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13 Things To Learn About A Blu-ray Player

13 Things To Learn About A Blu-ray Player

In the past few years, Blu-ray has received great popularity as being acclaimed as “new technology” for high-definition movie watching. Blu-ray players, must-have tools for Blu-ray disc playback, enables people to freely watch high-definition movies at home with the highest quality picture and best sound effect. If you happen to have purchased an HDTV, it’s better for you to get a Blu-ray player, since your old DVD player couldn’t play back Blu-ray discs, thus fail to make full use of HDTV screen display. You need to upgrade to a Blu-ray player and Blu-ray discs.

It should be noted that Blu-ray is currently the only high-definition disc format. Since the first Blu-ray player released in 2006, there is no shortage of Blu-ray players on the market to choose from. As you try to decide which Blu-ray player to choose, here’s a list of Blu-ray player related features and things you should know for selecting a Blu-ray player.

Disc formats

Generally speaking, all Blu-ray players can play commercial Blu-ray discs and standard DVDs. Current Blu-ray players can play commercially released CDs and may play CDs burned with MP3 files. A given model might play JPEG, WMA, or video CDs, or DVD-/+/R/RW or DVD-RAM discs you’ve recorded. Some Blu-ray and DVD players are “universal” models that can play higher-resolution SACD and DVD-Audio discs.

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DVD Upconversion

All Blu-ray players are backwards-compatible with DVD, which means you can still watch all of your older DVD movies through your new Blu-ray player. Blu-ray players can upconvert standard-definition (480i) DVDs to a high-definition (1080p) resolution. Upconversion is not as good as true high-definition because the player is essentially making up information to fill in the dots; some players do this more effectively than others.

Multichannel Analog Audio Outputs

Compared with DVD, Blu-ray offers delivers not only high video quality, but also better audio effect. Besides the basic Dolby Digital and DTS formats that are supported by DVD and TV broadcasts, Blu-ray discs still support the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats, which allow for the transmission of up to eight channels of uncompressed audio. Most new Blu-ray players can decode both of these high-resolution audio formats, or they can pass the formats in their native form to be decoded by an A/V receiver.

3D Capability

With the popularity of 3D movies, more and more 3D Blu-ray movies would be available. To watch the hottest new 3D movies on a 3D-capable HDTV at home with Blu-ray 3D discs you’ve purchased or rent, your need to get a new Blu-ray player that has 3D capability. With 3D capable Blu-ray player, you could freely enjoy 3D movies at home with your family members. But this might bring you extra cost on 3D TV and 3D glasses.

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Picture Adjustability

There are several different ways in which Blu-ray players may be able to adjust the picture. Nearly all of them allow the owner to switch back and forth from a screen aspect ratio of 4:3 to 16:9 depending on the content being viewed. This is a nice feature to have when playing DVDs that are not wide-screen format. Blu-ray players may also have zoom features, black-level adjustment, and the ability to view a scene from different angles if the disc includes that feature. Brightness and sharpness controls are sometimes available as well, but it is best to adjust those through the TV instead of the Blu-ray player.

4K Upconversion

With the fast home theatre system development, new 4K displays are being introduced for ultra-HD home movie watching, though 4K displays are high priced. For home video enthusiasts, this would no doubt bring amazing movie experience. Blu-ray players with 4K upconversion capability means that such kind of Blu-ray players could improve source media files to 4K or sub-4K movie effect. Blu-ray player capable of scaling and outputting video content at 4K is called as “future proof” player.

BD-Live

Blu-ray players can have the capability of connecting through the Internet to extra online features. Things like outtakes, video games, and trailers can be viewed online through the player. Some specific movies also come with bonus features that are accessible through BD-Live. In this case, the player will display the bonus content in the movie’s menu screen. In some cases, extra memory either through a USB drive or a memory card is required for this feature.

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HDMI

Since 720P/1080i HD signal were no longer allowed to transmit via analog component, HDMI is the only output through which you can pass high-definition video. HDMI is the connection that allows you to transmit a 1080p video signal and a high-resolution audio signal from your Blu-ray player to your HDTV and/or home entertainment system. When purchasing Blu-ray player, an HDMI cable should be included.

USB

The USB port(s) on a Blu-ray player can serve multiple purposes: load new firmware if the network method is not available, attach a USB thumb drive to serve as local storage to save the BD-Live features described above (some players have internal memory to store BD-Live content, while others require you to add a USB drive for storage), play digital media files (music, movies, photos) stored on a USB drive, work as network connection by using WiFi USB dongle.

Wi-Fi connection

An Internet-enabled player has to be connected to your broadband service. All models can connect to your modem or router using an Ethernet cable, but that can be inconvenient if your player and modem/router are in different rooms. Many Blu-ray players have added Wi-Fi connection for wireless connection to the Internet, while some others require extra cost of about $50 for a Wi-Fi connection adapter.

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Video Streaming

Video streaming is a very popular feature for cinema enthusiasts that enables people to connect extra movie services online for movie watching. These services run in different ways: some sell movies and TV shows in digital format that can be downloaded to the system and player, some rent movies, while some others have monthly memberships for online movie watching. Almost every Blu-ray player that connects to the internet will have at least a few services like Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, and Vudu. If you want to use other services like CinemaNow or Amazon Instant Video, you need to be more careful when buying a player because fewer models support these apps.

DLNA

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance; it’s a standard that allows networked products to communicate with each other and share content. A DLNA-compatible Blu-ray player will connect with any DLNA media server on the same network, so you can stream personal music, photos, and videos stored on that server to enjoy through your Blu-ray player.

Cost

No matter what you are going to purchase, the cost is always a key element to the final decision. Currently, on the market, hardware Blu-ray players costs from $50 to thousands of dollars. Some Blu-ray player items cost even less, at about $30. Various brands of Blu-ray players are available, like Denon, OPPO, Sony, Marantz, and Yamaha. Compared to hardware Blu-ray players, software Blu-ray players cost less. There are even free Blu-ray player software, like Leawo’s Free Blu-ray Player, CyberLink PowerDVD, and VLC Media Player. However, to play back Blu-ray discs on computer with these Blu-ray player software tools, Blu-ray drive is required.

Featured photo credit: Designer Home Office/VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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David Brooks

An expert in web content editing and multimedia solutions

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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