Pros Outstanding PQ, upconversion & function
Cons Firmware upgrade a must.
Summary I bought both the Sony BDP-S300 and Samsung BD-P1200 one week apart, and connected both to my Sony KDSR60XBR2. After a week comparing the two, I've decided to return the BDP-S300, but it wasn't an easy choice. Both these blu-ray players perform well, but the main difference is in upconversion of standard DVDs and speed of loading java-enabled blu-ray discs. Samsung is better in both respects. I had to perform the firmware upgrade to the BD-P1200, and after that most of the early-reported glitches disappeared (yes, I had them all!). I still get a brief pause on one disc (7 Years in Tibet) when layers are switched, but it's very minor and worth the trade-off for better upconversion and speed. Maybe a future firmware release will fix this minor shortcoming as well. The notoriously problematic Pirates of the Caribbean blu-ray loads and runs flawlessly on both machines, but loads twice as quickly on the Samsung. I am aware that the Samsung also offers HDMI 1.3 unlike the Sony, but from a performance point of view with current TV and receiver I can't tell the difference. The Samsung has an ethernet port for upgrading, the Sony does not, however you can burn a CD and upgrade firmware on either machine that way so this is not a big deal. IMHO, the Sony has a better menu system than the Samsung, but maybe that's because I've gotten used to an upconverting Sony dvd player after all these years, including the typical Sony remote. I have set both players to bitstream audio out and connected to my higher-end (but not ES-series) Sony receiver for decoding Dolby Digital, etc. Sound connected this way seems the same from both players. Again, I might notice a difference if I were to use a higher-end receiver. And lastly, for what it's worth, somehow the Sony's PQ on blu-ray seems ever-so-slightly softer, but with ever-so-slightly less motion artifacts. These are minor differences, but I do prefer the Samsung's sharper PQ overall. At first, I was sure I prefered the color balance of the Samsung over the Sony, but after a week I'm beginning to think it's my imagination. I am posting this review on both the Sony BDP-S300 and Samsung BD-P1200 review pages. The price (as of July 2007) of the Samsung BD-P1200 has dropped to near the price of the Sony BDP-S300 and so I feel it's a fair comparison. I am rating the Samsung a 9, and the Sony an 8.
Pros User-Upgradeable Firmware
Cons Will not Load POTC2 or standard DVD's
Summary Just got mine home yesterday, along with a copy of Pirates 2. Coming attractions looked terrific, but the main menu won't load correctly, preventing me from actually playing the movie. This problem is documented on several of the high-end forums, which suggest that I manually upgrade the firmware. Oh yeah, and standard DVD's won't load either. I tried 'Walking with Dinousaurs' and 'Lawrence of Arabia' and just stared endlessly at the "Loading" screen.
I am going to try to upgrade the firmware before returning the unit to Best Buy, although my first attempt failed b/c my version of WINZIP does not support the downloaded file.
I am not at all happy with Samsung right now and am seriously regretting the fact that I didn't get a PS3 instead. For a second-gen player costing $800, am I wrong to expect that it works right out of the box?Updated
Successfully executed the firmware update last night and am now able to Load POTC 2 Blu-Ray, as well as my standard DVDs. Blu-Ray video performance looks fantastic. DVD-Video quality on par with my Oppo DV981.
So I am at a loss as to how to rate the performance of this unit. It works great now (so far), but it was totally unable to play either a Blu-Ray disc or a standard DVD-Video disk out of the box.
I still think that for $800, it's fair to expect the thing to work properly.
Pros There are none.
Cons Support. Or severe lacke thereof.
Summary This has to be the worst thing I've had to deal with. Weeks upon weeks of promised updates with no rollout or even a clear statement of when it will happen. Phone support people help you. Just keep promising that "an update will be out next week." I currently several Blu-Ray discs that will not play.
Pros Picture Quality
Cons Won't play MOST Blu-rays
Summary This is an absolute lemon!! This will be the absolute last Samsung product I ever purchase, I'm just upset it was an $800.00 lesson. Previous reviews are dead on. It is at best a 50/50 shot if your purchase/rental will play at all on this player. Ethernet capability for Firmware is near useless due to Samsung's abismal tech support. Last firmware available was in Nov. I tried using it when I was unable to play POTC3 after having to do a previous frimware upgrade the last time POTC came out. The firmware was actually detrimental and did not fix the problem. Now my load time is much slower. Other movies I've been unable to enjoy on my $800 player: Die Hard 3, Sunshine, 3:10 to Yuma, etc., etc.
Samsung is horribly behind updates and the list of new movies this "player" is unable to play is expanding. Customer Support is of new use as they will tell you, "we are aware we have a problem w/ java formats on menus, we have no idea how we are going to fix it nor any time frame for a solution. Thanks for calling, have a nice day."
Absolutely horrid. I recommend staying clear of all samsung products after my experience with this player. It seems unacceptable for such a shoddy product to cost so much w/ such little support available. Will give it this much though one of every 4-5 movies look spectacular when it does play.
"dont buy this player"on by pico54
Pros Nice picture when it works
Cons will not play many titles must download firmware upgrades frequently and usually does not fix compatibility issues.
Summary Poor support and delayed firmware updates. Many movies will not play. Slow to boot. Stay away. Check out bluray.com forum to learn that there is a problem with this player.