How to hook up a Blu-ray Disc player

How to hook up a Blu-ray Disc player

Last week we received an email asking,

How do I hook the unit up or do I have to get someone to come to the house to do it? What other cords need to be purchased to hook it up properly?

Seems like a pretty straight forward answer, and for most of us it is, but some people do have more complicated setups, so I’ll try to answer a lot of different scenarios.

The basic setup

Most of us have a TV on a stand, and we probably have a cable box and DVD player underneath, or nearby. This is what I see in most homes I go into, and offers the simplest setup. Solution: DIY

What you’ll need:

  • HDMI cable
  • Power cable
  • Ethernet cable (optional)

Every Blu-ray Disc player comes with the power cable, and most come with the Ethernet and HDMI cables. Check the box to see if it needs more cables.

Don’t buy an HDMI cable in the store! If you need one, order it online. There is no need to pay more than $10 for an HDMI cable.

In the box you’ll find a user manual, and sometimes a quick guide to help you set up the device. This is the best way to do it because every player is different. But the generic steps will be:

  1. Plug HDMI cable to the television in an open input
  2. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the Blu-ray player
  3. Plug in the Ethernet cable to the router or switch (optional)
  4. Plug in the other end of the Ethernet cable to the BD player (optional)
  5. Plug in the power cord into the power strip

From here, you will turn your TV on and select the proper input and then turn the BD player on. An on-screen menu will guide you through the initial setup, which will include date, time, and video and audio settings (select “auto”).

You will have noticed I put “optional” by the Ethernet cable. Ethernet is not required for Blu-ray Disc playback, but it is highly recommended. It will allow you to update the player’s firmware and software for increased reliability and compatibility. Many BD players these days come with built-in WiFi, and this may be preferable for you if you don’t have a router or switch nearby. This would be setup in the initial setup of the device.

Systems with A/V receivers

If you have a speaker system in addition to your TV, the same instructions apply above, but with one more device between the player and the TV. Solution: It depends.

The most basic systems are easy to setup, so you should be able to do this yourself. More elaborate systems usually require a professional installation.

If your system is already installed, the instructions are basically the same as before, except this time you plug the player into the receiver, so scroll back up and follow those directions.

If you are buying a whole new system, it is more complicated, and could use a whole new tutorial. Receiver setup can be tricky for some, and there are a lot of steps involved. A receiver’s manual can be over 100 pages long, and there is usually not a quick guide.

Generally, a receiver would accept inputs from a few devices (cable box, BD player, game console), and provide one cable to the TV, and several wires to the speakers. Follow the instruction manual carefully. Connecting speakers improperly can cause the audio to sound terrible.

One mistake often made with a receiver set up is not turning the TV’s audio off. I have gone into homes and found the 5.1 speakers weren’t even on. Go into your TV’s on screen menu and turn off the audio.

If you’re uncomfortable setting up the system, you can get professional help relatively inexpensively. A simple home surround sound setup might run a few hundred dollars. Check for CEDIA certification to make sure the installers know what they’re doing.

Don’t let this long article dissuade you. The manuals are usually very easy to follow. Unless you are going to hide the wires inside the walls, you shouldn’t need professional help.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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