Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blu Ray Player necessities and upgrades

Got a new Blu Ray Player? Time to upgrade it!!!
So you decided to take the plunge and get a Blu Ray Player to experience the best available High Definition Audio and Video in your own home. Awesome. The high bitrate 1080p video on Blu Ray discs has the potential, and often does look far superior to the overly compressed, poorly processed "HD" video you get coming from your Cable TV or Satellite TV provider. The Audio? With a well recorded disc encoded with Dolby TruHD or DTS HD Master Audio the sound in your home Theater can be truly breathtaking, with 7.1 channels of "Digital Master" quality sound. Virtually the same sound the Mastering Engineer listened to. Even if you don't have the ideal Receiver with HDMI to get TruHD or HD Master Audio, you will still get improved sound using an optical or coax digital connection at up to double the bitrate of what's available on DVD.

What's required for the best video:
An HDMI cable for full 1080p video. Component Video usually supports up to 1080i/720p for Blu Ray discs, but very often the Blu Ray player will output 480p or 480i for DVD's. So HDMI is your best bet for the best video quality.

What's required for the best audio:
For Dolby TruHD or DTS HD Master Audio you will need either an HDMI cable (see above) or a Multi channel I/O Cable, depending on what inputs you have on your receiver. If your receiver does not have HDMI inputs or multi channel audio inputs, then you will have to settle for using an optical or coax digital cable, which will still give you far superior sound compared to what you get from DVD's. If your Optical or Coax digital audio cables are a bit sketchy, you may want to upgrade them a bit to be sure your getting all of those pesky little 1's and 0's that your blu ray player is sending.

How to improve your Video and Audio even more:
Properly setting up or "Calibrating" your Display can make a huge difference in picture quality. Most TV's are not set up in the factory to look their best in your home. They are set up to look their best* in a big box chain store filled with light and alongside other competing TV's.
Setting up the Sound properly in your home theater will make sure your speaker levels are set correctly, your crossover frequencies are set properly and your bass management is set up to get the best results with your subwoofer.

Inexpensive and Easy Upgrade Products:

Video and Audio Calibration and Setup

HDMI Cables

Blu Ray Multi Channel I/O Cables

Optical Digital Audio cable upgrades

Coax Digital Audio upgrades

Further Reading:

Dolby TruHD - Making the Right Connections

DTS core + Extensions

DTS HD Master Audio

*best as in brightest possible with exaggerated colors and excessive, noise inducing sharpness settings.

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