Providing video quality up to six times better than that of DVD, along with uncompressed audio, Blu-ray is fast becoming the replacement for the venerable format. Since every Blu-ray player also plays DVDs, it makes sense to learn as much as you can about your player options. If you have a high definition television that takes advantage of the 1080p video and if you have a surround sound system, Blu-ray players are worth considering.
Audio and Video Connections
The Blu-ray format is only used to its fullest potential when used with an HDMI connection. Most modern home theater receivers, and all current high definition TV sets, are equipped with this connection. HDMI is the only format that allows full 1080p HD video with lossless, master quality audio over one cable. If you have an older receiver with six-channel external RCA inputs, you need to select a Blu-ray player that decodes audio formats on its own.
More fully-featured Blu-ray players allow streaming of music, movies and photos from your computer, over the home network, to the player, bringing that content to your television. Internet connectivity is mandatory if you want to keep your player and Blu-ray titles up-to-date, as updates are continually released for both.
The Blu-ray format is continually offering improvements and new features like BD-Live and Bonus View. BD-Live is a feature that offers movie-related mini-games, special features and supplementary content. BD-Live requires the player to be connected to the Internet to download this content. Bonus View offers picture-in-picture audio and video, allowing you to watch interviews with the director as you watch the movie, or view a "making of" documentary that coincides with the on-screen action. Bonus View players do not require an Internet connection, except to download player updates as they are issued.
Bearing little resemblance to the colored cardboard 3D glasses from decades past, Blu-ray players also commonly offer a new version of this media. This updated 3D feature adds a potentially interesting element to movies using powered or proprietary shuttered glasses, depending on the television in use. Play with the 3D options in the store to determine if this feature is appealing to you.
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images