Blu-ray keeps getting better and better. And this year’s CES 2011 showcase of upcoming technology and consumer gadgets has set the tone for an exciting year for Blu-ray players. Aside from excellent HD video quality and immersive sound for your home theater, Blu-ray players are doing much more than video playback and they are doing it in amazing ways. So, if you haven’t already jumped on the Blu-ray wagon or if you are looking to upgrade your existing Blu-ray player setup, 2011 might be the year to do it. Here are some exciting developments in the works.
More 3D Blu-ray Titles
3D TV is here. 3D Blu-ray is here, too. But where is all the content? For now, there are only a handful of 3D Blu-ray movies for sale. There are about 20 as of the writing of this article, and not all of those are feature films. Some are 3D Blu-ray exclusives (mostly just to show off the technology) and IMAX outputs. But the chairman of the Blu-ray Association announced earlier this year that he was confident that the library of top-notch 3D Blu-ray content was set to at least double in 2011. Get those 3D specs ready!
Wireless Blu-ray Players
Still trying to figure out if it’s worth it to buy those exorbitantly expensive gold-plated cables that cost more than a DVD player itself? Soon, that’ll be a non-issue. Philips just demoed a wireless 3D Blu-ray player. How does it work? It connects to your TV via WiFi to transmit HD content. That means that the only wire required is the power adapter. However, it also means that you’ll need a WiFi-enabled TV.
VoIP via Blu-ray
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could place a call or video chat right from your living room couch? With Blu-ray players with built-in Skype support, you can. Panasonic just released three Blu-ray players that have Skype pre-installed so you can see, hear and keep in touch with family members right on your TV. It’s deliciously futuristic and amazingly simple.
Portable Blu-ray Players
Does it make sense to try to cram ultra high definition movies into a tiny package? According to Sony, it certainly does. Their new line of Blu-ray players has a 10.1-inch screen and 576p resolution. The coolest feature: the screen swivels 180 degrees, making it perfect for sharing in the backseat of a car or at an airport terminal. While the viewing experience may not be quite as amazing as sitting back in your home theater, it makes sense. Now, you can watch your favorite Blu-ray movies on the road, instead of buying movies in DVD and Blu-ray format.
Audiophiles and A/V nerds may enjoy the challenge of cobbling together a home theater system from a la carte audio and video components, but for those of us who want high end quality without the hassle, all-in-one Blu-ray players come to the rescue. Many manufacturers are now packaging all-in-one Blu-ray systems that come replete with speakers, WiFi, iPod and iPhone docks and the ability to hook up an external hard drive. It might even replace your family computer!
All in all, there’s lots to look forward to for Blu-ray in 2011. Stay tuned—literally!