All About Blu-ray™
What is Blu-ray™?
Blu-ray Disc™ (BD), often simply called Blu-ray, is a high definition disc that may physically look like a DVD, but on your TV, the picture quality is far superior than that of a standard definition DVD. Blu-ray was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson.
A Blu-ray Disc can hold up to 25 GB of information on a single-layer disc and 50 GB on a dual-layer disc. This is more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs. While standard DVDs use a red laser to read their information, Blu-ray Disc players use a blue-violet laser (thus the name Blu-ray) to read the significantly larger amount of high definition picture and sound that has been packed tightly onto a Blu-ray Disc. The higher storage capacity of Blu-ray also allow for more special features, pop up menus and more.
Just to be clear: A Blu-ray Disc will NOT play on a DVD player, however, most Blu-ray Disc players are equipped to play standard definition DVDs as well as CDs.
What you Need to Experience Blu-ray
As it states on the back of a blu-ray disc movie: Your playback experience will vary depending on player capabilities and performance. This means you need to have the right equipment and connections in order to get the best high definition picture and sound experience like the filmmakers intended.
To get the full Blu-ray™ experience you need:
- An HDTV — for the best experience choose an HDTV with 1080p resolution and a 12 bit color (or more) display.
- A Blu-ray Disc player – See below for more about choosing a Blu-ray Disc player.
- Preferably a Home Theater AV receiver and surround sound speakers – For the complete in-the-middle-of-the-action experience, you’ll want to surround yourself with sound. (See more in the FAQ)
- Connected with a high speed HDMI cable
- And, of course, A Blu-ray Disc movie to watch.
Choosing A Blu-ray Disc™ Player
Most Blu-ray Disc players output 1080p Full HD video resolution and should support Dolby® Digital True-HD and DTS®-HD Master Audio.
There are also technical features that can further improve the picture quality. Some players can output Deep Color. Basic color depth is 8-bit color. With Deep Color these players are outputting 12-bit, 14-bit or even 16-bit color. Some players have advanced video processors to clean up picture imperfections. This is most easily seen when playing standard definition DVDs. With many people owning sizable DVD collections, this may be a feature that would improve quality on your big HDTV.
Using the Right Cables to Get All of Blu-ray’s High Definition Quality
It has never been more important to connect your home theater system with the right cable. For the ultimate high definition experience, you must use high speed HDMI To transfer full 1080p resolution with uncompressed surround. If your Blu-ray Disc player outputs Deep Color --that requires even more data be transferred--you’ll want to use a verified Ultra High Speed Cable like those included in the Monster® BD900 and BD1200.
Remember, that in order to get the features of BD-Live™ you must connect your Blu-ray Disc player to the internet. For best audio-video performance you will want to connect with an Ethernet cable which comes in Monster’s BD-1200 Higher Definition Blu-ray Experience Pack. Connecting wirelessly can be less reliable and may have difficulty with high definition audio and video content.
Note: If you’re modem or router is not located near your Blu-ray Disc player, you can use Monster® Digital Express™ PowerNet™ 200. Connect your Ethernet cable into the PowerNet and then plug it into a nearby wall electrical outlet. Then plug in a second PowerNet into an outlet near your router/modem and connect it with an Ethernet cable. PowerNet turns your home electrical wiring into a high speed home network.
Bonus Features: Bonus View, and BD-Live™
Blu-ray Disc players may have "Bonus View." This feature gives the Blu-ray Disc player Picture-in-picture (PiP) capabilities. One use of Bonus View is to see the commentary or feature about the special effects, etc., in the corner of your screen while you are watching the movie. Bonus View is particularly useful when paired with BD-Live.
BD-Live allows a connected Blu-ray Disc player to go online for special content and lets you communicate with others watching the same movie. You access BD-Live from the menu of a Blu-ray Disc that includes BD-Live features. Movies may include a variety of exciting features from additional commentary to the ability to text and send video to others who are also online and connected to BD-Live. Other BD-Live offerings include exclusive movie trailers and previews, online gaming that goes along with the movie, a choice to view a scene from a different angle, and even the ability to purchase items from the movie online as you see them.
Some special examples of BD-Live include "Vantage Point's" vantage viewer GPS tracker that lets you see where all the charcters are in relation to each other so you can keep track of the heroes, suspects and bystanders in a scene. In "Ironman" viewers can create and share their own quizzes to try to stump other viewers. And the list goes on. BD-Live gives another dimension to share the movie-watching experience.
To get BD-Live, the player must be BD-Live capable and have an adequate amount of memory for the downloads. Some players come with internal memory, other brands require that you purchase a memory card, memory stick or USB flash drive. Not all Blu-ray Discs have BD-Live features so check the packaging to see that it is available. The Blu-ray Disc player must be connected to the internet. Again, it is best to connect using an Ethernet cable.
With BD-Live the player must have an adequate amount of memory for the downloads. Some players come with internal memory, other brands require that you purchase a memory card, memory stick or USB flash drive. The player must have BD-Live capable, and the Blu-ray Disc must have BD-Live features. The Blu-ray Disc player must be connected to the internet (typically with an Ethernet cable).