Blu-ray & DVD Player Guide

It's hard to beat the experience of watching your favourite movies and TV shows in brilliant high definition. This Blu-ray and DVD player guide will help you upgrade to the latest technology.

Blu-ray & DVD Players 101

A Blu-ray or DVD player is an essential part of your home entertainment system. Connected to your TV, it opens an infinite number of entertainment possibilities, starting with watching the latest Blu-ray movies and binging on past seasons of your favourite TV series. Add a Wi-Fi connection and you can also access the Internet and online streaming services for an unlimited universe of live and archived digital content. Blu-ray players paired with HDTV sets have raised the bar for image accuracy and provide true high-definition picture quality. Standard-definition DVD players are reliable workhorses and still have their place. But if you love movies and want to see all the details that were in the original screen version, Blu-ray is your best option.

Types of players


DVD Players

Standard definition DVD players offer picture and sound quality that’s vastly superior to the old VHS tape technology. You can connect a DVD player to any television, from that older analog set in your basement to your new HDTV. You can also use your DVD player to play your standard music CDs. Just remember that you won’t see a true 1080p HD-quality image on your HDTV screen. However, you can purchase an up-converting DVD player that enhances the picture quality to close to 1080p. DVD players are an affordable option since most manufacturers are either phasing them out or scaling back production in favour of Blu-ray. 

Blu-ray Players

The new standard for digital video playback delivers a true HD picture on your HDTV, plus many extras. Blu-ray players use advanced laser lens technology to process more information and display it in greater detail than standard definition players. Beyond the vast improvement in picture quality, Blu-ray players are highly versatile as they can play your new Blu-ray discs (BD), your old DVD movie collection, and also serve as a music CD player. Connected to your home Internet, Blu-ray players are powerful streaming devices, effectively turning any HDTV into a Smart TV. You can stream movies, live sports and other on-line programming, both free and subscription-based, via wireless Wi-Fi or a direct Ethernet connection to your modem or router.

Portable Players

You’ll be glad you brought one of these on your next family road trip or vacation. A battery-powered, portable DVD or Blu-ray player can shorten the journey for children and adults alike. You can keep kids entertained with favourite movies, sing-a-long discs with a dual screen, or individual players for each child. Add a headset and the other passengers get to ride in relative peace and comfort. A portable DVD player typically comes with a clamshell-style, seven- or nine-inch screen. Options include dual headphone jacks, swivel and dual screens, and child-friendly controls and handles. Most portable players adapt easily for home use with your big-screen TV.

Burners and Drives

Play back movies or other content and multitask on your computer with an internal or external Blu-ray burner or DVD burner drive. A Blu-ray writer lets you write data to a Blu-ray disc (BD) or play back HD movies. It also supports burning and playback of DVDs and CDs. A DVD burner drive burns and plays standard definition video and music CDs. An external drive is connected to your computer via external wiring and typically sits nearby on your desk or a shelf. An internal drive is conveniently installed inside your computer in an empty bay and connected via internal wiring.

DVD/VCR Players

Over time, the fragile tape used in VHS cassettes become unstable, causing precious memories to degrade or permanently disappear. A DVD/VCR player is an all-in-one machine that allows you to transfer your VHS footage to a digital video disc or computer hard drive for safekeeping. You can also connect a DVD/VCR player to your TV to watch VHS tapes and DVDs and to record TV programs. If your tapes are labelled S-VHS make sure the player is compatible with that format.

Blu-ray & DVD Player Buying Tips:

  • Check consumer electronics websites for current Blu-ray player reviews
  • Consider a 4k Blu-ray player if you’ve purchased an Ultra HDTV
  • Blu-ray players are "backwards compatible" with DVDs and CDs
  • Blu-ray discs are compatible only with Blu-ray players
  • Some Blu-ray players are 3D-capable for playing 3D movies on a 3D TV
  • A Blu-ray player can replace a dedicated streaming device for accessing web-based content


Wi-Fi +

Most Blu-ray players are equipped to connect to the Internet via either your home Wi-Fi network or an Ethernet cable connection to your modem or router. Some models may require an additional USB device called a dongle to pick up the wireless signal. Newer smart Wi-Fi modems and routers feature apps that allow you to easily control things like access to the network and which media gets priority for bandwidth. Super Wi-Fi is a low frequency signal that provides greater range and penetration than regular Wi-Fi, and bolsters the strength of your local network. Super Wi-Fi compatibility is a feature you can consider when buying a Blu-ray player.

Smartphone Control +

Your smartphone or tablet can double as a handy controller for your HDTV and the appliances you use for recording and playback. As long as you have internet service and a smart wireless modem/router, you can link your smartphone or tablet to your home network via an assortment of smart Wi-Fi apps. HipPlay, Netproofer, Block the Bad Stuff, Device Monitr and Qnext are just some of the apps you can purchase and download to your device. Once that’s done, your smartphone becomes a master remote control that connects to your Blu-ray player software and any other Wi-Fi enabled appliance in your network.

Screen Mirroring +

A Blu-ray player equipped with screen mirroring provides a wireless option for projecting smartphone content onto your HDTV. As long as your smartphone is compatible with your Blu-ray device, that brilliant video you shot of your cat doing a somersault can be shared with friends and family in all of its widescreen glory. Screen mirroring is common to all of the major smartphone platforms, including Android, iPhone and Windows Phones.

Region-free Blu-ray player +

When the film studios release their movies on Blu-ray and DVD, they often insert region codes to restrict playback to specific areas of the world. At the same time, Blu-ray and DVD players sold in the different regions are designed to play only discs with the appropriate region code. The upshot is you can't buy a restricted disc in one region and play it on a Blue-ray or DVD player restricted for use in another region. These restrictions have been put in place to allow the studios to stagger the release dates of their movies according to their internal schedules. However, you can get around the region restriction by purchasing a region-free player or, in some cases, disabling the region-restriction function built into your player. This allows you the flexibility of shopping for movies online without concern that the disc won't play in your machine. If you’re buying Blu-ray or DVD discs online and don't have a region-free player, make sure the vendor is located in the same region or confirm that the region code on the disc is compatible with your player.

Content Options +

Past seasons of popular TV shows are widely available via subscription streaming services such as Netflix Canada and shomi, a new Canadian service offered by major cable companies. You can use your Blu-ray player's streaming function to watch this programming. You can also pay to stream live games from the major professional sports leagues if they aren’t already part of your cable package. The library of Blu-ray movies available for purchase is constantly expanding as older films are transferred to the new format, often with a dramatic upgrade in picture quality and many extra features for cinema buffs. Search the web for more content options for your Blu-ray and DVD player; there are new ones coming out every day.

Shop Related Products:

Maintenance Tips:

  • Use a CD/DVD cleaning disc to brush dust and debris from your laser lens
  • Use compressed air to clean out the drive openings and disc tray
  • If playback performance degrades, inspect discs for scratches and wipe carefully
  • Check for and install firmware updates supplied by the manufacturer
  • Troubleshoot cable connections to resolve connectivity issues
  • Maintain warranty information in case of hardware failure
  • Don’t bother repairing older hardware because it's probably already out of date; just replace it with newer technology
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and cleaning
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



Store details