Welcome to the site of Blu Ray Disc players. We have the striking array of disc players, which prominently vary in the colour, finish and features. Even if you have own an amazing collection of DVD dated to the previous format, many Blu ray disc players are equipped with backwards compatibility, so it would offer the run for the money. Some specific players provide the capacity to play music CD, and offer the advantage to access the internet based content. Although, this factor largely looms on the price and model. Furthermore, the ones equipped with USB flash drive gives the benefit of viewing unlimited content from multiple sources. Consisting the DLNA feature offer the immense benefit to view pictures and other content.

Besides this, we have listed the latest blue ray disc offering the compatibility to play the 3D content. In addition, you can choose from single disc player up to double disc player launched recently in the market. The audio capability is though 5:1, some even offer 7:1 surround system. In our review, we discuss the design and connectivity, interface and the features. We give the reader a brief outlook on the remote control and the performance and the ease of operation. From our verdict, you can be sure of picking the right one.

Samsung BD-E6100 3D Blu-Ray Player Review

Having reviewed some high-end decks majority of the time, we decided to turn our attention to a budget player for a change, and Samsung players looked to be a good place to begin with. We present to you today the Samsung BD-E6100 3D compatible Blu-ray player that has been designed keeping the budget consumers in mind and yet boasts of an impressive picture together with some cutting-edge features. The South Korean manufacturer doesn’t really cater to the elite crowd always by introducing expensive decks, but are also smart enough to cover the less fortunate audience and the BD-E6100 looks to be a perfect deck for the same, especially with its attractive price tag. Also it would be the first in Samsung’s home cinema lineup for 2012 and regardless of its entry-level cost, the deck packs enough features making it a worthy upgrade for consumer’s home cinema setup.

Included Accessories

  • Samsung BD-E6100 Blu-ray Player
  • User manual
  • Remote Control – Remocon TM1241
  • Battery

Design & Connectivity

Guess Samsung doesn’t really need to be taught how to make decks and their last year’s BD-D5500 would be a perfect proof to this statement, which went on to prove that you don’t really pay through your nose for some latest and happening features like streaming media, Wi-Fi or internet content etc. And if we remember right, it indeed was a fabulous deck that was worthy of every penny spent, together with few of other Samsung decks unveiled in 2011 that were categorised as good value for money. Well, the trend seems to continue in 2012 too.

The BD-E6100 Blu Ray Player would cost you roughly somewhere around £130 and is equipped to play 3D together with most of the features that the BD-E8500 packs (barring a few), which we will get to shortly. For now, let us enlighten you on the player’s design and ports and connectivity which screams out aloud “textbook” Samsung.

This super slim and compact deck comes in an attractive brushed-metal-looking plastic finish and slots into any AV rack without much of fuss. Although at 37-mm it might look to be no great competition for the yet slimmer Panasonic DMP-BDT320 (well, if it really does bother you so much). As with majority of the blu-ray players, yes it is comes in a pitch black finish that has a brushed rotary texture on top. The front panel comes devoid of both the much favoured touch-sensitive display and the disk slot that we saw on the E8500, which has been replaced with a tray that slides out, chunky physical pushes together with a clunky light emitting diode display (now, what else can be expected from a budget player as this). Again, we are not greatly smitten by its light bodywork and it certainly lacks the quality seen in other Samsung decks.

If you think this is basic, wait until we move on to connectivity. So, talking about connectivity, there is a USB port sitting on the far right, in the front panel, that comes in handy with media playback from gadgets like digicams, card readers etc., The rear has been kept relatively sparse with connections like the Ethernet port, coaxial S/PDIF outputs and HDMI; Looks like it does give you a restricted feeling on stuff that can be watched on this Blu-ray player. Well, Samsung’s reasoning to this is many users end up plugging in players into the TV through the legacy analogue video ports and were of the wrong notion that they were watching Full HD. Though we do get the point here, we still think an additional component output wouldn’t really hurt and if anything, would only add to the flexibility. Off note, as the player evidently lacks a second HDMI and multi-channel analogue outs, you are better off having a 3D-capable receiver, if you are looking at enjoying HD audio and 3D content simultaneously. Well, you obviously cannot expect a cheap player to offer 2 USB ports or a SD card slot right?

On the brighter side, the USB port sure does come in handy, particularly with the deck’s incredible support for file formats like DivX, MKV, MOV and XviD that works perfectly seamlessly and so does AVI, MP4 and H.264. Now, if you are someone that hates the cluttering caused by messy wires, or in simple words running an Ethernet cable to the TV, then there is good news for you, all Samsung’s Blu-ray players that is internet-ready now come with an integrated Wi-Fi, no matter what the specification is. Doesn’t this make it perfect to get online, such that the Smart Hub on your Smart TV is at your disposal anywhere anytime?

Interface & Features

Looks like the deck hasn’t go through much of a makeover in terms of interface and for the most part remains unchanged. There is one main screen holding every app that includes your hub for Video storing on-demand services like Netflix, LoveFillm and BBC iPlayer. Then comes the universal search option that rummages practically every app that you may have installed, in an attempt to hunt down all of your video apps from a single box and succeeds in getting the content that you are after.

Moving on to the insides of the BD-E6100, well the deck surprises you big time presenting you with an exciting assortment of connected features that you can toy around with. The vital thing here would be the Wi-Fi onboard that allows you to go online without the need for any USB adapter. Now if you don’t have a Wi-Fi (which is highly impossible in this day and age) there is always the option of using the Ethernet port. Upon being connected, all that remains to be done is punch the Smart Hub key on the remote (there is also an option to do the same via the Home menu) that navigates you into the world of Samsung’s portal where there is a wealth of content waiting to be explored that includes Social Networking, video-on-demand, puzzles and games, internet radio service, so on and so forth together with some additional 2012 signature services.

Check out the new 3 zones in the Smart Hub, namely Kids, Fitness and Family Story. Kids puts together a handful of cartoons, games and puzzles that keeps your tiny tots glued to the set – all of which is presented in an apt lively and loud menu.  Fitness is a Wii Fit-style equivalent that presents you with an array of fitness regime keeping you healthy. Though it cannot be compared to Nintendo’s accuracy (owing to the absence of a balance board), it sure is reliable in telling you the calories that you managed to burn successfully depending on the amount of clips that you exercised with. Lastly, the Family Story seems to be the useful of the lot by providing you online storage of your pictures via a Samsung account which you are allowed to share with families and friends (particularly elders who don’t really bother logging into social networking sites), provided they also own a Samsung Product. While installation of most of the content in these zones can happen via the Smart Hub interface itself, this looks to be a yet more convenient way to access things. Additionally, the vivid/breezy animated menus sure does seem to be a lot more fun to toy with.

Samsung seems to have a great taste for content and this only seems to get better by the day with crowd-pleasers like Netflix and BBC iPlayer joining the smart machos like Dailymotion, Picasa and YouTube. While Social networking is taken care of by Twitter, Facebook and Gtalk apps, the other high-brow options like AccuWeather.com, USA Today and This Day in History would be among the rest.

Moving on to Samsung Apps, this is where the entire content available gets stored via bold and chunky UI that is user-friendly too, just choose and install the ones you want. Now if you are not satisfied with Samsung’s selection, go ahead and delve into the net using the browser onboard. Then again, we wouldn’t really recommend doing so, even if you choose to utilize a wireless keyboard or USB mouse, because of the simple fact that you would require enormous patience to work with the arrow cursor in making it to travel around the screen via the pointer browsing method. The same goes true with link browsing too where it simply jumps from one link to another without the need to move the cursor. Trust us, you will have zero tolerance towards its clumsiness/sluggishness and will flee back to your laptop.

Again, the player is DLNA certified and is capable of streaming media content via a PC or other devices. It also allows for files stored in a PC to be accessed via a Smartphone and uses the deck as a renderer. Additionally, the deck doesn’t really rely on you for a Wi-Fi router coverage too, as it supports Wi-Fi Direct, and allows for creation of a peer-to-peer network. On the other hand, with the deck being connected to a router, the Software-enabled Access Point feature permits connection of other devices to the same network via Samsung.

The deck supports an excellent range of formats with playing media either via an USB device or over a network. On the video front, it covers MP4, 3GP, ASF, AVI, VRO, MKV, VOB, TS and PS containers together with WMV, DivX, MPEG-4, XviD, MPEG-1 and 2 codecs. It is also equipped to handle FLAC, MP3, JPEG and WMA.

Thanks to the Allshare feature that has undergone some tweaking, content is pretty much easier to find too, with the AllShare Play. This pulls together all possible content that it can lay its hands on in the network and USB devices into a single place, and lists the content types on the left and the devices connected on the right.

Lastly, the player is capable of piping frame sequential 3D Full HD content to a compatible TV using its v1.4 HDMI connection. Though it lacks any tweaking of manual image (that can be been seen on Panasonic’s players), you are allowed to enter your TV’s size to get optimal images.

Remote Control

Check out the neat menu system, which starts with an attractive Home menu using big animated icons for Settings, Smart Hub and AllShare Play. It is a pleasant experience navigating though the vivid colour palette and the precision of the proper HD graphics is worth mentioning. It holds true for the rest of the key menus too. Though it might not seem as astute as the UI of Panasonic’s decks, yet it is quite hard to not be impressed about the same. There is a neat ergonomic remote with chunky buttons and legible labeling that takes control of everything with smart placement of buttons making your fingers feel right at home.

Performance & operation

Following a seamless and rapid boot-up, the deck runs through a quick check of all vital settings namely, software update, wireless network etc., which happens in  about 15 to 20 mins. The simple and attractive onscreen menus speeds up this process, though you might eventually be annoyed with the software updates that keeps springing every now and then.

Disc loads happen in a blazing speed of 35 to 40 seconds flat, right from the time you close the disc to the time your first video makes its appearance. Picture quality is amazing too. Moving on to the incredible 3D images with the promotional Avatar Blu-ray disc, it is a real feast for the eyes with great attention for minutest detail and a great depth in colours. Images look gorgeous with stuff flying and the kind of emphatic clarity that is rendered together, not to mention the absence of smearing. The hypnotic images look amazingly composed that stretches in the background with little bit of a crosstalk which brings about some disappointment. One cannot help but be dumbstruck with the swaying tree branches and flapping ferns in the foreground and amount of conviction with which all of these dig into the camera.

Now if you wanna get to the conventional 2D, it only gets even better with similar magnificent picture quality. Images are natural and crystal clear. There is a subtlety with shading in places where required together with shadow detailing in darker scenes absolutely clear, such that you do not miss out the action.

Last but not least, the deck handles almost all of the following seamlessly – playing of multimedia files via USB or network, HD MKV files with 1080p video content looks just amazing, Netflix video streaming via Wi-Fi looks to be consistently sharp and smooth together with the player doing a decent job of acting as a CD player as well.

Verdict

The Samsung BD-E6100 is beyond doubt an amazing player packing tons of must-have features, not to mention the Smart Hub portal that has been through a makeover together with couple of new features like the fitness and family stuff that is sure to win over fitness fanatics and the elderly alike. Let us not forget the multimedia support via the USB and DLNA with a neat and slick user-friendly interface. Last but not least what can we say about the 2D and 3D content that is nothing short of amazing. Well, the deck has its own negatives too in terms of sparse connections, a snail-paced web browser, so on and so forth. But guess this shouldn’t really bother users a great deal, especially given its alluring price tag placing the deck into the category of a “full value for money” slot.

Samsung BD-E6100 Blu Ray Disc Player – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer Samsung
Model Name BD-E6100
Control Button Tact Switch
Disc insertion type Drawer
Weight 1.8kg
Dimensions (W x H x D) 430 x 37 x 194.5mm
Colour Black
Front Panel LED
Rear Panel 1 x HDMI output
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF output
1 x USB port
1 x 10/100 Wired network ports
HDMI Version 1.4
Blu-ray Profile 5.0
Wireless Standard 802.11n
Playable Disc types 3D Blu-ray
Blu-ray Video
DVD-Video/DVD±R/DVD±RW
CD DA/CD-R/CD-RW
Video Decoding Formats Colour System: PAL
MPEG 2/4
DivX
DivX HD
AVCHD
MKV
WMV
JPEG
MPO
Audio Decoding Formats Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital Plus/TrueHD
DTS Surround
DTS-HD Master Audio Decoding
DTS-HD High Res Audio Decoding
DTS- HD Bitstream output
LPCM
AAC
MP3
WMA
Connectivity Integrated Ethernet LAN
Anynet + (HDMI-CEC)
USB2.0: 1EA
Wi-Fi Direct
Integrated Wireless LAN<
AllShare DLNA (DLNA)
Audio Decoding Output Dolby Decoding Channel – 2Ch
DTS Decoding Channel – 2Ch
Features BD wise
BD wise web
Video upscale DVD
3D ready
Quick start mode (0.5sec)
Full screen
Smart hub
Remote application
Full Browser
CD Ripping
OSD default language – English
1080/24p Playback
Power Specification Rating Voltage: 220~240V
Power Cord Type: BS2
Power Consumption Stand-by: 0.3W
Operating: 17W
Energy Star Rating 2.0
Warranty 1 year on parts and labour

LG BD670 Blu-Ray Disc Player

Isn’t it interesting to note that Blu-ray players are proving to be of less use when it comes to playing discs and instead are acting as gateway to online content/streaming media stored in Smartphones, PCs and the iDevices scattered around the house? LG’s BD670 is a very good example of this. Though this modest-looking deck gives the impression that it is designed to play Blu-ray 3D discs, CDs and DVDs, you will be amazed to see the kind of cool stuff it is capable of upon being hooked to your home network. Right from tapping the deep music of an MOB online reservoir to ID’ing an artist name, albums and tracks of a movie that is being watched, this wonder deck serves you faithfully.

Accessories/Box Contents

  • 1 x Remote control
  • 1 x AV cable (RCA type)
  • V5 RCU/Battery
  • 1 x Nero MediaHome Bundle Disc (LG Edition)
  • User Manual
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Customer Registration Card

Design/Connections

A single glance at the LG BD670 Blu Ray Player makes it glaringly apparent that “Looks aren’t everything.” With rivals like Samsung, Panasonic and Philips attaching much importance to the panache of a spinner, LG prefers to prioritize utility over looks by favouring an absolute no-nonsense form factor. The deck shouts basic by way of a black box that is plain with bare minimum control buttons together with a legible Blu-ray 3D logo on the front. It comes in a lacklustre black finish with no fancy embellishments to it. Again, there are no touch sensitive buttons with a display panel that is barely visible. The disc tray slot is pretty much standard and no slot-loading flashy stuff here with a flimsy and plastic-y feel to it. If anything, it is the aluminium casing that does the deck a little bit of a favour in adding some flavour to it along with its amazing sleek chassis (49mm) that you can easily slot it into one of those AV racks with absolutely no fuss.

Moving on with the connections at the rear, well it is fairly sparse. There are basic A/V connections on offer namely the HDMI v1.4 output, composite and component video, Ethernet port, stereo analogue output and optical digital audio connection. The deck comes devoid of multichannel analog jacks and lacks a second HDMI out too, which could prove to be messy in case there are no HDMI v1.4 input in your AV receiver and you wish to watch 3D images with HD content. There is a LAN port onboard in case you are not a big fan of the integrated Wi-Fi. A USB slot can be found in the front (that is buried beneath the rubber dust cover) that comes in handy with playing a variety of music, videos, and browsing photos from hard disks or memory devices. The following formats are supported – MKV, DivX, WMV, XviD, WMA, WAV, AVI, MP3, JPEG and m4a. Additionally you can playback AVCHDs from recordable DVDs. The absence of a second UDB port also looks to be kind of annoying as the deck lacks in-built memory for BD-Live downloads and regular users of BD-Live would be left with no choice but to have a USB sticking awkwardly out from the front.

Akin to the deck, the 8.2-inch remote too is nothing fancy. Even though it is disappointing to note the keypad is neither backlit nor programmable, we appreciate the thoughtful arrangement of buttons with a huge navigation pad that is relatively easy to be found under the thumb. It is not very cluttered and the usage of large keys helps in locating letters quickly. It is ergonomically satisfying to find the playback buttons being placed on a bump and isolated by colours, while the direction pad together with the corresponding keys are kept within easy grasp of the thumb. A trivial aesthetic concession here would be the plastic-y black finish that has been textured and looks vaguely like brushed metal.

The remote has been kept relatively simple with an accessible design with legible layout of vital functions like Home, Menu, Title, Info/Display, Back etc., clustering the central cursor. Punching Info/Display button calls up a bar allowing you to select options like Picture preset, Soundtrack format and Gracenote Movie ID, an element that calls up data, cover art and plot synopsis of the disc currently spinning. There is yet another feature, Gracenote Music ID that has an exclusive button of its own in the remote. We would have appreciated if the same approach had been extended in having an exclusive button that launches the media content portal of LG. Still better would have been a Netflix button akin to Panasonic and Samsung players. Then again, we are happy that LG has been thoughtful enough to make the access relatively easy via the UI to their streaming services. As is expected from current Blu-ray players, the BD670 also falls under the list of players that can be accessed via a Smartphone with the remote app of LG, both Android/iOS. This app can be downloaded from either the Apple App store or the android market. Frankly speaking, in our opinion it is not worth the bother, as there are just two advantages of preferring a mobile remote-control app over the standard one. Firstly, the “Wow factor” associated with it that might last for exactly five minutes tops. Secondly, any day using the Smartphone’s QWERTY keypad is way easier than entering text via arrow keys and numbers on the conventional remote provided the remote control app supports QWERTY text entry and unfortunately LG doesn’t. So, is it really worth the pain?

Setting up the BD670

Setting up the BD670 Blu Ray Disc Player cannot get any easier once you have the deck connected to a display and hook the Wi-Fi on onboard to your home network, you are all set to get going and browse through the menus. The Setup menu configures the deck to a default 1080p/24 for Blu-rays and 3D images. There are a couple of background graphic options on offer that includes a wood-panel pattern that can be customized as against the bland background. The BD670 packs the PC media server Nero MediaHome software too and the deck reads files both from a laptop and NAS server connected to your home network via other programs that includes Mac-specific ones too. Audiophiles might want to note that while the deck’s DLNA allows streaming of a variety of audio files, audio is limited to formats like WMA, MP3 and AAC.

Now let us get few disappointing stuff out of the way like the following. It is disappointing to see the BD670 lack a couple of basic features that comes by default in current day’s Blu-ray decks. For example, don’t expect a friendly wizard that generally walks you through the setup process, instead you will have to navigate menus on your own and figure out stuff for yourself. Well, you might find explanations for onscreen menu settings, but they generally are not of much use. For instance, when you try setting up the Audio options, there wouldn’t really be any valid info on the screen explaining what “Primary Pass-Thru” or “DTS Re-Encode” means. And if you think that you can turn to the online manual for the same, well you are mistaken, as the 23-page manual is nothing short of sparse and lacks detail. On the flip side, there is something wonderfully rare that the BD670 impresses you with – its bookmarking capability. Now most Blu-ray decks can bookmark a disc (Blu-ray discs we mean) allowing you to get back to the same spot at a later point in time (provided the blu-ray disc supports bookmarking). Well, the BD670 in comparison allows you to save up to 9 bookmarks for any discs, be it Blu-rays or normal DVDs, but the only unfortunate thing is the bookmarks disappear with you changing discs. Check out this yet another awesome related feature – assume you removed a disc (DVD or Blu-ray) half way though a movie and decide to reinsert the same days later (having played other discs in the meanwhile), the BD670 is smart enough to ask you if you wish to begin right from where you left or play from the beginning; Neat huh?

Menus

Similar to their latest line-up of TVs, the menus revolve around the the Home screen enabling you to view your photos, watch movies or listen to music via your local network or an attached device. Likewise accessing the Premium content from the App store of LG’s happens via the Setup menu. There are a couple of submenus within the Setup menu namely the Display that obviously lets you optimise the deck for a specific display. You may tweak the following options from here – the Resolution, TV Aspect Ratio, HDMI colour setting, 1080p Display Mode and the 3D Mode. Again, there are controls too for choosing Wallpapers on the menu screens together with Home Menu Guide. The next submenu would be Language allowing you to choose the language for the Display Menu, Disc Menu and Disc Audio and decide on having the Disc Subtitles on/off. Then comes the submenu for Audio where you get to select the kind of audio that can be sent via the Digital Output or the HDMI. You may also choose to turn on the Sampling Frequency here or set the DRC (Dynamic Range Control) along with turning on the DTS Neo: 6 On/Off where appropriate. Then we get to the submenu for Lock that comes in handy with setting passwords for the Blu-ray/DVD Rating if you are looking at restricting the access for the same for children. In the Network submenu, you can setup your LAN or Wi-Fi connections, allow access for BD-Live, check Connection Status together with setting up the registration and country setting code for the Premium Apps pages of LG. Last but not least, would be the sub-menu for Others that allows you to setup the HD VOD DivX service, select Network Play, select Auto Power Off, activate the Quick Start function and upgrade the deck’s firmware.

Features

Together with being a nifty disc spinner, the LG BD670 3D Playback Blu Ray Player also packs an array of networking features bringing tons of extra content that can be accessed wirelessly thanks to the Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) onboard. And when it comes to streaming-media services, LG looks to be the best thus far. Agreed that it might not be as comprehensive as Sony or Samsung, but then it covers almost all standard services like Pandora, Netflix and YouTube together with some solid offerings by way of standout extras like Napster, MOG, instant streaming from Amazon, MLB.TV, vTuner etc. Even as VUDU looks to be a compelling alternative for VOD movies, the Amazon Internet Streaming looks to be the most impressive in offering the widest choice of TV shows by pay-per-view, that includes both cable and network shows. Unfortunately, it misses out on Hulu Plus that is covered by rivals like Sony and Samsung. The Smart TV portal has quite a range on offer in terms or streaming and radio app that includes the vTuner (internet radio), YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Google Maps, Picasa, AUPEO! radio, Acetrax, Dailymotion and many more. What is weird is all of these being grouped as “Premium” when most of them come for free! Anyways, hoping over to the apps store, you get to explore more by of games, movies, puzzles and other bric-a-brac like the colour blindness test and Yoga trainer, but for which you might have to create an account if you want to use them. Surprisingly sandwiched between the keep fit tutorial and colour blindness test you get to unearth a couple of free-to-watch movies, more than a dozen in fact; Looks more like a film festival greeting you at your door. Such free treats sure does make owning a Smart TV more fun. Also such unusual apps might come in handy for families with kids that are packed with fun and inexhaustible explorative skills. These impressive offerings are further joined by DLNA support which allows you to beam stuff across NAS drvies, networked home PCs and your Smartphones. Again, with the deck being Wi-Fi Direct compatible, you wouldn’t require a router too for streaming content with a decent hit rate. MP3s together with album art can be played when available and so are AAC files, but files like WAV and FLAC look off limits. Video files like MKV, MOV, AVI are covered over the network. Finally, there is Gracenote database also onboard the BD670 that fishes out details about any CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc that you load displaying album art even as it is being played, while Music ID looks up the featured songs of the currently playing disc.

Performance

The BD670 fires up in 5 seconds flat with the Quick Start engaged. Blu-ray load times are fairly decent with most of the discs getting to the copyright warnings in 20 seconds with an additional 10 seconds to get to the menus. Obviously, the load times are directly proportional to the amount of Java programming used by the studio with Disney and Fox being worst offenders. Paramount, Warner and Sony get to the point straight, but it is the unfortunate Universal discs that often get stalled by the hopeless BD-Live features. Getting to the movie, the image quality is amazing with every single pixel being plucked and hurled on to the screen with clarity and sharpness. It doesn’t miss out on any of the nuances of the London street settings recognizing the smart futuristic background detail endowing it with a deep satisfying cinematic lustre. While we endorse the fact that a TV definitely plays a major role when it comes to picture quality, but LG sure does hold its end of the bargain. There is decent judgment of colour palettes too; not really something that you can always get right, but the natural skin tones and greenery of the plants speaks for itself in terms of chroma processing.

Moving on to 3D, the spinner surely doesn’t disappoint you here with solid detail focus, blur-free objects and highly impressive depth sense, the spinner does a more than decent job.  Any 3D spinner should be capable enough to output the disc content equally well over HDMI too because of the digital signal and the BD670 does exactly that gaining an “excellent” rating when it comes to 3D performance. It displays content flawlessly on majority of the discs thrown at it along with handling Hi-def audio equally well to.

Power Consumption

Generally bulky casing tend to be associated with power hungry design, but thankfully that is not the case with the BD670 and it consumes only 15 watts during Blu-ray playback and a bare 1.8 watts while on standby. With the above figures being way above average in comparison to the other Blu-ray decks, the BD670 sure does seem to be an efficient performer, considering stuff that it is capable of performing with just the average power consumption mentioned above

Verdict

A couple of oversights here and there might make the LG BD670 seem a little tone-deaf in terms of usability, but its wide variety of app selection, solid performance, simple and accessible design speaks otherwise making you easily overlook such omissions. Again, the impressive ?150 price tag has been well justified by the Wi-Fi onboard, 3D support, DLNA media streaming, improved web content (compared to the existing LG players), modest speeds and solid video processing. Well, it sure might not be the stylish deck in the block; it sure does seem to be a workhorse and is one of the best budget decks in the Blu-ray arena.

LG BD670 3D Blu Ray Player – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer LG
Model Name BD670
Form Factor Table top
Weight 3.97 lbs
Colour Black
Front Panel Display: FLD
USB
Rear Panel Video Out – HDMI (Ver 1.4 3D only)
Video Out – Composite
Video Out – Component
Audio Out – Audio L/R
Audio Out – Optical
Audio Out – HDMI (Ver 1.4 3D only)
Ethernet
Convenience Blu-Ray Support
Simplinnk (Hdmi-Cec)
Time Bar
Cinema Zoom
Firmware Update (Via Network, Usb)
Dlna
Cfs
Wireless Lan
Wi-Fi Direct
Picture & Sound Video DAC 162MHz/12bit
xvYCC
Video enhancement
Audio DAC 192KHz/24bit
DD 2ch Down Mix
Digital Audio Output
AV Format Video Format: Mpeg2, Mpeg4 Avc (H.264), Smpte Vc1 (Vc-9),
Divx, Divx Hd, Mkv, Avc Rec, Avchd, M4v, Wmv
Audio Format (Bitstream): Lpcm, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus,
Dolby Truehd, Dts, Dts-Hd Ma, Mpeg 1/2 L2(Pcm Only),
Mp3(Pcm Only), Wma(Pcm Only)Audio Format (Decoding): LPCM, Dolby Digital,
Dolby Digital Plus(7.1ch), Dolby TrueHD(7.1ch), DTS, DTS-HD MA,
MPEG 1/2 L2, MP3, WMA, AAC
Special Features LG App Store
Netflix
Vudu
CinemaNow
Pandora
YouTube
Picasa
MusicID
AccuWeather
Blu-ray BD-Live
Blu-ray BonusView
Power Wide SMPS: Wide 1120-240V 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: 13.1 W
Power off consumption: 1.15 W
Warranty 1 year Parts/90 days Labour

Philips BDP7600 Blu-Ray Disc Player

Remember those big bulky decks hitting the shelves a couple of years ago, all that was of expected of them as HD. Back then, we had to pay a real high price to get HD content in our HD-ready tellys and that by itself was considered the hottest ticket in town, ain’t it? But now, now it is a totally different story with all those first-gen bulky players having met their end at the hands of the current day’s super slick, 3D spinners. Features like single digit load times, streaming, 2D to 3D conversion, 3D playback networking and digital options are now expected by default and aren’t really considered particularly as high-end. Also the array of options to choose from has gotten wide, depending on the kind of audience, for instance, there are players for the anti-3D audience interested in just the picture quality, players that offer excellent media streaming and awesome browsing experience, players that concentrate more on Wi-Fi and connectivity options that don’t really bother much about looks, spinners that is big on 3D conversion and Skype particularly for the homesick users that help get close to their loved ones or players that are high on style stakes capturing everyone with their stunning looks, like the Philips BDP7600, the player in discussion below.

Philips have been relatively famous in the Blu-ray arena for quite sometime now when it comes to blending gorgeous designs with attractive spec sheets and obvious high-quality HD playback.  This 7 Series 3D deck is no exception to this trend and proves to be a real feast for the eyes. Sidestepping the humdrum plastic-y approach, the BDP7600 Blu Ray Player boasts of a solid metallic build together with a unique smooth mirrored front panel. This thrice a home cinema hero boasts a trio of features like analogue 7.1 surround sound, Wi-Fi onboard, and 3D playback. The Dutch giant is way ahead of time in terms of advocating the online connectivity gear, Connected Planet, while its rivals are still using the humdrum steam-powered modems to get online.

Accessories

Quick start guide, Remote Control, 2 x AAA batteries.

Design/Connections

So, let us not beat around the bush and get straight to the point, the BDP7600 is a real “oomph.” Sporting a grayish-sliver finish, with a cool “Admire Me” looks, the spinner has a unique sculpted lip that is illuminated with soft-touch buttons. Embellished in elegant ridges and curves, majority of the fascia is taken over by the mirrored panel inside which lies embedded the disc tray and LED display panel. From the bottom protrudes the lip, mentioned above, that features a row of buttons that is touch-sensitive comprising of the Play, Pause, Standby and Eject that beckons a disc tray which folds out real rapid and quiet. These buttons lights up elegantly when the deck is activated, giving an absolute futuristic feel. The amazing build quality gets instantly apparent upon picking up the deck, thanks to the aluminum casing that takes care of keeping redundant vibration at bay.

Spinning the deck to a 180 degrees, you will greeted with an unusually magnanimous array of connections with the most unexpected being the 7.1-channel analogue outputs, that is rarely sighted on such budget Blu-rays, and comes in handy when you want to enjoy some HD soundtracks particularly when you own an outdated AV receiver that is devoid of HDMI inputs. It is good news for music fans too as the player boasts of 2 optical audio outs through the optical/coaxial cables. Additionally, the deck supports analogue 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD too, so connecting them to a good set of speakers, you can get the most of your movies. When it comes to video outputs, there just one HDMI port and a single composite, guess that would be enough to handle most situations. Another smart inclusion would be a SD card at the rear of the unit (something found on only on Panasonic players till date), but comes in handy only with downloading BD-Live and VOD content and if you are looking at using media playback or browsing through your photos, then you might have to fall back on the USB port located at the front this time around. Amusingly, the USB works with both wired and wireless keyboards, which would mean that you now can access Net TV from the comforts of your recliner. The v1.4 HDMI, analogue stereo and surround back outputs, composite and the Ethernet port completes the connectivity at the rear. The Ethernet port takes care of connecting your deck with the local network, and there is also the integrated Wi-Fi adaptor, in case you are not a great fan of running cables.

Last but not least, getting to the weird-looking remote that looks more like a plastic row boat or a smooth pebble, we are greatly fascinated by this handset that looks unlike anything that we have seen until date. It is oval shaped and curved with a black glossy back panel that can flipped out to fit in the batteries. We are glad that Philips chose practicality over panache that is evident from the sensible layout of buttons – uncluttered, comfy to grip and logical. Now, if you are not a great fan of the remote, then feel free to dump it provided you own an iPod Touch or a iPhone, as the player supports the free MyRemote app from Philips. It would be worth mentioning that the app is not the same one as the Philips Fidelio iPod speaker. You will need the MyRemote free app for this Philips BDP7600 Blu Ray Disc Player that works with other Philips kit perched beneath the TV together with the music players that is Streamium networked. It replicates almost every function of the remote as against some apps that support just the key controls.  Though it lacks gesture control, there is a digital representation of the remote with shortcuts to files stored on the USB speeding the process up by around tenfold along with displaying stuff that is currently playing on the remote’s main page.

User Interface

There is nothing flashy or attractive about the user interface of the Philips BDP7600 3D Playback Blu Ray Player, but this only works in favour of the deck with the icon-based menus kept simple, straightforward and nicely animated. The layout is fairly sensible and aides in easy navigation. The UI is fairly responsive too with an average 34 seconds it takes to playing a Blu-ray from standby. Though it doesn’t boast of an array of image quality pre-sets, it amply makes up for it with the comprehensive manual customisation. Sharpness control, noise and artefact reduction and upscaling settings together with brightness, colour and contrast sliders, help with caliberating your own preferred image settings.

Features/Network Niceties

Akin to its rivals, there is also a 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor onboard the BDP7600, meaning no more whining about messy cables or costly USB dongles if you wish to enjoy Philips’ internet portal, access BD Live, want to stream music, photos or videos from your home networked PC via the DLNA Network Link. Well, Wi-Fi is almost expected by default from current day’s Blu-ray players, regardless of them being high-end or budget players.

In terms of file formats supported by the BDP7600 3D Blu Ray Player, it list includes MP4, DivX HD, AVI, MKV, AVCHD, XviD, MP3, MPEG-1, WMV, WAV, WMA and JPEG, which can be both streamed or played locally via the USB device. The USB also supports external HDDs via the FAT16/FAT32 file system. Again, the BDP7600 also features the above-mentioned Net TV presenting you with a whole load of partner websites to your TV with the modest list of the same on the main menu being Picasa, YouTube, Cartoon Network, Twitter, Box Office 365, Funspot, France 24, Screen Dreams, iConcerts, Tune In Radio and MeteoConsult with the option to add the rest via App Gallery. Now what sets the Net TV to stand out from the rest (other web portals) is its capability of browsing the net at large on the TV, getting virtually any online entertainment at your disposal, provided the player’s browser can handle it. Unfortunately, our attempts to navigate to the BBC iPlayer trying to watch a video got scuttled as the player comes devoid of Flash Player and eventually ended up with the browser freezing.

Well, on the flip side, the new version of Net TV is far better and easy to use than the old one with the menus laid out in an attractive manner and use of chunky onscreen buttons for every app with detailed presentation using vivid HD graphics. Also it is reacts rapidly and selection/entry of links happens at good speed. Nevertheless, it might still not be the best way to browse, but looks much improved and better than expected. Again, if you are not a fan of the remote, you can always connect your keyboard to the USB port towards the front. Check out these two interesting features devised by Philips that pops out of the spec sheet. One would be the Smartphone app, mentioned above, that replaces the remote control with an Android or iPhone app and the other would be the CinemaPerfect HD engine for movie playback that helps eliminate noise as a result of the MPEG compression process together with image sharpening and enhancing colours along the way. With 3D being the talk of the town, this player sure is 3D compatible, but doesn’t really have any of those image adjustments/2D to 3D conversion that rivals like Sony/Panasonic boast of. All you get to do is change 3D to Auto or switch it off completely in the setup menu. Philips spinners have always been known for their ease of use and it is good to see the BDP7600 follow the same ethos.

Coming to the Home menu, which would be your main getaway to any function, you get 6 basic floating icons on a blue screen with each of them assigned with a simple white icon and simple English description to it like “browse PC/browse USB” so on and so forth, which is hassle-free and fairly responsive. Upon selecting Setup, there is a more conventional list on offer with elaborate explanations at the screen’s bottom when being lingered. Again on pressing any playback button, up pops some cool large white icons flashing on the screen. The menu displays the content list on the left and upon highlighting something your files get listed towards the right instantly with no annoying submenu hindrance. A menu can be called during disc playback at the mere touch of a button containing all settings/trickplay features that are frequently used. So, to sum up, though operating the BD7600 isn’t really as slick as the other high-end spinners, it definitely isn’t far behind.

Performance

In terms of performance, for starters the disc loading times happens as fast as 40secs flat for majority of the discs, which is fairly standard, but still fast. You get an immediate sense of the images clarity once the film is underway with images being colourful and bold and movement handled fairly well. Detail levels sure does seem to be decent, but it is the digital artefacts that is present which prevents Philips from attaining similar level of clarity and insight akin to rivals with same pricing. It could be a little disappointing watching 3D as it gets harder on the eyes in comparison to its rival spinners owing to the fact that the deck doesn’t really allow you to make adjustments to the intensity of 3D images. Well, what you see is what you get. The spinner is good at keeping pale colours and skin tones natural and colour blending is devoid of any banding. Edges are rendered with no signs of ghosting or stepping with motion kept smooth. When it comes to 2D performance, it is nothing short or admirable and is a real treat for HD movie fanatics, especially with an array of handy image adjustments on offer that enhances the picture even further. You will find it inside of the Setup Menu or the Quick Men during playback, which allows you to tweak them even as a film plays. This includes a variety of picture presets like Normal, Enhanced, Vivid, User and Dynamic. The one word to describe the BDP7600’s sound quality would be “Exciting.” Then again, it is a matter of time before it moves into the domain of brashness. There is a decent substance to action, but unfortunately high frequencies get exposed with sounds like screeching and crashing. Again, the DTS-HD Master Audio that is highly detailed looks to be aptly punchy. DVD upscaling also looks to be decent in keeping blocky outlines and excessive graininess at bay. The over sharpened effect of edges can be easily avoided by tweaking the settings and making it less pronounced. You might want to watch out though, as the same preferences would be applicable to Blu-ray too, where you wouldn’t appreciate that extra processing. Last but not least would be the player’s handiness at getting ejected instantly, especially if it is in standby mode, so no more long waits for it to be fully powered. Once ejected it starts up normally, all set to lock and load. Of note, the player runs extremely hot with the right rear underside of the deck getting disturbingly warm just with a couple of hours of usage.

Energy Consumption

With a bare minimum 13W during playback and almost nil on standby, this possibly is the most efficient blu-ray spinner in comparison to the rest

We liked

  • The slick design
  • Quick loading times
  • Simple and Straightforward UI
  • Multichannel analogue audio outputs
  • Unique remote
  • Loads of inputs and outputs
  • Low on energy consumption

We Disliked

  • Runs Hot
  • Sounds brash at times
  • Intermittent picture artefacts
  • Net TV needs improvement
  • Web browser devoid of Flash

Verdict

The Philips BDP7600’s feature-list almost ticks every box of your wish list with its stylish panache, robust build, dazzling 2D/3D images, lengthy feature list together with a plain and simple UI. On the flip side the onscreen icons looks a little overly big making you look half blind or assumes you to be watching TV 20 meters away. A couples of niggles aside, it is a neat looking deck with clear audio delivery together with DVD upscaling to its favour along with the above mentioned positives. Even while there might be takers for the high-end decks with a slightly better image quality or a slicker menu with additional 3D features, users deciding to opt for this cheaper deck, sure wouldn’t be in for any disappointment.

Philips BDP7600 Blu-Ray Disc Player – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer Philips
Model Name BDP7600
Product Type Blu-Ray player
Form Factor Table top
Dimensions H x W x D 43 mm x 435 mm x 236mm
Weight 2 kg
Colour Black
BD Profile 2.0
Control Button Touch Buttons
Deck Type Slot-in
Picture/Display Advanced video processing: CinemaPerfect HD
Blu-ray 3D: Full HD 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 21:9, 4:3
D/A converter: 12 bit/150 MHz
Picture enhancement: Content adaptive enhancement,
Dynamic contrast enhancement, Colour Enhancement,
Noise Reduction, Video upscaling,
High Def (720p, 1080i, 1080p), Progressive scan
3/2 – 2/2 motion pull down
Video Playback Playback Media: BD Video, BD-ROM, BD-R/RE 2.0,
DVD, DVD-Video, DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW,
Video CD/SVCD, CD, CD-R/CD-RW, USB flash drive
Compression formats: DivX Plus™ HD, H.264, MKV,
VC-1, AVCHD, MPEG1, MPEG2, XviD, WMV
Audio Playback Playback Media: CD, CD-R/RW, MP3-CD, MP3-DVD,
USB flash drive
Compression format: Dolby Digital, DTS,
AAC (multi-channels), MP3, WMA, PCM
Connectivity Network connections: Built-in Wi-Fi, 802.11 b/g/n
PC network link: DLNA 1.5 certified
Rear Connections: HDMI output, Digital optical out,
Digital coaxial out, Composite video (CVBS) output,
Analogue audio Left/Right out, Ethernet,
SD/SDHC Card slot, Analogue audio 5.1 channel out
Front/Side connections: USB 2.0
Sound Sound System: Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus,
DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS
D/A converter: 24 bit, 192 KHz
Convenience Ease of Use: Touch control buttons
BD-Live (Profile 2.0): Yes
Online services: Net TV
EasyLink: One touch play, One touch standby
Child Protection: Parental Control
Firmware upgradeable: Online firmware upgrade,
Firmware upgradeable via USB
Power Power consumption: 15 W
Standby Consumption: < 0.15 W
Power Supply: 220-240 V, 50 Hz
Warranty One year

Samsung BD-D8900 3D Blu-ray Player Review

With more and more users strongly ensconced in the PS3, looks like it is end of days for HD Blu-ray disc spinners with the standalone disc spinners going under £90 – a catchy bean that is sure to attract any gadget geek. Guess Samsung begs to differ here with unveiling players like the Samsung BD-D8900 which has a lot more on offer as against bare movie playback, which includes HDD on board together with 3D technology. Don’t we all love convergence? Look like the Korean manufacturer is all set to unveil an absolute epitome of technology packed in a stylish unit like the Samsung BD-D8900 that promises to get rid of all those boxes cluttering beneath your TV. It is so very remarkable in its scope, in that it literally makes the PS3 seem a little restrictive particularly with Samsung trying to sweeten the deal furthermore by offering a £50 cash back (for a limited period).  So the BD-D8900 sure does prove to be a technology buzzword, as it manages to blend a 3D Blu-ray spinner, PVR with 1TB HDD, Freeview Decoder, internet service hub and Media Player all in one. Improvising its sibling Samsung BD-D8500, this new model packs double the amount of storage capacity (1TB) in comparison to its predecessor in addition to a second HDMI output (audio-only) that is onboard just in case you wish to have individual HDMI feeds to your sound system and display. Then again, it is pretty much identical in all other aspects. Well, it is up to you to decide if this justifies the extra price tag, as we personally don’t really believe it does, as the difference between a 1TB and 500GB shouldn’t really work out so much assuming that an additional HDMI connection wouldn’t really cost this much. Nevertheless, the BD-D8900 is no doubts an awesome spinner.

What you get

Also called the PVR (personal video recorder) or HDR (hard disk recorder) the BD-D8900 simply put is a Sky+box for Freeview with the addition of HD goodness. The latter requires the spinner to be much big in size than the prior incarnations of PVRs. The box packs a hard disk that comes with a whopping capacity of 1TB, which comes in handy for all the HD fans. The spinner is capable of recording 240 hours of HD programmes/480 hours of standard def content with the ability to even rip music CDs with comprehensive track listing and cover art downloading by default that can also be transferred as MP3s to a USB.

Features at a Glance

  • Full screen capabilities
  • 1000 GB of HDD Media recording
  • Hyper Real Video Engine
  • BD Profile 2.o
  • Smart Hub
  • 1GB Local Storage
  • 2D to 3D conversion
  • 3-Second Boot time
  • 1080p DVD output
  • BD Wise Auto image Setup

Design and Connectivity

Well in order to accommodate all of the above technology, it calls for a chassis of some size and the Samsung BD-D8900 3D Blu Ray Player humbly obliges. It is a fairly stylish unit and comes in a classy blend of glossy black and chrome finish that is obviously Samsung familiar. Check out the cool embellishments like the window on top through which you can view the discs whirring around and the 3D logo which glows at the top, which is kind of hard to miss, upon a disc being loaded.  Thankfully, this can be turned off from the settings menu, if you find it too flashy. It sure does look to be a chunky chap at 64mm tall and 430mm wide. On the flip side, not that it lacks charm or the required refinement. For starters, the spinner is devoid of any clunky tray for disc loading and uses a slick slot loader instead, try feeding it with a silver platter and watch it hungrily slurp it in. There are also touch-panel controls with an illuminated disc mechanism, courtesy the semi–transparent lid. We guess you really wouldn’t be keen on hiding this flamboyant hulk away in your cabinets. In the front, right behind the flip down panel you get to see a CI slot, which comes in fairly handy with accessing paid services namely Sky Sports over Freeview, and you also find the USB port for media playback right here.

Coming to the rear of the BD-D8900, regardless of all its functionality it doesn’t really look crowded at all. You get two HDMIs with one of them for audio only, which comes in handy at routing lossless DTS HD and Dolby TrueHD Master Audio soundtracks from Blu-ray spinners to receivers that are AV compatible (non-3D) with the primary output delivering 3D straight to your stereoscopic display. Also on offer are digital optical audio outputs, phono AV together with an Ethernet connection. With Wi-Fi being onboard you wouldn’t need a dongle. The component video output is also on offer, but then you might want to be aware of the fact that it doesn’t help with Hi-def.
Again, Blu-ray output is restricted to 480i complying with the AACS copy protection protocol. Furthermore Freeview HD is output at 576p, in contrast to the HDMI option, thus taking care of the issue of online piracy with a single stroke. Performance-wise, the BD-D8900 sure does put in a nice performance, but cannot be labeled the fastest spinner when it comes to loading titles as it takes roughly a minute and a half after loading the BD-live enabled disc in the tray to the time the Fox logo cares to show itself. Nevertheless, the controls are fairly responsive with the picture over HDMI neat and crisp.

Features

Samsung is one such manufacturer that has always been magnanimous when it comes to features and the BD-D8900 Blu Ray Disc Player is no exception to that concept. So let us start with our favourite, the Smart Hub, the new web portal of Samsung that offers you an assortment of apps on your TV screen. It is not just the content that has gone through a makeover since last year with the addition of the BBC iPlayer to the Internet@TV, but the presentation has also turned awesome. The snazzy and bright Smart Hub menus has its apps icons all neatly laid out in a grid format that allows you to segregate them into folders, (just so there are several members of a family using them and wish to separate their content from others). Addition of new apps happens rapidly and easily via the App Store. Few of the existing apps would include the Google Maps, Daily Motion, BBC News, Picasa, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter along with a plethora of other less popular and specialist apps. Again, you also get to access a whole load of games, puzzles and activities for children, a fairly family-friendly feature. Again, though it doesn’t really match up with the BRAVIA Internet Video of Sony, wherein the TV content looks to be huge, it is not really far behind too. The Your Video feature which is relatively new looks up for info on movies, both old and new, giving you the option to like and share the same on social networking sites. The search mode, which is also new probes for keyword-related content on YouTube, Your Video and Facebook, and excludes the Freeview EPG in that search.

Moving on to the DLNA AllShare feature – this allows for streaming of content from networked devices namely NAS drives and PCs. It list of formats supported go on to include WMA, DivX HD, MKV, MP3, WMV and AVI to name a few, but then streaming is not possible with AVCHD files, which you can alternatively play from the disc. The above list can also be played via the USB port. The BD-D8900 also comes in handy with ripping music CDs onto your hard disk and you can copy the same to a USB if you wish to or even stream them. However, there is no Blu-ray recording as it is a straight-up unit.

Along with playing 3D Blu-rays, the spinner also converts pictures from 2D to 3D. This is not just applicable to DVDs or Blu-ray discs alone, but also to the Smart Hub videos and content streamed from network or USB devices and Freeview recordings/programmes, with the facility to alter depth with settings ranging from 1-10.

There is a whole array of features onboard offered in terms of digital TV too that goes on to include dual HD tuners for Freeview that comes in handy at changing channels during recording, but this is constrained by its obvious restriction to record just one channel at a time. Then there is the Time Shift with which LIVE TV programmes can be paused or be watched from the start even as it records, a 8-day EPG with series link together with the rest of the features that is broadcaster-controlled akin to other PVRs. Polite dialogue boxes aids in activating series, and with it being set, the Schedule Manager displays all instances when the specified series is being shown, together with the rest of scheduled recordings.

Operation

Operation-wise – guess Samsung have gone that extra mile this 2011 on their Blu-ray lineup in making their menus feel and look welcoming and clear-cut with smart usage of vibrant graphics, chunky fonts and straight-forward menus. Importantly, the onscreen design is a real delight to use and doesn’t really stop you from opting for the product. Well, there are some hitches like the menu slightly dragging especially the menus relating to DLNA, but guess the delays are not really significant. The best of the lot would be the main menu, which uses animated icons that are neatly laid out in a platform with corresponding floating options above. Almost everything can be accessed from here with the inclusion of EPG, USB, Smart Hub HDD content, DLNA playback together with all vital Settings menu, which again is a cakewalk to be used. The recorded TV menus take the form of blocks each with a thumbnail that can be sorted by Date, Name or Channel wise.  Also on offer is an assortment of editing features that allows you to delete parts of your recording with the use  of an intuitive onscreen editing tool, but then accessing that feature is not an easy task. So is the task of setting up your ID for Smart TV for apps like Twitter and Facebook. Furthermore, keying in mail IDs and passwords via the onscreen keyboard that has been designed to replicate a mobile phone is complicated too requiring you to toggle through diverse pages of words and switching between various entry methods. Fortunately, there is the “Remember by Details” box and checking that would make you go through the process just once.

Getting to the rest of the setup process looks pretty much simple, setting up the Wi-Fi for instance, guides users (especially the not-so-tech-savvy) using simple graphics and explanations.  Yet another feature that makes using the deck a pleasant one would be the petite dialogue boxes that rush to your rescue by popping up when encountered with a conflict or stuff that you need to know namely timer schedule changes or recording clashes, with any such happenings, the deck will let you know about it. Yet another helpful feature keeps you posted on when an SD programme selected by you is shown in HD.

Again, try hitting the info button as you watch TV and you will witness the best of onscreen info banners seen until date. The details that are displayed is pretty comprehensive with coloured icons being used for stuff like resolution, subtitles, aspect ratio, Audio format and description. Even better you are allowed to browse the entire line-up of channels to know what’s on days before the scheduled telecast.  Usage of USB/DLNA content is easy too they share the same menu layout as the Recorded TV display. Likewise the EPG also dons a classy design that manages to squeeze a 6-channel, 2-hour programme grid, synopsis of programmes and controls and the live TV box all into one screen without giving a cluttered feeling. Well, there is one hitch though, it is not possible to read the names of the programmes in the grid, which is actually a shame.

All of the above is wonderfully controlled by a remote that is user-friendly sporting chunky tactile keys, big lettering and sensibly laid out. Life is made furthermore easy with the playback keys that glow in the dark and dedicated buttons for 2D to 3D conversion and the Smart Hub. If you wish to explore more hit the Tools button for additional options, that includes an array of picture presets and User setting, which allows for adjustment of various picture parameters. On the flip side if you own a Samsung TV that has a Freeview decoder of its own, you can manage it with a single remote, but that gets kind of confusing at times as to which decoder are you currently using. While it is a powerful combo, it is sure to confuse the technically-weak.

Performance

3D and 2D Blu-ray Playback

Blu-ray images look spectacular in this Samsung BD-D8900 3D Smart Blu Ray Player with HDD. The clean and crisp pixels are digitally transferred from the disc to the screen resulting in pristine images with signs of noise witnessed only from the disc. Textures and fine details are taking in its stride and rendered dazzling acuity. Regardless of the 3D content being viewed via active shutter glasses, 3D images look vibrant and sharp, but with the advantage of additional distance and depth, the effect looks downright absorbing.

Users might want to be aware of the fact that while using a Samsung TV and Blu-ray player together, the deck is detected by TV’s smart connectivity via HDMI and seemingly improves the overall experience as the features and settings are interlinked and giving the feeling that the deck and the TV are one and the same, which is actually both good and bad. With two remotes and two menus looking almost identical it gets confusing to figure out where Blu-ray disk player went? It would have been nice if Samsung had distinguished the menu system particularly upon being connected to a TV with identical menus! Well, if it is smart enough to identify two Samsung devices being connected, then it could’ve might as well altered the colours of the menu! Are you listening Samsung?

Picture Quality – TV Tuner

The deck has a magnificent HD playback with abundant details on HD channels and is devoid of any artefacts like noise or blockade with stuff looking great. Colours look natural and deep with diverse shadows and shades on background and clothing that looks smooth and devoid of banding.

HD Recording Quality

The spinner records only in the highest possible quality making the recording on hard disk seem great retaining minute details. This would have posed to be a problem if the disc was any smaller than 1TB, but with this kind of high capacity for recording, there doesn’t look to be a concern. Even if there is one, all you need to do is then connect an external disk and voila there  it is – record HD videos to your heart’s content.

Standard definition channels also seem strong when viewed both recorded or live with a wee bit of feathering and block noise with rapid movements, but nothing that could prove annoying. Coming to the spinner’s 2D to 3D conversion, it is not that impressive, we would say. It fails to provide an extra depth to most of the scenes, with just a couple of evident floating object instances that remotely look real. On the flip side we are yet to see a manufacturer give us a convincing conversion tech.

Verdict

Samsung sure does know how to cram as many features possible into a single product and the BD-D8900 looks to be no exception to this trait of theirs. Well, for starters, the deck is no svelte-looking piece and neither does it attempt looking so – now for a deck that packs this many features, there has to be someplace that all these technology needs to go. With its extensive connectivity options to its exhaustive features, the deck sure does know how to work things out of a TV, let alone a disc player. It looks to be a living proof of convergence that blends together a variety of AV components into a single unit. It also explodes with couple of cutting-edge features like comprehensive Freeview functionality to media streaming over Wi-Fi, not to forget the colossal 1TB hard-disk. It is irrelevant whether it’s a smart Blu-ray spinner or a Hi-def PVR, or a tuner with two or more niggles, but this is as good as it can get in a world of Freeview HD as it promises to tick all relevant boxes with the HD/Blu-ray+1TB hard drive combi. Now to pick on a few areas for improvement – Samsung need to work on their network media streaming functionality as it is frustrating when you are not allowed to use the internet features while it is recording. Again, the inability to record two channels simultaneously looks to be a shame particularly in this day and age; Yet, this feature rich player more than compensates the price and presents itself to be a purposeful 3d-ready deck.


Samsung BD-D8900 Blu Ray Disc Player – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer Samsung
Model Name Samsung BD-D8900
Product Code BD-D8900
Product Type Blu-Ray player
Form Factor Table top
Dimensions H x W x D 430 mm x 60 mm x 299mm
Weight 3.9 kg
Colour Black
BD Profile 5.0
Control Button Touch Key
Deck Type Slot-in
Front Display VFD
Video Decoding Format HD JPEG, MPEG, MPEG2/4, AVCHD, DivX HD,
MKV, WMV 1,2,3,7,9
Video Output Resolution 1920 x 1080 P, 1920 x 1080 I, 1280 x 720 P,
720 x 480 P (720x 576 P), 720x 480 I (720x 576 I)
Video Scaling DVD Upconversion
Audio Decoding Format AAC, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1ch, Dolby TrueHD, DTS,
DTS HD Hi-Res audio, DTS HD master audio, LPCM, MP3, WMA
Playback Media 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray video, CD DA/CD-R/CD-RW,
DVD-video, DVD R, DVD RW
Connectivity Analog Audio Outputs: 2ch
Anynet+(HDMI-CEC)
Component Video output
Composite video output
Ethernet
HDMI output:2EA
Optical Digital Audio Output
USB Host: 1EA
Wireless LAN Built-in
Tuner Dual Tuner, DVB-T2/C
Recording Media Yes (100GB)
Timer Recording EPG (Digital)
Number of recording (1 Month): 50 Events/Month
On Time Recording: Off, 10 min~6 hour
DVB Auto channel Scan
Channel list
Auto clock setting
EPG (digital) – SI-EPG
Favourite channel
Logical channel number
Manual channel scan
Radio
Parental Guide
TTX(OSD)
OTA
Subtitle (DVB)
Subtitle (TTX)
Time shift
General Features 3D convertor, AllShare, BD Wise, Full Screen,
Hyper Real Engine, Karaoke, Local Storage (Built-In Memory),
Smart Hub, Ultra Fast Play, Video Up-scale DVD
Physical Features Capacity:1TB
Plate size: 3.5”
Recording time (HD, SD): About 20 hours of HD
Stand by/Operating: 1W/33W
Warranty One year

Samsung BD-D7500 Blu Ray Player Review

Forget the Atkins Diet, for the Samsung Diet looks to have done wonders in slimming down the Samsung BD-D7500 Blu-Ray Player to astonishing compact proportions. It is the Korean Manufacturer’s 3D flagship model for 2011 focussing a lot on its stylish looks and unique design. Well, looks like Samsung is one-upping themselves! It was only a year before when the Samsung BD-P4600 Blu Ray Player was touting itself as the World’s slimmest player, when the BD-D7500 decided to deprive the former of its crown. Samsung sure does seem to have pushed boundaries again with this Blu-ray player that is scarcely an inch thick. Not only does it sweep you off your feet with its looks, but is also complete with its leading edge tech namely 1080p upscaling, 2D to 3D conversion, 3D playback, DLNA, touch-sensor controls, in-built Wi-Fi, Apps that is Web connected and aides in content streaming. Not to mention the expensive tag that tags along it in comparison to most players in the current market.

Well, for those of you who are tired of sliding their players under your television, you can now wall mount it, provided you figure a way out of the wiring situation. So are we all set to explore this achingly petite player and what it has on offer?

Key Features – A quick Glance:

  • Superior graphic UI.
  • Wi-Fi on board.
  • Along with playing HD movies in 3D, it also up converts 2D titles (blu-ray) to a near 3D image quality.
  • Ultra Fast Play (Samsung touts a less than 3 second start up time)
  • Capable of playing audio CDs and CD-R/RW along with DVDs.
  • Capable of decoding DTS Master Audio and Dolby Digital TrueHD. Multi-channel theatre sound can be enjoyed with the receiver being connected via optical audio out or HDMI.
  • Novel SoC (System-on-Chip) for outstanding 3D up-conversion of pictures, movies, and video streaming.
  • BD LIVE supported – content can be downloaded from the provided blu-ray disc via a network connection; Note, 1GB free space or a USB stick would be required
  • Playing music, videos and photos on your Smartphone, PC or NAS is now possible with AllShare via a network connection.
  • Allowed to play multimedia files via the USB connection. The following file formats are supported – AVI, MP3, WMA, JPEG, MKV, DiVX, MP4 and HD.
  • One Foot Connection compatible player, but then needs a Samsung Wireless Router that supports the One Foot Connection. This helps the player in establishing a connection with the router within 1 foot and doesn’t really require a password. Internet connection is seamless after this even if player is moved all around the house.
  • Samsung Smart TV makes a whole host of entertainment options possible, namely streaming from Vudu, Blockbuster, YouTube and Pandora. You can even update your social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook or if you choose to simply browse the net, all of the above with the tap of a button.
  • Smart Hub makes it possible to download a range of paid and free apps together with Internet services and content namely, weather forecasts, news, Games, stock market quotes, music and movies.
  • DLNA compatibility allows for connecting to the other DLNA compatible stuff in the house for you to enjoy the multimedia files. Additionally, you can turn your android phone into a remote for the BD-D7500 by downloading a special app called iOS, that is free.

Design/Finish

Measuring 0.9 inch deep, this Samsung BD-D7500 slim player comes in both glossy black and trendy silver finish. With a brushed metal silvery look, the slot-loading disc drive is located towards the side. Most of the cost of this player has gone into styling the BD-D7500, which looks to be a charismatic addition to Samsung’s 3S design theory (symmetrical, slim, slot-in). Its sleek brushed aluminium finish proves to be a real feast to the onlooker’s eyes and can be both wall mounted or fitted onto a stand. Well, it cannot be fitted into a cabinet though because of the side slot-in design. Gone are the days of noisy and slow load times. The addition of touch-sensor controls with the incorporated blue lightning sure does make the player to stand out in any home theatre and therefore would be more ideal to place in an area where it can be spotted. As mentioned before, if you find the player’s thinness kind of annoying, the supplied angled pedestal comes to your rescue. You can also just go ahead and wall mount with the brackets provided.

Slots & Controls in BD-7500

Akin to life, there seems to be compromises here too. The connections at the rear have been kept to a bare minimum to match the 1-inch frame. So the only connections that you get to see would be a single HDMI output, a USB, optical digital out, a LAN port. There is also an A/V mini-jack output that comes with a breakout cable for stereo analog audio and composite video. It lacks a dual HDMI out that was on offer in its predecessor BD-C6900, which proved to be real handy, especially if you have an older version of A/V receiver that has issues getting through 3D video. Again, it lacks multichannel analog audio out too. The On/Off is the only physical button that you get to see on the player. Additionally, there is also a Play/Pause logo in the centre encircled by 4 touch-sensitive buttons that controls playback. Fortunately, you really don’t have the need to use the USB slot for the Wi-Fi dongle, as it is in-built. Just follow the setup wizard and your deck would be networked in couple of minutes. Though the entire thing lights up similar to a Christmas tree, thankfully there is an option to switch this off, such that it doesn’t prove to be an annoying distraction while watching your favourite movie. Kudos to Samsung for having equipped the player with a slot-in disc drive due to which movies are played in less than 20 seconds from the time the spinner sucks in your disc. Well, this avoids the endlessly waiting time spent on the disc tray to pop out and go in. Definitely the fastest load time that we have seen so far!

Audio/Video

There is an on-board DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and Dolby TrueHD in the BD-D7500 3D Ready Blu Ray Disc Player that helps pass Hi-Res audio formats in their inherent bit stream format via HDMI, helping your A/V receiver decode the same. The setup menu offers a choice between 3 preset modes and a user mode, wherein the latter allows for adjusting noise reduction and sharpness. The depth of a 3D image can be adjusted with 2D to 3D conversion.

Playback is supported in the following formats in the BD-D7500 – CD audio, DVD, BD, MKV, AVCHD, WMA, Divx HD, MP4, JPEG and MP3. The player can be added to your home network via either a wireless 802.11n module or via Ethernet port. It is also equipped with 1GB of internal memory for storage of BD-Live content together with a USB port for additional storage. The latter also supports movie playback, music and photos. But then, the deck is devoid of advanced control ports like the IR or RS-232.

Features

The online platform in the Samsung BD-D7500 seems to be the richest in terms of online content. A rapid-growing App store has a whole host of casual games together with left-field infotainment, namely the Yoga Helper, which enhances your yoga poses and How to Tie a Tie etc. You get to amuse yourself by browsing pictures from Picasa. Again, the streaming video options also are abundant that goes on to include YouTube, Acetrax, BBC, Vimeo, iPlayer, DailyMotion etc. Social networking is also here in the form of Picasa, Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps, AccuWeather etc. Talking about social networking, while it indeed has a big nod to it on the Smart Hub portal, it is kind of disappointing to know that Twitter and Facebook are not really included in the TV experience. Well, you might have to relent to Samsung’s very own account login and creation tolerating the hurdles associated with it, which looks to be a part of the package.

In terms of streaming/downloading content the Smart Hub Portal literally smokes ahead in the race. It packs a literal mix of VOD services together with miscellaneous apps as mentioned above. The Your Videos Section forms a part of the Smart Hub Package that is more IMDb-lite. Streaming movies from within makes more sense, though presently that is not an option.

If you are looking to entertain yourself by streaming TV shows, music or movies, the BD-D7500 is only too happy to comply. The same can be played via a networked PC or via the USB stick; files such as MKV are reeled too. In case you have your stuff stored using a NAS (which we think you do), do not be surprised if the support is kind of pedantic. Well, that is because the player is kind of finicky when it comes to media servers.

Last but not least, check out yet another novel feature, BD-Wise, which helps the deck in outputting a disc at its inherent frame rate and resolution upon being connected through HDMI to a Samsung TV that is BD-Wise compatible. Well, this works if you let the TV control the frame-rate conversion and the upconversion.

Performance

The Samsung BD-D7500 3D Blu Ray Player doesn’t really disappoint you in terms of performance and does a fabulous job when it comes to putting life into 3D elements. It kicks off right from the minute the Warner Bros logo pops on the screen. It is a real treat to the eyes to watch 3D ingredients like a tennis ball being dangled in mid air, proving to be attractive additions. This is made possible thanks to its radiant convincing depth levels together with a realistic touch to the movies. Textures are flawless with vivid-looking clothing and fur. With the audience of a movie being kids, it is the colours that tend to attract them and colours are indeed impressive and captivating with dynamic rich hues. Blacks were impressive as well.

In terms of audio quality, the BD-D7500 Blu Ray Player player is capable of Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD HRA along with supporting 7.1 channels through HDMI output, thus providing you with crisp and sharp surround sounds perfect for any of your favourite movie that you decide on watching. The quality of audio in the BD-D7500 is good too with the fabulous decoding of the supplemented MA 5.1 DTS-HD. More importantly, the dialogues are crisp and are not flooded neither by the music nor by the sound effect. Again, be it a subtler or action packed sequence, the experience is wonderfully immersive. Bass brings about a dramatic scenario with action-packed sequences. In fact, it looks to be a perfect match for the kind of 3D performance that you get to witness.

In terms of picture quality the player scores extremely well with both 2D and 3D images. Images literally pop up to life on the screen by way of brilliant, vivid, crystal clear quality. Load times are rapid and the BD-D7500 upconverts old DVDs seamlessly to HD quality. Though we do admit that the quality of up-converting DVDs has improved dramatically in comparison to its predecessors, the BD-D7500 still has a lot to make up in comparison to some of the high-end players or the Sony PS3 for that matter. Again, though the spinner upconverts conventional 2D images to 3D, the image quality might differ based on the source material.

Do not get dodged with the deck’s feather light weight, as the HD quality of the picture coming from within is a real killer with bustling playback detail, that you can literally peer into the smoggiest of scenes and yet come out with abundant details. 3D movie playback is cool too. Well, there is also the option to depth convert conventional 2D DVDs and Blu-rays to 3D. Though, it doesn’t really convince many of you out there that there is no real reason to use 3D glasses for content that is not designed to be watched in 3D format, you eventually cannot help but admire Samsung’s smartness in presenting 2D in the best ever possible fauxD. DVD playback also looks to be okay, though you will possibly find a more precise upscaling in the rival decks. Again, the spinner cannot be taken seriously to be a dedicated CD player, especially with its music playing capabilities being limited to functional. Nevertheless, this limitation doesn’t really matter much. Also we do not really think this deck is too very compatible with several AVRs as it evidently devised to be directly connected to a TV. On the flip side, you sure can connect it with a home cinema amp and the BD-D7500 would only be too happy to bitstream DTS Mater Audio and Dolby TrueHD. Then again, you might want to be aware of the fact that it lacks a persistent memory and the single slot for USB will have to be backed up with an additional 1GB, especially if you are looking at downloading stuff from the BD Live.

Remote Control

The BD-D7500 is backed by Samsung Anynet Plus (HDMI CEC), a network system that controls AV devices of Samsung by default eliminating the need for different remotes for various devices. This Anynet + feature offers you an experience that is seamless and user friendly and all you really need is just one remote. That being said, though the BD-D7500 is touted to be a remarkably stylish deck, we guess the same cannot be said about its remote control, which is neither fascinating nor really practical in use. It lacks backlighting with just the playback buttons being lucky enough to be treated with a fluorescent finish.

Power Consumption

Thankfully, the Samsung BD-D7500 3D Smart Blu Ray Player is not too very power hungry and uses only just about 14 to 16 watts when it comes to Blu-ray playback with only 0.3 watts while on standby. Well, it might not sound to be the best, but it is definitely above average in comparison to the other players in the market.

Pros

  • Stylish form factor
  • Smart Hub Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi Onboard
  • Wall mountable
  • Ultra fast play
  • Touch-sensor controls
  • One Foot connection

Cons

  • Limited Connectivity
  • Run of the mill DVD and CD playback
  • Lacks advanced control port such as RS-232, dual HDMI outputs and multichannel analog out for audio
  • Pricey
  • Uneven file support with media streaming

To Wrap-Up

Guess the Korean manufacturer would do everything possible up their sleeve in devoting an exclusive team to downsize technology with their sole mission being breaking their own record. This is the only possible reason that we could think of, for the Samsung BD-D7500 touting to be the world’s slimmest deck. No wonder it was waltzing all over the CES 2011 after being crowned the World’s slimmest Blu-ray deck. Let us say that this player is exclusively for those hankering for a high-end and hot Blu-ray player packed in an attractive case. Then again, the deck doesn’t really rely on its looks alone and packs a whole host of features in its tiny packing like DLNA compatibility, integrated Wi-Fi, 3D support, in-built storage and Smart Hub with Web-connected Apps, to name a few. On the flip side, if you are someone that doesn’t really give much of importance to the form factor, then you might step down a bit to the BD-D6700 with almost the same features, but with a more traditional design, together with a dual HDMI output which the 7500 lacks. Again, if you are not a great fan of 2D to 3D conversion, you could step down even further to the BD-D6500 forking out a relatively smaller sum for almost the same features.

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Samsung BD-D7500 Blu Ray Player – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer Samsung
Model Name BD-D7500
Form Factor Tabletop
Dimensions (W x H x D) 380 x 23 x 158 mm
Weight 1 kg
Colour/Finish Black, silver
General Features Control Button: Touch keys
BD profile: 2.0
Deck Type: Slot-in
Ultra Fast Play: Yes
3D Converter: Yes
Hyper Real Engine: Yes
Front Display: VFD
AllShare: Yes
BD Wise: Yes
Local Storage (in-built Memory): Yes
Smart Hub: Yes
Video Upscale DVD: Yes
Physical Feature Energy Rating: 2 star
Stand by/Operating: 0.3W/19W
Video Feature Decoding Format: AVCHD, MPEG2/4, JPEG, GIF,
PNG, DivX HD, HD JPEG, MKV, WMV(1, 2, 3, 7, 9)
Audio Feature Decoding Format: AAC, Dolby Digital Plus (7.1ch),
Dolby TrueHD, LPCM, MP3, DTS, DTS HD Hi-Res Audio,
DTS HD Master Audio, MP3, WMA
Sound Output Mode Stereo
Supported Audio formats AAC, HD-AAC, MP3, AC-3MPEG1/2 Audio, WMA, PCM
Additional Features Wall Mountable
AllShare
1GB flash memory in-built
USB host function
Playback VCD 1.1
Blu-ray Video
DVD Video/DVD+R/ DVD-R/DVD+RW/DVD-RW
CD DA/CD-R/CD-RW
Supported Digital Video Standards DivX, DivX HD, AVCHD, MPEG1, 2, 3, WMV9,
XviD, AVI, H.264, VC-1
Blu-ray Features Picture Zoom, 4x Picture Zoom Power, Parental Lock
Blu-Ray Media Format: NTSC
BD Profiles: Profile 1.1 (BonusView) 2.0 (BD Live)
Media Load Type: Slot-in
Slow Motion Speed: 1/8, 1/4, 1/2
Blu-ray Repeat Modes: Chapter, Title and A-B repeat
Upscaling: Yes
Connectivity Analogue Audio Outputs: 2ch
Aynet+ (HDMI-CEC)
Component/Composite Video output
Ethernet
HMDI output: 1EA
Optical digital audio output
USB Host: 1EA
Built-in Wireless LAN
Wireless LAN ready
Connector Type 1 x HDMI output – Bottom
1 x Composite Video/Audio output – Bottom
1 x Digital Audio output (optical) (TOSLINK) – Bottom
1 x USB 2.0 – Side
1 x Network (RJ-45) – Bottom
Remote Control Type Infrared
Cables Included 1 x A/V cable
Energy Star Qualified Yes
Power Power Adaptor – External
Consumption (operational) 19W
Warranty 1 Year Parts and 3 Months Labour