Feature-rich Blu-ray players start at about $200 which is just about the equivalent of buying two entry-level Blu-ray players. Entry-level Blu-ray players should not be underestimated because they perform pretty quickly and the image quality is just about as good as the first generation Blu-ray players that were priced well beyond $200. This should give you the idea that midrange and high-end players are designed to do things beyond ordinary Blu-ray playback capabilities. But the Samsung BD-ES6000 is an interesting piece of hardware because it does not have that high-end price tag but it has some nice features along with a unique design.
Slim and long is the common design principal these days when it comes to designing a Blu-ray player or any media player for that matter. But the BD-ES6000 takes a more boxy approach with a square design that is about twice as thick as conventional Blu-ray players. Visually, it looks like a mini-PC and with Samsung’s black finish and familiar aesthetics, the overall design looks very nice and compact. The BD-ES6000 is an ideal choice for Samsung home theater setups that have very little room for a media player.
On the downside, limited space means less connection ports but it shouldn’t be a problem if you are going to use HDMI connectivity. HDMI is the recommended interface for connecting to modern HDTVs anyway because HD sources provide sound and picture quality and only a single cable is required. With CEC capability, a remote control handset can be used as well. In addition to the HDMI out, there is a 5V 500mA USB port, a LAN port and optical digital audio out.
Aside from the design and connection ports, the other features of the Samsung BD-ES6000 are pretty similar to the pricier flagship BD-E6500 model. It is fully ready for 3D movies if you have some Blu-ray 3D titles, 3D HDTV and 3D glasses. The BD-ES6000 can take full advantage of the 1080p capabilities of your display even if you prefer watching a movie in 3D.
The built-in Wi-Fi functionality is what makes Blu-ray player a “smart” Blu-ray player. Samsung defines Smart Blu-ray players as media players that can connect to the Internet to access or stream other media content. Many online streaming sites are flourishing because more people have access to fast and affordable Internet. Desktops, laptops and even tablets and smartphones can interact with these online services but not everyone likes the idea of connecting the device to the TV. The compact Samsung BD-ES6000 will always remain stationary near the TV making it easy to access services like NetFlix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Facebook, Pandora and many other services. Unlike viewing the service from a standard web browser, Samsung features special apps that each has their own interfaces for convenient living room browsing.
This may not be a huge deal for people with TVs that already have their own Internet connectivity features but not everyone can afford those high-end smart TVs. Some of the more affordable displays may have Internet features but do not have Wi-Fi built in. Using the Ethernet port for networking may not be very convenient for homes that have the wireless router in another room or floor. With smart Blu-ray players like the Samsung BD-ES6000, any HDTV with an HDMI port can acquire those missing features from the Blu-ray player. Of course, the BD-ES6000 must be left on if your HDTV cannot connect to the Internet on its own but this Samsung Blu-ray player is Energy Star rated so it shouldn’t dramatically increase your electric bill. The smart capabilities of the Samsung BD-ES6000 can also provide Smart Hub features to other TV brands that may lack online features.
One of the online features that many HDTVs lack is a full web browser. This can be useful just in case you need to access online services that are not supported in any of the Samsung apps. It also makes the BD-ES6000 just about as capable as a basic PC with an operating system and web browser. With the many connected services included in the Smart Hub, finding what you need can be difficult. Fortunately, the Smart Hub comes with a search function to make the online experience smooth.
Wi-Fi is not just about surfing the Internet. When the Samsung BD-ES6000 connects to a wireless router, the BD-ES6000 can also interact with various other devices that are currently connected to the same router. Thanks to the Samsung AllShare DLNA technology, you access the music, image or video libraries from other networked devices including smartphones, PCs, laptops, tablets and cameras. These devices must be DLNA-certified for the Blu-ray player to access them. All Windows 7 computers have this certification so there should be at least one device in the house that can stream content to the Samsung BD-ES6000.
Streaming online video won’t always give you the smoothest experience unless you tone down the video quality or upgrade your Internet connection. If your connection speeds are limited, the quality of streaming videos can slightly be increased through the BD Wise Web technology featured in the BD-ES6000. With this technology active, images and text are sharper. You can also optionally change the aspect ratio of the video to make sure the edges aren’t cropped.
While the Samsung BD-ES6000 can connect to any HDTV, connecting to a Samsung HDTV is recommended if you want to use the same remote control for controlling both the HDTV and Blu-ray player. This is powered by the Anynet+ feature and it can also be featured in AV receivers and other media players so remote control clutter can be significantly reduced.
As long as you do not have any legacy devices in your home theater system that lacks an HDMI port, the Samsung BD-ES6000 is a great buy complete with the 3D and Wi-Fi features that can really make your entire home theater system look and feel modern. Samsung continues to improve their Smart Hub as well so any updates that are made will be a part of the BD-ES6000.
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