dead and that streaming is the way ahead, but one look at the quality of the latest blockbuster movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray and you'll change your mind.

With a standardised format, Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are now readily available, so it's full steam ahead if you want to cast those ageing DVD players aside, retire the venerable Blu-ray player and step into the future.

Things are only getting better for Ultra HD Blu-ray, so which player do you need? 

Our pick of the best Ultra HD Blu-ray players to buy today

As Ultra HD Blu-ray is still fairly niche, the selection of players is limited. Our top recommendation fuses affordability with performance, making it our top pick if you're looking for an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.


Panasonic DMP-UB700 Ultra HD Blu-ray player


The Panasonic UB700 fuses a conventional design that will fit into any entertainment centre, or happily sit on display, with the essential connectivity to bring the glory of Ultra HD Blu-ray to your 4K HDR TV. There's twin HDMI so you can separate audio into your AV receiver if you want to.

While the UB700 doesn't have the audio focus or the connections of the UB900, it retains the same picture quality, while being much more affordable. It offers wonderful handling of the latest optical discs, it offers 4K content from streaming services (if you need them), without looking quite as strange as the Samsung K8500's curved design. The user interface is ugly however and the remote could be better, but we can't fault the video quality.

Read the full review: Panasonic DMP-UB700 review 


6. Xbox One S


When Microsoft launched the Xbox One, it was pitched as an entertainment centre. That may have got gamers' hackles up, but with the Xbox One S now offering Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, as well as supporting 4K streaming services, it's a media centre with skills that are hard to rival: being able to play the latest HDR games is just one string to its bow.

The Xbox is a physically bigger box than a conventional player and unless you have the Xbox One Media Remote you'll be using a gaming controller, so things aren't quite as slick as a dedicated player, but then they aren't as expensive either. In fact, for those who aren't hardcore AV enthusiasts, the Xbox One S is a tempting all-round entertainment solution, especially as support for Xbox 360 games is now extensive too.

Read the full review: Xbox One S review

Writing by Chris Hall.