How to Set up a Blu-Ray Disc Player

Tips on connecting a Blu-ray Disc player to your TV and home theater system

Blu-ray is a part of many home theater setups, adding excellent color depth, detail, and video image quality to your home entertainment offerings. Here's a look at how to hook up a Blu-ray player with HDMI to your TV, video projector, or home theater receiver.

Blu-ray Disc setup will vary depending on your brand and model, but these general instructions will apply to most Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players.

Basic Blu-ray Disc Player Setup

Here are some common steps when you're setting up your new Blu-ray Disc player.

  1. Connect your Blu-ray Disc player via HDMI to your TV.

  2. Power on your Blu-ray player. You'll likely see a manufacturer logo or the official Blu-ray Disc logo.

    If you don't see a logo or setup menu, or see "snow" on your screen, you may need to troubleshoot your HDMI connection.

  3. On the setup screen, select a language and location.

  4. Almost all Blu-ray disc players are network-enabled. For a wireless connection, the setup prompts should ask you to choose your network and enter your network password.

    If you're connecting your Blu-ray player to your network via Ethernet, the connection will be automatic, and you won't have to enter a password.

  5. Once your network connection is confirmed, the player may display a Firmware Update Available message. Select OK to download and install.

    During this process, don't turn off the player or press remote control buttons unless prompted. Your TV screen may go dark one or more times.

  6. When the firmware update finishes, you may see a confirmation message, or your player may turn off and on again automatically.

  7. Some players may ask you to confirm the TV or video projector's aspect ratio, and you may be prompted to set up additional features, depending on your model.

  8. Place a Blu-ray Disc into the loading tray and see if the player displays the disc menu and plays the disc.

    Since Blu-ray Disc players also play DVDs and CDs, test out these types of discs, as well.

Blu-ray Disc Player Video Connection Options

When you connect most Blu-ray Disc players to your HDTV, Ultra HD TV, or video projector (directly or via a home theater receiver), the player will automatically adjust to your TV or video projector's native resolution capabilities.

When the player detects the connection, if it doesn't find support for 1080p, it will reset its video output resolution to the TV or projector's native resolution, such as 1080i or 720p. Change the output resolution manually via the player's setup menu, if you prefer.

For Ultra HD Blu-ray players, the same rule applies. If the player doesn't detect a 4K Ultra HD TV or projector, it will reset its output resolution to a supported resolution, such as 1080p or 720p.

Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc Player AV Connections

In 2013, manufacturers phased out composite, S-video, and component connection options on Blu-ray Disc players made for the U.S. market. Many manufacturers also phased out the stereo and multichannel analog audio output connections.

The 4K Factor

Beginning in 2013, many Blu-ray Disc players started to provide 4K upscaling capabilities. In 2016, manufacturers introduced Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players capable of playing Ultra HD format discs. These discs can't be played on a standard Blu-ray disc player, even if it has 4K video upscaling. However, Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players support standard Blu-ray Discs, as well as DVD and CDs.

To see true 4K content, connect your Blu-ray Disc player with 4K upscaling or your Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player to a compatible 4K Ultra HD TV using an HDMI connection. Otherwise, the player will adjust downward to your TV's native resolution.

4K Resolution Comparison Chart
OPPO Digital

The HDR Factor

For Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players, HDR is another consideration. This feature provides an extended contrast range that also improves color in both light and dark scenes. To get the full benefits of this feature, both the player and the TV must be HDR-compatible, and content must be HDR-encoded.

HDR isn't available on standard Blu-ray Discs or DVDs.

An HDR-enabled TV usually detects an incoming HDR signal automatically. Some Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players and TVs offer additional settings to tweak HDR performance.

If you have an HDR source connected to a TV that isn't HDR-compatible, you'll still be able to view the content. The TV just ignores the extra HDR coding.

Sony SDR and HDR Comparison
Sony

Consult your Ultra HD player and TV user guides for more details on HDR support and compatibility.

Blu-ray Disc Player Audio Connection Options

If you have a home theater receiver with HDMI inputs, and the receiver has Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DTS:X decoding (check the user manual for details), your home theater receiver can accept either an undecoded or fully decoded uncompressed digital audio signal from the Blu-ray Disc player via the HDMI connection. This is the preferred connection.

If you have an older home theater receiver without HDMI inputs, or one with HDMI inputs that only pass through video and audio to your TV, it's best to connect the player's digital audio outputs (either digital optical or coaxial) to your home theater receiver.

With this connection option, you won't be able to access all surround-sound formats, but you will be able to access standard Dolby Digital/DTS and 2-channel uncompressed PCM.

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

For more on accessing Blu-ray Disc player audio, read our article on Five Ways to Get Audio From a Blu-ray Disc Player.

The Bottom Line

Setting up a Blu-ray Disc player is straightforward and intuitive, with much of the process consisting of onscreen prompts. Consult your Blu-ray Disc player's user manual for any additional audio and video setup procedures.