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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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