Shrewd shoppers with a smidgen of web knowhow will find Samsung’s BD-P1500 online for the paltry sum of £170. That’s pretty impressive, considering that just over a year ago the cheapest Blu-ray player was the £300 PS3.
So why even consider one of the vastly more expensive players out there? Well, this deck does have some compromises. It can decode Dolby TrueHD, but not DTS-HD Master Audio; it has stereo phono-outputs but no multi-channel analogue connections.
So, if the price tag caught your eye, just make sure your home-cinema receiver has an HDMI input that can accept decoded HD audio or that it can do the decoding itself.
Ye olde profile
Out of the box, the BD-P1500 is only Profile 1.1 enabled, though this isn’t a major problem as Samsung has a firmware update in the pipeline. You’ll be able to carry it out via disc or over the internet, using the Ethernet port on the back of the player.
Like most Samsung products, the BD-P1500 has a simple, uncluttered design, and the fair-sized display is clear. Blu-ray discs load without too much of a wait, the remote control is standard Samsung fare, and the player’s on-screen menus are bold and easy to navigate. But it can be a tad noisy in operation.
Feed it a Blu-ray, though, and you’ll be impressed by the 1080p, 24 fps performance. Images are detailed and stable, while fast motion scenes show little sign of judder.
It’s a decent DVD upscaler, too, but the class-leading player at this price (cough, Sony BDP-S350, cough) brings greater clarity and definition. With the Samsung, sound quality is clear and open, whether you’re listening to surround sound or a simple CD, though bass notes lack muscle.
If the credit crunch has squeezed your budget, this Samsung will certainly do a job, but decks like Sony’s BDP-S350 and Panasonic’s DMP-BD35 will do it better for only a few extra notes.