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CNET First Look
Samsung BD-C5500The BD-C5500's expandable Samsung Apps platform and DLNA compatibility make it stand out from other entry-level players, although it's one of the slower players we've tested.
>>Hi, I'm Mathew Moskovciak, Senior Associate Editor at CNET.com and we're here with the Samsung BD-C5500. This is an entry-level Blu-ray player from Samsung and it's currently selling for about $160 online. As you'd expect from and entry-level Blu-ray player the design isn't quite as slick as some of Samsung's Step Up designs. It does have a glossy black finish but there is this kind of silver stripper, the touch sensitive buttons are, that looks a little bit out of place. Once you turn the Samsung on you'll notice there's a completely re-designed user interface and we like the job that Samsung did with this new look. There's a wood grain background on the back and there are big colorful icons and it's easier to get to some of those streaming media services because they're located right at the top of the main screen. If you click on the Internet@TV icon you'll be brought to Samsung Apps. This is Samsung's new expandable platform that developers can use to add functionality to the players after you buy them. Now, we have no idea if Samsung Apps is going to off but they're already a solid suite of streaming media services such as Netflix, Vudu, Pandora and YouTube so even if nothing gets added, you're pretty well set already. If you look around back you'll see the connectivity which is basic which you'd expect at this price level. There's an AV stream output, a digital audio output. Unlike some of Samsung's Step Up player there are no 7.1 analog outputs so if that's something you'll need you'll have to step up. There's an Ethernet port for taking advantage of those streaming media services but on this player there's no built-in Wi-Fi. Now, there is a USB jack on the back that can be used with Samsung's USB Wi-Fi dongle which costs about $80. Considering that that Step Up BD-C6500 has built-in Wi-Fi and only costs about $65 more if you want Wi-Fi, you're better off going with the Step Up model than buying the USB Wi-Fi dongle. We'd also like to point out that the BD-C5500 is DLNA compliant so you can stream movies and music over a home network. That's something that a lot of other manufacturers drop from their entry-level models. So, if you're on an entry-level budget and DLNA is a feature that you're interested in the Samsung is a good option. Also, unlike some of the Step Up players there's no onboard storage for this so if you're going to use some of that BD live downloadable content you're going to need to stick a USB Flash drive into one of the players to USB ports. Now, even though this is an entry-level model, it has the same excellent Blu-ray image quality that the Step Up BD-C6500 has. That means is passed all the most important test patterns and it did well with real actual program material that we through at it. Overall, the image quality is in the top tier of players that we've tested this year and yes our reference Blu-ray player, the Apple BD-83 passed a few more test patterns but it's a difference that you're just not going to notice on the vast majority of Blu-ray movies. Our main gripe with this player is operational speed as it is one of the slowest Blu-ray players that we've tested this year. While it loads simple movies without BD Java menu it's pretty fast once it's turned on, it does take a little long to boot up initially and movies with more complex menus such as Spider-Man 3 or Pirates of the Caribbean took longer than other players to load. All together, if your looking for features, the BD-C5500 does have some step ups over other entry-level models such as Samsung Apps and the DLNA compatibility but if you're just looking for an inexpensive Blu-ray player that loads discs quickly, you may want to look for another option. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET.com and this is the Samsung BD-C5500.