Samsung BD-P1400 review

Ben Drawbaugh
B. Drawbaugh|02.28.08

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Samsung BD-P1400 review

Now that HD movies fans everywhere can all get behind one format, the next question is which player. Unlike HD DVD, there's lots to chose from and it can be difficult to figure out which is the best for you. The PS3 might be the obvious choice to some, but for others, the lack of an IR port is a deal breaker -- or maybe the lack of DTS-HD MA support. No matter what your reason, we're going to try to help you on your quest. If you only care about features, you may just want to check the Blu-ray feature grid, otherwise, read on for a review of Samsung's latest Blu-ray player, the BD-P1400. The BD-P1400 shares many features (including the UI) with its dual format brother, the BD-UP5000 -- but there's one primary difference: we had a hard time finding anything wrong with this one.

Just like the BD-UP5000, this thing looks good -- in fact, it looks identical. Like other Samsung products, the remote disappoints and is almost identical -- you know, no back light, no way to program, etc. Also like other Samsung disc players, there are no discrete IR commands, so good luck with that programmable remote.

Unlike the BD-UP5000, the BD-P1400 only has 5.1 discrete analog outputs, but it should be noted that it can decode 7.1 PCM via HDMI. And like we always say -- we're happy that Samsung hasn't given up on coaxial digital outputs, as it is still useful to some and doesn't cost much to include. The rest is pretty standard for a Blu-ray player: HDMI 1.3, component,
no RS-232, etc.

Also like the BD-UP5000, setup was a breeze, and just about all the options were there too, like "Screen Message" and "PCM down sampling" for example. A firmware update was released recently which enabled Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA bitstream output, but our review unit came with it pre-installed so we didn't get to see if the update via the network connection took 25 minutes like it did on the 5k. We'd like to take a second to complain for like the 100th time that the fact that you have to stop a disc to go back into setup, sucks. We know that every player is like this but still, it's super lame. Something else that we didn't like that is starting to look like a trend with Samsung products is that weren't able to get the AnyNet (aka HDMI-CEC) to work with our test TV (Pioneer). To be fair, the manual does state that it only works with Samsung products, but how lame is that?

The BD-P1400 shares the same UI and scrub bar as the BD-UP5000, and we absolutely love it. Not only is it attractive, but everything is well laid out and easily accessible. But also like the 5k, sometimes there are two scrub bars on the screen when the disc has it's own, but at least the player's bar can be disabled within setup with the
"Screen Message" setting.

Another nice feature is that both component and HDMI work at the same time, but there's a catch. If you set the player to 1080p, then 1080p is sent via HDMI, but only 480i is sent via component. If you set it to 1080i, then both outputs are 1080i. This could come in handy for some, but it'd be more useful if you could set HDMI to 1080p and still get 1080i out of the component. We didn't have any problems with 24p output either -- on all the movies we tired the lips weren't out of sync and there wasn't any judder, but to be fair the two titles we have that we know cause problems are both HD DVDs.

The load times were about the same as other Blu-ray players: slow. We'd expect Samsung to make some progress with each player, but just like the original BD-P1000, the 1400 takes about a minute to turn on and load a disc -- and even makes the same buzzing noise too. At least all the the Samsung players we've reviewed eject the tray within about 20 seconds even when the player is off.
    Eject tray from off.
    18 seconds
    1 minutes 5 seconds
    15 seconds
    The time it took to load a disc.
    19 seconds (HQV) 25 seconds (Bourne)
    52 seconds (Home of the Brave)
    Turn on time with pre-loaded disc 1 minute
    1 minute, 30 seconds
    1 minute

Picture and Sound Quality
Like every other Blu-ray player we've reviewed, when it comes to video and audio quality they don't disappoint. Again, we used the HQV test Blu-ray disc and the BD-P1400 easily passed every test -- this only tests for de-interlacing and 3:2 pull down.
HQV Test pattern

The BD-P1400 does have one trick up its sleeve that we haven't seen on any other player we've tested. It can internally decode multi-channel Dolby TrueHD and output it via HDMI or the discrete analog outputs. This means that even if you have an older AV receiver, you can still take advantage of every next-gen codec except DTS-HD MA,. But with Master Audio, everyone still gets the DTS core, which is pretty much what the rest of the players do anyway. Like the Panasonic DMP-BD30, if your AV receiver supports the latest codecs, you can get the encoded signal out via HDMI 1.3. So despite the fact that this player doesn't do Bonus View (read: Profile 1.1), it does have the best codec support of any Blu-ray player available today that doesn't sell for $800.


A nice looking player with great build quality. 5.1 channel discrete outputs, good looking scrub bar and UI, TrueHD and DTS-HD bitstream output. Internal decoding of TrueHD and DTS-HD HR.

HDMI-CEC incompatibilities,
No internal DTS-HD MA audio decoding. Profile 1.0.

Despite the fact that this is a profile 1.0 player, we love it. It has a really nice UI, the best audio support of any player under $800, and is priced right. While we wouldn't blame you for waiting for profile 2.0, if you can't or all you want is the latest audio codecs -- and don't care about PIP -- then this is the player to beat right now.
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