What is a Blu-Ray Player
A lot of features differ modern Blu-ray players from their predecessors that were released only a few years ago. Now, they not only read 3D discs and support high-quality images but also connect to the Internet and stream videos on-line. Despite the fact that today we don’t really need special devices to play discs, these Blue-Ray players are still in demand among users, especially those who have built up a collection of hits and favorite movies recorded on CDs or DVDs. To make things clear, this review will focus on the best Blu-ray players available on the market today.
The range of capabilities in DVD players is pretty basic and well-known, so no introduction needed if you plan to purchase a brand-new DVD player. But if you need a multifunctional media device, then we highly recommend you to pay attention to our streaming media players review.
What Features to Compare
First of all, consider Blu-Ray player's compatibility with different discs and media file formats. Apart from standard compact discs like CD, DVD and VCD, such media players support older formats and Blu-ray discs. Blu-ray – is an optical disc data storage format capable of storing the highest level of image quality: Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) and Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels). Check those models that support the max resolution to play all-time-favorite movies in high clarity with vivid colors.
In addition to the standard MP3, JPEG and AVI formats encoded by DivX / XviD codecs, all modern media players are capable of reproducing a large number of other popular multimedia formats, such as MKV and MP4 video. Although 3D movies didn’t get quite a lot of popularity from the audience, a three-dimensional video is still firmly established in the market of home theaters, so if you are interested in watching 3D-movies, make sure that your player has a Blu-ray 3D support and a 1.4 HDMI interface. The list of supported formats should be clarified in the description of the model.
Another important feature to consider is the functionality of a device. Perhaps the main peculiarity here is the access to a different premium content via the Internet. Various services may include a huge selection of movies, TV-series, and shows for all tastes. In other words, pre-installed apps and services provide users with functional capabilities that Smart TV offers. With a Blu-Ray player and different online services such as Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video you can stream movies and TV-series on your TV. However, there is a need for the Internet connection, and some devices may be connected either by a cable or Wi-Fi. The availability of the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) function is also preferable. This way you'll be able to access photos, movies, and music stored on your devices like PCs, smartphones, and tablets wirelessly. But they must be connected to the same home network to work properly. It’s also possible to transfer content from mobile devices with the help of a screen overlap function (Miracast). In this case, the connection is performed via Wi-Fi Direct technology, which means that you do not even need to access a Wi-Fi network. Alongside the main features, it’s worth mentioning that some SONY players have a special mode that supports PlayStation 3 games on your TV. No more PS3 console needed to play your favorite games, just connect to a compatible cloud service, connect your PS controller and subscribe to the channel.
Interfaces and Control
And the last features you should pay attention to are the Interfaces and player's control. If you need to connect a Blu-Ray player to the older TV models it would work well with SCART, Component and Composite inputs. For people who own modern TVs, we'd recommend opting for a player with HDMI jacks. It will ensure that your sound and video are transmitted in a digital format. You can easily connect your Blu-Ray player to the Internet through a LAN port. And models with USB-ports will give you an ability to reproduce video and music from different HDD connected to a player. At the same time, to play sound via the external acoustic system, you should consider the number and types of audio outs, which can be either digital optical, or coaxial with analog stereo outputs. If you are going to connect your device directly to the screen, make sure that your player has all the necessary audio codecs to produce a high-fidelity audio signal. Typically, it is subject to DTS-HD and Dolby True HD formats that cannot be decoded by inexpensive Blu-Ray players. All Blu-Ray players can be controlled in 2 ways: either via a standard remote included in a box or via your mobile phone (requires a special app installation first).