My 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.
The 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.
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):
- 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
- 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: Wired – Internet Protocol and DNS both set to Auto.
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.