While we’re impressed by how quickly Blu-ray player prices have plummeted lately, we’re less keen on the fact that they all look pretty much the same. The most outlandish design touch we’ve seen so far is the Sony BDP-S550’s blue fascia, and that’s not saying much.
Fortunately, you can always rely on Samsung to try something different. Its BD-P4600 has been styled to ape the finish of its handsome 7000 series LCDs, with a choice of clear or red accents, and brings a dash of high-design for a pretty reasonable price.
On the wall
The BD-P4600 features touch-sensitive fascia controls, a slot disc-loading mechanism on the right-hand side as you look at the picture, and can be mounted on the wall using the supplied bracket.
Connectivity extends as far as an Ethernet port for BD Live access, though there are no component video or analogue multichannel outputs.
Menus are clear and concise, and the remote is altogether more legible and palm-friendly than that supplied with the matching Samsung screen.
And the picture quality? While the Samsung generates colourful, punchy images that don’t scrimp on the details, it does struggle slightly to keep motion under full control.
Deep dark blacks and bright white coexist happily, and there’s just the right degree of lividity to skin-tones. Edges are reasonably well marshaled and depth of field is more than acceptable.
The BD-P4600 upscales DVD with similar competence. It’s not immune to picture noise when the going gets tough, but our DVD collection looks very fine when upscaled to 1080p.
Sadly, sound is on the bland side of satisfactory – it’s not as hard as some at the top end, but doesn’t have the low-frequency presence or dynamic potency to make the most of a burly action-movie soundtrack. And, as we might have predicted, CD playback sounds reminiscent of highly compressed MP3 files.
The other slight drawback is that the BD-P4600 seemed extremely picky about its HDMI ‘handshake’ when linking to a screen or a multichannel receiver.
We don’t think extensive fiddling is what the prospective BD-P4600 owner deserves, so it gets downgraded to a respectable three stars.