by Rob Sabin
If you've read our review of the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc player - the world's first - you know what we thought of the picture and sound quality with the first batch of Blu-ray discs. But there's a lot more to this box than what comes out of it. Here's a run-down on some key features and few details you should know about hooking it up.
Too bad format wars aren't won in product packaging, or Samsung would have it locked right here. The company clearly spent some money on the presentation for the BD-P1000, which boasts snappy full-color promotional printing on the outer carton, printed Blu-ray logos on the inside of the box, and a user's manual whose cover features heavy stock and the kind of embossed color printing usually reserved for luxury car brochures. It's all very slick.
Fortunately, the words slick - and sleek - also apply to the player itself, which, while featuring a lower profile and less heft than Toshiba's first HD-DVD player, has a sophisticated industrial design and a solid feel. Build quality isn't high-end, but it's excellent, and the polished black cabinet cover is distinctive, even if it does attract fingerprints.
The clean and Spartan front panel has just a power switch, a four-position nav rocker for the transport keys, and a convenient front panel button that toggles the player's output from HDMI to component to composite-/S-video (only one type can be active at a time).
There's also a well-camouflaged door that swings down to reveal a pair of universal memory-card slots. Pop in a card from your high-resolution digital camera, and you can do a high-def slide-show on your big-screen. When I tried this, the BD-P1000 dropped an animated hourglass icon on top of my sister's wire fox terrier and kept it there while it was busy loading the next image in the sequence. On the Normal slide-show speed, Max was on screen for three seconds, followed by 10 seconds of Max partially obliterated by the hourglass, until the same sequence repeated for the next image. This essentially nullifies the feature.
On the back panel - the real business end of these things - you'll find connectors for the previously mentioned video outputs, as well as the audio outs: RCA jacks for 5.1-channel analog, plus coax and optical SPDIF outputs for feeding a digital bitstream to the typical audio/video receiver or processor. As with the HD DVD players, there's a relatively quiet ventilation fan back there. Unlike Toshiba's HD DVD players, however, the BD-P1000 has no Ethernet jack for a broadband Internet connection - a notable omission that will prevent the BD-P1000 from tapping the online interactivity that will eventually be built into Blu-ray titles.
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