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2009 Digital Media Zone HD Gift Guide

It’s officially the holiday shopping season, and as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, we bring you The Digital Media Zone’s 2009 Holiday HD Gift Guide. If we missed something, or you think there’s a category we overlooked, let us know in the comments.

BLU-RAYS

up-bluray_smUP – Disney/Pixar’s latest masterpiece is a must-have for this holiday season. Vibrant colors and amazing detail levels highlight one of the best Blu-rays I’ve seen. It sounds just as good, with a demo-worthy scene early on during the thunderstorm. The 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack creates one of the better sound fields I’ve heard. The surrounds are active throughout and the subwoofer gets a workout as well. On top of all that, it’s a great movie that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

No Black Friday deals, but currently $19.99 at Amazon

thedarkknightbluThe Dark Knight – It’s an older release, but both Target and Wal-Mart have pretty good deals for Black Friday, and Amazon has it slated as one of their deals from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Friday. This is a great disc, highlighted by terrific black levels and a transfer that masterfully balances bright colors and muted tones. On the audio side, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack delivers some serious bass, especially during the chase scene with the Batmobile.

Black Friday – Target ($12.99) Wal-Mart ($10) Amazon (price TBD, Friday 8 a.m. -12 p.m.)

legendI Am Legend – A dark movie, a great Blu-ray and a wonderful price at both Target and Best Buy on Black Friday. Reviews were mixed on the movie, but I enjoyed it. The disc’s transfer doesn’t disappoint, either. Solid video transfer, high quality audio presentation, everything you look for in a good Blu-ray and for the price, it’s hard to beat.

Black Friday – Best Buy ($7.99) Target ($8.99)

irobotI, Robot – Another Will Smith movie, this has been one of my go-to discs for new Blu-ray player owners to show off their new player’s capabilities. Much like I Am Legend, the movie’s reviews were mixed, but there’s no denying the quality of the disc. A powerful DTS-HD Master Audio delivers a wonderful surround sound field, and the film’s transfer is impeccable.

Amazon $12.49 right now, with The Terminator and The Day After Tomorrow for $21.99 on Amazon

Other Blu-ray Black Friday deals
Take a look at this search page from Black Friday Info for all the Black Friday Blu-ray deals. Some of the highlights include Gladiator and Braveheart for $10 each at Wal-Mart, the Planet Earth complete BBC series for more than half off at $40.99 at Amazon.com and The Wizard of Oz for $12.99 at Target.

Recent or upcoming releases

BLU-RAY PLAYERS

Insignia NS-BRDVD3 w/Superman Returns or Beetlejuice – You can get this Profile 2.0 player for just $99 at Best Buy on Black Friday. In addition to a free movie of your choice, you get a player that streams Netflix in addition to playing all your favorite Blu-rays.

Sony BDP-S360 – Available now through Friday at Wal-Mart.com for just $118, and in-store on Friday. This is a Profile 2.0 player with an on-board Ethernet port for BD-Live (with additional memory) and future firmware updates. No streaming media, but a great player for a great price. Can be found just about everywhere else for $149. One of the faster-loading players available.

Samsung BD-P1600 – Can be found many places right now for just $149, this is a Profile 2.0 player (with additional memory) that also streams Blockbuster, Netflix, YouTube, and music from Pandora. There’s also an available wireless adapter to help you cut the cord.

Panasonic DMP-BD60K – This is a great player, available for just $129 on Amazon right now. It’s a fast-loading player, Profile 2.0 (with additional memory) and connects to Amazon’s Video On Demand service, YouTube and Picasa. Look below in the HDTV section for an amazing deal from Best Buy for this player and a HDTV.

And for the big-budget gift:

Oppo BDP-83 – In many people’s opinions, this is the best player for the money on the market today. Fast loading, plays anything you throw at it (SACD, DVD Audio, AVCHD, MKV), Anchor Bay VRS video processing, 24p, 7.1 analog output, and the on-board storage needed to make this player fully Profile 2.0. The $499 price tag might be a bit steep, and you’re not likely to find many deals on this unit, but if you’re looking for the best, this just may be it.

Other Black Friday Deals
Take a look at this search page from Black Friday Info for all the Blu-ray player deals.

HDTVs

Panasonic Viera 50″ 1080p Plasma TC-P50U1 w/Blu-ray DMP-BD60K – Get a 50-inch 1080p plasma with 24p support (thanks to reader Andyvt for noting the TC-P50U1 doesn’t do native 24p, but accepts the signal and does 2:3 pulldown) and the Panasonic Blu-ray player we looked at above for just $999 at Best Buy on Black Friday. The TV alone sells for $1299, so you’re getting the TV for $300 off and free Blu-ray player. Probably the best deal I’ve seen on TVs.

Samsung 32″ 720p LCD LN32B360C5D – Yes it’s a 720p set, but at that screen size it’s simply not that big of a deal and you can get it at both Best Buy and Wal-Mart for less than $400 on Black Friday.

Sony 32″ 720p LCD KDL32L504 – Another 720p set, another great deal. Both Best Buy and Sears have this set for under $380 on Black Friday.

Toshiba  40″ 1080P LCD 40RV525U/R – A very solid LCD from Toshiba for only $589 from Sears on Black Friday.

Other Black Friday HDTV deals
Hit up the search page on Black Friday Info for all the HDTV deals.

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