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

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Two Blu-ray Disc Player Connection Examples - Top Image - High End Player - Bottom Image - Standard Post-2013 Blu-ray Disc Player. Photos © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
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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 ability 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 that enable 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.

In the beginning, all Blu-ray Disc players came equipped with an HDMI output, which can transfer both video and audio, and additional connections provided often times 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 allowed the transfer of full Blu-ray Disc resolution and quality (up to 1080p for HDMI, up to 1080i for Component).

It is also important to note that, via an adapter, you can convert the HDMI output to DVI-HDCP, in cases where you need to connect a Blu-ray Disc player to a TV ohttps://mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-us/suitr video display that 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 connection to access audio.

What Changed in 2013

In a controversial decision (at least for consumers), as of 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 was still possible.

In addition, 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.

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: Analog Stereo and Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial.

Also, on some 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.

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. However, if the Blu-ray Disc player is able to decode any, or all, of the above surround sound formats internally (refer to user guide for 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.

Additional Connection Options

Ethernet 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 web-enabled content is being 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.

Another connection option that you can find on many Blu-ray disc players is a USB port (sometimes 2 - and in rare cases 3) that are used for accessing digital media content stored on USB flash drives, or for connection of additional memory or, in that case where WiFi might not be built-in, that connects with a USB WiFi Adapter.

More Info

For a closer look at, and more detailed explanation, of the connection options discussed above, refer to our Home Theater Connection Photo Gallery.

One final connection option (not discussed above or shown in the referenced photo gallery examples) that is available on a very select number of Blu-ray Disc players is one, or two, HDMI inputs. For a photo and detailed explanation on why a Blu-ray Disc might have an HDMI input option, refer to our companion article: Why Do Some Blu-ray Disc Players Have HDMI Inputs?

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