The Super Bowl is this Sunday and what better way to enjoy it from the comfort of home than on a brand-new HDTV? ...
Blu-ray Sound, Formats
Blu-ray Players Surround Sound Support
A Blu-ray player's format support for video is of primary importance, no doubt, but many users also connect these devices to surround sound home theater systems for a truly immersive movie experience. There are several surround sound formats, such as Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital TrueHD, DTS, and DTS-HD.
Blu-ray Players Format Support.Blu-ray players are versatile little machines that aren't restricted to playing Blu-ray movies. All Blu-ray players are also compatible with commercially-produced DVDs and audio CDs, and frugal consumers with libraries of DVDs invariably report improved image quality (clarity, sharpness, color) when these older-format discs are played on a Blu-ray. One user, for example, who concedes in a post on Amazon to lagging behind the technological curve, says playback quality of DVDs and audio with CDs on the Panasonic DMP-BD75 is totally groovy.
In the budget end of the market, Blu-ray format support is fairly wide ranging. Most players support a variety of formats, such as dual-layer Blu-ray discs, recordable Blu-ray discs, recordable DVDs, and recordable CDs. In other words, you can use an inexpensive Blu-ray to play nearly all the content you have on disc. Additionally, three of our top picks -- the Panasonic DMP-BDT220, LG BP620, and Sony BDP-S580 -- support 3D Blu-ray playback.
Blu-ray format support by all the players on our list also includes DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), which lets you send certain media files from your PC through your home network for playback on the Blu-ray. Devices that are DLNA-compatible can play a variety of photo, audio, and video formats, such as MP3 files, MP4 files, MVK video files, or WMA files. Blu-ray format support typically extends to common file formats such as CD audio and JPEG file types, and most players support additional file types, such as ACC and MKV files, as well. But Blu-ray format support varies quite a bit, so check the manufacturer's specifications for the particulars. Note, though, that devices capable of playing specialty discs, such as DVD-Audio or SA-CDs, aren't cheap; the Oppo Digital BDP-93 features such Blu-ray format support, but this player is several times more expensive than our best budget picks.
Blu-ray Players Profile.A Blu-ray player profile is a set of features and specifications that a player must have in order to qualify for a specific profile designation, such as Profile 1.0 or Profile 2.0. These specifications are determined by the Blu-ray Disc Association, a consortium of electronics manufacturers that oversees the development of Blu-ray technology and counts Pioneer, Samsung, Dell, Apple, and Sony among its members.
Not so long ago, consumers had to pay close attention to the profile supported by the Blu-ray player on their shopping list, but this is largely a concern of the past. Any player on the market today, including all of the models we researched, adhere to the Profile 2.0 specification. Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players support a couple of special Blu-ray movie features, namely BonusView and BD-Live. In order to qualify for a Profile 2.0 designation, a Blu-ray player must support either a wired or wireless Internet connection and provide for either 1GB of onboard storage or 1GB of storage through an external connection, like a USB thumb drive.
Don't Bother Cheap Blu Ray Players
Samsung BD-D5700 Review
Sony BDP-S590 Review
Toshiba BDX2200 Review
Vizio VBR122 Review
Sony BDP-S580 Review
Panasonic DMP-BD75 Review
Panasonic DMP-BDT220 Review
LG BP620 Review
Sharp Aquos BD-HP21U
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