Blu-ray Players

Things to Consider When Buying a Blu-ray Player

If you are still watching movies on a DVD player, it is past time to upgrade to Blu-ray. Even if you have a Blu-ray player, if it is more than a few years old, it might be time to check out the latest models. Blu-ray has come a long way since it hit the market in the early 2000s. It is currently one of the best ways to get content on your home TV screen.   

Blu-Ray Vs. 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

If you are in the market for a Blu-ray player, your first decision is between standard Blu-ray or the new 4K UHD Blu-ray. Unless you intend to keep your HDTV for many years, you will likely want to go with a new 4K UHD Blu-ray. If you still own regular Blu-ray Discs, don’t worry, the newer models will play standard discs as well as the new UHD format.

4K Upscaling

Some Blu-ray players offer 4K upscaling. This process takes HD, and even SD content and enhances it to look as close to 4K as possible. Of course, the results depend on the quality of the original content and the precision of the upscaling processor. This is a great feature. However, many 4K TVs already have built-in 4K upscaling, so you may or may not need it in your Blu-ray player.

HDR

Most 4K UHD Blu-ray players come with support for HDR (High Dynamic Range). However, not all HDR is created equal. Standard HDR makes a significant difference by displaying a wider range of colours and depth in contrast. HDR10 and HDR10+ add another dimension by sending metadata to your TV with colour calibration settings to get the best performance out of your set based on the content you are watching. HDR10+ goes even further. While HDR10 sends data for each piece of content, HDR10+ is dynamic in that it sends the information for each frame of content allowing the set to make calibration adjustments on the fly as scenes change. Dolby Vision is another HDR standard that is similar to HDR10+ in that it sends dynamic color calibration data.

The problematic thing about HDR is that you need to make sure your TV, Blu-ray player, and Blu-ray Discs all support the standard you are trying to watch. It may take a few years before there is a clear industry standard.

Streaming

Blu-ray players can do more than play Blu-ray Discs. Many models are also streaming devices allowing you to stream content from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and the new Disney+ and AppleTV+. While some users prefer to use the streaming apps built into their TV or use a separate device from vendors like Roku, Amazon, or Apple, many players have an excellent selection of built-in services.

Wi-Fi or Wired Lan Connection

If you plan to stream from your Blu-ray player, you will need to connect it to a broadband internet connection. Just be sure that your player has the connection you need. Built-in Wi-Fi is becoming standard but be sure to check for an ethernet jack if you need to connect with a hard line.

3D

The future of 3D TV may be dim, but you may still have 3D Blu-rays in your collection. If so, be sure your device will support them.

Connections

Depending on your TV and setup, one HDMI output may be all you need. However, some consumers may be interested in units that offer a second “audio-only” HDMI port to feed a receiver or soundbar. You will also want to be on the lookout for players with the latest HDMI 2.1 standard that will support the new eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) technology which improves the sound by offering enough bandwidth to support uncompressed digital audio.

Finding the Right Blu-Ray Player

As technology improves, so do the options available on new Blu-ray players. Fortunately, backward compatibility means you won’t have to throw out your old discs when you get a new player.

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