features of blu ray players
Media,  Music

11 Benefits of Blu-ray Players You Didn’t Know About

If you’ve decided Blu-ray players are about as relevant as CDs, here’s 12 pretty cool features that may change your mind about getting one.

If you’re asking if you even need a DVD player, let alone a Blu-ray, the answer is yes. Especially if you’re a videophile with a large collection of treasured discs or if you don’t want to rely on streaming to get a video fix.

When DVDs came out in 1996 they quickly made VHS tapes obsolete. So much easier to load, start and restart with no rewinding! Not to mention superior video quality which only got better once the Blu-ray and HD-DVD or Hi def formats were introduced in 2006. 

Blu-ray is essentially a high definition DVD format.

Blu-ray players are also very versatile. Pop your DVD or CDs in them to hear and see the difference in video and audio quality.

What happens if you put a Blu-ray disc in a DVD player? 

Because a Blu-ray disc is embedded with more video and audio than a traditional DVD, your DVD player can’t read it. DVD players aren’t equipped with the blue laser required to read all the encoded information on a Blu-day disc. You can however play DVDs on your Blu-ray player because most have both red and blue lasers designed to read either disc.

Can you play Blu ray discs in an Xbox One?

If you play Blue-ray and DVD discs from the same region as your XBox One you should be able to play them on the Xbox as long as you download the Blu-ray player app onto your console.

11 Reasons to Keep Your Blu-ray Player or Upgrade Now

1. Blu-ray quality is better than streaming video.

Blu-ray technology supports uncompressed 4K video and multichannel uncompressed audio which is higher quality than any streaming service. Netflix and Amazon are still running 1080p which is 4x lower than 4K. 

It makes sense streaming services want to offer  lower quality or no buffering streams for those customers who don’t have fast broadband, but it means videophiles aren’t getting the best cinematic experience when streaming.

2. Blu-ray gives you access to more esoteric titles

A lot of foreign or indie video titles aren’t available to stream. Plus some titles are more expensive to “rent” or stream than if you just bought the Blu-ray disc set.

Another benefit I like is that once you buy your favorite movies on disc you own them. They won’t disappear off a streaming service before you get a chance to watch them. When you “buy” digital titles you don’t own them in the same way you own a disc. Especially if they reside in a subscription based service. Two of my purchased videos went AWOL from my Amazon library and although I eventually got credit from Amazon, it was a huge waste of time to have to track down something I thought I owned.

Blu-ray discs are getting cheaper as stores clear out excess inventory, so there’s never been a better time to stock up on classics.

3. Play your music CDs on a Blu-ray player.

Since Blu-ray is intended to accurately reproduce multiple formats including soundtracks, your player is equipped to play music CDs. The downside is unless you have a high priced multi-disc player, CDs will have to be loaded one at a time.

All new Blu-ray players use HDMI digital connectors to carry audio and video signals to your TV or receiver. Connect the HDMI output and the 2-channel analog output to your home theater receiver for CD output. Note most low end players may not have the analog output, but some players have composite (red, yellow, white) stereo RCA connections for older stereo equipment.

Switch your receiver to the analog stereo connection to listen to CDs.

It goes without saying, you’ll get better sound quality with a home theater setup including a sound bar or speakers rather than your TV’s built in speakers.

4. How long do Blu-ray players last?

Expect your player to last 5-10 years depending on where it’s stored, and how often it’s used. If the laser lens gets bunged up with dust and disuse it may shorten the life of a player.

Keep it clean and it will last long enough to watch every episode of the Sopranos once or twice.

Clean a Blu-ray player that’s skipping or won’t read content by using a lens cleaning disc that uses a disc with brushes to gently “clean” the lens. Insert the disc and follow instructions that come up on your TV screen.

Using a can of compressed air to gently blast the lens may also help dislodge dust or debris. Try to keep dust from blowing into the player or tray

5. Samsung discontinued it’s Blu-ray line.

Samsung is considered the godfather of Blu-Ray and released the first commercial Blu-ray video disc player in 2003, but by 2019 it discontinued production.

However as of October 2020, you can still find more than 30 Blu-ray players for sale from manufacturers like Sony, LG and Panasonic starting at $69 at Best Buy. 4K UltraHD players start at $199.

6. Blu-ray movie titles may be cheaper than DVDs.

Blu-ray titles can be a bargain if you’re willing to hunt. For example, Amazon currently has a used set of The Sopranos: Complete Series of 28 discs for $89.99 (Blu-ray) or $88.93. (DVD).

Mission Impossible: The Original TV Series due out November 2020 is priced new at $107. on Blu-ray and $174. on DVD.

Some Blu Ray disc sets come packaged with a DVD or digital version of the title as well. 4K titles may be a little more expensive.

Look for bargains on used or slightly used copies on Amazon, Ebay or at your local thrift store.

7. Blu Ray is HDTV quality at 1080i or 4K

The Blu-ray disc is a digital optical disc storage format. It offers hi def HD quality of 1080i or 4K, compared to regular DVD output of only 480i. This translates to 1920 X 1080 pixel resolution at 50/60 interlaced frames per second.

By comparison, an iMac with retina display has 5120 x 2880 native resolution.

Blu-ray discs can store or hold up to 25G on one layer compared to HD DVD which stores 15 GB on a single layer.

The high definition DVD format was discontinued in 2008 leaving Blu-ray as the sole HD disc option. 

8. You can play CDs and regular DVDs on Blu-ray.

With their video upscaling capacity, Blu-ray players enhance your CDs and DVDs sound and video output. You should be able to play these multiple disc formats on your player:

DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD-RAM, CD-ROM, CD-R/RW

Planning on copying a music or video file onto a disc for play? Keep in mind you’ll have to format the disc correctly.

9. Blu-ray supports the same connections as DVD players.

These standard DVD connections are also present on most Blu-ray players:

Composite, S-Video, Component Video, Digital Optical, Analog Stereo, Digital Coaxial Audio Output.

To render 1080p Hi-def output, HDMI outputs were added to Blu-ray.

In addition most Blu-ray disc players include:

  • 1-2 USB ports for firmware updates or to access to digital media files stored on a memory stick.
  • Ethernet/Lan ports for a wired connection to home network
  • Built in WiFi
  • 5.1/7.1 analog outputs on some higher end players

10. Like DVDs,  Blu-ray discs are coded by region.

However there are fewer regions assigned to Blu-ray and some discs aren’t coded at all. For example there are 8 regional coding discs for DVDs but only 3 for Blu-ray.

Region codes were designed by studios to limit play in markets where they want to regulate distribution or content.

Region ARegion BRegion C
North and Central America, South America, Korea, Japan, Southeast AsiaEurope, Middle East, Africa, Australia, New ZealandRussia, India, China
and the rest of the world
Blu-ray Regions

All Blu-ray players have to carry regional coding in software or firmware. If the disc is coded it can only be played on a player within that region. However if the disc is NOT coded, it can be played on any player, anywhere.

Some studios such as Paramount and Universal don’t encode their movies by region. Up to 70% of Blu-ray discs may not be locked to a specific region.

Where is the region code on a Blu-ray disc? On the back of the disc case or on the disc.

Even if you’re not packing your player, it might be worth it to take your discs with you if you move overseas.

11. Blu-ray also encodes multiple audio formats.

Audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD and DTS:X are encoded onto Blu-ray discs. If your home theater receiver is capable of rendering one of these formats, you’ll benefit from a sound upgrade.

If you don’t have a compatible receiver, audio output will default to Standard Dolby Digital/DTS.


Why It Makes Sense to Consider Blu-ray

If you’re shopping for a DVD player to play the occasional rental or family favorite, it makes sense to jump up to a Blu-ray player instead. 

With prices coming down for both discs and players, why not invest in a 4K Blu-ray player to get better video quality that doesn’t need an internet connection to play? You’ll need an HD TV with HDMI port to match up to the output of Blu-ray 4K video technology. 

If your home isn’t blessed with a high speed internet or broadband connection then a Blu-ray player may fill the gap when you want to binge your favorite movies and shows.

Just be sure your TV is capable of delivering the same high quality experience. You’ll need an HD or 4K Ultra HD TV to make the most of your Blu-ray discs 4K video format.