As someone who has owned HDTVs since 2003 I can honestly say that I was really looking forward to the day when high definition media and players would be “affordable” to most people. With a list price of $199 (Samsung.com), but a street price of $99-$140 (Amazon.com) the Samsung BD-P1600 Blu-Ray player definitely falls into the affordable category for our home.
What is it?
The BD-P1600 is Samsung’s 5th generation Blu-ray player. It features the ability to play both high definition Blu-ray media as well as the older standard definition DVDs. The BD-P1600 is a profile 2.0 compatible Blu-ray player meaning that it is capable of all of the features currently available on Blu-Ray discs (movie playback, picture in picture, BD-Live, etc.) as well as also being capable of streaming video content from Blockbuster, Netflix & You Tube as well as audio content from Pandora. However the BD-P1600 lacks the built-in memory that is required to enable full compliance with the Blu-Ray 2.0 profile standard. This means that unless you are willing to purchase a separate 1 gigabyte (or larger) flash drive and plug it into one of the player’s USB ports that the BD-P1600 will not be able to make use of some features such a BD-Live content.
The BD-P1600 has the following connections available:
HDMI (V 1.3)
Component Video Output
Composite Video Output
Optical Digital Audio Output
Analog Audio Output
USB Ports (2) one in front and one in back
The Samsung BD-P1600 offers the ability to stream content from Blockbuster On-Demand, Netflix, You Tube and Pandora. In order to access these features you will need to have a high speed internet connection and either access to a wired Ethernet port in the room you are using the BD-P1600 in or to purchase a wireless networking dongle for one of the USB connectors. You see, while the BD-P1600 is advertised as being “wireless networking compatible” the truth of the matter is that in order to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly requires you to purchase a separate wireless USB adapter and to make matters worse, the BD-P1600 is intentionally designed to work only with the proprietary adaptor sold by Samsung for roughly $80! This means that if your intention is to use the BD-P1600’s wireless streaming abilities you might as well simply purchase the more expensive Samsung BD-P3600 which is essentially the exact same player as the 1600 except that the wireless networking adaptor is already included in the package.
If however, you intend to simply plug the player into your network using a cat5 cable or to just not use the networking features at all then the less expensive BD-P1600 is probably the better choice.
As a Blu-ray player, the BD-P1600 has worked beautifully for us, rendering crisp, clear 1080p images on our screen and outputting Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks to our receiver over the HDMI connection. We have had no complaints at all regarding the quality of high definition Blu-Ray media on this machine. Playback of standard definition DVDs is good but I have to admit that our PS3 tends to do a better job of upconverting the 480i DVD images up to 1080p for us so we do not typically use the BD-P1600 for watching our older DVDs.
Playback of the streaming media services has been a mixed bag on our system with some HD content looking very nice while lower definition feeds tend to fare poorly when sent through the BD-P1600 onto our HD set. This however is more the fault of the content providers than the player and the situation should (at least in theory) improve over time as more HD content becomes available from on-line media services.
Although not perfect, theBD-P1600 has worked out well for us as a Blu-Ray and streaming media player. It was reasonably inexpensive and has performed up to our expectations. If you are looking for a fairly inexpensive, name brand Blu-Ray Player and either have a wired networking connection available for use with it or are simply not interested in the networking features of the BD-P1600 then I would recommend that you take a good look at this player. If however you are interested in a wireless machine then you may wish to give it a pass and look at the nearly identical BD-P3600 instead.
For more on this player go to www.samsung.com
L. J. Monaghan – Associated Content – 2010