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Best Blu-ray discs to show off your home theater

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By Ryan Waniata


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We all know you didn’t just build an incredible home theater so you could have it all to yourself. You’re itching to show it off any chance you get. After all, if your subwoofers shake the art right off the walls when the action picks up but nobody else is there to see, hear, and feel it, did it actually happen?

Nah, you’ve got enough big fish stories; it’s best to show off your awesome creation to your friends and family. But what do you show it off with? That’s what this list of awesome Blu-rays is all about. There’s no way we could put all the greats in here that would just take too long. But we do have our favorites, updated regularly to give you plenty of variety. Trust us when we tell you, these Blu-ray picks have got what it takes to make your system shine and turn your guests green with envy.

Movies

Ready Player One

best blu ray movies ready player one edit

Ready Player One gave viewers a very different interpretation in theaters than what was offered by Ernest Cline’s best-selling sci-fi novel, but Steven Spielberg’s explosion of unique effects and fast-paced storytelling gives everyone something to write home about. As Parzival and his many CGI friends set out to stop the greedy IOI from ruining their dream world, the OASIS, Blu-ray viewers are treated to gorgeous colors, brilliant detail, and breathtaking stunts. The Blu-ray rendering also loads in Dolby Atmos, something we’re seeing more and more of, making this disc a great way for those with a killer sound system to get even more immersed in the virtual world.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.39:12.39:1Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Available from:

Amazon

Black Panther

A megahit for Marvel and an outstanding success by any measure, Black Panther is a departure from what we’ve seen in superhero films recently, as well as a reminder of why we love them in the first place. Helmed by Creed director Ryan Coogler and based on a script by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther takes place in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, a beautiful setting which serves as a perfect backdrop to the film’s jaw-dropping action sequences. This disc is worth it for the film’s spectacular car chase sequence alone, but thankfully it offers much more.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (23.80 Mbps)1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Star Wars franchise is no stranger to overzealous fans, with some so disappointed in the film that they started a campaign to remake the movie. We, on the other hand, liked it quite a bit, and if you fall into that camp, this is a perfect Blu-ray for your home theater. With lightsabers, space battles, and plenty of Star Wars magic, The Last Jedi also has a few tricks up its sleeve. If you need one more bit of proof that this disc will give your home theater a workout, we’ll give it to you in three words: Supreme Leader Snoke.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (30.90 Mbps)1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Giant robots fighting giant monsters. There’s a good chance that the very concept of Pacific Rim franchise along has you looking to purchase this for your home theater, regardless of whether or not you saw Pacific Rim: Uprising in the theater. While the movie may not be the sucker punch that the first one was, the sheer level of spectacle has increased to the point that it may be difficult to keep from cheering during some of Pacific Rim: Uprising‘s more knock-down, drag-out sequences, and that’s a very good thing.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.40:12.39:1Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

The Revenant

Not only is The Revenant the film that finally put an Oscar for Best Actor in Leonardo DiCaprio’s hands, it’s a visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that also earned awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s iconic natural lighting and uninterrupted single-take shots meld with Alejandro Irritu’s brilliant vision for an engrossing atmosphere that takes you back to the harsh life of the American frontier in 1823. The film sees frontiersman Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) embark on a journey of vengeance and survival through breathtaking vistas that show off the raw beauty of the American wilderness like few films before it.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (26.00 Mbps)1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

Director George Miller returns to the Mad Max franchise in a glorious way with 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Starring Tom Hardy as the iconic Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as the mutiny-happy Imperator Furiosa, the film follows up on the deserted world reeling from the effects of a nuclear holocaust from the original franchise (miraculously) without skipping a beat. When the film released worldwide during the spring of 2015, theater-goers gushed at its over-the-top action sequences, captivating cinematography, and unique art direction. It’s no wonder a sizable amount of Oscar buzz started flowing immediately following its release; Mad Max: Fury Road is a must-own for anyone with even a decent home theater setup.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (24.88 Mbps)1080p2.40:12.39:1Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby Atmos

Available from:

Amazon

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The follow-up to the surprise hit following Marvel’s space-trekking hero team, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just as fun, colorful, and full of death-defying stunts as the original. And since this one casts the resurgent Kurt Russell as Star-Lord’s dad, some might say it even exceeds its predecessor — we’ll leave that for greater minds than ours to decide. What we can say is that this film is a feast for the eyes and ears, from the impressive practical effects like Drax’s scarred skin to CGI mind-benders like an entire squad of golden aliens chasing down our heroes in remotely powered ships, this one is sure to please all of your cinematic senses.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 MVC1080p2:39:1, 1.85:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Available from:

Amazon

Avatar

Avatar 3D Blu-rayThis “holy grail” of 3D cinematography is the culmination of over 10 years of painstaking perfectionism by its creator, James Cameron. The movie was reportedly a near all-consuming effort for the director towards the end and helped spawn the modern 3D revolution. Like Cameron’s previous work, Titanic, it was also one of the most expensive movies ever made, due in part to the pioneering of brand new 3D cinematography for the film. The gamble paid off, resulting in the highest grossing movie of all time upon release, and the most impressive 3D Blu-ray experience on the market.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 MVC1080p1.78:12.39:1, 1.78:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings is an emotionally resonant film about a young boy, Kubo (Art Parkinson), who joins two animal protectors — Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) — on a quest through feudal Japan to retrieve an ancient set of armor once worn by his deceased father. While the story is wholly encapsulating, Kubo is also a stop-motion animation marvel, with a fluidity and charm that seems almost as magical to behold as its plot. Watching the movie in an ideal home theater setting provides an opportunity to appreciate the meticulous craftwork of the painstakingly created models and animation, while the sweeping soundtrack underscores it all perfectly.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p2.39:12.39:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 5

It’s pretty hard to make a list like this without including this quintessential icon of sci-fi classics. Stanley Kubrick’s haunting vision of space exploration in the not-so-distant future is nearly as stunning today as it was upon its release in freaking 1968 – the same year the Beatles released The White Album, for reference. The Blu-ray release is heralded as an expert re-master. The multiple shots of the gleaming space station against the cold black void lays down the gauntlet for any HD display, and the infamous theme music has never been more sweeping. Be sure and get that subwoofer ready for the movie that invented the ‘sound of space.’

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
VC-1 (13.39 Mbps)1080p2.20:12.20:1LPCM 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit), Dolby Digital 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Television

Of course, movies aren’t the only way to get your home theater running on all cylinders. We’ve also thrown in two of our favorite TV Blu-rays that will punch your system’s throttle, and dazzle the senses.

‘Planet Earth II’

An iconic series that changed the paradigm of “nature films,” Planet Earth II is just as powerful as the first series, and in many ways (thanks to improved camera techniques) is superior. Just like the original, this heralded collection takes you through a striking exploration of every environment our home planet has to offer, with snow-capped fly-bys, excursions through jungles teeming with wildlife, and countless shades of beautiful blue water that will leave viewers in sheer awe. As breathtaking as anything you can put on your screen, some things are simply worth having on disc. This is one of them.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC (29.99 Mbps)1080p1.78:11.78:1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16 bit)

Available from:

Amazon

Game of Thrones

The series pulled from the pages of George RR Martin’s epic saga, A Song of Ice and Fire, has already reached classic status, matched only by the ominous Sopranos as the most popular show of all time in the HBO catalog. The Blu-ray video transfers are nothing short of exquisite, matched with brilliantly produced soundtracks that bring this strange realm of dragons, sex, and bloodlust barreling off the screen and into your entertainment room. As we wait for the final chapter, it’s a good time to take another trip through the most recent, most epic season.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Dolby Digital 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Nature

Nature

Since 1982, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has wowed with this fantastic one-hour documentary program which dives into the environments of Earth’s animals and the ecosystems around them. On TV for an astounding 31 seasons (totaling 521 episodes), Nature’s current iteration is as much of a spectacle of presentation as it is of longevity. As such, the Blu-ray release of this incredible series is one truly worthy of marvel. As each unique environment graces the screen, viewers are left with their jaws on the ground, easily swept up by the sheer majesty of planet Earth. Moreover, due to the release’s crystal clear HD audio, a proper surround system makes the experience of watching Nature even more immersive.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Available from:

Amazon

Africa

Need more breathtaking wildlife footage narrated by David Attenborough? BBC’s Africa mini-series is just what you’ve been looking for. The six-episode series takes you across the entire continent, into jungles, deserts, coastal biomes, and the Savannah, and caps with a look into the future of Africa’s rapidly shifting environments. You’ll get all the crisp, high-quality nature footage and lifelike audio your eyes and ears can handle.

CodecResolutionAspect RatioOriginal Aspect RatioEnglish
MPEG-4 AVC1080p1.78:11.78:1Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Available from:

Amazon


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