Still on the fence about Blu-ray? The upcoming holiday season might be the perfect time to jump. Wal-Mart plans to offer a Magnavox NB500MG9 Blu-ray player for the rock-bottom price of $128, the cheapest we've seen yet. That's a great deal, considering that this model retails for $260 and usually sells at Wal-Mart for $198. Sure beats those $500 players we've seen recently.
Get this: Even though it's dirt cheap, the Magnavox MB500MG9 (built by Funai) is a damn good Blu-ray player. In fact, Consumer Reports gave it an overall score of 87 in its latest (December 08) "Best Electronics" issue, a mere one point below the top-rated Sylvania NB500SL9 Blu-ray player (probably the same player, also built by Funai). It beats the sixth-place Sony BDP-350 (which scored an 84), a superb Blu-ray player that's performed flawlessly in our extensive testing here.
The only thing lacking in the Magnavox NB500MG9 is "BD-Live," because it's a Profile 1.1 unit. So what? Thus far, we've found that "interactive" capability to be a superfluous gimmick that requires an Internet connection, which many users aren't willing or able to accommodate, anyway. If you can fight the Wal-Mart mob scene the day after Thanksgiving, this Magnavox Blu-ray player might be worth the trouble.