Samsung BD-F7500 review
The Samsung BD-7500 is a Blu-ray player equipped with many smart TV services and image quality tools, such as 4K up-scaling. From the front, the BD-F7500 is a sleek and minimal affair, with just a flip-down cover that protects the disc tray and a plastic flap that hides a USB port. The strip of silver brushed metal that surrounds the player gives the impression that it’s floating, rather than sitting on top of your AV rack.
On its back panel, the two HDMI outputs let you pass video directly to a TV or projector and output sound to your surround sound speakers, which is especially convenient for those users whose A/V amplifier doesn’t support 3D. It’s also important for 4K upscaling, as even modern amplifiers aren’t guaranteed to work with a 4K signal.
The two HDMI outputs let you work around any compatibility problems in your AV setup
The BD-F7500 also has a digital optical output in addition to 7.1-channel analogue RCA outputs. It also has an Ethernet port, but its integrated Wi-Fi adaptor and support for Wi-Fi Direct means you should be able to get online without resorting to a cable.
Once connected, you can enjoy a considerable amount of content beyond your own Blu-ray collection. Samsung has always been among the best for online and smart TV services, and the BD7500 doesn’t disappoint. As you might expect for a Blu-ray player, the choice of on-demand movie streaming is excellent, with Netflix, LoveFilm, BlinkBox and Knowhow movies. You also get YouTube video streaming and catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer. Other services, such as ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5 should be available at the end of August 2013.
iPlayer is available now with other TV catchup services to launch in the summer
Facebook, Twitter and a full web browser are all useful additions, as long as you plan on connecting a USB mouse and keyboard; text entry and page navigation using the remote control is still a laborious process.
Its DLNA support means you can also play files directly from a networked PC or NAS device, as well as locally from a USB flash drive or portable hard disk. The BD-F7500 has superb file format support, happily playing all of our test files, including MKVs, native DivX files and MOVs.
It will play files from practically any device on your network, with great file format support
You should have no trouble finding your way around the oversized interface, which is similar in some ways to Samsung’s TV range except that it keeps things much simpler with big, high-resolution icons, easy-to-read text and a sensible layout. The familiar options menu is still buried underneath it all, but we think the new look is a real step forward.
Popping in a Blu-ray disc, the BD-F7500 loads in about 20 seconds. Picture quality was top notch, thanks to a crispness that isn’t present on our reference Blu-ray player. The BD-F7500 manages to make the overall picture look sharper without introducing any unwanted artefacts. There’s ample shadow detail in darker scenes and colours were accurate at the default picture settings, although you have the option to adjust brightness and colour saturation using the User preset if you prefer to do all the image processing before the signal reaches your TV.
Our usual tests showed a sharpness and black detail that our reference player (a PS3) couldn't quite achieve - as show in this 1:1 pixel crop
Although the BD-F7500 supports 4K upscaling of 1080p Blu-ray discs, it’s currently impossible for us to test it without a 4K display. Even so, it should provide peace of mind that your Blu-ray discs aren’t going to be immediately redundant once Ultra HD resolution video becomes mainstream.
We were able to test DVD upscaling, however. Enabling the detail enhancement settings from the picture menu creates a sharper image, albeit at the expense of introducing slightly more noise to the picture. In motion it’s mostly unnoticeable, making it worth turning on if you watch a lot of DVDs.
4K output is supported but unfortunately we didn't have a display to test it with
The Samsung BD-F7500 is currently more expensive than the Ultimate award-winning Sony BDP-S790. Both support 4K upscaling, so should last well into the next generation of Ultra HD TVs, and have a comprehensive amount of picture quality settings for those that want complete control over their home cinema. However, Samsung has a greater range of on-demand services, along with screen mirroring support for those with Samsung smartphones. The Samsung BD-F7500 is a great product, but the Sony BDP-S790 is currently better value.