With prices dropping rapidly, Blu-ray players are quickly becoming an affordable consumer electronic. These decreased prices encourage competition in the marketplace resulting in more than a few models stacked on store’s shelves.
If you’re planning to invest in a Blu-ray player, you won’t be disappointed with the heightened viewing experience, but here are a few tips to prevent buyer’s remorse from creeping up.
#1. Image Quality
When you’ve made the switch to Blu-ray, image quality becomes less about the player and more about the television. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind regarding your television to ensure you’re watching Blu-ray in all of its glory. HDTVs with 1080p resolution that can handle 1080p/24 signals are the best for the film frame rate encoded into most Blu-ray discs. Videophiles will note some difference in the picture between players, but most consumers will see no noticeable difference.
Though there is little variance in picture quality for Blu-ray discs, the picture quality of DVDs will vary from one Blu-ray player to the next. If your DVD collection is extensive, look for a player that puts sincere focus on the upconversion process as these units will deliver the best picture when playing your favorite DVD.
#2. Audio Performance and Connectivity
Unlike video, there is a noticeable difference in the sound quality delivered by Blu-ray players. With the ability to support high-definition audio formats, sound comes through crystal clear. Be sure to check whether high-resolution is passed through HDMI or analog outputs. Most of the players will transmit it through HDMI and require an AV receiver with HDMI inputs. However, if you’re looking at the higher-end players, these units often have multichannel analog outputs that work with the older AV receivers, so that those consumers don’t have to miss out on the high-definition audio experience.
#3. Networking and Streaming Content
The newest features on Blu-ray players are networking capabilities and the ability to stream content. Though networking and streaming are included on almost all of the newer models, consumers still have options in terms of their connection. Some Blu-ray players come with built-in Wi-Fi, while others still utilize an Ethernet connection. Remember to look carefully at the content providers available for streaming and only choose one that has the services you’re most likely to use. Some commonly included providers are Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Blockbuster, YouTube, Vudu and Pandora.
Like with any technology, it is important to know what’s available and balance that with what you need and what you’ll use. If you want your investment to stretch even further, consider players that accept firmware updates. These updates are released periodically not only to correct errors, but also to add new features. If you keep the above criteria in mind when doing your shopping, whether you buy online or in the store, you’ll end up with the best Blu-ray player and maybe the best video experience on the block.