Playing a Blu-ray Disc
Ah, the meat and potatoes of this player. As I said earlier, the problem that plagued many Blu-ray players early on was that the drives were remarkably slow, resulting in incredibly long load times. It was not out of the ordinary to sit and stare at a loading screen for more than a minute at a time before the FBI warning would rear its head. That was very frustrating. So how does the BD-P1500 compare?
It’s better, but it’s still not as good as the SONY’s mainstream Blu-ray player, aka the PS3. Loading times on the PS3 aren’t exactly instant, but you can expect to get into the movie within a few seconds. Load times on the BD-P1500, on the other hand, are a fair bit longer. Even if the disc is already in the player, the time required to turn it on and load the movie was in excess of 30 seconds. Not as bad as on previous models but still not great. Now we definitely know that SONY is hiding some secret sauce that it isn’t sharing with its partners.
The setup menu is as attractive as ever for all your configuration needs, as is the on-screen bar that can be accessed while the movie is still playing. From the on-screen bar, you can do scene selection and other basic functions without having to exit the movie first.
One strange hiccup that I encountered along the way was when I disconnected the HDMI cable (it pulls double duty for my Xbox 360) and then reconnected it to the Blu-ray player, my TV couldn’t recognize the new source right away. I would switch to the HDMI input, but it would continue “searching for sources.” The only way for me to rectify this would be to turn the player on and off (sometimes more than once) and possibly disconnect/reconnect the HDMI cable (sometimes more than once). This is very strange, because when I plug the HDMI cable into my Xbox 360, my TV recognizes it right away and shows me my Xbox Dashboard. If you’re out of HDMI ports on your TV, I recommend using an HDMI Switcher to keep frustrations to a minimum.
Using the Sony PlayStation 3 as the benchmark among Blu-ray players in the market, I felt that the Samsung BD-P1500, while an improvement over previous incarnations, still comes up short. Loading times are improved and I really like the appearance of both the player and the on-screen menus, but it’s still not as good as the PS3. The remote feels cheap and that HDMI connection issue is really frustrating. Bear in mind that I was connecting the BD-P1500 to a Samsung 52-inch HDTV (review to be posted on FutureLooks soon), so there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues whatsoever.
Samsung has made some strides in the right direction, but the BD-P1500 is still missing a few pieces of the puzzle. I’d like to see even faster loading times, a significant remote upgrade, BD Profile 2.0 support, increased input options and disc support (DivX, DVD+R/RW, and MP3 CD), and a reduced price. As it stands, the list price on the BD-P1500 is the same as the entry-level PS3. For the same price, you get a better Blu-ray player, a full-featured game console, and a bunch of other functions that this BD-P1500 does not have. If you want Blu-ray, it seems like the PS3 is still the reigning champ.
- Great-looking player with piano black finish on front
- Significantly improved loading times
- On-screen menu is attractive
- Stellar video quality, as expected
- Anynet is kind of nifty
- Remote feels cheap, in need of a redesign
- Loading times still not as fast as PS3
- Limited input/output options
- Strange disconnection issue
Overall Rating: 7.0 / 10.0
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