Blu-ray Players

Samsung BD-D5500 Blu-ray Player

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Samsung BD-D5500 Blu-ray Player for the Home Theater

While I had the Samsung BD-D5500 in my house, The Incredibles was finally released on Blu-ray. Possibly my favorite Pixar film for pure enjoyment, I was happy to get to see it in high resolution for the first time since it came out in theaters. The Samsung loaded the film quickly and I skipped ahead to a few of my favorite scenes. The battle in the forest between the Incredibles and the flying disc ships is a wonderful demo scene, both for video and audio. As Dash flies through the forest and the ships zoom around his head, you are surrounded on all sides by the fantastic soundtrack. I could find no fault with the sound or image coming from the Samsung and was very happy to enjoy this film once again.

Testing the online connectivity of the Samsung was a different process than with most players. Whereas your typical connected Blu-ray player comes with support for only a few services and is ready to go, the modular Apps approach of the Samsung means that you have more options, but you have to go out and individually choose which options to install. I actually preferred this approach as it gave me more flexibility in what choices I wanted to have available, and it had a wide variety of content. Players from Sony that have as many online sources give you all of the options, with no way to remove them, which leads to a cluttered interface in my opinion. The Samsung offered the same variety of choices, but kept the interface cleaner I felt.

Once I installed the Netflix app, I went ahead and authorized my account and fired up The Iron Giant again. The fist time I hit play, the Samsung froze up during buffering and had to be manually restarted. I went back and tried the same clip and encountered no errors, but this was the first time I had Netflix freeze on me in a Blu-ray player. Once The Iron Giant did load, while the image itself looked fine, pans were very, very choppy in comparison to other players. The daylight pan of the dock was especially choppy and I stopped watching shortly after that. I didn’t notice it as much during an episode of Arrested Development, but it was the jerkiest pan I had encountered so far with Netflix. One nice thing about the Netflix app is that it does use the new interface that includes both Search and Browse functionality.

The Samsung has a support for a wide variety of other online applications, including Hulu Plus, Pandora, Vudu, Blockbuster, Picasa, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Some of these I tested and found very useful (Hulu Plus and Vudu), and some I tested and still wasn’t a big fan of (Twitter, Facebook) as I can see their potential use on a TV set, but not on top of Blu-ray content. Samsung seems to be putting effort into adding more apps and improving those that they already have, and so hopefully the BD-D5500 will continue to add value over it’s lifespan.

I do not own a 3D display at this point, so the 3D functionality was not tested.