Review: Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc Player

In the rush to have latest next-generation DVD, early adopters currently have few product choices. Toshiba and others have been rolling out HD DVD players, but Blu-ray disc has been lagging behind in getting players to market.

The first Blu-ray player being sold in the U. S. is Samsung’s BD-P1000 Blu-ray disc player. What follows is a first impression of the BD-P1000 after spending a week with the player and three Blu-ray movie titles.

Samsung’s BD-P1000 is a stylish player with clean lines and minimalist design, but is about one-third larger than current DVD players (it has to be bigger, since there is essentially a computer inside.) The remote is also intuitively designed, with buttons and functions clearly defined.

Here is a list of features supplied by Samsung:

Blu-ray playback at content native HD resolution of 1080p/1080i/720p

DVD up-conversion to output resolution of 1080p/1080i/720p

BD-RE,BD-R,BD-ROM,DVD ROM,DVD RAM, DVD-R-RW+R+RW, CD ROM, CD-R-RW playback compatible

MPEG2, VC-1, H.264, HD JPEG decoding

Dolby Digital, Dolby�® Digital Plus, DTS�®, MP3 audio decoding

HDMI Component Video, S-Video and Composite video inputs

Universal Remote Control

Getting Started

Hooking the player to your HDTV should be a cinch, but here is where I encountered the first problem. A single HDMI connection is all that should be required to send audio and video to the HDTV, but I would soon learn it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Upon turning on the player for the first time, you are walked through a few settings to get your viewing preferences, such as menu language and audio configuration. All of the menus were intuitive and set-up was a breeze. I then put in the Terminator 2 (T-2) Blu-ray disc and waited about 20-30 seconds for the movie to start. I assume these loading times will improve with the next generation of players. When a menu finally appeared, the first thing I noticed was that the colors were all wrong.

After about ten minutes of fussing with settings on the player and the monitor, I tried disconnecting the HDMI cable and connecting the player via the supplied component cables. That fixed the problem. My HDTV monitor is not compatible with the HDMI output of the Blu-ray player. I still don’t know the root cause of that problem, but I imagine a lot of early adopters will encounter similar problems with older HDTV monitors.

Once I got the connections sorted out, the image quality was stunning. The T-2 menu comes up immediately providing more options for audio, subtitles and chapter selection. If you don’t do anything, the movie starts itself in fifteen seconds. The menus work differently in that you don’t have to stop the movie to access them. Activate a menu, and it will pop up while the movie is playing, making scene selection and on-the-fly subtitle and audio settings much less intrusive.

The image quality on the T-2 Blu-ray Disc was impressive. I was able to see details in the film I had never seen before. The colors were rendered well, and the image was crisp and clear. It is very easy to see the actual film grain in the image, and the image was so clear that the special effects in the very beginning of the film were maybe a little too clear, exposing the seams between live action and the special effects. It was not so noticeable as to be distracting but you could still tell where the effects were added, because they do look a bit cleaner than the live action. I imagine this will be a problem for older films that will need to be addressed in future releases.

Another feature of this player is the ability to play your standard DVDs and boost the resolution to the maximum allowed by the player, a process called up-conversion. For this test, I used the standard T-2 DVD. The image was not as clear as the HD version, but still impressive an a high-definition resolution with a little softness around the edges. Colors were also reproduced well during up-conversion.

Audio

The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX audio was equally clear. There was no DTS audio available on this disc. It was hard to tell the difference between standard DVD surround-sound on the system I was using, but the audio signal was virtually noiseless and had clear channel separation on my Denon Dolby 5.1 surround system.

Conclusion

On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this player a 6. I have no real basis for comparison since I have not tested other players, but given the fact that the HDMI connection didn’t work, I couldn’t give it a high score. It is a first generation player and as such, we can expect things to get better in future players. As it is, I’m returning the player to the retailer at which I purchased it because of the HDMI problem.

Should you run out and buy one? At $1000 a player, my advice is no. In fact, until the there is some conclusion in the format battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, I wouldn’t recommend anybody buy either format. If you must have one, at least wait until 2007 before buying, when a new generation of players become available.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


− one = 3