Why Can’t My Blu-ray Player Play More Streaming Services?

David Pogue
August 25, 2014

Reader Jason wrote me to ask:

Why is my WiFi Blu-ray DVD player limited to just Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Vudu? It obviously connects to the Internet, so why can I not access other sites?

All kinds of gadgets can get onto these Internet video services: Blu-ray players, yes, but also set-top boxes, USB sticks (like Roku and Google Chromecast), and TV sets. Most of these devices can handle YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Video — but there are many other services. And no device I know can access all the online video services. 

The reason: Each of these gadgets requires an app for each of these services. And somebody has to write that app. That somebody is usually an engineering team working for the the service itself (Netflix, Hulu, or whatever). The major companies have plenty of staff for that sort of thing, but smaller companies don’t have the resources to write apps for everything. 

If it’s worth 35 or 50 bucks to you to get around that limitation, you might want to consider a Google Chromecast or a Roku Streaming Stick. They add many other services to whatever TV you plug them into, and they put most Blu-ray players to shame. The Chromecast can also display whatever is in your laptop’s Web browser. So you can play any online video source there is and watch it on your TV.

Read more: Chromecast vs. Roku: Who Wins This Streaming Media Stick Fight?

But, yeah, I agree: It would be less fuss if these services were all built into a single source.

You can email David Pogue here.