How to choose a Blu-ray Disc player
Samsung's BD-P2550 with Netflix and Pandora
The time has come for the rest of us to get Blu-ray Disc players. To see gorgeous movies on our HDTVs, to take advantage of all that high definition picture on those big flat panel plasma and LCD TVs that we’ve invested in.
Prices have come down on Blu-ray Disc players. Sony, Samsung and Panasonic Blu-ray Disc players will reduce prices to the mid-$200 range. Some models will break $200, at $199 and below. Check out www.bestbuy.com, www.circuitcity.com or your favorite electronics store. They all have deals. For the true bargain hunter, Walmart has slashed the price on the Magnavox Blu-ray Disc player to $128!
What do you need to look at in buying a Blu-ray Disc player (often referred to as “BD player”)? Will you miss out by buying the least expensive model? Will the picture look as good on your 58 inch plasma?
The answer depends on if you are a videophile, a video connoisseur that can see the small artifacts, jagged edges and looks for shadow detail and smooth colors. If you are a casual movie watcher, the budget players will be fine. Sony’s BDP-S350 (sale below $299), Samsung’s BDP-1500 (sale below $249) and Panasonics DMP-35 (sales below $200), are good for those with a more discerning eye. For those who are picky, videophile enthusiasts, the Denon 1800 just dropped it’s price below $500! Look at sites like buy.com or amazon.com or pricegrabber.com, etc. or check out the turkey day ads for the best Black Friday deals (yes, I do get up at 4am to get in line…I love the thrill of the hunt!)
Still, it’s not all about quality features. There are other features you might want too…
1) Bonus View and BD-Live. click here and click on “BD Live” to learn more . But here’s what you need to know…
IMPORTANT TIP Some BD players are BD-Live compatible, others have BD-Live. The difference is memory. Many features like games and movie previews and more, require memory so they can be saved at the player. Some players have internal memory, more have a USB connection where you can add a USB flash drive (you know those thumb drives with gigabytes of memory). Typically they require a 1 GB flash drive (which you can buy for under $10).
2) Quick Start Blu-ray Disc playes are notorious for taking several minutes to start up or for menu to respond–Enough time to pop your popcorn and sit down. Quick Start will start the disc and bring up menus before you have time to sit on the couch and reach for the remote.
NOTE Using the Quick Start option on some BD players will use more energy and the fan will run when the unit is in standby. It’s a good idea to turn off the surge protector (check out Monster Cables Green Power for easy ways to do that.)
3) NETFLIX and More The LG BD300 was the first BD player that uses its Ethernet connection to connect to Netflix downloads. Like the Roku Netflix download player, LG’s BD300 can stream movies, tv shows, anything available for streaming on Netflix. You must have a Netflix subscription (prices for unlimited downloads start at $8.99 per month and includes a single rental home delivery plan to get the Blu-ray Discs you want to rent).
TIP To stream Netflix videos, you need a minimum of 1.5 Mbps Internet download speeds, for a smooth, better picture experience, 3 Mbps is better. This means if you have a basic DSL connection you may want to upgrade your plan to a faster speed. Most broadband connections are fast enough but be aware of “Fair Use Policies” that limit the amount of data that you can download or your Internet speeds can come to a halt!
Pandora Samsung’s BDP-2550 not only includes Netflix streaming, (Samsung tells me that updates for Netflix-HD are coming soon), but also Pandora Internet Radio that plays music based on the songs/Artists/music you like.
I’ve had a chance to play with these new features of downloading movies and music…and it’s becoming natural. I don’t worry about missing TV shows, can get music I like without thinking about it and more. But that’s for another post….
And by the way– be sure to get a high speed HDMI cable to get all the picture you expect from your Blu-ray Disc player. Monster’s HDMI Learning center can help you to understand more.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving…Stay safe and don’t end up black and Blue when fighting the Black Friday crowds for a Blu-ray Disc player!