What Types of Connections Do Blu-ray Disc Players Have?

What you need to know about connecting a Blu-ray player to your TV

When Blu-ray Disc players debuted in 2006, they brought high-definition video on a physical disc format. Later, manufacturers added internet connectivity, streaming access, and network-based content. To take advantage of all these features, you'll need to connect your Blu-ray player to your TV and home theater system. Here's a look at the connection options you may encounter with your Blu-ray Disc players and Ultra HD Blu-ray players.

Not all Blu-ray Disc players will have all types of connection options. Check your documentation to see what's available for your brand and model.

Two Blu-ray Disc Player Connection Examples. Pre and Post-2013 Models

Blu-ray's Connection History

From the beginning, all Blu-ray Disc players came equipped with an HDMI output, which can transfer both video and audio. Before 2013, other home theater connection options included Composite, S-Video, and Component video outputs. Only HDMI and Component allowed the transfer of full Blu-ray Disc resolution and quality (up to 1080p for HDMI and 1080i for Component).

In 2013, Composite, S-video, and Component were eliminated on Blu-ray Disc players, leaving HDMI as the only way to connect Blu-ray Disc players to a TV. This decision aimed to combat video piracy.

As another anti-piracy guard, manufacturers also added the CINAVIA copy-protection system, which prevents any unauthorized Blu-ray Disc copy from playing on other Blu-ray players.

With the availability of 4K Ultra HD TVs, some Blu-ray Disc players may include two HDMI outputs: one assigned to pass video and the other to pass audio. This comes in handy when connecting a 3D or 4K-upscaling Blu-ray Disc player through a Home Theater Receiver that may not be 3D or 4K compliant.

OPPO Digital BDP-103D Dual HDMI Outputs

Blu-ray Disc Player Audio Connection Options

Here's an overview of Blu-ray Disc players' audio output options:

Analog Stereo

Analog stereo outputs can be connected to any TV or audio system that provides the equivalent audio inputs. These connections don't provide access to surround-sound audio formats.

Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial

Digital optical and coaxial connections can transfer undecoded (bitstream) Dolby Digital/DTS surround sound format signals, except Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X. These formats can be transferred only in undecoded form to a home theater receiver via HDMI.

OPPO Digital BDP-103D – Digital Coaxial, Digital Optical

Multichannel Analog Audio Connections

Select higher-end Blu-ray Disc players may include a set of 5.1 channel analog audio outputs. This output option transfers a decoded surround-sound signal to AV receivers with 5.1 direct analog inputs.

When you connect a Blu-ray Disc player to a home theater receiver via HDMI, the two main audio output settings available are Bitstream and PCM.

Ethernet Connections

Most post-first-generation Blu-ray Disc players have Ethernet (LAN) connections. Ethernet connections provide direct access to firmware updates as well as web-enabled content provided in conjunction with more disc titles (referred to as BD-Live). Ethernet connectivity also provides access to internet streaming content services, such as Netflix. Many Blu-ray Disc players also incorporate built-in Wi-Fi in addition to the physical Ethernet connection.

Oppo Digital BDP-103D Blu-ray Disc Player Ethernet/LAN

USB Connections

Many Blu-ray Disc players have USB connection options. These are used to access digital media content stored on USB flash drives, connecting additional memory, or installing firmware updates offline if the player doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi.

Oppo Digital BDP-103D Blu-ray Disc Player USB Ports

Blu-ray Disc Players With HDMI Inputs

Select Blu-ray Disc players have one or two HDMI inputs. There are several reasons for this, including accommodating older TVs without HDMI inputs.

An Example of an MHL HDMI input on a Blu-ray Disc player

HDMI Is Most Important

When purchasing a new Blu-ray Disc player, make sure your TV and home theater have HDMI inputs. If you're using a non-HDMI-equipped soundbar, home theater receiver, or another audio system type, make sure your player has compatible audio output connection options.

The same post-2013 connection options that apply to Blu-ray Disc players also apply to most Ultra HD Blu-ray players.