- Review Date: 07/14/11
- Bottom line:
With good speeds, solid performance, integrated Wi-Fi, a wide array of Web services and apps, and a less-than-$200 price, the Samsung BD-D5700 stands out as the best budget Blu-ray player we've tested.
Excellent performance. Built-in Wi-Fi. Wide selection of Web apps.
No 3D support. Single USB port is on the front panel. Little integrated memory.
This year, it seems like Blu-ray players have finally arrived. While they've picked up a great deal of momentum ever since Blu-ray soundly won the high-definition war against HD-DVD, these players have still been either too expensive or too bare-bones to be popular among the mainstream. Finally, we're starting to see affordable, functional players that don't skimp on the features or performance. The Samsung BD-D5700 is one such player, foregoing 3D but offering excellent performance, built-in Wi-Fi, and a full set of Web apps for less than $200 ($199.99 list).
A plain, glossy black rectangle, the BD-D5700 measures 1.5 by 16.9 by 8.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.8 pounds, it's a wide but very short player that can fit almost anywhere. The top panel is recessed back from the player's face and a large flip-down door for the disc tray along with illuminated touch controls add some flair to the player's face. There's a USB port on the right edge of the front panel, protected by a small rubber door. Unfortunately, since there's little built-in memory, you need that door open with a USB flash drive plugged in if you want to access BD-Live features on your Blu-ray discs. On the back panel there's only HDMI-out, an Ethernet port, an optical out, and a composite video output. A less-visible USB port at the rear of the player would have been nice.
The remote is standard Samsung Blu-ray player fare: long, rectangular, and blocky. The buttons are large and square, with glow-in-the-dark playback controls, but the rest of the remote is not illuminated.
For a $200 Blu-ray player, the BD-D5700 is packed with features. It integrates Wi-fi, so you can access online content through Samsung's Smart Hub menu system without running an Ethernet cable to the player. The Smart Hub includes both Web services and onboard apps available from Samsung's app store, including Netflix, YouTube, Vudu, and Hulu Plus. The non-Web service apps range from the frivolous, like the included Sudoku app, to the quirky and fun, like the ambient atmosphere-providing Mood Lights app, which displays various relaxing images of candles, fireplaces, and other lights. Unfortunately, since the player only has 150MB of onboard storage, so you can't use too many large apps (the Mood Lights app, for example, is more than 50MB). Fortunately, the various Web-content apps are all under 2MB. 3D support is the only feature the BD-D5700 is really missing; you can play back 3D Blu-ray discs, but you'll only see 2D. If you're not into 3D, there's really no reason to get a more expensive player.
It doesn't quite break any speed records, but the BD-D5700 comes close to beating the Toshiba BDX5200 ($179.99, 4 stars) in BD-Live disc loading time and loads non-BD-Live as fast as the fastest player we've tested, the LG BD670 ($249.99, 3.5 stars). It jumps to life in an average of 6.2 seconds, which is quick but not super-quick. It loaded our non-BD-Live Blu-ray disc, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby in an average of 13.4 seconds (including 16.6 seconds to load the disc for the first time; after that, the load time dropped a full four seconds, for an average of 12.7 seconds without that first load). The BD-Live-equipped Blu-ray of Brazil averaged 1 minute, 3.5 seconds to load from disc insertion to the first video, 1 minute, 1.3 seconds if you discount the initial 1 minute, 14.8 second wait the first time I inserted the disc. While it's not as fast as the BDX5200 in loading BD-Live discs or as fast as the BD670 in loading non-BD-Live discs, it comes close to both players' performance in their best categories, making it one of the all-around fastest Blu-ray players currently available.
The BD-D5700 passed our video tests with mostly flying colors. While some slight distortion appeared on a moving object against an evenly patterned background, the player generally excelled at all HQV benchmark tests. It displayed every video framerate and cadence we threw at it without flickering or stuttering, and showed fairly effective noise reduction algorithms.
DVD upconversion looks excellent on the BD-D5700. Using the two-disc special edition DVD of Gladiator, the player displayed a picture that looked nearly high-definition. Lines were very crisp for a standard-definition source, and while some noise was visible on flat surfaces, the picture generally looked great. It can't come close to Blu-ray Discs, but if you have a large DVD library already, the player will take good advantage of it.
With its great feature set and roundly excellent loading times, the Samsung BD-D5700 stands as one of the best Blu-ray players on the market today for $200 or less. It has built-in Wi-Fi, plenty of Web apps, and very good video processing, all while loading Blu-ray discs almost as fast as the last two fastest players in their strong categories. It doesn't support 3D, but considering everything else it can do for just $200, the BD-D5700 stands as our Editors' Choice for budget Blu-ray players.