Q: I’m trying to build a nice electronic system for my family room. I’m going to
buy a Samsung un46d6300 television. I need help with buying a Blu-ray player and
receiver. I would like these to access the internet.
There are lots of options available to you. The first thing to consider beyond price/budget is your Internet connection. It’s preferable to use a wired connection so if you have the ability to run a Category 5 (Cat-5) Ethernet cable to the Blu-ray player you will help to ensure a more reliable and consistent connection to the Internet when streaming content from sites like Net Flix and Hulu.
If a wired connection isn’t available then you will have to pay an additional amount of money to purchase a Blu-ray player with built in Wi-Fi.
Once the Internet connections are determined you need to look at how you will integrate the Blu-ray player into your home theater. If you are buying a new receiver this isn’t much of a problem you can use a single HDMI cable from the player to your new A/V receiver.
If you are using an older receiver that doesn’t have HDMI you’ll need to check whether your existing receiver has the capabilities of accepting an analog multichannel signal (7.1 analog inputs). If it does you’ll want to purchase a player that offers built-in surround sound processing and analog multichannel (7.1) outputs.
The only other thing you’ll have to consider is if you want to choose something with 3D. If you ever want to upgrade to a 3D television, you can buy a 3D Blu-ray player for about the same price as a traditional 2D player.
As for A/V receivers, removing the price and budget considerations out of the equation, just about every modern receiver offers the latest surround sound formats, which are highlighted by Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio HD. Moving past those very important processing options, other things to consider include the ability to pass a 3D signal, the amount of HDMI and other inputs and outputs and Internet connectivity.
If you buy a Blu-ray player with Internet connections you can skip the purchase of a receiver that offers Internet options and save a few dollars in the big picture of your A/V budget. Addressing the amount of inputs/outputs and 3D compatibility; the more inputs/outputs a receiver offers the more a product is typically going to cost. Add in 3D compatibility, which is sometimes included on higher end models and you are looking at a product that may be slightly more expensive than a standard entry level receiver.
Arguably the most important thing to look at when considering the purchase of a receiver is the amplifier’s rated power capabilities. It’s easy to look at Brand X and say it has a 150 watts per channel, but you need to dig deeper at the rated power specification. Look at the rating and make sure the power rating is for “all channels driven” or if they use a term like “continuous power RMS.”
The reason why you look at those numbers is that some companies will state a “peak” power number as a means of making their receiver appear as if it’s more powerful than it really is. Other times a manufacturer will quote a power rating with a statement that says “one channel driven” and what may happen is that when all of the channels running the receiver’s power output may be noticeably lower than the single channel number that is specified.