WHAT IS BLU-RAY TECHNOLOGY?
Blu-ray is a data storage format for optical discs that allows for much higher data storage capacity than is possible with conventional DVDs and CDs. The name Blu-Ray arises from the fact that this technology utilizes a blue laser to read the disk unlike the DVD technology that uses a red laser. The advantage of using a blue laser as opposed to a red one is that it has a shorter wavelength thus allowing data to be stored at much greater density on.
Blu-Ray disk than on DVD and thus the higher data storage capacity. A blu-ray player disk holds 25 GB of data per layer which is impressive compared to a mere 4.7 GB per layer possible with DVD. Blu-Ray discs are mainly used for holding various media files particularly video such as feature films. Recent innovative ideas have allowed the capacity of blu-ray discs to be expanded to astonishing extents of up to 500 GB though these are yet to hit the mainstream market.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING BEST BLU RAY PLAYER
1. Price – this is usually the most important consideration when purchasing any kind of electronics. However it is necessary to ensure you are getting proper value for the amount you pay, a task that involves a very delicate balancing act. A higher price doesn’t always guarantee you a player of higher quality. Do thorough research before going into the market for one and understand the features that different models have to offer. Determine what features you desire in player and evaluate these against your budget. It is important to note that some of the extra features that are offered by the more expensive models may not be useful to you or are usually overrated hence you may end up overspending on something worth no extra benefit.
2. 3D capability – As of 2017, most players being built by top manufacturers are 3D-enabled and are still compatible with 2D blu-ray discs, DVDs and CDs. Some are equipped with 2D-3D conversion functionality which converts signals from 2D movies into 3D to watch on 3D HDTV though the picture is not that impressive. If you intend to acquire a 3D TV in the near future it is best to go for a 3D enabled BD player as the 3D experience could prove quite enjoyable and you don’t have to spend much more as compared to 2D only players.
3. Connections – All players come with a HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port that allows you to audio and video content over a single cable to your HD television thus simplifying connection. HDMI supports all audio formats and maximum video resolutions. Some manufacturers of blu-ray players include a HDMI cable; otherwise you will need to buy your own. Some high-end players have two HDMI ports which saves consumers with home theater systems that are not 3D compatible the pain of having to upgrade their receiver. All players support 5.1 sound channels and all but a few support 7.1 audio channels when playing blu-ray player discs.
4. Compatibility – Support for different file formats particularly mp3 WMA, DivX and AVI varies among different blu-ray player models. Higher cost players tend to be compatible with a wider variety of formats but it is best to do some research to ensure that the player you purchase will satisfy your playback requirements. Also remember that BD players are region-coded and certain players are designed for certain geographical locations and can only play content that is authorized for that region.
5. Internet features – many blu-ray players are capable of connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet port allowing you to stream video and audio content and even photos from various online sources such as YouTube, Picasa and Pandora among others. Some varieties even allow access to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Some players allow update of firmware over the internet thus increasing their ability to play certain disks. Some game consoles such as Play Station 3 allow users to play a multitude of games online.
6. Reliability– the time it takes your blu-ray player to load and start playback once a disk is inserted should be a major consideration. Also the response time to navigation commands should not be ignored. The best way to know the best performers when it comes to speed is to test the player before you buy it and compare it with other prospective choices. Some players come with more than one disc slots which allows you to change between different disks much quicker.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR BLU-RAY PLAYER MANUFACTURERS?
This list is composed mainly of the usual suspects that dominate the electronics industry:
1. Sony – Sony is widely considered the pioneer of blu-ray technology having released the word’s first commercially available BD player( the Sony BDZ-S77) into the Japanese market in 2003. The Sony Play Station 3 gaming console is considered one of the best Blu-Ray handling platform in the market. Other famous models from Sony include:
– The BDP-S5100- this is the latest blu-ray player from Sony and it prides itself in its revolutionary TV side View functionality that introduces a second screen allowing you to view multiple images at the same time.
– The Sony Blu-ray Player BDP-S790 whose most prominent feature is the Ultra HD up scaling chipset.
2. OPPO – This rather small company prides itself in producing high-end players with highly advanced video-processing technology. All its models are capable of playing all discs including DVD audio discs and SACDs. The most popular model from this company is the OPPO BDP-103 which is ultra-light and has a sleek design. Its performance and functionality is extremely potent compared to other players, the only drawback being its hefty price tag.
3. Samsung – Known for its innovative designs in other electronics niches Samsung hasn’t been left behind in the world of Blu-Ray. Two of its most impressive models are: – Samsung BD-F7500 which has smart TV and 4K upscaling. It runs on a dual-core processor that its Smart Hub and All Share networking apps. Its smart view functionality allows for streaming of videos to smart-phones and tablets.
4. Toshiba – A late entrant into the Blu-Ray player niche owing to its earlier insistence on HD DVDs, Toshiba has finally managed to catch up with other big boys. Its Toshiba BDX 5300 and BDX3300 platforms are some of the most affordable players in the market.
5. Panasonic – It produces mid-priced players that are widely available. Its DMR-BWT735 platform, which is its latest model is renowned for its remote recording functionality and great sound. An app called the Freeview HD TV allows you to connect to the player from anywhere and schedule recordings on the go.