Samsung BD-F6500 3D Smart Blu-Ray & DVD Player Review
Samsung brings the value with its smart little spinner
Connectivity options are sparse but probably sufficient for most. There’s a solo HDMI output and digital audio connection plus wired and wireless options for networking and a USB slot concealed behind a flap at the front of the machine for media playback watch. And that’s it.
The supplied remote control is just about the perfect size for a disc player - not too big/not too fiddly - and there’s a small indent on the battery cover designed to take the index finger for ergonomic operation. There’s a dedicated button to take you in to the Samsung Smart Hub and the main transport controls are glow-in-the dark, for the benefit of late night movie watchers.
Menus and SetUp
The Settings Menu contains 6 further submenus - Display, Audio, Network, Smart Features, System and Support. The Display settings sub-menu has options for 3D, TV Aspect, BD Wise, Resolution, Movie Frame (24fps) and an interesting DVD 24fps Conversion Option so the F6500 looks like its capable of inverse telecine, which reconstructs the DVD frame rate back in to its original 24 frames per second format. This will only work with NTSC DVD’s, not the PAL versions made for the UK but it’s a promising addition for movie buffs. There’s additional settings for the Smart Hub Screen Size, HDMI Colour Format, HDMI Deep Colour and Progressive Mode. We will look at what effect some of those do later in the review but, as a guideline, we’d advise switching off Deep Colour – unless playing back AVC HD material from a video camera; leaving Movie Frame (24FS) at Auto for smooth Blu-ray playback and the same for Progressive mode to ensure non 24p film cadence detection is operative for DVD’s.
Next we come to the Audio sub-menu which contains settings for Digital Output from a choice of PCM, Bitstream (unprocessed), Bitstream (Re-encoded DTS) and Bitstream (re-encoded Dolby Digital). We’ll leave owners to experiment as to what works best in their systems but it’s always good to have the re-encode options. There’s also a Dynamic Range Control, Downmixing Mode (Normal Stereo or Surround Compatible) and DTS Neo:6 Mode (Off/Cinema/Music).
Not that Samsung is currently bereft of VoD providers for the Smart Hub; on the F6500 the slimmed down version of what we see on the Samsung TVs is known as Apps but it amounts to much the same thing. Pre-loaded on the Apps screen we have the likes of BBC iPlayer (of course), Netflix, LOVEFiLM and blinkbox. Samsung is also the first CE manufacturer to have all four free to air based catch-up services available on its devices so that means 4OD, ITV Player and 5 on Demand join the iPlayer amongst the line-up. As well as the pre-installed apps, there are also plenty to choose from through the Samsung Apps store – accessed from top left of the Apps Page.
The Photos, Video & Music portal is basically the media player which obviously plays very nicely with Samsung’s own AllShare PC software but will happily talk to other media servers. The Media Player seems very robust and handles all the usual suspects, including MKVs but we did get a bit too much buffering when streaming HD video over a wireless connection. Other notable features include a Web Browser which is OK for very light use and the ability to mirror the TV screen and instantly share photos and video between the F5500 and a Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 but since we’re not the owners of either, we didn’t get to try it out.
Disc Loading Times
- Standby: 0W
- Standby with QuickStart enabled: 2.3W
- Idle: 5.5W
- Playing a disc: 6.3W
- Perfect 2D and 3D Blu-ray playback
- Excellent scaling of DVDs
- All free-to-air catchup services present
- Lots of apps
- Inverse telecine processing
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Price is excellent
- Limited connections
- Build quality could be better
- Disc mechanism sometimes audible
- Display can't be dimmed
Samsung BD-F6500 3D Smart Blu-Ray & DVD Player Review
We don't expect a great deal of design finesse when it comes to Blu-ray players but at least Samsung has made some sort of effort by rounding one of the F6500's corners and making the visual display unusually big and bold. We'd have preferred it had there been an option to dim said display but since it spent most of its time hidden away in the cabinet, it didn't really bother us. Some might find the lack of connectivity options restrictive but a single HDMI and digital audio connection will be sufficient for most. There's also choices of wired and wireless for your network connection.
We like Samsung's new approach for their Home Screen and the whole feature set will take some beating in the Blu-ray market with plenty of VoD services and lots more besides. The web browser isn't up to much and screen mirroring is restricted to Galaxy S devices but there’s also an excellent media player, Wi-Fi direct and Samsung's S-Recommendation feature to bring more cheer.
The BD-F6500M is a highly capable disc player, whether that's with 2D or 3D Blu-ray or even if you fancy breathing a bit of new life back into your DVD collection, as it possesses all-round excellent video processing. The F6500 also has a fancy trick up its sleeve for owners of NTSC DVD's as it’s capable of reconstructing the original frame rate of film from them. Our only real operational quibble was in that the disc mechanism was a little bit noisy and could sometimes be heard during playback. All-in-all, however, there is almost nothing to grumble about, especially when entry price is considered.
What's not to like? For a sum not far north of one hundred pounds, the BD-6500M will give you nigh on universal playback of your physical and digital media catalogue and a bounty of desirable features, to boot. It's not the fastest or the quietest but does represent outstanding value. Best Buy.
Ease Of Use9
Value For Money9
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Disc Formats Blu-ray
DVD + R/RW
DVD + RDL
File Formats XViD
Audio Formats Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital Plus
DTS-HD High Resolutiuon
DTS-HD Master Audio
3D Blu-ray Playback Yes Smart Features Yes Remote App Yes
Tuner Type Freeview
Release Year 2013 Colour Black Width 360 mm Height 40 mm Depth 196 mm
HDMI Out 1 Optical Digital Out 1 USB Ports 1 Ethernet 1 Wi-Fi Built-in
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