The Right Way to Set Up Your New Blu-ray Player
After having just gotten your new Blu-ray DVD Player, you will obviously be excited about testing it out. No doubt you will be anxious to see the glorious 1080p picture and High Definition sound quality. So the question is this: how to set up your new Blu-ray player to get the highest possible performance from it? Will it be as simple as connecting your DVD player? Will it be a breeze?
When setting up your new Blu-ray player you have to keep in mind, this is a rather new technology, therefore over the past few years TVs and AV receivers have been adapting to conform to this new format. Unfortunately, you may discover not all of them can support every new feature of your Blu-ray player. This may make the process a little more difficult than setting up your standard DVD player. So I have outlined a few procedures and possible difficulties you might come across so that you can more easily incorporate your new Blu-ray player into your home entertainment system, hopefully without too much frustration.
Basically to get the best performance out of your Blu-ray player you need to understand three features: Picture, Sound, and Internet Connectivity. You will discover all three can be easily done with some simple cable connections; no fine-tuning necessary, just some simple modifications to the set-up menus maybe all that is required. Hopefully this advice will cut out any confusion and the whole process will go very smoothly for you.
1080p High Definition picture quality – this is why most people purchase their first Blu-ray Player and it is the best feature of any Blu-ray player. Blu-ray movies are stored on a disc in 1080p at 24 frames-per-second so you often see this referred to as 1080/24p. The director filmed the movie at this rate, so Blu-ray discs allow you to view the movie as it was originally meant to be seen. Blu-ray players allow you to watch these HD movies by connecting it’s HDMI output to the duplicate input on your TV, so a HDMI cable will need to be purchased if one is not included with the Blu-ray player. In most cases a HDMI is not provided. HDMI cables can run anywhere from $20 to $150. (Some argue there is no difference in HDMI cables, no matter what the cost.)
Not all Blu-ray players are capable of this 1080/24p output rate. These players will be older, and instead of the 1080/24p output rate they convert the signal to 1080/60p using a method called “3:2 pulldown’ technique. What this simply means is one frame is played three times and the next frame is played twice and so forth. This results in one frame being shown on the TV screen slightly longer than the other. This produces judder into the picture, a slight moving or shaking of the picture.
To avoid this problem, a simple solution would be to purchase a newer model Blu-ray player. Most of the latest models can output 1080p pictures at 24 frames-per-second via HDMI. Also, your TV set must be able to support it. If it does not, then if you feed a signal of 1080/24p into a TV which can not support it, the TV will convert the signal to 50 or even 60HZ. This will also place judder into the picture.
What this all comes down to is to get the best, purest and most genuine High Definition picture possible, you require a Blu-ray Player capable of a 1080/24p output signal (this is easily selected on the set-up menu) and a TV capable of supporting this signal. Most of the newer LCD and Plasma televisions will give you the right support you need. LCD sets usually have a 120Hz mode, where each of the 24 frames is repeated five times and shown on the screen for the same amount of time, producing no juddering. Plasma usually has 72Hz 3:3 pulldown mode and they can use this because they do not have as much slowdown as the LCD.
The second feature most people purchase the Blu-ray for is the perfect sound quality. Blu-ray has the superior ‘lossless’ Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio. What you get with these audio formats is 100 percent identical to the original studio master track. This is a clear advantage over DVDs which use Dolby Digital and DTS, but again as with the picture signal, not all AV receivers are capable of decoding the newer High Definition formats.
Set up is fairly easy if your receiver can decode the formats because both HD formats can be used via the Blu-ray player’s HDMI output port and the HDMI input port on the receiver. This allows a bitstream (meaning raw digital data) to be transferred to your AV receiver where it is decoded into multichannel sound. All you need to do is set your Blu-ray player’s HDMI output to bitstream or primary. The HDMI ports on these devices must be specified as version 1.3/1.3a/1.3b. These are the only versions that allow for the transmitting of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio. You will also need a Second HDMI Cable to connect the AV receiver’s HDMI output to your TV’s HDMI input. The AV receiver will decode the audio and transmit the 1080/24p video signal.
Things can get a little trickier if your AV receiver does not decode the HD audio formats. However, it does not mean you can not still enjoy the great high quality sound. One option available to you is to set up your Blu-ray player to internally decode the audio and convert it to LPCM (an uncompressed form of audio). This option is located in the set-up menu and found on almost every Blu-ray player. LCPM can be transferred over any version of HDMI and it preserves the high multichannel sound quality of both Dolby True HD and DTS HD. This way your receiver does not have to do any decoding. (Take note that some lesser Blu-ray players will only convert 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS into LPCM.)
This LCPM option assumes your AV receiver has HDMI inputs. If it does not have these HDMI inputs, then your best option is to look for Blu-ray Players that can decode the HD sound formats into high quality analogue and output them from multichannel outputs. Using optical or coaxial outputs which are usually found on most players can not be used because the do not have the sufficient bandwidth capabilities to transmit Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio.
Most newer Blu-ray players have a feature called BD Live which allows you to download content from the internet, play games online and participate in web chats. To use this feature you need a Blu-ray player with a Profile 2.0 since these Blu-ray players have an Ethernet port you can use to connect to an internet router or computer. (Profile 1.1 may have an Ethernet port but WILL NOT SUPPORT BD LIVE.)
Also, you may need a USB flash memory drive or SD card to plug into your Blu-ray player. This provides digital storage for updates and extra data. It’s recommended that the drive or card be at least 1 GB. Other than the PlayStation 3, no other Blu-ray players on the market have internal memory built-in, but some newer Blu-ray players are now unveiling Wi-Fi, eliminating the need for external storage.
Hopefully, by checking all three factors discussed above – Picture, Sound, and Internet Connectivity – will make setting up your new Blu-ray player a lot easier. Just follow all the steps and you will get the best picture and sound quality that only a Blu-ray system can deliver. Happy viewing!
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