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 were introduced in 2006, they promised the ability to watch high-definition video from a physical disc format, and later, features such as internet connectivity to access streaming and network-based content were added.

In order to support those capabilities, Blu-ray disc players need to provide the proper connections to allow users to integrate them with a TV and home theater system. In some respects, the connection options available on a Blu-ray player are similar to those provided on most DVD players, but there are some differences.

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

It Starts With HDMI

From the beginning, all Blu-ray Disc players came equipped with an HDMI output, which can transfer both video and audio. Additional connections oftentimes included Composite, S-Video, and Component video outputs.

Those provided connections allowed Blu-ray disc players to be connected to any TV that had any of the above options, but only HDMI and Component allow the transfer of full Blu-ray Disc resolution and quality (up to 1080p for HDMI, up to 1080i for Component).

Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc Player AV Connections

 You can also convert the HDMI output of a Blu-ray Disc player to DVI-HDCP. This is practical in cases where a TV or video display may not provide an HDMI input but provides a DVI-HDCP input. However, since DVI only transfers video, you will need to make an additional analog or digital audio connection (discussed in more detail later in this article).

DVI to HDMI Adapter Example
Monoprice

The Big Change of 2013

In a controversial decision for consumers, in 2013, all analog video outputs (Composite, S-video, Component) were eliminated on Blu-ray Disc players, leaving HDMI as the only way to connect newer Blu-ray Disc players to a TV – although the HDMI-to-DVI adapter option is still possible. Also, although not required, many manufacturers began to eliminate analog audio connections on select players after 2013.

The official reason that analog video connections were eliminated was to limit the incidents of video piracy. As a follow-up, every Blu-ray Disc player sold in the U.S. also incorporates the CINAVIA copy-protection system which prevents any unauthorized copy of a Blu-ray disc from being able to play on other Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray Disc Players and Dual HDMI Outputs

With the availability of 3D and 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

In terms of audio, one, or more of the following audio output options (in addition to the audio output contained within the HDMI connection) may be provided which includes:

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.

Sony BDP-S790 Two Channel Analog Audio Output

Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial

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

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

Multichannel Analog Audio Connections

On select higher-end Blu-ray Disc players, a set of 5.1 channel analog audio outputs may be included. This output option transfers a decoded surround sound signal to AV receivers that have 5.1 direct analog inputs.

If the Blu-ray Disc player is able to decode any, or all, of the above surround sound formats, mentioned previously internally (refer to the user guide for a specific player), they can be output in PCM form via the HDMI or 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio output option. For more on this, refer to our article Blu-ray Disc Player Audio Settings: Bitstream vs PCM.

OPPO BDP-103D Multi-Channel Analog Audio Outputs

Ethernet Connections

Ethernet (aka LAN) connections have been required on all Blu-ray Disc players for some time (they were not initially required on the first generation players). 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

Another connection option available on many Blu-ray disc players is a USB port (sometimes 2 - and in rare cases 3). These are used for accessing digital media content stored on USB flash drives, or for connection of additional memory or, in that case where Wi-Fi might not be built-in, that connects with a USB WiFi Adapter. Blu-ray Disc player USB ports may also be used to install firmware updates offline.

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

Blu-ray Disc Players with HDMI Inputs

One final connection option that is available on a very select number of Blu-ray Disc players is one, or two, HDMI inputs. For a detailed explanation on why a Blu-ray Disc might have an HDMI input, refer to our companion article: Why Do Some Blu-ray Disc Players Have HDMI Inputs?

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

The Bottom Line

The important thing to remember is that when purchasing a new Blu-ray Disc player, make your TV, and home theater has HDMI inputs, or, if you are using a non-HDMI-equipped soundbar, home theater receiver, or another type of audio system, that your player has compatible audio output connection options for those devices.

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