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On the whole the Samsung’s performance comes very close to that of the Panasonic DMP-BD35, which is a compliment indeed, though the Panasonic’s images are just a touch crisper and sharper.
As for DVD playback, the Samsung does a fairly good job with the tricky Seven disc, taming the noise a little more effectively than the DMP-BD35, but it’s still no match for a dedicated upscaling DVD player from the likes of OPPO or Denon.
Sonically the BD-P1500 is impressive, orchestrating The Shining's uncompressed soundtrack with pleasing openness, clarity and detail. We can’t fault stereo CD playback either, which is clean and well-balanced. On the downside, during Transformer's BonusView 'Heads Up Display' the secondary audio is fairly quiet when mixed into PCM and was hard to hear over the primary soundtrack.
It may not be the most user-friendly or feature packed Blu-ray deck around at the moment, but the bottom line is that the BD-P1500 allows you to get your hands on a Profile 1.1 player for under £200 if you shop around, and that’s not to be sniffed at. Its picture performance at this price is excellent, but the best part is that it can be upgraded to support BD Live, which means it’s not going to be outdated any time soon. Those who want DTS HD MA decoding, multimedia playback and analogue audio outputs should look elsewhere, but otherwise the Samsung is a great choice for those who want to upgrade to Blu-ray on a tight budget.
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