70 SAMSUNG BD-P1400 ➜ £250 Approx ➜ www.samsung.co.uk
Budget Blu-ray Danny Philips ponders the virtues of a Profile 1.0 BD-spinner
s any movie fan knows, sequels are rarely better than the original, but the follow up to Samsung’s BD-P1000 is more The Godfather Part II than Superman 3. The BD-P1400’s feature list is superior to the company’s debut deck, and is bolstered further by a ﬁrmware update which we suggest all buyers implement as soon as they can. Bitstream-out audio support extends to both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, as well as standard Dolby and DTS 5.1. Then there’s an HDMI output with proper 1080p24 support – none of that 1080p to 1080i and back again nonsense that hindered the BDP1000’s picture quality. The BDP1400 has also been given a radical makeover, supplanting the angled lines of the P1000 with a gently curved fascia. The ﬁrst player design had its fans, but in my opinion, this model looks better. Flip it 180° and you’re presented with a decent array of sockets. Taking centre stage is the HDMI v1.3 output, which not only delivers 1080p video (including upscaled DVDs) but also routes the hi-rez audio bitstreams. Couple this player with a new receiver able to decode the audio for the best possible performance. For those without a suitable AVR, there are 5.1channel analogue outputs which deliver a standard DD 5.1 mix as PCM from Dolby TrueHD, or DTS core. This is a standard Proﬁle 1.0 player, which means no BonusView for you, my friend. Like the Pioneer player (see page 72) there’s an Ethernet port on the rear, only to be used for software updates and not to access BD-Live
features in the future (the deck lacks the necessary hardware to be upgraded to Proﬁle 1.1 or 2.0). In action the player handles like a tractor, trundling round the setup menu with annoying pauses, and the remote’s button arrangement needs work. But in its defence, disc-loading time is better than we’ve seen on some early players and it takes tricky BD-J menus with only a modicum of complaint.
Blow up your video
Peers: Sharp BD-HP20H, Sony BDP-S300, Toshiba HD-EP35
Visually, Blu-ray picture quality is excellent, bringing Déjà Vu to life on my 52in Full HD screen. The movie’s opening gambit – a ferry exploding in a ball of vivid orange ﬂames and billowing smoke – looks fabulous, while the minute detail of the movie’s New Orleans setting is reproduced with suitable clarity. But watching the movie at 1080p24 on a suitably-equipped TV reveals some slightly queasy camera pans, with an occasional stutter that isn’t present in 60Hz mode. This will upset those looking for the smoothest pictures possible. Standard DVD playback is actually very good, with the player doing a reasonable job of curing jaggies and passing both our horizontal and vertical text crawl tests. It’s a actually a better DVD player than the Panasonic BD30. CD playback is functional. Overall then, the BD-P1400 is a good budget Blu-ray offering, albeit one with caveats. Those looking for a strong HD picture will be pleased, but it’s lack of Proﬁle 1.1 support will limit its appeal. Perhaps hang on for its BD-P1500 replacement...
Product: Nicely-priced Blu-ray player with hi-res audio and 1080p24 support Positioning: The only current Blu-ray player in Samsung’s range
➜ Specifications Video Upscaling: YES DVD to 1080p Progressive Scan: YES to 1080p Multiregion: NO B (Blu-ray); R2 (DVD) HDMI: YES v1.3 Component: YES 1 set Phono stereo audio: YES plus 5.1 Digital audio: YES coaxial/optical and HDMI SACD/DVD-A playback: NO/NO Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio decoding: YES but DTS-HD MA only via firmware update Interactivity: YES BD-Java only Dimensions: 430(w) x 79(h) x 327(d)mm Weight: 7.3kg Also featuring: Anynet HDMI CEC, Ethernet port, MP3, JPEG, DVD-R/RW, CD, CD-R & CD-RW playback URL: www.techradar.com/241631
➜ Tech Labs Video jitter: 3ns Audio jitter: 404.4ps Video S/N ratio (composite): -74.2dB Video S/N ratio (S-video): -75.4dB Video S/N ratio (component, interlaced): -65.5dB
Chroma AM: -74.7dB Chroma PM: -60.1dB Chroma Crosstalk: -71.8dB
VERDICT Samsung BD-P1400; £250 Approx Highs: Ethernet port; stylish design; hi-res bitstream audio out Lows: Not Profile 1.1, some 24fps issues Performance: Design: Features:
HOME CINEMA CHOICE MAY 2008
Samsung BD-P1400 tested. Highs: Ethernet port; stylish design; hi-res bitstream audio out Lows: Not Profile 1.1, some 24fps issues