How To Use A Blu-ray Disc Player With A 720p TV

Blu-ray Disc Player Resolution Output Settings Example
Blu-ray Disc Player Resolution Output Settings Example. Photo © Robert Silva

Blu-ray and 720p

Blu-ray is designed to provide the best TV and Home Theater viewing experience that is possible from a disc-based format, and if you connect to a TV or video projector that has a native 1080p display resolution, you will see the benefits. However, there are a lot of TVs in use that may have a lower display resolution, such as 720p.

One question that is commonly asked about Blu-ray, with whether you can use a Blu-ray Disc player with a 720p TV.

Fortunately, the answer to that question is "YES", and here is how you can do it.

Blu-ray Disc Player Resolution Setting Options

All Blu-ray disc players have a video settings menu (which may be similar to the one attached to this article), which can be used to set the Blu-ray Disc player to a variety of video resolution output formats.

In the example shown with this article (from an OPPO BDP-103D), the video output resolution on a Blu-ray Disc player can be set anywhere from 480i up to 1080p - in fact, this specific Blu-ray Disc player can be set to output up to an upscaled resolution output of 4K when used with a 4K Ultra TV (this option is not shown in the photo).

Also, if your Blu-ray Disc player has a Source Direct option (such as shown in the photo), the player will output the resolution that is on the disc. In other words, DVDs will automatically be output in 480i or 480p, and Blu-ray Discs will be output in either 480p, 720p, 1080i, or 1080p, depending on the encoded resolution that is on the disc.

However, to make things even easier for consumers, Blu-ray Disc players also have an Auto Setting. This setting automatically detects the native resolution of your TV and sets the video resolution output of the Blu-ray Disc player that best matches your TV's native display resolution capability. This means that if you have a 720p TV, the player should automatically detect that set the output resolution accordingly.

Important Things To Take Into Consideration

However, when it comes to connecting and output video signals from your Blu-ray Disc player to a TV, there are some things to note.

First, Blu-ray Disc players made in 2013, or later, only have HDMI outputs for video.. This means that your TV, no matter if it is a 720p or 1080p TV, must have HDMI inputs, otherwise there is no way to access the video content form a Blu-ray Disc (or DVDs and any streaming content) that the player needs to pass to the TV.

On the other hand, if you have an older Blu-ray Disc player (players made from 2006-2012), it may have component, or even composite video connections that will allow you to connect it just about any TV. The component video output will allow 480p, and maybe 720p or 1080i video resolution output, but the composite video output is limited to 480i. The player will know what connection is being used and adjust accordingly. However, the best option, in terms of image quality, is HDMI.

More Info

So, when you unbox and connect your Blu-ray Disc player to your TV, check the player's onscreen menu for the video output settings.

Just keep in mind that not all Blu-ray Disc player menus are the same and may not offer the exact settings as the ones shown in the example attached to this article.

For example, on Blu-ray Disc players with just HDMI outputs, you may find that the 480i and Source Direct options may not be included, and, most Blu-ray Disc players do not provide a 4K upscaling setting option.

Also, Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players introduced in 2016. These players are designed to player Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, which not only include 4K resolution content, but expand image quality further by adding HDR encoding, the results of which can be viewed on compatible 4K Ultra HD TVs. However, Ultra HD Blu-ray players are still compatible with standard Blu-ray Discs and DVDs, and you can also set the output resolution for use with 1080p or 720p TVs - HDMI connection required.