Friday, February 22, 2013

So, I got a Blu-Ray player

Realizing that the only way to enjoy the final Harry Potter Ultimate Edition (whenever I get it) would be to get a Blu-Ray player, I started shopping for one. Plus, a lot of companies now leave special features off of DVDs and make them exclusive to Blu-Ray. I like special features, so to get them... It's a "Can't beat them, join them" deal.

I was intending to get a cheap one that would just play Blu-Rays, but then I came across the Sony BDP-S390. It has wireless connection, and can connect to my old box of a TV (eventually I'll get a nice new one, I promised my brother he could have this one when I move out since I threw away his old one), plus it streams Netflix (signed up again), YouTube, Amazon Instant Video (brother has a Prime Account), Hulu, and other sites. Even cooler, it can pick up DLNA streams from your computer, so you can play compatible files from your computer without burning them to discs or using a flash drive (it has a USB port as well). This looked nice, but it seemed to go for $80 minimum.

Luckily, eBay to the rescue. They had one being sold for $50. I was on a rare triple paycheck month, so I splurged a little.

I have Being Human Series 1 and 2 on Blu-Ray (won a BBC America giveaway on Twitter), so I had something to try out HD video playback, which looks great, even though I'm not viewing it on a HD screen. Being Human isn't too noticeably different from the DVDs I also own. However, since I've also picked up The Three Amigos, The Wiz and Tin Man on Blu-Ray. Out of all of them, I'd say The Wiz was the one that benefited most from a high definition version, and yes, I could tell the difference on my box.

(You knew Oz titles would be among the first I'd buy, right?)

I'm very happy with the streaming services. I prefer to watch video on my television over my computer anyway, so this makes it all the better. Netflix and Hulu are pretty easy to use, while for YouTube, I often just put the videos I want to watch in a playlist and load the playlist on the Blu-Ray player. The only time this is problematic is if my internet connection is being buggy. The DLNA streaming works through my router and isn't dependent on internet connection. It really depends on which streaming program you use as to what files will work. I tried Sony Homestream and found it to be really heavy on CPU usage, Windows Media which works lighter, and Serviio which is better at compatibility and CPU usage. The only downside is that you have to have your computer on and I shut mine off every night pretty religiously. So, if I get an urge to watch a video on my computer before 7AM, no dice. But not really a problem, since I'll be patient.

I'm not going to part with my standard DVD player just yet. I can't find a way to make the Blu-Ray player play Region 2 or 4 DVDs, and I have some of those. Still, this unit has been in my home for about a month, and it's already gotten a lot of use, and I think it'll be getting quite a bit more.

No comments: