Blu-ray players - what is it and how can you use them in the digital age? Such questions often arise among lovers of modern gadgets who have not previously encountered such technologies. Devices capable of reproducing 3D, Ultra HD, 4K and other quality content are still popular. What you need to know when choosing the best player for playing Blu-Ray discs, what are the search criteria for a suitable model, it is worthwhile to find out these points in more detail.
What it is?
The Blu-ray player was created to reproduce image and sound in higher quality than its traditional counterparts allow. Unlike DVD media players, these models from the very beginning implied the ability to view and play files from different media. New devices had the same compact size and drive, but were equipped with additional interfaces. In addition, players of a new type were able to read and decode file formats previously available only for playback on a computer, as well as record high-quality content from a TV screen.
The name Blu-ray itself means "blue ray" in translation from English, but only in a truncated version. It is connected solely with the fact that when writing data to disks, it is not the infrared but the blue-violet light spectrum that is used.
Such media are more resistant to external damage, can provide broadcast images in Full HD resolution at a frame rate of 24p and sound in studio recording quality. On a Blu-ray player, you can activate subtitles, additional tracks through the use of the BD Live function.
The new generation media player provides much more options for improving picture quality. It converts the received signal to a better one. Usually this is 1080p, but with 4K support, the indicator will be similar to the UHD format, provided that it is supported by the device.
All types of Blu-ray players that exist today can be divided into categories according to functionality. For example, karaoke models should always have a microphone output and appropriate playback mode. In addition, the type of broadcast image is important. There are 4 generations in total.
- SD. The simplest format with a resolution of 576p or 480p. The quality of the content will be appropriate.
- HD A format with an aspect ratio of 16: 9 and a resolution of 720p. Today it is considered the minimum acceptable.
- Full HD It is found on all mass models of the budget and mid-level. The picture has a resolution of 1080p, allows for a significant increase in image clarity, the sound also meets expectations.
- 4K or Ultra HD. Implies a resolution of 2160p, relevant only for working with widescreen TVs that support the same technology. If the TV has other characteristics, the image quality will be lower, most often Full HD at 1080p.
- Profile0. Reproduces exclusively content from original compatible media. In addition to Blu-ray discs, the device will not play anything.
- Profile2.0. The last generation. It has BD Live, with which you can get add-ons via Wi-Fi.
- Profile1. An intermediate option, found on sale today. Opens and broadcasts auxiliary audio tracks on Bonus View discs.
This additional option was not added immediately.
Among the companies that produce Blu-ray players, one can note both market leaders and manufacturers known only for sales in individual retail chains. It is worth considering the most well-known and noteworthy options before making a final decision.
The company from Japan produces Blu-ray-players in various price categories. The simplest models, such as the Sony BDP-S3700 , support broadcasting data in Full HD format. Despite the affordable price, the model has smart Internet access via Wi-Fi and wired channels, 24p True Cinema is supported, you can control from a smartphone and HDMI.
There are in the arsenal of the brand and Ultra HD-players . Among the popular models can be distinguished Sony UBP-X700 . She has a high build quality, 4K image scaling. The player has Smart TV functionality, all types of BD, DVD media are supported. Includes 2 HDMI outputs, USB interface for connecting external drives.
The most budget brand on the Blu-ray player market . This Chinese manufacturer is not distinguished by a high level of quality of devices, but allows you to make them more affordable for the mass consumer. One of the best-selling models - DEXP BD-R7001 has compact dimensions, can broadcast a picture in 3D, play content from USB-drives and drives. The supported 1080p format is enough for transferring data in high resolution.
The budget cost is reflected in the functionality: the model does not have smart functions, the codecs are partially supported, the firmware has Cinavia, with which it is impossible to watch content without a license with sound, it just turns off.
The Korean manufacturer offers modern solutions for viewing Blu-ray discs and other media. Among the popular models can be noted Samsung BD-J7500. The model works with image scaling up to 4K resolution, HDTV, supports working with Smart TV. This version of the player is equipped with a basic set of decoders, supports media based on DVD and BD recording technologies. Among the available functions are HDMI control, the ability to update software, and quick start-up of equipment.
The premium electronics maker, a division of BBK, though based in China, sets the tone for the Blu-ray player market. The first model with HDR deserves special attention. The OPPO UPD-203 player delivers an unrivaled mix of flawlessly clear pictures and Hi-Fi sound. Image processing up to 4K standard. In addition to HDR, SDR with a standard brightness range is also possible.
OPPO packs its equipment in steel cases with an aluminum front panel. The equipment is capable of reading rare audio formats, including Dolby Atmos. The package includes an analog output 7.1 for connecting to the most advanced home theater systems.
Integration is possible via HDMI and IR technology.
In addition to these brands, manufacturers from the first echelon deserve attention. This is Pioneer, Panasonic, Harman / Kardon, Cambridge Audio. These companies create Blu-ray players that can play video content in Ultra HD quality, do not save on components, and care about the sound level. The average cost of a high-quality premium device varies from 50,000 to 150,000 rubles.
Criterias of choice
When looking for a Blu-ray player for the home, you should pay attention to the main criteria that allow you to make the right choice. Of great importance is the functionality of the device, the choice of compatible media, available interfaces. All the main parameters are worth considering in more detail.
Type of supported formats
The more extensions a player has, the higher its value to the user will be. In particular, the required components may include not only MP3 and MPEG4, JPEG, VideoCD, DVD-Audio. Among the popular formats also include SACD, DivX, MPEG2, AVCHD, WMA, AAC, MKV, WAV, FLAC and others. In fact, a quality branded player will read everything: in the form of text, photos, video and audio content.
Digital file formats should not be a problem for Blu-ray devices at all.
Type of compatible media
Here, the type of disc that can be played using the player is already important. The most important, of course, is Blu-ray 3D and BD, BD-R, BD-Re, directly related to this type of technology. They cannot be played on other devices. In addition, the player must allow the launch of content on CD-RW, CD-R, DVD-R, DVD-RW. This will allow you to view even archive files without translating them into more modern digital formats, while maintaining an authentic medium.
Their number and list directly affect which file codes the device can recognize. A high-quality Blu-ray player will definitely be equipped with decoders for the MPEG2, MPEG4, DTS, DTS-HD, VC-1, H264, WMV9 formats, will be able to work with Dolby Digital, Xvid, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus.
Such abilities are possessed by models of leading manufacturers who do not save when developing their devices.
Available connection methods, inputs and outputs are essential for the successful use of the device. Modern high-frequency players are equipped with the necessary components by default. Before making the final decision on choosing a model, you need to make sure that it has interfaces:
- USB Type A;
- AV stereo
- headphone jack.
This is a necessary minimum, allowing you to play content from different media, embed the player in the home theater system.
Among the useful functions that are equipped with Blu-ray-players today, it can be noted child protection, which helps prevent the playback of inappropriate content. This option is available for equipment of all major manufacturers. In addition, the player may provide for the use of a smartphone instead of a standard remote control, support playback of content in 3D.
If you plan to use the device in order to play and perform karaoke, there should be a microphone connector on its body . In addition, useful options include “quick start” without a long download , automatic or manual software updates.
It will also be useful to have upscaling, which allows you to reach an image on obsolete media to the HD standard.
In addition, a modern Blu-ray player must support access to the Internet. If the device has built-in online services, it is recommended to make sure in advance that they are supported in the Russian Federation. Broadcasting UHD content will also be an advantage, as it will allow you to connect a media player to modern 4K TVs. The number of audio output channels is important : 2.0 stands for stereo pair, 5.1 and 7.1 allows you to connect to a home theater system with a subwoofer.
Next, see the review of the Blu-ray player Samsung BD-J5500.