Philips BDP5506/F7 review: Philips BDP5506/F7

The BDP5506 has the two key features we expect from a player in this price range: built-in Wi-Fi and 3D compatibility. While there isn't 2D-to-3D conversion or onboard memory, we don't consider either feature to be a major loss, as converted 3D usually doesn't look very good and onboard memory is only useful for BD-Live features that generally aren't that engaging. Philips also doesn't offer a smartphone app for controlling the player, which can occasionally be useful for controlling streaming-media services.

Streaming-media features
Netflix Yes Pandora Yes
Amazon Instant No Napster No
Vudu Yes Picasa Yes
Hulu Plus No Facebook Yes
MLB.TV No Twitter Yes
YouTube No Weather Yes

Philips' Net TV suite of services covers many of the major services we care about (Netflix, Vudu, Pandora), but it's a little skimpy compared with major Blu-ray manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony. If you're interested in streaming services like Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and MLB.TV, you'll have to look at competing players. The BDP5506 also lacks DLNA compatibility, which is available on most other players in this price range.

For more information on the streaming-media services available on competitors, check out our extensive hands-on review.

Connectivity
HDMI outputs Single Analog outputs Stereo
Component video output No Digital audio outputs Coaxial
USB ports 1 SD card slot No

The Philips BDP5506 has a basic connectivity package, and its HDMI output and coaxial digital audio output should be enough to cover most home theaters. There's no component video output, but that's not a major loss since 2011 Blu-ray players are limited to 480i resolution over component, because of annoying AACS rules.

Blu-ray disc load times and player speed
Average seconds Composite score
Disc loading 43.61 Disc loading 92
Netflix 33.68 Netflix 83
Navigation 13.94 Navigation 67
CNET speed rating 86
Higher composite scores indicate faster performance, with an average 2011 Blu-ray player having a composite score of 100. For more information, see our guide to how we test Blu-ray players.

CNET speed rating (composite score)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
PS3 Slim
69 
Philips BDP5506
86 

The Philips BDP5506 has a CNET speed rating of 86, which means it's somewhat slower than an average 2011 midrange Blu-ray player. It does the best on arguably the most important speed tests: disc-loading and Netflix loading. It also offers a quick start mode, which shaves about 6.5 seconds off standard load times when the player is off. It suffered the worst on our navigation tests, especially when skipping multiple chapters on a Blu-ray. The BDP5506 won't impress you with its speed, but it's fast enough to not be frustrating.

If you're interested in all the details about the BDP5506's speed compared with other 2011 players, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the load times section.

Image quality
In 2011, we've typically started our discussion of Blu-ray player image quality with a caveat that pretty much all Blu-ray players offer similar image quality these days, so it shouldn't be a major part of your buying decision. With the Philips BDP5506, that's not quite true. Not only does it fail quite a few of our standard test patterns, it also failed with many of our program material tests on both Blu-ray and DVD. Whether you're a videophile or even just a casual movie fan, there's really no reason to put up with substandard image quality, since the vast majority of Blu-ray players offer nearly perfect Blu-ray playback.

If you're into the nitty-gritty image quality details, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the performance section. For more information on our testing procedure, consult our guide to how we test Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray image quality: Test patterns and program material
Film resolution Fail "Ghost Rider" Fail
Video resolution Pass "Mission Impossible: III" Fail
Text overlay on film Pass "Sunshine" Fail
Cadence tests 0/8 "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" Pass
Chroma zone plate Fail "NIN Live: Beside You In Time" Pass

The Philips BDP5506 failed quite a few test patterns, and more troubling, all of our film-based program material tests. That means you'll potentially run into image quality issues on typical Hollywood movies. These issues will typically looking like jaggies or moire on thin angled lines, which we saw on both "Mission Impossible: III," "Ghost Rider," and "Sunshine." Considering that we rarely see any major differences in Blu-ray image quality these days, it was surprising to find the Philips fail these basic tests.

Streaming-video image quality
Netflix Pass

Though the image quality of Netflix streaming video varied a little bit last year between players, we haven't observed any differences so far among this year's models. The BDP5506 provides the same Netflix image quality as other players, but remember that streamed image quality varies a lot on a title-by-title basis, and also depends heavily on the quality of your broadband connection and home network.

DVD image quality: Test patterns and program material
Film resolution Fail "Seabiscuit" Fail
Video resolution Fail "Star Trek: Insurrection" Fail
Text overlay on film Pass "Invite Them Up" Pass
Cadence tests 1/8

Again, the BDP5506 performed well below average on our DVD image quality tests. It's been a long time since a player has failed our stalwart "Star Trek: Insurrection" test, but the BDP5506 filled the screen with jaggies. The artifacts and jaggies are even more obvious on DVD than Blu-ray, so even casual viewers will notice the diminished image quality.

Conclusion
With so many superior Blu-ray players available at the same price, we can't think of a good reason to get the Philips BDP5506 over its competitors.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Philips BDP5506/F7

Part Number: BDP5506/F7 Released: Aug 1, 2011
MSRP: $149.99 Low Price: $179.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Aug 1, 2011
  • Network Connection Wi-Fi
  • Internet Streaming Services Pandora
  • Additional Features digital audio playback from flash memory card
  • Media Type DVD-R
  • Type Blu-ray disc player
  • Built-in Audio Decoders Dolby Digital
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Upscaling via HDMI up to 1080p
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