Review Price free/subscription
Samsung BD-P1400 Blu-ray Player
Samsung was the first company to launch a Blu-ray player in the UK, but the BD-P1000 didn't go down too well with the home entertainment cognoscenti - its spec was severely limited, with no HD audio or 24fps support, and because it converted 1080p pictures to 1080i and back again, the resulting picture quality left a lot to be desired.
So the BD-P1400 is Samsung's chance to make amends. This time round all of the key features missing from its debut deck are now present, but at a much lower price. Look online and you can find the BD-P1400 for under £260, which highlights that the price difference between Blu-ray and HD DVD is no longer the gaping chasm it once was.
It's not just the spec that Samsung has improved - the design has also been radically changed. We're completely smitten by the deck's all-over gloss black finish, sloping fascia, subtle blue lighting and a silver strip along the bottom, all of which makes it a stunning piece of kit that will grace any room. On the downside it's not as slim as its predecessor, but with looks as good as these we really don't care.
Samsung has also upped the connections count. This time the player comes with a LAN Ethernet port, which is extremely rare among Blu-ray players, but don't get too excited - it can only be used for making firmware updates from Samsung's online FTP site and not to access online content or to transfer digital files from a PC. The BD-P1400 is a Profile 1.0 player and not 1.1, so it won't support advanced features found on forthcoming BonusView Blu-ray discs like Resident Evil: Extinction - and like all Profile 1.0 players (with the exception of the PS3) it can't be upgraded to 1.1. On the rear panel you'll also find an HDMI 1.3 output, component, composite and S-video outputs, plus optical and coaxial digital audio outputs.
The player supports Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS and DTS HD (but not DTS HD Master Audio), any of which can be decoded internally and output from the 5.1 analogue audio sockets or transferred to a receiver as PCM via the HDMI output. The HDMI output can also pipe HD audio soundtracks as a raw bitstream to a home cinema receiver, allowing the receiver to do the donkey work (provided it's equipped with suitable decoders). But if your amp is getting on a bit, remember that Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks can also be transferred from the digital audio outputs.