- 1 Blu-ray or Video Streaming?
- 2 Types of Blu-ray Players
- 3 Blu-ray DVD Player : Backward Compatible
- 4 1080p Blu-ray Player
- 5 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
- 6 Features to Look Out For
- 7 Internet Connectivity
- 8 Screen Mirroring
- 9 Audio Capabilities
- 10 Best Blu-Ray Players
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions
Blu-ray or Video Streaming?
Just as Blu-ray is becoming the definitive home video entertainment format, it is threatened by video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
These services offer Full HD and even 4K video streaming with 3D sound capability, rivaling what Blu-ray can offer.
If you’re planning to upgrade from a DVD player to Blu-ray you may be divided between signing up for video streaming and buying a Blu-ray player.
Well, let’s look at the pros and cons.
Video Streaming Advantage
It definitely saves you the cost of buying a Blu-ray player and movie discs, that you may not watch more than once.
You also have access to hundreds of movies at your fingertips without the need to change discs.
If your Blu-ray player acts up, you don’t get to watch any movies. Or if your favorite Blu-ray disc gets scratched, you don’t get to play your movies or get a pleasant movie-watching experience.
The cost of repairing a Blu-ray player may equal that of a new Blu-ray player.
With video streaming, you don’t have these costs. Plus, you can carry your movie collection anywhere there’s an Internet connection and watch on various devices, ranging from a computer, HDTV, and mobile devices.
With a Blu-ray player, you’re stuck with your HDTV and can’t go beyond that. Also, you won’t carry your Blu-ray player along to watch movies away from home.
Despite video streaming advantages, Blu-ray still manages to hold its own.
Although video streaming promises convenience and cost-saving, it has a major drawback.
Once you start having problems with your Internet connection, you’ll see the ugly side of video streaming – reduced quality, annoying buffering, or no connection.
True, video streaming services have hundreds of movie titles on their lists. But any of them can disappear any time without notice.
With a Blu-ray player, you don’t face these issues.
If you’re a true-blue movie fan and love consistent video quality, Blu-ray will be your preference in addition to video streaming services.
If you’re still wondering why you should consider a Blu-ray player when there are HD streaming services available at your fingertips, please read, What’s the Difference Between 4K Blu-ray and 4K Streaming: Which is Better?
If you’ve decided that Blu-ray is your preferred route, then learn the basics of Blu-ray first before making a purchase decision.
Types of Blu-ray Players
Let it be known that there are two types of Blu-ray players.
The first is the standard 1080p Blu-ray player. The other is the 4K Blu-ray player.
This quick Blu-ray buying guide will discuss both below. First, let’s get some basic facts explained before we get to that.
Blu-ray DVD Player : Backward Compatible
You may be wondering whether you can use your older optical discs like DVDs, CDs, VCDs, DVD-RAM, DVD+/-R/RW with Blu-ray players.
The good news is every Blu-ray player is a Blu-ray DVD player. Both the standard and 4K Blu-ray players are backward compatible.
What this means is whatever a DVD player can do, a Blu-ray player can, too.
But then if you want to use DVD-RAM or DVD+/-R/RW with your Blu-ray player, you could do well to check whether a player model can play it back.
Better still, bring the disc(s) along to see it for yourself if they work with a particular Blu-ray player before you make a purchase decision.
1080p Blu-ray Player
If you’re looking to replace your DVD player, don’t go out and look for another DVD player. Instead, opt for a Blu-ray player which would playback your DVDs, CDs, and VCDs, as mentioned above.
Chances are you already have a Full HD TV and a 1080p Blu-ray player would be an ideal replacement for your DVD player.
For one, Blu-ray players upscale your DVD movies to Full HD, though not true 1080p. You’ll get better quality video than what you’ll get over a DVD player.
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
If you have a 4K UHD TV or plan to buy one in the near future, then you should consider a 4K Blu-ray player.
With a 4K Blu-ray player, you get a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
That’s four times the resolution offered by a standard 1080p Blu-ray player.
A 4K UHD Blu-ray player offers a wider range of colors. This is because 4K Blu-ray players support High Dynamic Range (HDR). If your 4K TV supports HDR, you’ll have a feast of colors.
Some 4K Blu-ray players support Dolby Vision but your TV must support Dolby Vision, too.
You may want to play Blu-ray discs in a 4K Blu-ray player and get it upscaled to 4K resolution. However, it’s not true 4K resolution but quasi 4K resolution.
Features to Look Out For
As has been mentioned earlier, check to see what disc formats are supported. Choose a player that can play almost any disc format, including SACD and DVD-Audio.
Some players come with 3D video-enabled. But then newer TVs seldom have the 3D feature. 3D didn’t really catch on with the TV manufacturers. Furthermore, there is limited 3D content available on Blu-ray.
But then if you have an older 4K TV that supports 3D, you would want to consider purchasing a 3D Blu-ray player.
When you talk about Blu-ray, it’s all about HDMI connectivity. Standard Blu-ray players have HDMI 1.4 out and 4K Blu-ray, HDMI 2.0 and 4K Blu-ray with HDR support, HDMI 2.0a.
USB Connectivity and Memory Card Slots
USB and memory card slots will come useful if you wish to play digital video content, especially from digital cameras or camcorders.
But then most TVs have these features as well.
Blu-ray players are just meant to play physical optical discs. They are also Internet-streaming ready. Once you’re connected to your home network, you can access various video streaming apps ranging from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and even YouTube.
So, when you can’t find a particular Blu-ray movie you can always get the movie through a streaming app.
Ensure the player supports Wi-Fi and comes with a wired Ethernet jack.
If you wish to ‘project’ your Android smartphone or tablet to your TV, most newer Blu-ray players can do it. You can use the built-in screen mirroring app like Miracast or AllShare (Samsung) to make this possible.
By default Blu-ray players support 5.1 channel and 7.1 channel audio.
If you need Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, then you would have to select certain models.
Similarly Dolby Atmos or DTS: X is only available with certain 4K Blu-ray players.
If you’re into digital optical or digital coaxial audio, some Blu-ray player models support that for older home theater systems.
You can also play lossless digital audio files like FLAC, AIFF, WAV, DSD, or ALAC through your Blu-ray player’s USB port. This can be done through a flash drive or an external hard disk.
Hope the above quick Blu-ray player buying guide will help you in choosing a Blu-ray player that meets your needs.
Best Blu-Ray Players
Sony BDP-BX370 Full HD 1080p Blu-Ray Player
If you don’t have a 4K TV and don’t wish to watch a 4K Blu-ray, then you can settle for this Amazon’s Choice Blu-ray player. More so if you’re on a budget.
It comes with built-in Wifi. Play your BDs and also your old DVDs with quality improvement.
The unit promises a fast disc loading time – less than a minute.
On the audio side, enjoy Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio. DLNA and smartphone mirroring are supported as well.
Check out the Sony BDP-BX370 Full HD 1080p Blu-Ray Player.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Record on a Blu-ray Player?
No, you can’t record on a Blu-ray player. A Blu-ray player is meant to play back Blu-rays and DVDs. If you want to record a Blu-ray disc or DVD, you would have to use a Blu-ray recorder.