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Samsung BD-P1600

Last Updated
May 10, 2009
 
Product Rating
3.5 Out of 5
 
Pros
  • Netflix and Pandora streaming
  • Quick start-up times
  • Excellent 1080p video processing
  • Inexpensive
 
Cons
  • No internal memory for BD-Live, thumbdrive required
  • Upconverting is a little sketchy
 
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Review

One of Samsung's latest Blu-ray DVD players, the P1600, is a media powerhouse that delivers good picture quality along side some excellent multimedia extras. It offers Netflix and Pandora streaming via the Internet as well as full 1080p resolution with BD 2.0 support and BD-Live ready. For a powerful and loaded Blu-ray player, its price is fairly cheap all things considered.

The Samsung BD-P1600 measures 2.1 x 17 x 7.8-inches (HWD) and has a sleek design that has been updated compared to the older models of the BD line from Samsung, which were also fairly decent Blu-ray players themselves. Along the front side, you will find the 1-disc tray, some basic playback controls, and a USB port behind a faceplate. The front buttons are a little larger than average and have a glowing effect in the dark, which enhances both its look and usability. The player doesn't leave anything out on the back when it comes to output ports either. On the device's back, you'll find a HDMI port, component video, RCA stereo audio outputs, and optical audio out. This large variety of ports will ensure that every home theater system will be able to use this player, especially for high-definition systems. We must declare that Samsung does not include a HDM cable, only composite video. An Ethernet port is also on the back to allow you to connect it to your home's network connection for firmware updates as well as watching movies from Netflix's Watch Instantly service and music from Pandora. For those of you that don't know what Pandora is, it is an Internet radio service that is ad-supported, which means they play occasional advertisements. It can be thought of as a free alternative to satellite radio in a sense.

BD-Live is fully supported with the BD-P1600, which means you can download interactive content along with supported DVDs. However, there is no internal storage inside the player out of the box, which means you have to connect a thumbdrive of at least 1GB to the USB port located on the back of the device. The USB port (on the front or back) can also be used with Samsung's own LinkStick wireless adapter to connect the player to the Internet via Wi-Fi instead of by Ethernet. You can purchase the LinkStick from Samsung for an extra $80, but you can probably find it cheaper online if you look hard enough.

The on-screen menus on the BD-P1600 have also been updated with new styles with slick gradients that look really good with HD televisions. The start up time of this player is pretty quick with under 5 seconds typically from startup to disc tray eject, however, it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds for the player to become responsive to commands from the remote.

The BD-P1600 did a fantastic job of playing Blu-ray movies at 1080p resolution. Video played uninterrupted and audio sounded crisp and clear without hiccups. This player is, however, not capable of upconverting standard DVDs to 1080p format, but instead upconverts to 1080p60 format, which is a more commonly supported video format that is a step between 1080 and standard television resolution. This did produce some shaking issues due to the upconverting. Its ability to upconvert is certainly not the best out there, but it's still within tolerance of watchability.

You'll definitely want to look into getting the Samsung BD-P1600 if you are at Netflix subscriber to take advantage of its Watch Instantly capabilities. All you need is an active Netflix account and a broadband connection (the faster, the better) and you can stream movies right to your DVD player and onto your TV.