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Samsung BD-P1500 review

Ben Drawbaugh

Samsung has always led the way when it comes to Blu-ray players. It was the first to market, months before even Sony or the PS3. Sammy has also released more generations of Blu-ray decks than any other manufacturer at four. Sure, Samsung players have had a few problems, and with few exceptions customers have been forced to upgrade their units to get new features, but overall every previous Samsung player has been a solid performer -- thus, we don't expect you to be floored when hearing that the BD-P1500 fits the same mold. Also, like its predecessors, the BD-P1500 braves the way with new features, but unlike the original BD-P1000, there's a lot of competition now. But even so, we're still not sure how many will choose it over a PS3.

Gallery: Samsung BD-P1500 Review | 22 Photos

The Good
  • Dolby Digital Plus and TrueHD decoding.
  • Dolby Digital Plus and TrueHD encoding to DTS via S/PDIF works great for those without HDMI audio.
  • Player bitstreams all codecs.
  • Passed both the video resolution and film resolution loss test on the HQV test disc. (Player set to 1080p60)
  • Same great menus and scrub bar as the BD-UP5000.
  • Resume works on some discs.
  • At 6 seconds, it has the fastest eject from off of any player we've tested.
  • Component and HDMI will both output at the same time, unless resolution is set to to 1080p24. If it is set to 1080p60, then component runs at 1080i60.
  • Bonus View works as advertised.
  • Best looking Samsung Blu-ray player yet.
  • Perfect picture and audio quality -- including 24p.

The Bad
  • We wish it had a native resolution setting like Pioneer & Sony's Source Direct feature.
  • Only way to change the resolution is to stop the disc.
  • Only way to make the scrub bar show up is to hit pause.
  • Still don't like the non-backlit remote.
  • Load times aren't stellar; 34 seconds to load a disc, 47 seconds if the player is off.
  • No coax digital output.
  • No discrete analog out -- first Samsung BD player without them.
  • No DTS-HD MA support until firmware update.
  • No BD Live until firmware update.
  • Resume doesn't work on some discs (BD-J limitation).

There's a lot to like about this player, but it's hard to believe that after 2 years and 5 players, Samsung still doesn't have a "full featured player." Sure BD Live isn't for everyone -- and in fact, many don't even have internet connectivity behind their HDTV -- but with BD Live and DTS-HD MA currently missing from this one, the only thing really left to like over the previous model is the price. And since the PS3 sells for the same -- unless you find the BD-P1500 on sale -- we wonder who'd prefer the BD-P1500 over Sony's multifaceted console. The good news is we don't have anything exceptionally bad to say about the BD-P1500; in fact, it works as advertised in every way. So if you're in the market for a standalone player, and don't care can wait for BD Live and DTS-HD MA decoding, this is currently the player to beat.

Gallery: The Samsung BD-P1500 unboxed | 9 Photos

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