What Is a Network-Enabled Blu-ray Disc Player?

Access content on a Blu-ray player through a home network and the internet

Samsung BD-H5900 Blu-ray Disc Player - Photo of Rear Connections
Robert Silva

A network-enabled Blu-ray disc player supports wired or wireless network connectivity, which empowers your player to access the internet

Wi-Fi access may be either built-in or require an optional USB Wi-Fi Adapter.

In both wired and wireless connection setups, the Blu-ray disc player connects to an internet router.

Wi-Fi is convenient if the Blu-ray disc player is not close to the router, since no physical cable connection is required, but Wi-Fi isn't as stable as a wired connection. 

Blu-ray Disc Player Ethernet Connection to Router

What Network Connectivity Provides

Network connectivity unlocks several smart features on a Blu-ray Disc player:

  • Online content associated with the active Blu-ray disc—a feature called BD-Live
  • Streaming video internet content providers, such as Netflix, Amazon Video, VUDU, and Hulu.
  • Music services, such as Pandora, Rhapsody, and iHeart Radio and others.
  • Media content stored on other compatible devices on a home network.

Although many video and music streaming services are free, many also require a pay-per-view or monthly subscription fee.

Panasonic DMP-BDT360 3D and Network Blu-ray Disc Player - Photo of Internet Streaming Menu

Just as with smart TVs and standalone or plug-in media streamers, you are tied into what services the Blu-ray player brand is associated with. Different network-enabled Blu-ray disc players offer access to different groups of streaming services. 

Some Blu-ray Disc players incorporate dedicated buttons on their remote controls that access streaming services, such as Netflix, Vudu, and Pandora.

Netflix and Vudu Buttons On Remote Control

Blu-ray Disc Players and DLNA

In addition to internet streaming, most Blu-ray Disc players can also access content stored on other devices connected to a home network, such as a PC. One way to find out if a specific Blu-ray disc player has this capability is to check to see if it is DLNA certified

In some cases, through DLNA, you may also be able to share audio, video, and still images from internet streaming services you may be able to access on your smartphone, but not available through your Blu-ray Disc player's streaming offerings.

Some Blu-ray disc players cannot stream content directly but can still access network-based content from PCs and media servers.

Blu-ray Disc Players and Screen Mirroring/Sharing

Some Blu-ray disc players use Screen Mirroring to share or stream content directly from compatible smartphones or tablets without a network connection.

Samsung UBD-K8500 Screen Mirroring Selection

In addition to Screen Mirroring, it may be referred to as Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast, Display Mirroring, SmartShare, SmartView, AllShare, or HTC Connect.

Example of Miracast/Screen Mirroring
iStock, Getty Images Plus, AndreyPopov, 842272124

All content accessed from the internet, network, or through Miracast transfers to a TV, video projector, or home theater receiver through the Blu-ray Disc player's audio/video output connections, with is most commonly HDMI.

The Bottom Line

If you own a non-smart TV but want to cut-the-cord and add streaming access, instead of buying a separate plugin media streamer, a network-enabled Blu-ray disc player—combining two devices in one.

However, smart Blu-ray disc players usually don't provide access to as many online content services as a dedicated media streaming device, such as a Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, or Apple TV. However, if a specific Blu-ray player provides access to the online content you want to watch, it can be a great option.

This information also applies to most Ultra HD Blu-ray players.