The Samsung BD-C6500 is a new Blu-ray player with fantastic image quality and has some great Web-connected features, like Netflix streaming. Samsung also designed the menu system to be very user-friendly with very little flaws.
The whole players measures 8.8 x 1.7 x 16.9-inches (dhw) and weighs 3.8-pounds and can easily fit into any home theater setup. Getting the unit set up is fairly straightforward, just connect everything and go through the setup wizard. The built-in Wi-Fi is also easy to setup because Samsung provided a well-designed interface to easily input long Wi-Fi passkeys. Keep in mind that if you choose to Wi-Fi to connect the unit to the Internet and your network, the quality of the content might be degraded because of the network's speed capabilities.
The outputs available on the Samsung BD-C6500 include composite, S-Video, component out, HDMI, analog audio, digital audio and digital optical audio. An Ethernet port is also available if you want to for-go wireless networking.
Once it's connected to your network, you can view media files stored on any of your computers on your home network. No extra software is required as it uses the standard DLNA server protocol to stream media files and Windows Media Player has that built-in. The setup manual actually recommends that you download their special streaming software onto your computers, but it's completely unnecessary.
Choosing the media to stream is quite simple, but a little quirky. Once you choose what type of media to look for on networked computers (music, video, pictures), it actually asks you again what type of media to stream. The first questions asks you what type of media and the second asks where to find it. Giving inconsistent answers to these two questions results in the unit being unable to find any files to stream. The unit supports streaming many types of files, including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVI, DivX, XviD and more. JPEG files are supported for images and unprotected MP3 and WMA files for audio streaming.
Besides this minor, yet strange quirk, the user interface of the Samsung BD-C6500 is rather well-designed. They have a wood-grain visual style and have visuals that make navigation easy. They're also very helpful in the sense that all the player's options are well-explained.
The remote control that is included with the unit is pretty standard, but with no backlit buttons. Some of the main buttons seemed to have a coating on them that glowed a little in the dark, but nothing near backlighting. The buttons on the front of the unit were actually quite strange because we couldn't get them to work at first. We thought our unit was defective, but it turned out that we weren't pressing them hard enough.
Some of the online streaming services include Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and Vudu. Netflix streaming worked quite well, but has the flaw that many units have, which is the inability to add movies to your queue. This process has to be done from your computer before you can watch them on your TV.
The Vudu streaming service is a lesser-known pay-per-view service that allows you to stream a very large selection of movies and TV shows. Many of the titles available are in HD quality, which is a nice complement to your HDTV. Other online services include things like AccuWeather, Picasa and Google Maps. The inclusion of Google Maps is rather strange since using the remote to enter in destinations is rather awkward and easier to do on a computer instead of a TV.
Watching Blu-ray DVDs on our HDTV using this player displayed excellent images in subjective testing. The images looked quite sharp and the color tones looked accurate, especially skin tones. Audio quality was also equally as good, especially through HDMI, but also through the older optical audio connections.