- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 26 December 2011
The Samsung BD-D6500 Blu-ray Player On The Bench
With our traditional DVD and Blu-ray Benchmark tests, the Samsung did well on the major tests but did fail a few of them. On mixed film and video content it didn’t deinterlace both correctly, and it failed a chroma upsampling error test as well. With the Blu-ray tests, the noise reduction controls made no visible change to either block or mosquito noise regardless of how high the control was. 2:2 1080i content was a bit slower to lock onto for deinterlacing, but not slow enough to fail the test and the deinterlaced content looked great.
On the HDMI Benchmark the Samsung was effectively perfect in YCbCr. It did have a slight bit of dithering in the color blocks (where the value is +/- 1 of the target value), but that in itself is not bad. The main issue is that in RGB mode it forces a minimum value of 16 instead of 0 for all three values. Of course this falls outside of the video range, but it still should pass 0 when fed a 0, not 16. The other bad thing about the HDMI output is the lack of 4:2:2 or Source Direct modes for people that can’t handle RGB or 4:4:4 colorspaces correctly. If my gear supported it, I’d run it in YCbCr mode since it works correctly.
If you move outside of the Normal mode, you’ll find that the colorspace decoding is well off. In Cinema Mode, it is reducing the peak light output by lowering the values in the Y channel, while the Cb and Cr color data is having its dynamic range reduced. I would theorize that this is meant to be used when watching a film in a dark room, but with a display that is calibrated for a brightly lit room. Since most displays are not calibrated by the end users, this might give people something that looks closer to the correct light output levels for a dark room, but really you’re just giving up dynamic range in your image as it reduces the content into a smaller window of values.
Dynamic Mode works much differently, by blowing up the values in the Y channel for the midrange, causing any value of 201 or higher to actually be above 235, or the white clipping point on a calibrated display. Instead of compressing a larger set of values into a smaller group, this is expanding the values out, but there is nowhere for values to go beyond 255! This has taken your brightness range from 220 values down to 186, or a loss of 16% of your dynamic range! With color data, it’s just over saturating the colors that are on there, so nothing will be muted at all on screen, no matter how it was recorded originally.
Both these modes should be avoided. If you want to punch up the colors on your TV, or set it up for night time viewing, it’s best to do that on the TV itself as you can do that and keep far more dynamic range than you can by using these adjustments.
Load times were decent on the Samsung. It wasn’t as fast as the best players, but it was close enough that you probably won’t notice it unless you have a stopwatch out to compare.
Overall the Samsung did well on the tests that matter, and for most users will make a very fine Blu-ray player. Going from off to loading a disc was very fast indeed, as quick as any player I can recall working with.