In consumer electronics, the 2000s were the decade of the HD boom and the HD format wars. By the end of the decade, HDTV has become ubiquitous, and one format defeated all others. In 2008, HD-DVD was defeated by Sony’s Blu-ray.
With everything settled, now is a good time to choose and buy a Blu-ray player. There will be many offers. The technology is already quite established. You will not suffer from the early adopter syndrome in which you will be the guinea pig of the new products. So how do you choose a good player?
First of all, a gamer needs a television. You will not get any advantage when viewing an HD source on a standard definition television. There just aren’t enough pixels. SD can only go up to 480i. There are two types of HDTVs on the market. They are called HD Ready and Full HD. HD Ready can only project up to 720p. Full HD goes up to 1080p. Combined with the right player, you will see the benefits of HD video. Be sure to check your player and television for their video capabilities.
High definition isn’t just for video. It also applies to audio. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are examples of high definition audio. They both have logos that can be found on the Blu-ray player. This will ensure that the player can generate those formats.
For me the most frustrating part of the Blu-ray spec is the firmware. In order for you to play the latest movies, the player needs to be updated from time to time. Updates fix issues or add features. This sounds like a good thing until you realize that not all players can be updated. Or the update process is tedious. The easiest to upgrade are players with Wi-Fi or an Ethernet port. Players with those can probably update automatically when connected to the internet. Otherwise, you will have to download the updates yourself, save them to a USB flash drive or an optical disc. Or it can’t be updated at all.
There are three hardware profiles for Blu-ray players. Profile 1.0 is the first and simplest. Manufacturers no longer make them. All they can do is play movies, which is not bad. It has been superseded by Profile 1.1, also known as Bonus View. The player has 256 MB of memory. It mainly has the function of picture in picture, among others. Profile 2.0, also known as BD-Live, is the hardware profile that adds an Internet connection plus 1 GB of storage. This is intended to download additional content that cannot be put on a Blu-ray disc. Most disks will require this functionality later.
This holiday season will have many offers. Choose the right one for you. Don’t buy a player who is hampered or not moving forward. If your needs are simple, a hardware profile1.0 can be a bargain. If you really love content, then a BD-Live compatible player is better for you.