"Good price and features, but SO slow in every way!"4.0 starson by flanjerka
Pros: Good picture quality, Netflix on demand, Pandora internet radio, plays burned DVD+R disks
Cons: Soooooo slow! Slow to turn on, slow to read a disk, slow to turn off, slow to fast forward or rewind. Some confusing audio/picture setup features...
Summary: I am really impressed with this Blu-ray player. It produces clean, crisp pictures when connected to a 1080p HDTV with an HDMI cable. Regular DVD playback was good with some aliasing, particularly when the DVD is paused. Audio can be routed to a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system with digital optical output, but the setup for 5.1 sound is a bit confusing, even when reading the user's manual. Same thing with some setup features for HDMI and picture settings. The player has a good set of connections, including a network cable for online content with certain Blu-ray disks.
What makes this player exceptional is the addition of Netflix on-demand movies (both in standard definition and in HD) AND Pandora internet radio. Both these services are only available after the BD-P2550 is plugged into an internet connection and the player's firmware has been upgraded. The online upgrade takes a couple minutes, but is completely worth it! Netflix online is GREAT. There are thousands of movies for download for no extra charge with a standard Netflix subscription (Blockbuster currently charges $1.99 per download!). After a movie is chosen, playback begins after about 30 seconds of downloaded buffer. This is with a fairly fast, 2.5 mbps DSL connection. Pandora internet radio is also amazing! It takes any artist or song you enter in to its relatively simple interface and creates an entire internet radio stream based on songs or artists similar to the one you chose. It's a great way to expand your musical tastes.
Besides these great non Blu-ray related options, this player WOULD have scored 5 stars were it not so painfully SLOW! I'm telling you, this thing is horribly, embarrassingly slow. Sometimes when I want to watch a Blu-ray disk, I'll put the disk in the player and walk away for a couple hours only to return and find it's STILL not loaded! Unfortunately, when the BD-P2550 is connected to the internet for Pandora or Netflix, if you insert a disk with downloadable online content, this dumb player STOPS loading the disk and asks you if you want to download the online content BEFORE you ever get to the disk's main menu. VERY dumb design flaw. Besides that, I've timed some of the BD-P2550's operations... it takes a full 60 seconds to load a Blu-ray disk to the main title menu. Compare that to a mere 25 seconds for a PS3 to do the same. If you turn the player on with NO disk in the tray, it takes nearly 30 seconds to recognize that NO DISK is loaded and go to its main menu. 30 seconds to tell me there's no disk loaded!?! A PS3 can detect no disk and completely boot to its main menu in about 10 seconds! These slow load times shouldn't be a big deal, but the player won't respond to ANY commands during these long load times, which means if you turn it on without a disk in to specifically listen to Pandora or use Netflix online, you have to wait half a minute before you can start. Forget it if you DO have a disk in the player but ONLY want to use Pandora! It simply WON'T work that way! With a disk in the player, you have to wait a FULL minute for the player to get to the title menu, before you can tell it you want to listen to Pandora. You'd THINK that you could simply eject the disk and choose Pandora/Netflix right away, but the BD-P2550 won't do ANYTHING with the disk tray ejected! It only gives the message, "Please close the tray first." Also - don't eject the disk tray while listening to Pandora, the BD-P2550 will turn off Pandora completely and go to the main menu! STUPID design! The WORST part of the SLOW response times? This player takes a full 20 seconds to TURN OFF! I'm not joking! What is it doing for 20 seconds after I've pushed OFF? Just turn off!!! The slowness of the BD-P2550 is also felt when trying to fast forward or rewind a movie. The player just doesn't respond as fast as it should.
Overall, I'm happy with this Blu-ray player. It is a relatively inexpensive player and an OK alternative to buying a PS3. It has enough output connections to meet anyone's home entertainment needs and good picture quality. With an online software upgrade, the addition of Netflix on demand and Pandora make it a really useful entertainment device. I've actually used this player to listen to Pandora MORE than I've watched Blu-ray disks! However, it falls short of a 5 star rating because it is so frustratingly slow.
As a side note, the BD-P2550's box and manual claim it won't play DVD+R disks, but I've found that it does with no problems! I used higher quality Sony DVD+R disks burned with DVD movie content and it played them fine...