If there has been one thorn in the side of recent Blu-ray players, it’s their painfully slow loading times.
So, it’s great to see that Samsung’s BD-P1600 has sorted it out. During testing, this player outpaces machines that cost up to eight times as much.
There are no multichannel analogue outputs, but the machine can still output all formats in their native form or as PCM over HDMI. There’s an Ethernet port for BD-Live access, but you can go wireless if you buy Samsung’s optional dongle (£50).
You might notice that the remote is a new design that’s similar to those that come with Samsung’s tellies. The glossy plastic finish feels a bit cheap, but it’s still an improvement on the styling of Sammy’s older players.
Blu-ray images are handled well. The BD-P1600 paints a reasonably detailed picture with a well-judged colour palette. As the planes fly through the valleys in Quantum of Solace, the Samsung serves up stable images.
Compared to budget models from Sony and Panasonic, though, the picture is noisier and not as insightful. It’s a similar case with DVD – the top budget players offer that extra little bit of resolution.
Sound quality is average for a player at this price. The Samsung digs up a fair amount of detail from high-definition soundtracks, but the overall sound is dynamically flat.
The dialogue throughout Australia isn’t as clear as it is on the player’s closest rivals, and the film’s musical score needs greater punch.
The BD-P1600 is a capable player and its loading time alone almost justifies the price-tag. But when it comes to out-and-out performance, it isn’t quite as gifted as the class-leaders.