Samsung had the pride that they were the only manufacturer producing standalone Blu-ray players, but in the year 2008, it struggled to keep up with Panasonic when this rival released the first ever Profile 2.0 player. This was because, at that stage, Samsung was still shipping Profile 1.1 compatible players with some future upgrade promises. But now, in 2009, the tables have turned with the release of Samsung’s latest sixth generation player, which is very close to a complete player.
The Samsung BD-P1600 has taken all the best features from its predecessor, like great value and sleek design, improvises on them and also upgrades it with the latest next generation features. The player now literally possesses all the features one would expect out of a Blu ray player like, on-board decoding for Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio, BD live and Profile 2.0 compatibility. In addition to this the player has gone beyond basics by including the internet streaming services like Netflix and Pandora streaming, a much improved operational speed and also the ability to add the WiFi functionality with the USB dongle. Of course, the main functionality of the device is to play Blu-ray discs and we are glad to say that, despite the addition of all these bells and whistles, the player does not lose focus on its main functionality. Though it seems to have some black spots in the design of the player, the player seems to be offering excellent value in performance and features.
Let us have a detailed look at the Samsung BD-P1600 Blu-ray Disc player.
The Samsung BD-P1600 Blu Ray Player somewhat resembles the traditional design of Samsung with a glossy smooth finishing, a perfect match for the Samsung TV sets. By measuring (H x W x D) 2.1” x 17” x 7.8”, the device has a sleek design that has been updated design when compared to the previous models which were very attractive themselves.
Annoying Front Panel:
With the uncluttered design of the front panel, you will be left wondering where the disk tray will be. This is basically because the tidy and sleek front panel folds down to give access to the disc loading tray, playback buttons and a USB port. This set up similar to the one that was found in last year’s Panasonic model, the DMP-BD10. But the good news in this model is that, BD-P1600’s tray opens and closes automatically when the disc is ejected with the remote control.
Yet, this panel is something that we did not prefer because the main buttons like open, close and power have been hidden behind it and this means that you have to flip it down manually to make any adjustments. And since the USB port is also hidden behind the panel, if you are going to use the BD live storage, the panel has to be left open permanently, which is certainly not going to look that good. One of the reasons why Samsung must have placed the USB port in the panel is perhaps because the back port is occupied by the WiFi adaptor. In addition to this, the flip door does not seem to be strong either, we would not be surprised if the panel breaks or stops popping out automatically after a while.
The player gives audio confirmation for the Touchkey and Power buttons which can be disabled when required. The screen scrub bar and the LEDs in the front too are adjustable.
The redesigned remote control:
Of course, the flip down panel will not be a big issue for you if you are going to use the clicker, if not the buttons, for most of the commands. The remote control that comes with the player has had a substantial makeover over its earlier design, but in some ways, the makeover has gone wrong. Most of the buttons have been intuitively and logically placed and there is a good amount of space left between the buttons. But the annoyance is that, some of the most commonly used menu buttons like the Disc menu, Title menu and the Pop-up menu have been moved to the bottom of the remote and very confusingly labelled. It would have been great if Samsung had included easy access buttons for Netflix and Pandora; in order to activate these services, you have to dig deep into the menu system. The glossy plastic has a tinge of cheapness of to it, but the styling feels definitely better than its predecessors.
The connectivity offered in Samsung BD-P1600 Blu-ray Disc player is quite standard. HDMI for handling 1080p HD Video and High resolution multichannel audio and component video output that outputs Blu-ray at 1080i and standard DVDs at 480p are available. The player also sports the basic audio connections like optical digital audio output and analogue-stereo output. You will also find an Ethernet port and a USB port to be used with the WiFi adaptor in the rear and as we had mentioned above, there is an additional USB port in the front panel.
The BD-P1600 Prifile 2.0 Blu Ray Player has a very attractive GUI with the combination of HD graphics and some vibrant colours. Being attractive does not mean that the interface was user-friendly and intuitive. The vertical alignment of the layout and set-up menus are very confusing and resembles the menu system of some of the high end Denon receivers like the AVR-3808CI. However, you will be rarely digging so deep into the set-up menu system, and so the issue is very minor. The interfaces of Netflix and Pandora are better, with the interface of Netflix being similar to that of its own player by Roku. The instant queue is arranged horizontally on the display, the movies have to be added to your instant queue using your computer. The interface of Pandora is extremely easy to use and you will be getting full Pandora access from the onscreen menu. Samsung could have improvised this menu system by providing a larger album art pictures and some information on the artists.
Compliance with Profile 2.0:
As in the case of most of the Bluray players that came to market in the year 2009, the Samsung BD-P1600 too complies with Profile 2.0. This indicates that the Player can playback Internet enabled BD live feature that is available in some of the latest Blu ray players. To make use of these features, BD-P1600 must be connected via either the Ethernet or WiFi with the help of a USB WiFi adaptor which is not included in the package, and a USB flash drive also has to be connected for the sake of storage. Again with just 256MB of in-built storage, you might want to accommodate all the extra downloads on a USB stick.
The BD Live files are so small, that we cannot explain why they are not already on the Blu-ray disc itself. This is not Samsung’s fault, but it is looking increasingly as if BD Live compatibility is just not a good enough reason to choose between Blu-ray players.
Impractically Wi-Fi ready:
We appreciate the BD-P1600 being Wi-Fi ready, but the disappointment is that the option is not very practical for everybody. The USB WiFi dongle is quite expensive and when that cost is added with that of the player, it comes to a tag that is close to that of Samsung BD-P3600 which is a step up version, which includes a WiFi adaptor in the package. And this step-up version also has features like 7.1 analogue outputs, onboard memory and PC streaming. So, we would advise you to go for this model if you are particular about WiFi access.
Netflix Streaming in BD-P1600:
Coming to the highlight feature of BD-P1600, the Netflix streaming, we can say in short that its functionality is identical to Roku. This feature allows you to stream anything from the “Watch Now” section of Netflix. A major gripe with this feature is that, most of the SD content is not Wide-screen. The initial catalogue of movies and TV shows lacked lustre, however, with the recent deals with CBS and Disney, the content section of the site has been improved significantly. Each set of services have their own set of advantages, and we prefer Netflix over Amazon Video On Demand that is offered by the rival DMP-BD60K of Panasonic. The overall user experience is great.
With the onboard decoding feature for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, most of the soundtrack formats can be decoded to be played back on just about any HDMI-capable AV receiver. Moreover with bitstream output being supported, you may also choose to do the decoding your AV receiver. The legacy DTS formats like Neo:6, ES Matrix, DTS 96/24 and ES can be decoded by the formats available in BD-P1600, unlike the players featuring DTS-HD Master Audio Essential.
If you have ideas of transferring digital media from your PC to blank discs or a USB disk, Samsung BD-P1600 does play AVI, DiVX, MPEG video, MP3 music and JPEG images.
Blu-ray Playback performance of BD-P1600:
As we know, the picture quality of the entry level models is always not that great, so we were really keen to see how Samsung BD-P1600 performs. We were really surprised by its performance as the player depicted the full details without any sort of jaggies and crisp. The performance of BD-P1600 is in par with its step up model the BD-P3600 and also its rival Panasonic DMP-BD60. It is not the natural skin tones or colour gradation that looks to be a problem as much as the noise in the background, but then again it is nothing serious to fret about.
Speedy Response and Loading Times:
If there has been one thorn in the side of the recent Bluray players, it is their painfully slow and irresponsive loading times and navigating discs. The latest series of the Samsung players has made a great progress in this issue. For instance, the BD-P1600 loaded “Confessions of a shopaholic” in just 16 seconds, whereas the rival Panasonic model took 21 seconds. The difference will be much higher in the discs with elaborate menus. While the Samsung model loaded “Spiderman 3” in just 63 seconds, DMP-BD took 87 seconds. Apart from disc loading, BD-P1600 was much more responsive than most of the models in the market; as speedy as the PS3 reference model.
We cannot deny the fact that there are a lot of movies that are still available in standard DVD than in the Blu ray format, hence, the performance of Standard DVD is still an issue of concern. The BD-P1600 did a very good job in upscaling to 1080p by resolving all the details of the initial resolution pattern without any issues of image instability. But the player let us down with jaggies. As far as the DVD playback is concerned, we would prefer the Panasonic model as it was much cleaner and sharper.
The Samsung BD-P1600 Bluray player is more about pictures than sound as the soundtracks lack a bit of the punch. The Samsung digs up a fair amount of detail from high-definition soundtracks, but the overall sound is dynamically flat. For eg., the dialogues of the movie “Australia” could not be heart as clear as it was on its closest rivals with the movie’s musical score lacking that extra punch. On the flip side, try playing back simple MP3 files from a USB stick and you will be surprise to note abundant treble and mid-range detail with CD playback being fairly on par with majority of the basic DVD players (note the word BASIC DVD players).
The power consumption of BD-P1600 is much less when compared to some other players. It consumes less than 1Watt in standby mode, 13 Watts at the home screen, 19 Watts in playing movie and 14 Watts playing Pandora.
Samsung offers its BD-P1600 Blu-ray player one year limited warranty.
The Samsung BD-P1600 Blu ray disc player is a great performer in all the areas. Though this player is not the best player around, but importantly, its improvement over the BD-P1500 is great. The best part is that, even though the model is an upgrade from the one of last years, you are paying less for it. It will be very mean of us to criticise the very small issues that the player has, for the price tag it is available in. We are very happy with the list of features in this entry level player. If you are after a decent player that can handle some digital media types, the BD-P1600 will be a great option.
Check other Samsung Blu Ray Disc Players in our website.
Samsung BD-P1600 Blu Ray Player – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||Samsung BD-P1600|
|Product Type||Blu-Ray disc player|
|Form Factor||Table top|
|Dimensions H x W x D||2.1″ x 17″ x 7.8″|
|Media Type||CD, DVD, BD-R, CD-R, BD-RE, CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-R,
BD-ROM, DVD+RW, DVD-RW
|Built-in Audio Decoders||Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True-HD,
DTS decoder, DTS-HD High Resolution,
DTS-HD Master Audio
|Media Load Type||Tray|
|Digital Video Standards||VC-1 , H.264 , MPEG-2|
|Digital Audio Standards||MP3 , WMA|
|Hard Drive Storage||256MB|
|Sound Output Mode||100DB Stereo|
|Digital Audio Format||DTS digital output , Dolby Digital output|
|Internet Streaming Services||Netflix and Pandora|
|Power Source||AC 120V, 60Hz|
|Power Consumption||30W (Approx.)|
|Remote control type||Infrared Universal remote control|
|Additional Features||BD-Live, JPEG photo playback, Progressive
scanning and 3:2 pull down compensation.
|Connectivity||1 x HDMI
1 x Component video output
1 x Composite video/audio output
1 x Digital audio output
1 x Network
2 x USB – Rear