Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Samsung BD-D5300 Bluray Player Review

I just picked up a Samsung BD-D5300 Blu-ray Player.

I had originally purchased a Sony BDP-S280 and did not like it, and exchanged it for the Samsung BD-D5300. I am very impressed with the features of this device for the price. The Blu-ray load time is not too bad, and the quality is great. I have not had any A/V sync issues.

I have a Home Server with a bunch of video files on it, and I can set up a media server (Twonky) and this player will find and play anything I have thrown at it so far. Perhaps my favorite feature is native MKV support. It has no problem playing back 720p MKV files streaming from my home server. I have not tried 1080p.

It offers two USB ports, one in the back and one in the front. If you use alot of BD-Live material you will probably want a small flash drive to plug into this machine. I'm not sure how BD-Live storage works, but I know the player does not have any built in. You can, however assign space on any FAT formatted USB drive. The player supports two drives at once, and does support NTFS, but its read-only (which is why you need FAT for BD-Live storage so it can write).

Samsung Apps, however, download into its 160mb of on-board storage. You cannot use this storage for BD-Live, only for apps. You cannot download Samsung Apps to a USB drive at this time, nor can you delete some of their preloaded apps, such as "USA Today", "BBC News", "Facebook", ect. You can delete any apps you download. Most apps are free, but some do cost. Think of it as an extremely micro version of the Android Market, or iTunes App Store. There are less than 200 apps at the time of this review.

One major flaw is that it offers apps such as Facebook and Twitter, but does not support USB Keyboards. I have tried both a wired and wireless USB Keyboard with this device and neither worked. You are forced to use their T9 remote system. This offers various ways to speed up your typing, but the system and remote respond slowly, so you will not be typing as fast as you could on a T9 mobile phone. There are also some flaws in text entry after installing an app that will slow down response time by nearly 60%. Once you learn how the flaws work you can get around them fairly easily without even noticing. So they aren't show stopping flaws.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the Network Control feature, which lets you control your player from your smartphone, with their app. The app is nice, it offers shortcuts on the Smart Hub, and perhaps most importantly, text entry. You recall my gripes with their entry system, but using the app you can fill in any text fields on the screen with your phone's keyboard. So that is a big plus, if you own an iOS or Android device. However, it does occasionally suffer from the same response time issues as the infrared remote. Sometimes, if you are too fast, the App will see your action but the player will not react to it.

Netflix playback is decent. It looks better than my PC's output, but not better than my XBox 360's. It is better than the Sony I had though. I am not sure what makes the videos look so different depending on what device. My internet speed is consistent so it is not network congestion. But of the devices I have viewed Netflix on, I rank this player #2.

Another cool thing is the front USB port. You can just plug your digital camera into it and watch it's videos or view it's pictures. I have the Flip Camcorder, and I can just plug it into this player and watch the videos, without the mini-HDMI cable, or using the Flip's batteries (its powered from your player).

One small quirk is that the buttons on the front are not really buttons, but touch sensitive sensors. So if you find yourself reaching around to the back of the player in a tight spot, like an entertainment center, you may find yourself turning the device on and off.

Overall, I am very happy with this machine. It has played everything I have asked it too so far. Just keep in mind this is a slow computer and not an xbox, so you have to slow down some times :)

Source: My Amazon Review

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