Elsewhere you’ll find all the other features you’d expect from a Blu-ray player – built-in Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio decoders, 1080/24p output for judder-free playback on compatible displays, HD audio output via HDMI in bitstream or uncompressed PCM, 1080p DVD upscaling and Anynet+ HDMI CEC support.
Installing the player is a piece of cake thanks to the superb main menu, which is easy on the eye, responsive and logically sequenced. It lists the choice of Video, Music, Photo and Setup down the left and gradually works its way across the screen with each submenu.
The Setup menu houses the Network settings menu, where you can select your wireless access point and enter your security password using a virtual keyboard. The player’s other options are easy to find, including the all-important HDMI resolution and audio output settings.
Also impressive is the display that pops up during playback when you hit the info key. It clearly lists everything you need to know about the current disc, including the selected audio track, playing time and chapter. Here you’ll also find a Picture Mode option, which offers a few presets (Normal, Movie and Dynamic) as well as a User mode with adjustable levels of sharpness and noise reduction.
This excellent onscreen design is supported by a top drawer remote, which sports a coffee table-friendly gloss-black finish and slinky curves. The buttons are big, chunky and well spaced out, plus the playback keys helpfully glow in the dark, but the Title/Pop-Up/Disc menu keys at the bottom are a tad inconvenient. On the whole, the operating system isn’t quite as clear-cut and intuitive as the Panasonic DMP-BD60 but it comes a close second.
However, where it does beat the Panasonic hands down is disc loading speed. It takes the Samsung a lightning-quick 27 seconds to get to ”Spider-Man 3’s” Sony Pictures logo (or 40 seconds to get to the main menu), which is fantastic by anyone’s standards and is roughly in line with other speedy decks like the LG BD370 and Samsung’s own BD-P4600. The BD Live functionality also works smoothly over the wireless connection, plus digital media files load up quickly and play back without any problems.