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Blu Ray Player discussion thread - things to consider when buying a new BR player

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Old 17-05-2011, 10:46 AM   #1
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Blu Ray Player discussion thread - things to consider when buying a new BR player

The Blu Ray Player Information Thread

Blu Ray is slowly but steadily becoming more mainstream and buyers are replacing their DVD players with the BR one.
This thread is meant for all the essential information you need when deciding on that new Blu Ray player.

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My home theatre gear and my blog:

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Old 17-05-2011, 10:46 AM   #2
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First thing, understand the Profiles:

So... its time to get that fancy Blu Ray player because DVD just won't cut it anymore...
Once you see the PQ, its rather awesome - again, I emphasise, Viewing Distance... if you get a mickey mouse screen and sit all the away across the hall, then you won't get anything, and you might as well get a VCD...

First thing, is to understand the Profiles:

Profile 1.0
Profile 1.0 is the original hardware requirement for Blu-ray players and essentially meets the bare minimum for playing back Blu-ray Discs. You'll have no problem playing back a movie, listening to standard audio commentary, tracks or using interactive "pop-up" menus, but you won't be able to access advanced features like picture-in-picture video commentary or download any extra content online.
If you're the kind of person that never watches special features, you might be fine with a Profile 1.0 player, but be aware that you may not be able to take full advantage of more advanced Blu-ray features. Manufacturers aren't allowed to produce any more Profile 1.0 players, but it's not rare to see the older units still being sold--for example, the Sharp BD-HP20U is still widely available. With the price of Profile 1.1 players falling as quickly as they are, it's probably worth skipping Profile 1.0 players.
Profile 1.1 (also known as BonusView or Final Standard Profile)
Profile 1.1 allows for picture-in-picture commentary on certain Blu-ray Discs.

There are several different hardware requirements (see the chart below), but it basically boils down to the addition of picture-in-picture functionality, also known as BonusView. Typically, Blu-ray movies use this feature to enable a small window of video commentary, where a director or actor talks about a scene while it happens in the background. Profile 1.1 players need to have the secondary video and audio decoders necessary to play a smaller video in the corner, while also playing the main high-definition movie in the background. Movie studios were somewhat reluctant to include BonusView functionality at first, but now many Blu-ray Discs include the feature.

Profile 2.0 (also known as BD-Live)
Profile 2.0 allows for Internet-enabled features, such as downloading movie trailers.

Despite Profile 1.1 also being known as Final Standard Profile, there's actually still another Blu-ray specification, Profile 2.0, also known as BD-Live. The reason it's called BD-Live is that the major difference between profiles 1.1 and 2.0 is that Profile 2.0 requires that the player have an Internet connection, usually via an Ethernet port. Although some Profile 1.1 Blu-ray players have an Ethernet port, these are strictly for firmware updates and can't be used to access downloadable content.
In addition to Ethernet connectivity, the other major requirement is 1GB of local storage capability. All that means is that the player has to have some way of adding storage to the player, which is where the downloadable content is stored. We've seen players with USB ports or SD card slots to fulfill this requirement, while other players have some built-in storage--you'll have to check the specifications to see how the player implements this feature. While the BD-Live features we've seen on discs so far have been underwhelming, they're sure to improve as disc makers get a handle on the technology.
Technical hardware requirements

Isn't there a Profile 3.0?
If you've heard of a Blu-ray Profile 3.0, you're not hallucinating. However, don't get all-nervous that your brand-new Profile 2.0 player is going to be obsolete. Profile 3.0 is an audio-only profile, intended to be used with audio-only Blu-ray Discs. It opens the door for manufacturers to make low-cost Blu-ray players that lack all the requirements in the chart, for those that are only interested in audio playback. We haven't seen any Profile 3.0 Blu-ray players released or announced, and we've only seen a handful of audio-only Blu-ray Discs, so it's not something current buyers have to worry about.
Which profile should I buy?
The easiest way to avoid all these headaches is to buy a Profile 2.0 player, which is currently the most future-proof option there is. In particular, we recommend the PS3--not only is it the best Blu-ray player according to our reviews, but it also has traditionally been updated with new features before other Blu-ray players. Additionally, because the PS3 has such a fast processor inside, we've found that special features just work better, with faster load times and smoother playback.
If you're the kind of person that never fiddles with special features and you've found a great deal on a Profile 1.1 player, there's no reason not to buy it as long as you know what you're giving up. Profile 1.1 players should have no problems playing back future Blu-ray movies, you're just won't be able to get additional content online. Profile 1.0 players are increasingly rare these days, so unless you find a fantastic deal, you can probably find a Profile 1.1 player for a similar price.
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Old 17-05-2011, 10:47 AM   #3
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Then understand HDMI

There are many reasons why HDMI has become the go-to cable for installers and consumers alike. This is a cable that carries compressed or uncompressed digital video and multichannel digital audio, and an intelligent control signal inside a single jacket. The fact that HDMI omits any analog to digital converters, and vice versa, to
create a lossless signal, immediately provides superior video over any analog transmission.
Beware of poorly made and non-HDMI compliant interconnects. These cables can cause image quality issues and system

HDMI LLC is a group made up of seven very well-known consumer

electronic companies: Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Philips, Silicon Image,
Thomson, and Toshiba. HDMI is found in almost every CE product available, and you will be seeing more computers with HDMI connectors.
In 2006, 60 million enabled HDMI products were shipped. It
is estimated that in 2009, 180 million CE products will be shipped with an HDMI connector built in.
HDMI is already able to support video resolutions beyond 1080p, up to 120MHz refresh rates, and 48 color bit resolutions. Although these specifications will not be available on CE products for some
time, the stage has been set.

There has always been a consumer need for a cable that carries many signals in one cable. We saw this first type of cable from Firewire. Although Firewire worked seamlessly, it was designed using
MPEG2 compression, making it recordable and also incorporated copy protection that was unacceptable to Hollywood. HDMI LLC saw this opportunity and introduced their solution.


An HDMI connector is designed with 19 pins. And, as you know, HDMI is built to carry audio, video

and a control signal. Why so many pins? In the analog days, you could hook up these signals using 6 or 7 pins (connectors). Let's look at the HDMI connector and find out exactly what is going on inside an HDMI cable.

There are 5 shielded twisted pairs each with a drain. In addition, there are four more conductors inside this

• Three of the shielded twisted pairs are reserved for three high speed data A/V channels carrying TMDS.
Developed by Silicon Image, TMDS stands for Transition Minimized Differential Signaling. TMDS is a way to transmit huge amounts of data over a twisted pair, up to 3.4Gbps per pair. Because of the large
amount of information being sent, crosstalk can occur between the twisted pairs. TMDS uses an advanced coding algorithm that maximizes bandwidth by reducing crosstalk and data interference
between channels. Each twisted pair is color coded to carry the corresponding signal (red for red, green for green and blue for blue).
• The clock channel, another shielded twisted pair, enables reliable data processing. This basically means
that the clock ensures the TMDS signals arrive at exactly the same time.
• The last shielded twisted pair is for the Display Data Channel (DDC) which provides 2-way
communication system intelligence. This is also where the Extended Display Identification (EDID) channel is stored. The EDID is a genetics code for electronics. It holds the manufacturer's name, product type, video resolutions, audio type capabilities and other information. The EDID can be read through the DDC channel by all the components in the system. This function of HDMI allows the source to send the
best signal available for this display unit.

• The Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) uses only one conductor. The CEC is the control part of the cable. It is a bi-directional control that allows something called 1-touch play. This occurs when a trigger
sends a series of intelligent commands to multiple devices in a system. A few examples of 1-touch play are: system standby, one touch record, and tuner control. The CEC is found in all HDMI cables, but is optional on some devices.
• Another signal conductor inside HDMI is the Hot Plug Detect. This enables the components to detect
when an HDMI cable is attached, detached, or when an HDMI input is switched.
• The last conductor in the HDMI cable carries a 5 volt supply that provides low current power for the
purpose of reading the EDID ROM inside the display.


Earlier it was mentioned that Hollywood needed some type of acceptable copyright protection for digital signals.
Hollywood insisted all set-top boxes capable of outputting HD signals over a digital cable, be protected from being copied. Intel developed a copyright protection called HDCP or High Definition Copyright Protection.
HDCP is a digital handshake for validation between source and display. The electronics use the DDC to perform the handshake. The source and display exchange a secret unique key value that is stored in each device. After the validation, the source encrypts and transmits to the receiver in the display a random algorithm that authenticates every 2 seconds.

Though it is mandatory for set-top boxes to have HDCP, it is not required for standard video or over the air hi-definition to use the HDCP validation. HDCP can support up to 128 displays of HD content. At the same time, up to 128 displays can display pictures up to seven layers of switching and/or distribution devices through one HDMI signal.


HDMI specifications do not specify the maximum length of an HDMI cable. However, HDMI does set the minimum electrical acceptable level of signal quality at the end of every cable. All certified HDMI cables are capable of passing 1080i and 1080p up to 5 meters. It is difficult for 1080p to maintain a sufficient signal beyond 5 meters. The majority of HDMI cables will allow 1080i to pass up to 8m and some cables even further.
Depending on your equipment, Tributaries HDMI cables are able to pass 1080p up to 10 meters. We do, however, have an HDMI extender (HX-100) that will ensure a 1080p signal up to 25 meters.


The buzz word for video these days is HDMI 1.3. Within months, we will see consumer electronic companies
offering HDMI 1.3 in all of their products. With two different categories, HDMI 1.3 will be the standard for HDMI.
There will be no change in the connector; however, there will be an additional mini HDMI connector for handheld HD devices. The 1.3 cable itself will have tighter twists in the twisted pairs and tighter specifications for the TMDS lines and clock signal. The 1.3 certification can finally include HDCP testing, says HDMI LLC.

With these changes, Silicon Image says HDMI 1.2 cables will be able to pass an HDMI 1.3
signal. However, this will most likely hold true for HDMI 1.3 Category 1, which can handle the standard 2.2 Gbps. HDMI 1.3 Category 2 will require handling 10.2 Gbps or more. This category will not be available for some time. Tributaries cannot stress this enough: run flex conduit (2" if possible) to any display location that has or may use HDMI. You could avoid major headaches by future proofing your HDMI runs.

Another thing to note, HDMI has finally started talking about a locking connector that will be backwards compatible with current connectors, though we are not sure where or when we will see this connector.

A question that is often asked is will there be an in-the-field termination and can HDMI be spliced. The answer is... probably never and no. HDMI uses high speed digital signaling with precision timing tolerances. If the conductors are not the exact same lengths, within a few thousandths of an inch, the timing of the signals will be off, and the signal will not pass.

What we, as an industry, have found, is that many different manufacturers did not implement HDMI correctly in the beginning stages. This has made many people skeptical of this technology. HDMI 1.3 may not solve all of the issues that are frequently talked about, but it is a great stepping stone towards improving reliability.
Remember, HDMI Licensing LLC is our best ally, and they have developed a way to vastly improve our video and audio experiences
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Old 17-05-2011, 10:47 AM   #4
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Finally the players:

Some basic factors to look for:

- loading time
- ease of updates
- warranty
- other freebies
- ease of use

What about the video chip?

Many will ask if having a high quality video chip is essential. Well if you only use it for BR, then the direct pure source without any processing is best. Otherwise you will need to decide if the player, the TV or your AV amplifier will process the signal. Having too many chips do spoil the broth.
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Old 17-05-2011, 10:48 AM   #5
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How to Buy a Blu-ray Player

By Shane Buettner • Posted: Feb 28, 2011

Getting the Best Blu for Your Buck In addition to supporting the legacy lossy surround formats we’ve enjoyed for years on DVD, Blu-ray Disc offers lossless audio in the form of DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. This means that while the digital data file that contains the audio content is compressed to save storagespace on the disc, the signal is fully restored on playback, bit-for-bit identical to the soundtrack master. The DVDs we’ve lived with for years got a lot of sound out of an often MP3-sized bit bucket, albeit by discarding some information. Lossless audio is a sea change in terms of dynamics, detail, and overall transparency. You don’t need a set of golden ears to hear the difference; with even a moderate system, we think you’ll be wowed.
Most BD players today can transmit DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD as native bitstreams or perform full internal decoding to PCM. When you’re buying a player, be mindful of the A/V receiver or surround processor you’ll use with the player. If it’s a newer model with HDMI audio processing capability, welcome to single-cable heaven. Older HDMI-equipped AVRs and processors may not be able to decode DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD internally, which means conversion to PCM in the player is required. That’s A-OK, as both transmission methods are qualitatively similar if not identical in the end result. Both offer the full lossless audio experience. Just be aware that with bitstream audio, you’re forgoing access to secondary audio for commentaries, PiP streams on the fly, and the various sounds that accompany menu selections. If you choose PCM out from the player, you won’t have to jump into the player’s setup menu to access such features when you want them.
Many pre-HDMI A/V receivers and surround processors have multichannel (5.1 or 7.1) analog audio inputs. If this describes your equipment, you’re still not out of the lossless audio market. If you’re not ready to upgrade, you’ll have to spend extra bucks on a player that not only has internal decoding for DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, but has multichannel analog audio outputs as well. While this too offers full-resolution, lossless audio, it’s not our first-choice connection method for lossless audio. Your AVR or surround processor will typically have more sophisticated bass-management options for your surround sound system than a BD player will. And with many AVRs and processors using the multichannel analog inputs, this bypasses advanced, performance-enhancing post-processing features like DSP modes or even room EQ. HDMI offers the best combination of performance and flexibility.

Blu Basics: All That Video
The simple truth, which manufacturers of expensive BD players won’t be thrilled to read, is that our testing of BD players has consistently revealed that basic 1080p Blu-ray playback over HDMI yields essentially perfect performance regardless of the player, even on a large screen. If you’re a videophile (like we are), the purchase of a player with superior video processing will primarily buy you improved performance with upconverted DVDs and the few Blu-ray Discs that are mastered at 1080i (some concert videos and TV programs, for example). But even that won’t cost you an exorbitant amount of money. Sub-$300 players we’ve tested from Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony offer very good processing with a broad variety of discs, while OPPO’s $499 BDP-93 is totally beyond reproach. Among the processing sets we’ve tested in BD players, proprietary solutions from Panasonic have consistently passed all of our tests, and we’ve seen great performance from name-brand solutions like HQV (Denon’s players) and Anchor Bay’s VRS (OPPO’s first players, Marantz, and others). This isn’t to say that these are the only solutions that offer fine performance, or that these are the only players that offer great performance and value. Sony’s PS3 remains one of our favorites, and it doesn’t even offer processing for HD signals. But if you’re a videophile and you’re looking for the best pure video performance, these standouts offer the best potential to make your entire existing library of DVDs and the variety of material on Blu-ray Disc look their best. But there are other factors to consider too.
Blu Basics: Firmware Updates Are a Sad Fact of Life
With Blu-ray Disc players, firmware updates are a necessary evil. Most often, these updates don’t offer anything new or exciting in terms of updated features or functions; they merely ensure that you’ll be able to play the next blockbuster release without any hiccups.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 is popular, and it’s apparent the studios work hard to ensure proper playback on that platform. The PS3 is more devoid of playback issues than any player we’ve experienced. OPPO’s players have been nearly as solid, but perhaps just as importantly, OPPO has been ultra swift on the trigger finger when issues have arisen, delivering fast, easy-to-implement firmware updates when needed. Overall, player stability seems much improved since Blu-ray’s early days. These players probably aren’t the only platforms that provide this level of reliability, but since our firsthand experience with them is extensive, they’ve earned this shout-out.

Performing updates from the Internet is the fastest, simplest way. So consider whether the equipment rack your player will be located in has a hard-wired Ethernet connection, or look at players that either come with or offer accessories for Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. Even if you’re not a fan of BD-Live Internet-based interactivity, you’ll need Net access to keep your player up to speed with the latest firmware updates. Blu Extras: Interactivity and the Need for Speed
The only way in which Blu-ray Disc is a step back from DVD is in its loading and disc-access times. Early players were plagued with agonizingly slow load times, especially for discs heavy with the Java coding that powers all of BD’s compelling interactivity—the real-time chapter menus and PiP, games, BD-Live connectivity, etc. The PS3 became an early sensation for its speed and reliability and remains so for those same reasons. OPPO’s BDP-83 was the first standalone player to challenge the PS3 in terms of speed and reliability, and the other current standouts include recent players from LG and Samsung. Depending on your frustration tolerance, speed might be the best reason for you to buy a certain player over another and the best motivation for those who bought sluggish first- or second-generation BD players to look at an upgrade.

Blu Extras: Stream Away
It’s not a dramatic stretch to call the PlayStation 3 the set-top box that won the format war for Blu-ray. If the PS3’s evolution as a multiplatform media hub has taught us (and manufacturers) anything, it’s that Blu-ray players don’t need to be dirt cheap to move off the store shelves; they just need to offer desirable features and therefore more value. Today’s BD players are Internet-connected devices that offer a host of streaming applications and features to grab content off the Web. YouTube videos (for all you Double Rainbow Guy fans out there), Flickr and Picasa photos, and Pandora Internet radio are all regulars on a variety of players from the major manufacturers. We’re currently recommending players from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba that have compelling streaming feature sets (OPPO’s next generation of players will follow suit). Fans of movies on demand can look for Blockbuster, Netflix, and Amazon apps. But we’re especially high on VUDU’s HDX streams. When the bandwidth is there, VUDU delivers the highest-quality 1080p streams we’ve seen and is now offering 5.1-channel Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. (Netflix is also rolling out Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 with its streams as well, but at press time, the hardware platforms supporting it were very limited but sure to grow.) VUDU isn’t Blu-ray quality, but we’re still impressed. Just check the spec sheet for the streaming apps you want before you buy. Also note that the quality of your streaming video feeds will depend heavily on the speed of your Internetconnection. If your broadband pipeline is too slow, it’s time to call your ISP and ask for that turbo-charged data package.
To 3D or Not to 3D
Not all 3D will be created equal. As we go to press, the only way to get full 1080p 3D at each eye is from Blu-ray 3D. All of the 3D formats in use for cable and satellite appear to be half-resolution 3D masquerading as high def. Unfortunately, at present some of the best Blu-ray 3D content is only available in exclusive bundles of 3D equipment from specific manufacturers, but that’s a story for a different day. For now, whether you’re looking for a Blu-ray 3D player or the right manufacturer’s bundle with a 3D player and 3DTV, we have some hot tips.
First, beware of a player labeled “3D ready.” While the word ready means good to go to you and me, in this arena, it means that the player requires a firmware update to play back Blu-ray 3D Discs in 3D. While that update may arrive in all haste, the update will happen on the manufacturer’s timetable, not yours. If you want 3D now, your safest bet is to be sure the player you buy is 3D capable the day it comes home with you. Sub-$200 players are already out there, so it’s an affordable proposition.

When you’re shopping for a Blu-ray 3D player, you must again consider the A/V receiver or surround processor you’ll be connecting the player to. While you can connect the player directly to the 3DTV, you’ll get the best audio performance if separate components provide lossless audio capability. If you’re a big spender and are buying a new AVR or surround processor with your 3DTV and Blu-ray 3D player, just make sure to get an HDMI 1.4–equipped model that the manufacturer specifically calls out as 3D capable. However, if you just bought an AVR or surround processor of the HDMI 1.3 or earlier variety, don’t panic. OPPO, Panasonic and Samsung make Blu-ray 3D players with dual HDMI outputs, and other manufacturers will undoubtedly follow suit. This allows a direct video HDMI connection to the 3DTV and a lossless-audio-capable HDMI audio connection to your AVR or surround processor.
Note too that Blu-ray 3D players are backward-compatible with 2D Blu-ray Discs, DVDs, and CDs. If you think you’re a candidate for a 3DTV down the road, you can cover your bases by investing in a 3D player now and playing all the 2D Blu-ray Discs and DVDs you can handle until you get to the third dimension.
Good Hunting
Home Theater magazine has been front and center with the Blu revolution. We get our hands on every significant player out there, and these are the hot tips we’ve distilled over time. This is the best head start we can give you in finding the right Blu-ray player for you and your system.
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Old 17-05-2011, 10:55 AM   #6
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Lossless Sound Formats

LPCM, Tru HD and DTS-MA are all lossless sound formats, and usually in the newer models both the player and the amp will decode the signals.

Then it begs the questions:
- should I let the amp decode or the player

- which format

If you are on a budget, i.e. under 5k for your HT system, chances are it will be rather hard to discern the differences. So try it for yourselves and let your ears decide.

Some links:


Blu-ray soundtrack formats compared

Dolby Digital Plus: Like standard Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus uses lossy compression to shrink the size of the audio information. However, it outdoes standard Dolby Digital by supporting a higher bit rate (6.144Mbps vs. 40Kbps) and more channels (7.1 vs. 5.1).
Dolby TrueHD: The major innovation of Dolby TrueHD is that is uses lossless compression. That means it's still able to compress the raw information to a smaller file size, but it does so without throwing away any information. It offers both a higher bit rate and sample rate than Dolby Digital Plus, to produce overall audio quality that's theoretically identical to the studio master. That also means it should sound identical to a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, which also uses lossless compression.
DTS-HD High Resolution: DTS-HD High Resolution is the step-up over standard DTS, and also uses lossy compression to shrink the size of the audio information. It outdoes standard DTS by supporting a higher bit rate (6Mbps vs. 1.5Mpbs), higher sample rate (96Khz vs. 48Khz), and more channels (7.1 vs. 5.1).
DTS-HD Master Audio: Like Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio uses lossless compression. It offers a higher bit rate than DTS-HD High Resolution, for overall audio quality that's, again, theoretically identical to the studio master. It should sound identical to a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.
Linear PCM (LPCM): Linear PCM forms the foundation of all of these soundtrack formats. It's like the language all your home theater digital audio components speak. No matter what soundtrack format is used, it's eventually converted to linear PCM so your AV receiver can play it back. Some Blu-ray movies actually include soundtracks in linear PCM mode, which has some advantages--it's high quality and compatible with every Blu-ray player on the market. The downside is that LPCM takes up a lot of space on the disc, which is why most disc makers opt to use either a Dolby or DTS soundtrack format.
How much better is the sound? While there's no denying that the specs of the new high-resolution audio soundtracks are superior, it's worth pointing out that there are diminishing returns to improved audio quality. In other words, don't expect to hear a tremendous difference over standard Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks unless you have a high-end audio system--and even then, expect the difference to be relatively subtle. Even the experts have trouble hearing the differences in ideal environments.
Onboard decoding vs. bit stream Like we mentioned before, linear PCM is essentially the universal language for your home theater components. That means if you want to listen to, say, a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, it needs to be converted to linear PCM first. This process is usually called decoding, and it's performed either in your Blu-ray player or AV receiver. Let's take a look at the two options.
Blu-ray player with onboard decoding: If your Blu-ray player can decode Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, it's said to have onboard decoding for that format. That means the player itself converts the soundtrack to linear PCM, which it can then send to a compatible receiver over its HDMI output. Blu-ray players with onboard decoding can also output soundtracks at their full resolution over multichannel analog outputs, if the player has such outputs.
The Sony BDP-S550's 7.1 analog outputs can transmit Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks in their full resolution to older non-HDMI receivers.

AV receiver with onboard decoding: If your Blu-ray player doesn't have onboard decoding, it may have bit stream output capabilities. What this means is that it can pass, for example, a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack to a compatible receiver without doing any decoding. The receiver is then responsible for decoding it to linear PCM, which means the receiver needs to have onboard decoding.
If you're still confused, check out the AV receiver portion of the "What Do I Need" section to understand exactly what your home theater needs in order for you to listen to the new high-resolution audio soundtracks.
One last point: contrary to what you might hear elsewhere, there's absolutely no sound-quality difference whether the decoding takes place in the receiver or the Blu-ray player. The common analogy is to "zipping" a file on your computer; it's the exact same file if you unzip it on another computer. The only real difference is that if you use onboard decoding on your Blu-ray player, you won't see the "Dolby TrueHD" or "DTS-HD Master Audio" lights on your receiver. That's because the receiver only knows it's receiving a linear PCM signal; it doesn't know how that linear PCM signal was previously compressed.
What logos should I look for? Generally, you can identify the capabilities of a Blu-ray player or AV receiver by checking out the logos on the unit. This isn't a foolproof method--we've seen some products mislabeled--but the idea is that a product won't "earn" its logo unless it has the capabilities indicated by the logo. (If you want to be absolutely sure about a product's capabilities, try checking out its user manual online.)
Dolby: Dolby certification is pretty straightforward. If the product can decode Dolby TrueHD, it has a Dolby TrueHD logo; if it can decode Dolby Digital Plus, it has a Dolby Digital Plus logo. If it can't decode either new Dolby format, it will feature the standard Dolby Digital logo. There were some earlier products that featured the Dolby TrueHD logo that could only decode the format in stereo, but those are rare now.
The logos on the outside of a player can be helpful, but examine them closely, as they often look similar.

DTS: DTS certification is more confusing. If the product can decode DTS-HD Master Audio, it has a DTS-HD Master Audio logo; if it can decode DTS-HD High Resolution, it has a DTS-HD High Resolution logo. The logos look similar, so make sure you double-check. Sometimes you'll just see DTS-HD, and that usually means it's capable of decoding DTS-HD High Resolution, but not DTS-HD Master Audio. If it can't decode either new DTS format, it will feature the standard DTS logo.
DTS also has a DTS-HD Advanced Digital Out logo, which indicates that a Blu-ray player can output DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution in bit stream format to a compatible receiver. Again, the logo looks similar to other DTS-HD logos, so double-check the logos before you buy.
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Old 17-05-2011, 10:59 AM   #7
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BR region codes

Note that BR is also divided into regions, just like DVDs.

For DVDs you have CODE 1-6.

For BR, there is region A,B,C, ALL and None.

This website helps you monitor which discs are region free or region locked:


Different Region Codes

Blu-Ray region codes have been separated in three different zone, as pictured below:

Quick country/territory reference guide to Blu-Ray Regions:
Region A: North America, Central America, South America, Japan, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
Region B: Europe, Greenland, French territories, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Region C: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mainland China, Pakistan, Russia, Central and South Asia.
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Old 17-05-2011, 11:01 AM   #8
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Region Free?

Look out for:

Which indicates that the disc will play on any player.

Singapore belongs to Region A.

Region Free players available locally:

Oppo players

Dune players.

Some PCs will also allow you to strip the code, but you need to know how.

Last edited by petetherock; 17-05-2011 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 17-05-2011, 11:12 AM   #9
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What does a more expensive player get me?

- 3D
- better audio section
This may be important if you intend to use the player for stereo / music playback
- playback of other formats
eg FLAC, mp3 etc

- USB ports
- SACD capability
- a better video chip (check if you need this)
- faster setup
- wireless

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Old 10-09-2012, 10:17 AM   #10
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Can I ask, is there a new type of HDMI cables which will solve the audio issues?
mine currently direct to TV and using TV speakers, but the audio is really really soft some parts, and super loud on explosions effect etc. (becos I have to tune up to hear what the people talk.)

I know this is a common problem.
quote is cannot beo de. u still put blocker.
it's like want to fart but u take off ur pants first
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:39 AM   #11
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Just the Facts: Blu-ray Player Shopping & Tech Tips | Home Theater

What’s BD-Live? Should I worry about upscaling? Before you shop for a new player, here’s everything you need to know in a quick-read format. See our Top Player Picks. WHY BLU-RAY?
  • Full 1080p HD resolution: Six times the pixel density and detail of standard definition DVD.
  • Highest quality audio: Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel and 7.1-channel “lossless” soundtracks that provide bit-for-bit reproduction of the original digital recording. Requires an HDMI connection to an audio/video receiver or surround processor.
  • Interactive features: Pop-up menus that can be called up for exploration and navigation without interrupting playback.
  • Picture-in-picture director commentaries and other extras that can accompany playback.
  • BD-Live content downloadable from the studios or other sources.
  • Good video processing and upscaling of DVDs: These days nearly all Blu-ray players, even budget models, deliver superb image quality with Blu-ray discs. Some still do better than others with the upscaling of standard definition DVDs. Read Home Theater’s Blu-ray reviews
  • 3D playback: Even if you don’t have a 3D-capable display today, consider future-proofing yourself with a 3D Blu-ray player that will work with any new 3D TV you purchase later.
  • Internet streaming and Wi-Fi: Many players today use an Internet connection to directly stream movie and music services like Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, and others. Some are equipped with Wi-Fi if you don’t have a wired Ethernet connection near your A/V rack.
  • Dual HDMI outputs: If you have an older AVR with HDMI version 1.3 that is unable to pass 3D signals, but you own a 3D-capable TV with HDMI version 1.4, you will need to connect your 3D Blu-ray player directly to the display rather than through the receiver. Players with dual HDMI outputs, though becoming more rare, allow you to simultaneously connect to your AVR using HDMI for the audio, which is required for playback of the highest resolution DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD soundtracks from Blu-ray discs. See How to Connect a Blu-ray Player for more information on hook-up options.
  • Audiophile analog circuitry: Some Blu-ray players provide universal playback of all audio discs, including the high resolution SACD and DVD-Audio formats. Some of those also include high-end audiophile quality digital-to-analog converters (DACs) that feed multichannel analog audio outputs to deliver the highest possible sound quality.
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:27 AM   #12
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Can I ask, is there a new type of HDMI cables which will solve the audio issues?
mine currently direct to TV and using TV speakers, but the audio is really really soft some parts, and super loud on explosions effect etc. (becos I have to tune up to hear what the people talk.)

I know this is a common problem.
your TV speakers is not surround system right?
its normal and not the fault of HDMI cable - the TrueHD audio of the movie is downmixed to stereo for your TV.
maybe time to get 7.1 sound system?
some movie titles provide 3 or more types of audio track - eg, TrueHD, DTS and DD5.1
if there is DD5.1, select it - you'll reduce the "soft and loud" experience

Last edited by Preacher1010; 12-11-2012 at 03:31 AM..
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Old 14-11-2012, 04:03 AM   #13
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Hi guys, I was wondering if a PS3 is enough or is a dedicated BR player better?

My research so far have pointed out to me that the power usage of the PS3 is higher than dedicated BR.
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Old 14-11-2012, 05:02 AM   #14
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Hi guys, I was wondering if a PS3 is enough or is a dedicated BR player better?

My research so far have pointed out to me that the power usage of the PS3 is higher than dedicated BR.
you want to play games AND watch Blu ? - PS3
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:59 AM   #15
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Choosing a Color Space | Spears & Munsil

Blu-Ray color space setting

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