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No home theatre is complete without a Blu-ray player. After all, any image is only as good as its source, and an HDTV requires an HDTV source such as a Blu-ray to really show off its abilities. A Blu-ray player provides more than just a high definition image. It can also bring 3D into the home. High-end Blu-ray players not only play standard DVDs and Blu-ray discs, they also include 3D functionality when used with specially coded 3D Blu-ray discs and compatible HDTV sets.

The most important thing to consider when looking at a player is not its price but how well it fits your needs, whether those needs be 3D playback or streaming application support through a built-in wired or wireless network connection.

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About Blu Ray Player

The first commercially available Blu Ray player was launched on to the market in June 2006 along with a handful of Blu Ray films. Thousands of titles have since been released on the Blu Ray format. Blu Ray films typically have a higher resolution and extra features compared with DVD releases. The establishment of the Blu Ray format was a collaborative effort by nine different manufacturers. They formed an organisation called the Blu Ray Disc Founders, which was later renamed the Blu Ray Disc Association. This is still the body responsible for developing and licensing the Blu Ray format. Blu Ray discs are similar in size and shape to the Compact Discs and DVDs that preceded them. They are able to hold 25GB of data on a single layer disc or 50GB for a dual layer disc. This compares with a maximum of 8.7GB for a single sided dual layer DVD. The format takes its name from the fact that a blue laser is used by players rather than the red laser used with DVD players. Popular brands of Blu Ray player include Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba and Samsung. In November 2007 the Blu Ray Disc Association upgraded its minimum specification for Blu Ray Players to include hardware support for interactive features and commentary. The oldest players are unable to access this content on newer discs. BD Live added internet features and Blu Ray 3D added support for 3D playback. Most new players can also stream video services like the BBC's iPlayer.