Cheap Samsung Blu-ray Delivers Stellar Image Quality

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The Samsung BD-P1600 won’t blow you away with innovation or offer anything above and beyond its competitors. What it does offer is exceptional image quality at a good price. As Blu-ray players come down in price it’s good to see that the cheaper models aren’t skimping on quality.

We tested the image quality with a number of titles.  Using “Wall-e” was excellent to see how crisp and detailed the image could be, while “Speed Racer” showed off the colour capabilities.  An action film like “Iron Man” showed off how well motion was handled, while “The Dark Knight” displayed how well the player handled contrast during its darker scenes.  We were impressed with the image quality that the player was capable of.  The colour, detail and contrast were exquisite and the motion tests showed no problems.  We also ran the Spears and Munsill and Digital Video Essentials professional test discs and the player passed with flying colours.

The player can upscale DVDs to 1080p as well.  There were a few more artefacts compared to some upscaling players we have seen but, on the whole, it was quite good.

The audio support is robust with the HD audio codecs Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio both supported. No matter which receiver you hook it up to, you are guaranteed the to get the best audio possible.

While you can’t do anything too fancy like stream from a PC, you can play files via USB.  It supports H.264 and WMV video files as well as audio and image files too.  You can also hook up a AVCHD video camera and display directly from it as well.
The player is profile 2.0 compliant and as such can play BD-live content over the Internet.  To accomplish this you will need to hook it up to your network using a LAN cable.  There is a WiFi dongle that can be purchased separately if you wish.

 

 

The BD-P1600 is an attractive unit and aims to looks sleek while also fitting in with the average black clad home entertainment setup.  Like all glossy piano black devices, it is a fingerprint magnet but since you will mostly be using the remote control, this isn’t a huge issue.  The second USB port as well as the drive and basic function buttons are hidden behind a drop down panel. 

The remote control is fairly attractive and looks much the same as a Samsung television remote.  The on-screen menus are easy to navigate and understand and the player works reasonably fast as well.  We did experience a rather long pause and black screen when booting some discs but it seems to only be films with heavy animations or video during their menu screens.

The BD-P1600 is an excellent unit for those wanting to get in on the Blu-ray era at low cost.  It offers excellent image quality and value but doesn’t have some of the features of its high end brethren.

The Samsung BD-P1600 is available now and retails for $449.

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