Samsung BD-F7500 3D Ultra HD Smart Blu-Ray & DVD Player Review
Samsung's 2013 flagship Blu-ray player comes under scrutiny
The front panel keeps it very simple with just a Vacuum Florescent Display (VFD) and the Samsung logo on show. We’re pleased to see Samsung eschew a slot loading mechanism for the F7500 and discs are inserted in to a tray which sits hidden behind a concealing flap; said tray pops out very speedily to say hello and with equal snappiness on the way back in. Aside from that, the only other thing to mention are four, touch-sensitive controls for Stop, Play&Pause, Eject and Power. Samsung has managed to keep it simple yet still managed to inject a touch of chic, so nice job here.
Connectivity options are plentiful and those with a penchant for 3D visuals, along with high def audio, will be pleased to see the inclusion of a secondary HDMI port to carry audio streams to non-3D friendly AV Receivers. Audiophiles may similarly rejoice with the inclusion of 7.1 analogue audio outs for the same reason, or just that they prefer it in their system to the digital alternative. We have to admit the 7.1 audio connections took us by surprise – must have missed it when reading the specs. There’s also a slightly less grandiose S/PDIF optical audio port but there are no other video connections, bar HDMI, and that’s fair enough – it is 2013, you know? The BD-F7500 is naturally Wi-Fi ready straight from the tin and there’s a wired LAN port, too, if that doesn’t tickle your fancy.
The supplied remote control is just about the perfect size for a disc player – not too big that it takes up too much room on the arm of the chair and not so small that the controls are fiddly to get at, nor that it will easily slip down the sides of said recliner. There’s an indent to the rear so that it sits comfortably on the index finger and a dedicated button to take you in to the Samsung Smart Hub. The main transport controls are glow-in-the dark, which helps for obvious reasons. It's a nice little remote, nothing special but what do you want?
Menus and SetUp
We’ll look at the more feature-related stuff below and just take you on a whistle stop tour of the Settings Menu here. Under Settings are 6 further submenus, Display, Audio, Network, Smart Features, System and Support. The Display Menu has the new 4K Output option with choices of Auto or Off – it’s not going to send a 4K signal to your 1080p TV even if on Auto but switch it off if it really worries you. For readers with 4K displays – both of you – please experiment to see what works best with yours, for Blu-ray, and report back in the feedback thread. Thank you.
More conventionally, there’s some settings for all traditional high definition TVs and in the Display settings sub-menu where there are options for 3D, TV Aspect, BD Wise, Resolution, Movie Frame (24fps) and a very interesting DVD 24fps Conversion Option so the F7500 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 late rin 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), Bitstream (re-encoded Dolby D). 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); DTS Neo:6 Mode (Off/Cinema/Music) and Audio Sync to fix any lip synch/lag issues with the display.
Not that Samsung is currently bereft of VoD providers for the Smart Hub; on the F7500 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 and Samsung promises that all free to air based catch-up services will be available for the F7500 by the end of 2013; so that means 4OD, ITV Player and 5 on Demand should also be added. 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 very slow but OK for very light use and the ability to mirror the TV screen and instantly share photos and video between the F7500 and a Samsung Galaxy S3 (and of course soon S4) but since we’re not the owners of one, we didn’t get to try it out. The Samsung F7500 is a very smart little box indeed.
1080i Playback When it comes to 1080i content the opportunity for the player itself to add value is far greater than it is with 1080p content. The ability of the player to detect film content inside the interlaced signal and correctly deinterlace it without introducing artefacts is dependent on the quality of the processing in the player itself. The F7500 uses Samsung's proprietary video processing which is exceptionally good and the player passed every single cadence test on both our Spear & Munsil and HQV Blu-ray discs.
We also used the HQV Blu-ray disc to check the quality of the video deinterlacing. This disc has a jaggies pattern that uses three rotating bars and with the BD-F7500M all three bars were smooth with no jaggies. The F7500 also had no problems with the video resolution loss test, correctly processing the moving portion of the image and leaving the background free of artefacts. The BD-D8500M was also able to handle discs with film content that is encoded at 1080i/50Hz without any problems.
The BD-F7500 performance was equally impressive with the film detail test, correctly locking on to the image resulting in no aliasing in the speedway seats behind the race car. In the cadence tests the BD-F7500 also performed flawlessly, correctly detecting the most common types 2:3 (NTSC - USA/Japan) and 2:2 (PAL - European). The inverse telecine feature also works well and for those with large collections of NTSC discs, it really does help restore the look of film – if you haven’t double dipped with the Blu-ray version, it’s well worth a look.
Disc Loading Times
- Doesn't impinge on Blu-ray signals
- Very fast to load
- Nice and quiet
- Distinctive design
- Wi-Fi built in
- Loads of smart features
- 7.1 analogue audio outputs
- Dual HDMI
- Very reasonably priced
- Inverse telecine feature
- A bit lightweight in construction
Samsung BD-F7500 3D Ultra HD Smart Blu-Ray & DVD Player Review
As one would expect from a Samsung product atop of its particular tree, the BD-F7500 is snazzily designed with a sliver wrapping enveloping the black casing. It’s definitely one to have on show, no sense in hiding it away in the cabinet or rack. Connectivity options are generous although those without HDMI inputs need to look elsewhere. The F7500 features two HDMI outs, useful if you’re receiver doesn’t support 3D signals. Lovers of analogue audio will also be pleased to see dedicated 7.1outputs.
Samsung’s new tiled Home Screen is excellent and in fact the whole feature set will take some beating in the Blu-ray sector. There’s more VoD services than you could ever possibly need, some of which tie-in with Samsung’s new S Recommendation feature which suggests further viewing based on your tastes. There’s also an excellent media player, Wi-Fi direct, mirroring (if you own a Galaxy S3/4) and a Web Browser, although the latter is rather slow and clunky.
The BD-F7500 fulfils its primary purpose of playing back both 2D and 3D Blu-rays with effortless ease and no signs of background noise reduction or unwanted manipulation of the signal. For the lucky few out there with Ultra HD displays, the F7500 will even scale your Blu-ray’s to match the higher resolution but we think that’s more of a headline grabber than truly useful feature. That’s not the only relatively unusual trick up the F7500’s sleeve, either, as it’s capable of reconstructing the original frame rate of film from NTSC DVD’s and seems to do so well. As well as this admirable feature, the F7500 also possesses excellent video processing that will ensure almost anything you throw at it will be given loving treatment.
The Samsung BD-F7500 is pretty much all you could want from a modern day disc-spinner. It’s very smart and chic, plays almost any media you’re likely to own and does so with a high degree of finesse. It also costs a lot less than one might think, considering all it does. Highly Recommended.
Ease Of Use8
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
Upscaling Engine Yes 4K Upscaling Yes 3D Blu-ray Playback Yes Smart Features Yes Remote App Yes
Release Year 2013 Colour Black/Silver
HDMI Out 2 Optical Digital Out 1 Analogue Audio Out (RCA) 7.1 USB Ports 1 Ethernet 1 Wi-Fi Built-in
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