The BD-C5500's AV output selection is basic, but that's to be expected for an entry-level model. There are no multichannel analog outputs, although Samsung does offer 7.1 analog outputs on the step-up BD-C6500. Many Blu-ray players also have both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, but it's not a major issue unless you're out of open optical inputs on your AV receiver.
|Ethernet||Yes||SD card slot||No|
|USB ports||2||RS-232 port||No|
Like virtually every other player, the BD-C5500 also includes an Ethernet port if you prefer the stability of a wired connection. We were happy to note that the BD-C5500's back panel USB port--labeled for the Wi-Fi adapter--can be used for a USB drive if you don't use the Wi-Fi adapter. Interestingly, both the step-up BD-C6500 and BD-C6900 are limited to one USB port.
Blu-ray image quality
Editors' note: We found the BD-C5500 to have identical Blu-ray and DVD image quality as the step-up BD-C6500. Therefore, the following sections will be largely the same.
All our testing was conducted via HDMI at 1080p/60, with the Samsung PN58B650 display and Oppo BDP-83 and LG BD570 for comparison. If your display supports and correctly handles 24 frames per second output (also known as 1080p/24), you can largely ignore these tests as we find all players to have virtually identical 1080p/24 performance. For more information on our testing procedure, consult our full guide to how we test Blu-ray players. Home theater enthusiasts can also see more detailed testing results in our 2010 Blu-ray players comparison chart.
|Blu-ray image quality: test patterns|
|Film resolution||Pass||Dynamic range high||Pass|
|Video resolution||Pass||Dynamic range low||Pass|
|Text overlay on film||Fail||Luma multiburst||Pass|
|Cadence tests||7/8||Chroma multiburst||Pass|
|Chroma bug test||Pass|
The BD-C5500 was a strong performer on our test pattern suite, passing all of the most important patterns, including the "Film Resolution" and "Video Resolution" tests. The BD-C5500 also did better than expected on the cadence tests, passing seven out of eight cadences, although we'd stress that it's rare that any cadence other than 3:2 is used on actual program material. The BD-C5500 did fail a test with text overlaid on film--the text looked fine, but there were comblike artifacts in the background--but it's not something we ended up seeing in program material.
|Blu-ray image quality: program material|
|"Ghost Rider"||Pass||"Tony Bennett"||Pass|
|"M:I:III"||Pass||"NIN Live"; chapter 3||Pass|
|"Sunshine"||Pass||"NIN Live"; chapter 4||Pass|
Ultimately, performance with program material is all that really matters and the BD-C5500 passed all our program material tests. Standard film-based movies like "Ghost Rider" and "Mission: Impossible: III" looked crisp, without any moir&232; in sight. We've seen some players, such as the Sony BDP-S570 and Vizio VBR200W, have minor issues with video-based titles, but the BD-C5500 handled "Tony Bennett: American Classic" and "Nine Inch Nails Live: Beside You in Time" perfectly. Our reference Oppo BDP-83 did pass a few extra test patterns and has more image tweaking options than the BD-C5500, but the truth is that both players are going to have nearly identical image quality on the vast majority of movies.
|Blu-ray operational speed (in seconds)|
|"M:I:III" | player on||11.23||"POTC" | until movie||85.85|
|"M:I:III" | player off | quickstart||n/a||"Spider-Man 3" | until movie||75.62|
|"M:I:III" | player off | no quickstart||11.23||"Sunshine" | chapter skip||26.83|
|"POTC" | past loading||27.65||CNET speed rating (composite score)||74|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
We were surprised to find the BD-C5500 to be such a sluggish Blu-ray player, especially considering that the flagship BD-C6900 was one of the fastest players we've tested this year. The good news is that the BD-C5500 is pretty speedy if you've already got the player turned on and you're watching a movie with basic menus, like "Mission Impossible: III", which loaded in a quick 11.23 seconds. However, if the player if off, the load time spikes to 29.74 seconds, almost twice as slow as the step-up BD-C6900. The BD-C5500 was also pretty pokey with movies with more complex menus, like "Spiderman 3" and our chapter skip test, which indicates overall operational sluggishness. While the BD-C5500 is still faster than the PS3 Slim, it's the slowest standalone Blu-ray player we've tested this year, tying the Vizio VBR200W.
We didn't encounter any major operational issues with our review sample of the BD-C5500, but it's worth pointing out that last year's line of Samsung Blu-ray players fared poorly in CNET's user reviews--with many people complaining of operational problems. We didn't have significant issues during our review period, however, we'd recommend buyers to keep an eye on CNET's user opinions, as well as popular shopping sites like Amazon and Newegg, to see if there are widespread issues with this year's crop of players.
|DVD image quality: test patterns and program material|
|Video resolution||Fail||"Star Trek: Insurrection"||Pass|
|Text overlay on film||Pass||"Invite Them Up"||Pass|
The BD-C5500 performed well with our suite of DVD tests. Test patterns were a breeze for the Samsung, acing traditional tests like Film Resolution, but also passing eight out of eight cadence tests, which means it should handle relatively uncommon program material well. Most importantly, the BD-C5500 passed all our program tests, which wasn't a surprise considering its test pattern performance. As always, we felt the Oppo BDP-83 looked subjectively better when flipping between the two, but the difference is relatively subtle and only real home theater enthusiasts would notice the difference.
Streaming video image quality
|Streaming video image quality|
As with most Blu-ray players, we saw no major issues with Netflix streaming on the BD-C5500. That gives the BD-C5500 an edge over the Sony BDP-S570, which suffers from some streaming image quality issues.
|Standby | quick start off||0.09 W||Standby | quick start on||n/a|
|Power on | watching movie||12.09 W||Power on | idling||6.94 W|
|Annual cost; quick start off||$0.81||Annual cost; quick start on||n/a|
Unlike some other new Blu-ray players, the BD-C5500 lacks a quick start mode and therefore by default uses very little power in standby mode. In comparison, the Sony BDP-S570 has an annual cost of $7.35 with its quick start feature enabled. While we didn't mind the lack of a quick start feature on the step-up BD-C6900--since it's speedy booting up with out quick start--the feature is missed more on the BD-C5500, which is relatively slow to boot-up. We would have preferred the option to use a little more juice to reduce the initial boot-up time.