What is Available to Play on a Blu-ray Disc Player?

Official Blu-ray Disc Logo. Blu-ray Disc Association

Just about everyone has a DVD player (and many consumers have more than one). However, not everyone has a Blu-ray Disc player. Many think that a Blu-ray Disc player is just a "souped-up" DVD player that only plays Blu-ray Discs. However, although that is their primary purpose, you may be surprised to find that a Blu-ray Disc player may just be most comprehensive content access device in your home theater setup.

Here are examples of what is available to play on most Blu-ray Disc players.

Blu-ray Discs

A large number of films and other video content is available in the Blu-ray Disc format and more are released every week (including both old and new films). Currently, about 40,000 titles (as well as about 350 3D titles - 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc Player and TV required) are available on Blu-ray in the U.S. Prices for the titles are about $5-or-$10 more than DVDs, older and catalog titles are sometimes heavily discounted, so watch for Blu-ray Disc sales. Prices for movies, just as for players, keep going down.

All of the major studios are releasing content in the Blu-ray Disc format, with smaller studios also joining in. The list of both current and catalog titles is growing on a weekly basis.

Check out some of my favorite Blu-ray Disc titles (updated periodically):

DVDs and  CDs

Also, remember that Blu-ray Disc players can play standard DVDs as well. In fact, you can play your standard DVDs in an upscaled mode that will approach the quality of high definition resolution. Also, all but a few early model Blu-ray Disc players are compatible with standard CDs.


Another way to access content on Blu-ray Disc players is via an included USB port - except for some of the very first Blu-ray disc players, most have at least one, and some have two. The USB port on a Blu-ray Disc player can be used for one, or more, of the following: Firmware Updates, Memory Expansion for access BD-Live content, plugging in a USB Wifi Adapter, and/or accessing audio, still image, and video content from USB flash drives or other compatible USB plug-in devices.

Also, some Blu-ray Disc players even allow you to "rip" CD content from your player to a connected USB flash drive for playback on PCs, Laptops, or other compatible devices.

It is important to note that not all of the USB capabilities are included in all players, so if you are looking for one, or more, of these features, you need to seek out an accurate product description or consult the user manual for the specific player in question.

Content Streaming and Network Media

In addition, a growing number of Blu-ray Disc players are now incorporating additional playback features. Some players may include reading audio, video, and still image file playback via a USB port from Flash Drives, and most players available now can also stream audio and video content directly from the internet from services such as Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, and Rhapsody.

If you are interested in internet streaming capabilities, check out if a specific player offers this feature either by connecting to your internet router via Ethernet or Wifi. However, it is also important to note that while some streaming services offer free content, many require an additional payment either on a paid service subscription or pay-per-view basis for content access.

Some Blu-ray Disc players can also access content stored on other devices, such as a PC, connected to a home network. One way to find out if a specific Blu-ray Disc player has this capability is to check to see if it is DLNA certified.

Also, another recently added capability on some Blu-ray Disc players is the incorporation of Miracast, which enables the player to stream audio and video content wirelessly from compatible Miracast-enabled portable devices.

So, as you can see, most Blu-ray Disc players can do a lot more than just play Blu-ray Discs - it is a comprehensive media access and playback device that is an important part of the home theater experience.