Will Upgrading My Blu-Ray Player Upgrade My Movies?
Upgrading your equipment is a great way to re-experience your home theater system. Suddenly, everything looks and/or sounds better. It’s like you have a totally new system. But once you get your system set up, it’s hard to have those upgrade experiences. This has you looking at your Blu-ray player. Can you upgrade your Blu-ray player for better movie performance? Will things look or sound better if you get a more expensive player? Let’s discuss!
All Things Being Equal
Let’s talk about the general function of a Blu-ray player. No matter if we are talking Blu-ray, UltraHD Blu-ray, or even DVD, if you are going from one of the same type of player to another, there should be no difference in the picture or sound. The audio and video on a disc (UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, or DVD) is digital. It will be sent digitally to your audio and video system where it will be decoded. There are few players that will decode either the audio or video, manipulate it in some way, and then reencode it to be sent out. That’s just not how most players work. That doesn’t mean you can’t experience an upgrade
When an Upgrade is an Actual Upgrade
If you are upgrading not only the player but the type of disc, you will definitely experience an upgrade. Playing movies on Blu-ray discs are a serious audio and video upgrade from DVDs. UltraHD Blu-rays also are an upgrade over their Blu-ray brethren. You’ll get better video resolution, usually higher-quality audio, and often object-based audio options (Dolby Atmos or DTS:X).
Same Type Disc “Upgrade”
As mentioned, if you are looking to upgrade your experience, getting a new or more expensive player for your current library of titles is unlikely to work. Generally speaking, if you are connecting your player using an HDMI cable, getting a “better” player isn’t likely to make much of a substantive difference.
There can be some quality-of-life improvements to be had, however. Newer or more powerful players can load faster, have access to different apps, and generally have better navigation. If you are looking for this type of “upgrade,” a new player may have what you want.
Same Type Disc Player Upgrade
There are times when you can upgrade your player and realize improvements. If you are using an older AV receiver and are utilizing the analogue outputs on your player, a power powerful player will make a difference. If you have a 1080p projector connected to a UHD Blu-ray player, one of the players that have an HDR Optimizer from Panasonic can help it look a lot better with HDR content. In these cases, the player is doing some of the decoding internally rather than sending the raw data to your display or audio system.
The last reason to upgrade a player is when you are playing other types of discs. Some players will be better at taking other formats and upconverting them. If you are looking for a Blu-ray player that does a better job with DVDs for example, an upgrade can give you better results.
For most people, upgrading from one Blu-ray player to another won’t make a real difference in your movies. If you connect your player via an HDMI cable, this applies to you. If you are one of the few that use your player to partially or fully decode what is on the disc, or upcovert from a different format, you might find an improvement in performance with an upgrade.