2011 Blu-ray Disc Player Buying Guide

If you are one of the very few who is still clining to your old DVD player, the time has never been better to start thinking about changing to the superior Blu-ray Player. Good, high-quality players cost little more than $100.00. You can even find a whole line-up of efficient players for under $100.00. Many consumer experts predict that for the upcoming holiday seasons, prices for Blu-ray Players will drop as low as $30.00 to $50.00. All these players will support your old DVDs better than your current DVD player. This is the most cost-effective upgrade you can come across. Not only will Blu-ray DVD Player play and up-convert your old DVDs, they can handle blu-ray discs and come with various online streaming services as such as Netflix and Vudu. And if you have a HDTV or plan on purchasing one, a Blu-ray DVD Player is a must to get the most out of your HDTV.

For those who have already purchased a player, but did so a few years back, you may want to think about upgrading as well. Your 2007 player, while it still might produce stunning pictures and sound quality; you be missing out on all the new features that have been added to most of today’s current models. Features like online streaming media services, built-in Wi-Fi, iPod/iPhone/Andriod app, Skype, DLNA capability and of course the new trend – 3D. Blu-rays over the past couple of years have evolved into a lot more than just playing physical media discs. Players have become the ultimate home theater accessory that provides many entertainment options.

Here is what you get with the current group of Blu-ray Disc Players:

Online Streaming Media Services: Most players come with a host of online streaming content built-in. Every manufacturer has a different set, but you get access to a variation of services such as Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon, Slacker, CinemaNow, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and literally hundreds more. They range from online movies to shopping to social networking sites. Some players even come with their own browser so you can surf and search the web. DLNA capability is also a popular feature on certain models, which allows you to access media files on your home network devices like your computer.

3D Technology: The last couple of years all the major electronic manufacturers have made a conscious effort to bring 3D technology home to our living rooms. This trend has continued and even grown in 2011. For we see a lot of new players out this year are 3D compatible. (You still require a 3D TV and 3D glasses to view 3D content). And 3D features such as 2D-to-3D conversion and 3D Effect Controller have been added to give us more control on how we view 3D content.

Up-converting DVDs: Many of us still have a large collection of old DVDs. It would get very expensive to replace all of them. Luckily for us, players have the capability to up-scale standard DVDs to near high-definition levels. Of course they will not have the same quality you get on Blu-ray discs, but your DVDs will look better than they ever have before.

Quick Start/Quick Load: Blu-ray discs load faster than ever before. While there is still no consistency, as some discs will load slower than others depending on the contents. The overall average of disc loading and operation speed of players have decreased considerable. It has reached a level where it is no longer seen as a deterrent to purchasing a player.

Audio: Beside stunning 1080p/24fps images, players produce high-resolution 7.1-ch surround sound. Blu-ray discs can store so much more data than the average DVD; there is more than enough space for the best possible audio. New formats like Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and uncompressed PCM deliver original studio master soundtracks with no loss of resolution.

HDMI/Component Outputs: The best way to connect you player is via a HDMI cable. Especially since 2011 has seen the elimination of Component Video Outputs on most players. Movie studios have started to produce disc that restrict players from showing HD images through Component Video outputs; making it obsolete. The reasoning behind this is to prevent or hinder piracy of their content. While this may be an inconvenience to some, most comsumers will connect using a HDMI cable, as it produces the best possible image and sound quality. **Purchasing a good and capably HDMI cable will cost about $5 to $10. You do not need an expensive HDMI cable, as a cheaper one will produce the same results.

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