Blu-Ray – A Beginners Guide
Every few years a new technology dramatically changes the way we experience home entertainment. DVDs brought us significantly better picture and sound than VHS tapes, as well as scene by scene access and extras like director commentary—all in a durable, easy to store format. Now, with the popularity of High Definition Televisions (HDTVs), Blu-ray players and discs are delivering another wave of innovation in home entertainment.
What is Blu-ray?
Blu-ray is an optical disc format used to store and play high-definition video as well as games. These discs are the next generation of DVDs delivering Full HD picture quality and because they look and feel like standard DVDs, they’re just as easy to use,
Blu-ray discs produce excellent picture quality for an HDTV. Simply put, everything looks sharp, details such as skin and hair, patterns on clothing and even faces of people in the background can appear razor sharp. Blu-ray discs provide accurate colour which creates rich, life-like pictures.
Blu-ray has taken the home surround sound capabilities first heard and felt from DVD to another level. Its high capacity format allows for depth of sound and support for additional speakers. With home theatre systems now available in a variety of sizes and price range, it’s easier than ever to upgrade your equipment and get a theatrical experience at home.
(Model: Samsung BD-D8500 shown above)
How it Works
Although we’ve come to expect video extras such as commentary and “making of” content from DVDs, select Blu-ray players also offer innovative new features that help the studios get us into their shows and movies in entirely new ways—like extra audio tracks and video overlays with additional content that is relevant to what is on the screen.
Apps: Go Beyond the Disc
Newer Blu-ray players connect to the internet to go beyond the contents of Blu-ray discs and support apps for streaming video on demand from the internet such as BigPond Movies.*
Other types of supported apps include customised news and weather apps from sources such as the BBC, Catch up TV through ABC iView, You Tube and more. Support for applications depends on the make and model of the Blu-ray player, but apps are quickly becoming a standard feature that can bring great convenience and selection to the content at your fingertips.*
What You Need
In general, you will see a benefit in picture quality if you are watching a Blu-ray on most HDTVs. The one thing you’ll want to ensure if you are buying a Blu-ray player for a slightly older HDTV is that your player and TV have matching connections.
TV with HDMI or Component Input
The best and easiest way to connect a Blu-ray player to a TV is using an HDMI connection, which provides a high quality signal over a single cable with a flat end. All Blu-ray players have HDMI outputs and most new HDTVs have HDMI inputs.
If you don’t have an HDMI input on your HDTV, a component input is an older option which can still provide excellent HD quality from your player. Component video connections use three round cables with red, blue, and green ends next to each other. Any HDTV without HDMI has one or more component inputs. If you need to use a component connection with your TV, make sure that the Blu-ray player you buy has a component output (some newer Blu-ray players don’t have component outputs).
A Broadband (Cable or DSL) Internet Connection
As mentioned above, the latest Blu-ray players are designed to take advantage of the internet, with special internet-connected features on certain discs, and support of video streaming and other apps streaming.* Beyond those features, Blu-ray discs featuring new software or features sometimes require players to update themselves over the internet. If your cable or DSL modem is not near your TV to make a cable connection convenient, look for Blu-ray players with built in Wi-Fi, which can connect to your home wireless network with a minimum of effort.*
The Next Generation Has Arrived
In summary, Blu-ray is the high definition replacement for most DVDs, and takes full advantage of the capabilities of HDTVs and the internet to deliver high quality audio and video with new content, features and great convenience.
*Internet connection, data download, usage and subscription fees may apply. Samsung does not authorise, sanction or approve any use of its devices to infringe copyright laws.