by Paul Sanders
New technologies have led to better picture quality and features for home video. Blu-ray DVD technology is fast replacing DVDs as the dominant media for viewing at home, and you may be considering making the switch yourself. But before you start looking at Blu-ray players, read though these tips to find out what to look for.
DVD up-conversion: When people switched from VHS to DVD, they had to replace all their old VHS tapes with new DVD discs. You may want to upgrade a lot of your favorite DVDs with Blu-ray DVD versions -- especially action films, since Blu-ray movies bring out the most in special effects and stunning visuals -- but you can still play your old DVDs on a new Blu-ray player and even improve their resolution to simulate HD video. Look for a Blu-ray DVD player with 1080p up-conversion and give your old DVDs some new life.
Networking features: Some Blu-ray DVD players can be networked to your home's Internet connection, allowing you to browse the Internet, watch movie trailers and download extras related to you Blu-ray DVDs. More features using this networking capability may be available in the future as well.
Surround-sound output: Not all Blu-ray DVD players put out full surround sound. If you have a surround-sound system as part of your home theater, take full advantage of your Blu-ray movies by choosing a Blu-ray DVD player that produces surround-sound output.
Built-in audio decoders: There are several surround-sound formats out there, like Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround and others. Blu-ray DVD players are starting to take advantage of those formats, as well as newer codecs, like DTS HD and Dolby True HD. Choosing a Blu-ray DVD player with built-in audio decoders for these formats will ensure that you can get the best sound possible, now and in the future.
Multiple-disc compatibility: There are many different DVD, CD and Blu-ray DVD formats. If you plan on viewing or listening to recordable disc formats with your Blu-ray DVD player, you'll want to make sure that it can read them.