How Much Should You Spend On A Blu-Ray Player?

 

Blu-Ray Players

The prices of Blu-ray players can range from under $100 to well over $1,000. I think there is a lot of miss-information out there. How much should you spend?

When you play a high definition Blu-ray disc on an inexpensive player, the video quality will probably be very close to that of an expensive player. Honestly, there isn’t that much difference. Regular DVDs aren’t high definition and will be upscaled to better quality by the Blu-ray player. Upscaling circuitry is found in all Blu-ray players and will vary in quality depending on the cost of the player. Upscaling circuitry can also be found in most audio/video receivers and flat panel televisions. If you have a better upscaler in your AVR or TV, you can usually bypass the upscaler that came with your Blu-ray player through it’s settings menu. This isn’t a critical issue with inexpensive players. If you have a 3D capable TV, you’ll need a 3D capable Blu-ray player, but these are also inexpensive.

Audio quality is a different story. All Blu-ray players have the ability to decode the surround sound tracks such as Dolby True HD, DTS Master HD, Dolby Digital, and DTS on Blu-ray and DVD discs with pretty good sound quality. In addition, most audio/video receivers of the past few years can also decode these formats. So, you have a choice of whether to use your Blu-ray player or your receiver to decode the audio. With most high quality audio/video receivers, you’d want to use the AVR to handle the audio and not the inexpensive Blu-ray player. You can do this through the settings menu by choosing the digital bitstream output. If you choose the digital PCM output, the blu-ray player will decode these formats and send the decoded audio to your receiver. This feature is handy if you have an older receiver that doesn’t handle the latest surround formats of Dolby True HD and DTS Master HD. The bottom line: for many of you, a reasonably-priced Blu-ray player may be all you need.

Many people who purchase top rated Blu-ray players such as the Oppo feel that they will automatically get better sound. They hook it up to their audio/video receiver just like any other Blu-ray player, with an HDMI cable. This bypasses the expensive audio decoding circuitry of this high end Blu-ray player and sends it to the audio/video receiver for decoding with its built-in circuitry. If you want to take full advantage of the superior sound of these high end players, you’ll need an analog connection (RCA cable) for each of your 5 or 7 channels and subwoofer. A high end Blu-ray player is also capable of delivering better sound when playing CDs as long as you use analog connections mentioned above.

Another advantage of a higher end player is the ability to play high definition music files that are downloaded to a flash drive or burned to a DVD disc.

Many homes do not have a wired network connection available for their Blu-ray player. If you don’t, then look for a player with wi-fi built in. This is important for firmware updates to keep you player current as well as being able to work with Internet movie players such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

2016-12-16T09:21:12-08:00

Netflix Instant Movies

Netflix

If you’re fortunate enough to have high speed internet without strict data limits, you owe it to yourself to check out Netflix’s instant viewing service. Netflix is the company that K.O.’d Blockbuster and other video rental places. Can you remember the days where you had to jump in your car, fight the traffic to get to your video rental store. Then, after making your selection, which you hoped they’d have in stock, you’d make your way to the checkout line. Hopefully, the required paperwork would be in order and finally you’d check out as the person handed you the video as you were about to exit. Then after watching the movie, came the stress of getting it back in time to avoid late fees.

So along came Netflix (I wish I had bought their stock back then) and their red envelopes. Choose a movie online and most of the time you got it within 48 hours. When you sent it back, it almost seemed like they acknowledge receiving it before you sent it (I wonder if they were using wormholes). Even with all this convenience and no late fees, I still had unwatched movies sitting around for weeks at a time.

Enter Netflix instant viewing. At about 8 bucks a month, this is one of the best bargains going. No movies to send back. No trips to the video store. Their selection is good and getting better all time. All you need is a high speed internet connection and a Netflix player. Virtually all smart TVs have a Netflix player built in. If your TV doesn’t have one, you can get an inexpensive Blu-ray player that does. Also Sony’s PS3s have Netflix players.

Depending on your Internet speed, the video quality can be quite good, even approaching HD quality. The faster the connection, the better the video. If possible use a wired network connection. I personally use it with a fast wireless connection and it works pretty well. Sound isn’t bad either with some shows available with Dolby surround. If your movie isn’t available in Dolby surround, using the Dolby Pro Logic (DPLII) function in your receiver can give you a pretty convincing surround experience.

2016-12-16T09:21:12-08:00

Tips for Installing Outdoor Speakers

Outsider Both

In case you missed last week’s newsletter, we announced the introduction of the new RSL Outsider II indoor/outdoor speakers. After the newsletter went out, we received a number of questions about installing them. So, we thought we give you a few pointers in this newsletter. The owners manual that comes with the Outsider IIs contains a lot of useful info as well. We’d be happy to email a copy to you. Just let us know.

1. Powering your speakers – Many home theater receivers offer zone 2 capability. Using the 2nd zone is very convenient and it often lets you control the volume independently of the main system in your home. As different brands handle the other zones differently, we suggest consulting your owners manual. Another way of powering the speakers is with a stereo receiver or integrated amplifier. Often these can power speakers inside your home and have a speaker B selector that can power the Outsiders.

2. Speaker wire – If the wire is going to be exposed to the elements, we recommend getting wire specifically designed for outdoor use. It will have UV protection that will help the insulation last.  Most home improvement stores carry this type of wire. It doesn’t specifically have to be speaker wire. However, we suggest getting a thicker, multi-stranded wire like 12 gauge, especially if you need to do long runs.

3. Mounting – As you may know, the Outsider IIs come with speaker brackets. When mounting to the wall, use a wall anchor that is rated to hold the weight of the speakers. Also, be sure you know what is in the wall behind the speakers so you don’t drill into electrical, gas, or plumbing lines!

4. Positioning – The Outsider IIs can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Generally, the large expanse of the outdoors tends to absorb bass. If possible, position the speakers to maximize bass. The more wall surfaces adjacent to the speakers, the more bass. The most bass can be obtained by mounting the speakers on walls, in corners and near the ceiling (when applicable).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We created the RSL Outsider II so you could get rich, high-end sound outdoors. Almost 35 years ago, RSL introduced the very first high fidelity outdoor speaker, The Outsider. Up until then, outdoor speakers were mainly metal or plastic horns that sounded horrible, like an airport P.A. system. The original Outsider was a huge success and the start of a revolution.

The next generation Outsider II is an audiophile speaker that’s good enough to be used indoors. It combines our decades of speaker experience with our factory-direct pricing. We know that good outdoor speakers already exist (you can find them at local audio/video boutiques for typically between $400 and $750 a pair. And let’s not forget that the Outsider IIs come with mounting brackets, free shipping to the 48 states, and our 100% satisfaction guarantee.

 

Start having more fun outside. Order your set today!

2016-12-16T09:21:12-08:00

Study Shows: Great Speakers Outside = 4X More Fun!

(Based upon an imaginary survey by RSL Speaker Systems)

Outsider Both

Many of you already enjoy rich, high-end sound in your home. Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy that same level of sound outside (without having to open your windows)? We know a good portable speaker can “get the job done,” but can it ever compare to the sound you enjoy inside? We think you sound outside should be as good as your sound inside. That’s why we created the RSL Outsider II.

Almost 35 years ago RSL introduced the very first high fidelity outdoor speaker, The Outsider. Up until then outdoor speakers were mainly metal or plastic horns that sounded horrible, like an airport P.A. system. The original Outsider was a huge success and the start of a revolution.

The next generation, Outsider II, is an audiophile outdoor speaker that’s good enough to be used indoors. It combines our decades of speaker experience with our factory pricing. We know that good outdoor already exist (you can find them at local audio/video boutiques, typically for between $400 and $750 a pair). But save your money, because the Outsider II delivers the same quality for only $250 a pair. And let’s not forget that the Outsider IIs come with mounting brackets, free shipping to the 48 states, and our 100% satisfaction guarantee.

 

Start having more fun outside.

Order your set today!

2016-12-16T09:21:12-08:00
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