Category Archives: DVD/Home Theater

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Added to Blu-ray Collection

Star Wars: The Force AwakensWell, I just had to go out and buy Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens on Blu-ray and add it to my collection. I have updated my DVD/Home Theater page accordingly. Even though my Blu-ray player is a bit old, it loaded and played the movie fine (the player took like 10 minutes before it would start letting me play Interstellar). I really liked the movie and can’t wait for Rogue One later this year and the following movies. :)

Website Changes for September 2012

For a long time back in the past I used to post little news snippets on the home page of my main website at www.markheadrick.com about changes I’d make to the site; however, I haven’t been sure if each little change really warranted a separate blog posting so a lot of things have never been mentioned unless it was something radical. Yes, I am well aware that 99.99% of the people out there couldn’t give a flying fruitcake about any of it; however, that’s beside the point. LOL :) So, what I thought I would do is create a monthly post about changes made to my various sites and update that post during the month with updates. The primary focus being on my main site as the others have the own “news” sections about changes made to them. If it’s something major with code examples and what not then those will have their own post with a reference to the change in these posts. Yeah.. that’s the ticket!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I noticed that I had the title of one my movies slightly wrong. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is now correct. I missed one of the “The”s LOL. While I was at it, I also added the DVD Empire and ImDB links as well as a trailer for the movie! Naturally, I also updated my main DVD/Home Theater page.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

After reading The Guide For Fixing & Preventing Hacks a few days ago, I decided to go through my various directories (at my webhost) and delete old and no longer used files (many being renamed versions of other files for backup purposes) and create some .htaccess redirects for pages that once existed that were now just pages that said to go to the new page.

Today, I also tweaked my hardware page to use locally stored copies of my cable modem’s speed test images with links to the originals at the speed test sites to slightly improve page load time and to reduce the dependency on those sites actually being up for the page to render properly. I also completely removed some of the older speed test references.

 We’ll just have to wait and see how this approach goes. :)

Getting Audio To Work When Streaming Netflix Movies With Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-ray Player

This is mentioned in other places on the internet but thought I would add this here as well. When attempting to stream Netflix movies with my Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-ray Player, I would hear no audio with any movie title, including the Heroes Season 1, Episode 1 that they like to use for troubleshooting purposes for some reason. For reference I am using the latest firmware as of February 7, 2011 (version: BSP-C6500WWB-1020.1 ) with an optical digital cable connection to my Denon AVR-3806 A/V Receiver.

Following advice I found on the net, my current workaround/solution:

Before going into the Netflix application, go into the Pandora radio application and listen to any radio station/channel first. Then, exit Pandora and go into Netflix to watch whatever and the audio will work. I have no idea why it works but it does. It’s either a bug in the player’s firmware or a bug with the Netflix application the player uses. Before you can use Pandora you will need to setup an account with them and then configure the player to use it. The instructions for all this are covered in the manual and Pandora’s site. Using the basic Pandora service is free so no need to worry about any costs associated with it.

Hopefully this will help anyone that runs into a similar issue. :)

Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-ray Player Added to Home Theater

Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-ray PlayerMy sister and brother in-law gave me my first Blu-ray player for Christmas which happened to be the Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-ray Player. Thanks guys! Following are my experiences with this player so far. I’ve debated with myself what to include in this post and I’ve decided to focus on the installation, setup, and normal playback of music and movies.

Installation

Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-ray Player - rear viewThe installation into my home theater system was pretty easy as all I did was disconnect the component video and optical digital audio cables from my Denon DVD player and hook them into the Samsung player. While my Denon A/V Receiver does have some HDMI connectors, they are only HDMI 1.1 and the Samsung player uses the HDMI 1.3 specification and I’m not entirely sure what functionality might be lost (Wikipedia article on HDMI). From what I’ve read so far I think I would loose the ability to play the Blu-ray DTS Master Audio streams.  Anyway, since my Denon DVD player has no HDMI connectors, I just connected everything with component video cables at the time because I already had those cables handy. I may change everything over to HDMI; however, I would need to buy at least two more HDMI cables. One for my DVR and one to connect my receiver to my Samsung HDTV. I did get one HDMI cable for Christmas which I could use to connect the Blu-ray to the receiver with. My parents have the same Samsung HDTV that I do and is connected to their cable box via HDMI and, to be honest, I can tell very little difference between the pictures.

This Blu-ray player also has both WiFi and RJ-45 Ethernet internet capability. I decided to use the wired connection by running a 50-foot Cat5 ethernet cable to the router in the other room where my computer is. While I do have a wireless router, I’d rather use a wired connection for a more consistent, stable, and probably faster internet connection (better for streaming movies through Netflix or other service). This also lets me keep the wireless portion of my router disabled.

Setup

After I turned it on the first it went through its configuration routine. Honestly, I don’t remember what order things happened in. I think the first thing it did is ask about the TV Aspect ratio (I chose 16:9 Normal) and type of internet connection (I picked wired).  After this, it connected itself to the internet and recognized that a firmware update was available. I let it go ahead and upgrade the firmware. After it came back alive, I configured it as follows (I am only including the relevant audio/video/network settings I could chose based on my connection methods):

Display

  • TV Aspect: 16:9 Normal – So that all content would have the proper aspect ratio. I don’t like seeing 4:3 content stretched.
  • Resolution: 1080i – This is the best component video will do.
  • Progressive Mode: Auto
  • Still Mode: Auto

Audio

  • Digital Audio: Bitstream (Audiophile) – I choose this to get Dolby Digital signals when playing Dolby Digital content via the optical connection.
  • PCM Downsampling: Off – My receiver is capable of handling 96KHz signals.
  • Dynamic Range Control: On – It was the default so I’ve left it here for now.
  • Downmixing Mode: Surround Compatible – My receiver supports Dolby Pro logic and all those other surround modes.
  • DTS Neo:6: Off – Let my receiver handle this.

Network

  • Network: Wired – Internet Protocol and DNS both set to Auto.

Normal Use

So far I have played the three Blu-ray movies I have and several DVD movies, including several on DVD-R media. I have also played normal Audio CDs and a MP3 CD on CD-R media. The only weird thing that has happened so far is the player did freeze on me once in the middle of a DVD movie and once while navigating the menus on another. All I could do was hit the power button when this happened. I was able to go back and play the section of the movie that the player froze on several times after it happened so I’m not sure what caused the lockup as the disc itself appears to play fine. Likewise, I was able to navigate the menus successfully on the other disc afterwards.

As far as the picture quality goes it’s fine. Nothing to complain about. It may just be all in my head but I do think the DVD images are slightly better than my Denon DVD-2200; however, without being able to compare them side-by-side for a more objective comparison it’s really hard to tell. The one thing I do like more about this player is its ability to play 4:3 content in the proper aspect ratio. My Denon would play 4:3 content in a stretched mode when configured for a widescreen TV.

The other features of the player that I have tried so far are: streaming movies from Netflix, listening to Pandora radio, watching YouTube videos, using Twitter from it, and playing with the Samsung AllShare feature that let’s you play music and videos from your PC. I will write separate posts about each of these experiences; otherwise, this post would become way too long.

So far I would to give this player a thumbs-up. :)