Blu-ray and DVD Player Buying Guide

Having a Blu-Ray or DVD player in your home lets you watch your favorite television show box sets and movies anytime you want. Many film studios now limit the special features found on DVDs and put more of those features on Blu-Ray discs, which is why you might prefer buying a Blu-Ray player instead of a traditional DVD player. Get some help deciding which type of player is right for your home.

Types of Blu-Ray and DVD Players

There are a few different types of Blu-Ray and DVD players that you should look at before buying. Keep in mind that these electronics work with newer LCD and other television types and will not work right out of the box with an older television. If your set does not feature the right connections, you'll need to buy a box that plugs into the TV that you can plug the cords from your player into before using.

One thing you need to think about is whether you want a standard DVD player or a device that plays Blu-Ray discs. A DVD player will only play standard DVDs and mini discs that look like those discs but are smaller in size. A Blu-Ray player will work with Blu-Ray discs that typically come with more bonus features and additional content. If you want something that can perform in more ways, you might look into investing in a video game console. Newer consoles like the PS4 and the XBOX One come installed with apps that will play both types of discs.

The two other types of players that you should be aware of are the 3D capable Blu-Ray players and the streaming disc players. A 3D capable Blu-Ray player can handle the 3D discs that movie studios now release, but to get the benefits of those discs, you'll also need a 3D capable television and the glasses that come with that TV. A device that can stream TV shows and films is a good option for those who don't mind paying a little extra for additional services. These Blu-Ray and DVD players are WiFi enabled and will use the wireless Internet connection in your house. You can then download apps like Netflix and Hulu to stream videos over the Internet. Keep in mind that those services will charge you a monthly or annual fee.

Pay Attention to

Disc capacity

While most DVD players will only let you put in one disc at a time, some of the newer players function like CD players did in the past. These devices let you keep five or more discs in the player at any one time. This lets you switch between movies or watch an entire season of your favorite show without getting up first to change discs.

Disc format

Always pay attention to the type of disc formats that the device can play. In addition to looking at whether it will play standard DVDs or Blu-Ray discs, you'll also want to see if it can play formats like MP3s. Many of the newer Blu-Ray players will still accommodate older DVD discs and let you play those discs without dragging out your old DVD player. Some will also play discs that you burned on your home or work computer, which lets you share family vacation films and other videos with your loved ones.

USB port

The best player for you just might be one that has one or more USB ports on the side. Having a USB port lets you transfer video and photo files from your computer or other devices to the player. This lets you store videos on the drive, plug in the drive to the device and start watching videos in seconds. It also reduces the time that you spend fumbling with cords or trying to connect your computer to that device.

Size

A good Blu-Ray or DVD player is one that will fit in the space you have available. Smaller models are great for studio apartments and smaller rooms where you have less space. Make sure that you think about how you'll hook that device up to your television too. One with shorter cords may not work in the space you have available.

BD-Live

Though newer Blu-Ray players come with BD-Live already installed, this feature is not available on DVD players. BD-Live is a new feature that requires a wireless Internet connection but lets you go behind the scenes of your favorite movies. You can press a button to watch movie trailers, see behind the scenes features and watch deleted scenes. Some models require that you plug in a USB device first to get the storage space you need to use this feature.

Player functions

All DVD and Blu-Ray players come with functions and features that let you turn on closed captioning, fast forward or rewind and pause your video. Some players also come with remotes that let you preview chapters of discs and check the time remaining too.

Top Brands and Products

Sony

Best for those who want something simple and easy to use.

Samsung

Good middle of the road options that cost less but still come packed with great features.

LG

Great for those who have a wireless Internet connection and want to stream videos or use apps.

Oppo

The top choice for those who want amazing picture and audio quality and don't mind spending a little more.