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The BDC5500's WiFi enabled twin.,
This review is from: Samsung BD-C6500 Blu-Ray Player - Built-in WiFi (Electronics)
Having owned a Samsung BD-C5500 Blu-Ray Player WiFi Ready Samsung player and had some recent experience with the BD6500 I feel in a position to compare the two. Both look similar and feel the same (though the 6500 is a tiny bit slightly larger), the main difference being the inclusion of Wifi with this model.
The BDC5500 is a very reasonably priced player and this Wifi model is over twice the price. However if you want WiFi on the BD-C5500 you need to invest in a proprietary Samsung WiFi Dongle, though it still works out to be a cheaper option. Having Wifi though you may be more likely to take advantage of the online features such as BD Live. BD Live is great for those who like bonus extras when watching a film, as well as the commentaries and interviews you get on the Blu-ray disk you can watch additional documentaries and interviews online. It's something which won't appeal to everyone as most people I know tend to just watch a film and not bother with the additional footage. Personally I've not used BD Live other than for the initial novelty value, I can see how the availability of a new commentary would be an attractive option to someone who enjoys them though.
I was looking forward to having this set up online in order to watch titles from my LoveFiLM list and catch up with things on BBC iPlayer but as it stands neither is currently available. This is a shame as they are on some other players - I have upgraded the machine firmware to the latest version (1020.1 released 27/12/2010) but these still aren't an option at the moment. Upgrading the firmware on the BD-C6500 is much easy than on the BD-C5500 as it was done automatically rather than me having to download it and install via a USB memory stick. This means you don't have to worry about updating any software, it will all happen without you having to search it out on the Samsung website.
I've seen some Blu-ray players which take quite a long while to load a disk, this is actually the quickest machine I've seen and I've had no problems with load times. It's obviously not as quick as a DVD player, but there's only a pause of a few seconds before the disk plays. Play back quality is spot on, I don't have a surround system so I can't give any great detail on audio quality, but picture-wise I have no complaints. The picture is incredibly sharp and you appreciate the difference Blu-ray makes to your viewing experience. My DVD player upscaled normal DVDs but this Samsung seems to do it better.
I have a lot of downloaded content too in the form of .AVI and .MKV and have played them back using the Blu-ray player. There is a USB port on the front and I simply plug my card reader in there (complete with memory card of course) and the player recognises the new media source. You can then browse the folder structure and select a file to view/play - you have to select a category first though (video, music, or photographs) and once you select one (e.g. video) although you can see any image or music files, you can only play video. In order to play the images/music you need to go back and select the image or music category.
The unit itself looks great. The disk drawer is concealed behind a panel which flips down when the tray opens - this keeps it looking sleek. The USB port is also covered and the line of buttons aren't actually buttons - it's a touch sensitive panel. The display is set to go blank after a few moments, so if you're watching a film in the dark you aren't distracted by a bright LCD display! The player isn't completely without distractions though...
My main gripe with this Blu-ray player is the noise which the BD-C5500 also suffers from, after loading a disk the machine makes a loud 'crunch' and throughout playback you can hear it grinding. If you decide to skip ahead a few chapters there's a bit of a mechanical grunting too. The noise was a bit disconcerting at first but I've got used to it now, it does impact on quiet scenes during a film though - it does tend to ruin the tension a bit when the atmospheric silence is interrupted by a loud whirring from the Blu-ray player!
In a nutshell: This is a great Blu-ray player. It might not be perfect yet (lack of iPlayer and Lovefilm for me are a disappointment) but those are due to be addressed in the future. The noise of the unit isn't enough to stop me from recommending it but it's still significant enough for me to point it out. Also - if you have a Samsung telly, you can use the TV remote to control the Blu-ray player, and the Blu-ray remote has (limited) control of the telly too! WiFi is easy to set up (the player guides you through it) but to be honest unless it's absolutely essential for you - I'd opt for the BD-C5500 instead and spend the £100 you'll save on some Blu-Ray titles, or even buy the WiFi adaptor which is around £45.