DVD Players

Samsung BD-P1400 Blu-ray Player

ARTICLE INDEX


front view

 

 

 

Introduction

This is the third Samsung Blu-ray player that I've evaluated. Samsung was the first on the block to release a Blu-ray player with the BD-P1000. This first model had a few hiccups in design, but ultimately after a few firmware updates, it provided decent performance. They followed up that model with the BD-P1200, which featured Silicon Optix's Reon video processing, making it a formidable Blu-ray player and an excellent solution for standard DVD playback. The new model, the BD-P1400, is an extension of the original BD-P1000 and drops the Reon processing but adds a few new Blu-ray playback features.

The BD-P1400 is a third generation Blu-ray player. Throughout my time with various Blu-ray players (I've used just about all of them), I've been really impressed with the build quality and features that most of them bring to the table. Compared to the rival HD DVD format, Blu-ray players have been consistently bringing true 1080p support, 24p support, and a wide variety of other features. The price point is a bit higher, but ultimately I've felt it was justified given the features and playback experience.

What I'm not so pleased to see is a continuation of the sluggish interface and load times, as well as other usability issues. As this format progresses, it seems that only a few of the hardware companies are truly trying to improve on the user experience and instead justify their costs on small advancements in capabilities that are at times a bit underwhelming. We still have not reached the point where I feel the hardware has truly matured enough that mass market consumers would have a truly seamless and otherwise painless transition from the SD DVD format. I see this as one of the biggest stumbling blocks for both competing high definition formats.

at an angle

Specifications

  • Codecs: Blu-ray, DVD-V, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, CD, CD-R, CD-RW
  • Built-in audio decoding for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, and DTS-HD, plus multi-channnel uncompressed PCM
  • Outputs: Composite, S-Video, Component Video,HDMI 1.3a
  • 720p/1080i/1080p Video Scaler for DVD (through HDMI output only)
  • Dimensions: 16-15/16"W x 3-3/16"H x 14-3/8"D
  • MSRP: $499.99 USA
  • Samsung

The Design

The BD-P1400 is an average size player that is only slightly larger than what you normally see from the DVD market. The front panel is a glossy piano black and in line with the styling that has become a trademark of the Samsung brand. You won't see a lot of buttons or lights from the front. Instead, Samsung has included a single multi-function interface with controls for play, pause, skip, and stop.

The back panel is also the same as most of the Blu-ray players on the market. All of the requisite audio/video connections are included. You'll find an HDMI output, component video output, and legacy composite and S-Video outputs. Keep in mind that the HDMI output is required to take full advantage of this player's video output capabilities, including 1080p60 and 1080p24 playback. The component outputs are limited to 1080i while all other video outputs are limited to 480i video playback.

back view

On the audio side, Samsung has included a Toslink and digital coaxial outputs and a 5.1 analog output. The HDMI output is the latest version (1.3) and supports bitstream transmission of all of the new audio formats including DTS-HD Master Audio. This is one of the very few players on the market that support this feature and is probably one of the biggest selling points of the player now that we're seeing more and more receivers and processors with advanced audio decoding from Dolby and DTS. I was a bit disappointed to see that the analog outputs only support 5.1 audio. This player can decode the new Dolby Digital Plus format. Unlike HD DVD, Dolby Digital Plus is used strictly for soundtracks with more than 5.1 channels, including 7.1. If you are using a receiver or processor that doesn't support 7.1 via HDMI or doesn't have HDMI to begin with, this limits your opportunity to hear these new soundtracks with full 7.1 support.

The BD-P1400 also has a LAN connection on its back panel. This serves as a means to update the player via the Internet when firmware updates are available. The player can also be updated with CDs by downloading ISO images of the latest firmware from the Samsung support website. During my time with the 1400, I did update the player using this method and found it fairly simple, though I would like to see both formats get their hardware and software to the level where firmware updates are rarely if ever needed. While an A/V enthusiast and veteran such as myself stays on top of things like this, the average consumer may not balways be on the lookout for updates. It is a ridiculous proposition to require the players to be updated constantly as new software is released with small differences in their playback experience.