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First Annual TTG Blu-ray Player Award Winners Announced

The Testing Group announced that it assembled a selection of Blu-ray Disc (BD) players, placed each in one of three categories (budget buy, family friendly, feature rich) then evaluated each player for outstanding performance in that category.

According to the statement, the units were judged on audio/video quality, compatibility, user interface and added features using 35 recent best selling Blu-ray titles from all the major film studios. Awards were given to the Panasonic (budget buy), Sony BDP-S570 (family friendly) and Samsung BD-C6900 (feature rich).

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Unedited press release follows:

The Testing Group Announces the Winners of the First Annual TTG Blu-ray Player Awards for 2010

The Testing Group assembled a selection of Blu-ray players widely available from major US electronics retail stores, and then evaluated each player for outstanding performance in three categories: Budget Buy, Family Friendly and Feature Rich.

GLENDALE, Calif., Aug. 24 — The Testing Group assembled a selection of Blu-ray players, all widely available from major US electronics retail stores, placed each in one of three categories – Budget Buy, Family Friendly, Feature Rich – then evaluated each player for outstanding performance in that category.

The Blu-ray Players were judged on audio/video quality, compatibility, user interface, and added features.

The Testing Group judged the quality and performance of the players using 35 recent best selling Blu-ray titles from all the major film studios. To evaluate a player’s ability to handle cutting-edge functionality, titles were also selected with the most advanced Blu-ray disc features and programming.

CEO of The Testing Group, Lauren Evers said, “We wanted to provide both our clients and consumers with the kind of real-world evaluation of Blu-ray players no one else had yet done.

“We chose readily-available players that our lab had tested and literally used on a daily basis since their introduction into the consumer market. So we really knew the performance characteristics of these particular players inside and out.

“To make sure our results covered a wide range of titles with different types of technical challenges, we selected 35 of the most recent top-selling Blu-ray movie discs and put the players through some brutal, realistic testing scenarios. This meant our winners stood up to an enormous amount of scrutiny.”

And according to CTO James Richardson, “This kind of ongoing, real-world testing, that results in our final recommendation of a player, is one of the most important aspects that differentiates what we do from less comprehensive approaches that would come from places like Consumer Reports or CNet.

“For them, it’s just a one-shot deal. What we do is completely different. Our expertise comes from the fact that we use and test these players repeatedly every day. We know which movie titles will technically challenge a Blu-ray player, and we understand how the intricate differences between Blu-ray players can affect the performance, in a way that really matters to the consumer. Our Blu-ray tests are super intensive and will expose even the smallest player flaw. This kind of a test is something that Consumer Reports or CNet can’t possibly duplicate.”

Awards were given in the following categories:

Budget Buy Award:
Panasonic DMP-BD65
Average street price: $123

If you’re on a quest to find a player with the best bang for your buck, the Panasonic DMP-BD65 is a winner. With rock solid audio and picture quality, as well as streaming support for such services as Netflix, Amazon, and Pandora, the BD65 is a good match for any cost-conscious buyer not willing to compromise on quality. This player handled all 35 Blu-ray titles easily and smoothly, and proved to be responsive and quick when navigating through menus and BD-Live content. If you’re not too concerned with Wi-Fi or 3D support, but are looking for quality at a budget, this player is your best choice.

Family Friendly Award:
Sony BDP-S570
Average street price: $214

The Family Friendly Award represents the perfect family living room player, with something for everyone in the family. With a family-friendly street price of around $214, this player offers built-in Wi-Fi and streaming support for Netflix, Amazon, and Pandora. This player was also the only model in this price range with 3D Blu-ray support. This Sony player made a reputation for itself in our testing lab with its impressively fast navigational speeds – all 35 movie titles proved to be an easy job for this player. For a balance between features and price, this model is our best choice on the market.

Feature Rich Award:
Samsung BD-C6900
Average street price: $299

For a player that combines cutting edge 3D Blu-ray support with the best streaming services the Internet has to offer, look no further than our Feature Rich Award winner, the Samsung BD-C6900. Samsung goes beyond simply matching the competition’s support for Netflix, Amazon, Pandora and YouTube, and includes some great additions such as Hulu Plus, Vudu, CinemaNow and Blockbuster. After you experience the Samsung BD-C6900, you might even question why you’re still paying your cable bill. Samsung’s Apps give you access to Facebook and let you view the news and weather. The Wi-Fi and DVD upscaling performance in this model was impressive, as well as its quick handling of Blu-ray menu systems and load times. And handling each of the 35 movie titles was a breeze for this player. If you want serious features at a reasonable price, we can’t think of anything Samsung has possibly left out in this player.

The Testing Group congratulates all the award winners!

The Testing Group was formed by DVD and Blu-ray testing entrepreneurs, Lauren Evers and James Richardson, whose prior companies, Intellikey Labs and Direct QC, brought together 15 years of quality assurance testing expertise to form The Testing Group in 2008. TTG’s focus is in partnering the most advanced digital testing technology with the exacting requirements of movie studio, entertainment and special interest clients.